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2014 Audax Section: Report & Results

Meeting other cyclists happens a lot on Audax rides - a large group of charity riders from Sweden in Nantwich

Meeting other cyclists happens a lot on Audax rides – a large group of charity riders from Sweden in Nantwich

“You’ve never ridden all the way from Southport to here, have you?”

The Audax (Long Distance Cycling) season drew to a close on Tuesday 30th September and after a gap year in 2013 the Southport CC Audax team got back to business in 2014 as one of the top club teams in the country.

The team consisting of the usual suspects i.e. Steve Ginty, Will White, Allan Taylor, Lee Hunt and Pete Gawthorne covered a distance of over 20,600 kilometres or 12,802 miles, in amassing a total of 206 points in the National Audax Club competition. This was good enough to secure 7th place out of 259 clubs taking part.

The mathematicians amongst you will have worked out that this points total equates to 1point for every 100kms of riding.

Some more numbers to crunch are that the team between them completed 79 x 200km rides, 6 x 300km rides, 3 x 400km rides and 3 x 600km rides.

The season started off very sedately with the occasional ride to Settle, Knott End and other such places through the Autumn, Winter & early Spring with only Allan completing at least one ride per month, mostly on his favoured Jodrell Bank circuit.

The catalyst for change was the Majorca “Boot Camp” held in May, where, under the watchful gaze of “Sergeant-Major” Ginty, the team’s fitness & commitment were honed on the rides over Sa Colabra, Col de Soller and Puig Major. It was at this stage that another recruit in the shape of Simon Kirwan was conscripted onto the team.

Simon’s strong riding, especially on hilly rides, contributed 15 points to the team’s total and included riding a 300km (186ml) Audax only a few days after publicly declaring he would never undertake such a ridiculous distance.

After Majorca the team made journeys to such exotic places as Penrith & Kirkstone Pass, Carlisle, Cockermouth, Kirkby Lonsdale, Hebden Bridge, Haworth (to watch the Tour de France), Barnoldswick, North Wales and deepest darkest Shropshire.

A special mention should be made of Will White’s efforts. Will, another strong climber, achieved the so-called Gold Standard of Audaxing ie Super Randonneur (SR) status for the very first time in completing at least one ride at distances of 200km (125ml,) 300km (186 ml), 400km (250 ml) & 600km (372ml).

He was joined as an SR by Allan who repeated his feat of 2013 and Pete who completed his 5th SR series.

The battle for the Club Randonneur Trophy was hard fought through to the final weeks of season when, taking advantage of the brilliant September weather, Pete completed 6 rides covering 1800kms in the month to wrest the trophy from the current holder, Allan.

This made it his fifth trophy win in the last six years.

The final results being as follows:-

Pete Gawthorne       61 points
Allan Taylor             47 points
Will White               43 points
Steve Ginty             31 points
Simon Kirwan         15 points
Lee Hunt                  9 points

Away from the formal Audaxing scene there were some other notable Long Distance rides by members of SCC.

Veteran Randonneurs, the husband & wife team of Derek & Yvonne Unsworth, together with Ray Dutton, completed an epic trip tracing the River Rhine from its source high in the Swiss Alps to the sea in Holland. This journey covered 800 miles passing through 5 countries on their way to the North Sea at Rotterdam.

Lindsey Whittaker completed the 470 mile Raid Alpine for the second time. Starting on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, the route takes riders over many of the iconic Alpine passes featured in the Tour de France including the famed 2642m high Col du Galibier before finishing on the Cote d’Azur.

Allan Taylor & Pete Leonard tackled the gruelling Raid Corsica in challenging weather, riding over 600 miles of the most mountainous island in the Mediterranean.

Steve Ginty, Malc Heathcote & Pete Gawthorne completed a journey across the Southern Alps from Nice to Grenoble. Again tackling some infamous Tour de France climbs, with the highlight being the ascent of the highest road on mainland Europe, Col de la Bonette 2802m tackled on bikes carrying full panniers.

Terry (3rd from left) with club mates at Light Ash on the Fylde

Terry (3rd from right) with club mates at Light Ash on the Fylde

Finally we should make mention of Audax legend 81yr old Terry Seanor, who battled through illness & injury, missing nearly 3 months of the season through a broken collar bone after an “off” in June. Nevertheless he managed, albeit belatedly, to complete his “Birthday Ride” of 81 miles in August and is now in serious training for next year. As he said on the café run only this week, “ it’s not worth getting the bike out unless you are going to do at least 50 miles”…legendary indeed!

For those riders suffering withdrawal symptoms at the seasons close on Tuesday, fear not because the new season commenced on Wednesday 1st October and the first ride was to Llangollen and over the Horseshoe Pass. 2015 promises to be another interesting year with a trip to Belgium to take part in the famous Mons Audax series in May a highlight.

“So hand over the Sudocreme & pump up your tyres because here we go again.”

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