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Visiter Column – Article 71 The Fleet Moss Audax

Chris, Mario and Neil ready for the start of a long day of riding.

Chris, Mario and Neil ready for the start of a long day of riding.

On Sunday 19th June Southport Cycling Club hosted three Audaxes starting from Claughton Village Hall near Garstang. The three rides of 70 miles, 100 miles and 133 miles were routed around the beautiful but sometimes rugged hills and dales of Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

With almost 150 riders taking part most opting for the knee trembling Fleet Moss ride with around 10,000ft of climbing the stage was set for a busy day. Allan Taylor (chairman of Southport CC and event organizer) and his wife had arrived to open up the HQ at 6.15am to get the early starting riders brevet cards and bacon sandwiches ready to ensure they had something to push them through the first few miles of this epic trial of audacious riding.

I was one of those taking part on that day and I confess I had never tried one of these now popular and more modestly priced rides that allows you to test your endurance without getting hindered by throngs of riders clogging up your line as you do these days with the comparatively expensive sportive ride.

Slaidburn and a chance to grab a cup of tea and stamp your Brevet card

Slaidburn and a chance to grab a cup of tea and stamp your Brevet card

I rode the 25 miles up from Southport arriving at 6.50am with enough time to take a few pictures and chat with other riders about to embark on their mainly solo rides across both counties. You can ride as a group if you wish and since my Mio 505 gps had failed to work before I left I was faced with either trying to fathom out the shorthand route sheet with its abbreviations and tiny symbols or ride with one or two of my fellow Southport CC club members who had better luck on the navigational front. Feeling more social I joined a small band of four SCC riders to embark on the challenging ride into what for me was a part unknown. At 7.30am prompt Allan came out into the car park to let riders know they could start when they felt ready as the Audax clock had started ticking and the ride he had pre-ridded a few days before was all there ahead for you to ‘enjoy at your own pace’.

Southport club riders pausing at the top of Tatham Fell

Southport club riders pausing at the top of Tatham Fell

Audaxing or audacious riding isn’t about racing it’s about being disciplined or so Allan told me prior to the event don’t dally he said just keep at your own pace and don’t spend too much time in cafes was his advice. I managed to stop in one café for 1.5 hours and another for 45 minutes on the day but the pace of the small group I rode with pushed me on to a rather respectable time of 10.5 hours total for the 133 miles distance and 10,000ft of climbing.

Apart from the first couple of information points and nearer the end we didn’t see too many other riders allowing us more time to chat and admire the fantastic scenery that was new to most of us. Trough of Boland, Lamb & Tatham Fell, Kirkby Lonsdale, Dentdale and Hawes came and went before we started our return through Kettlewell, Cracoe and Gargrave. On reaching Bolton-By-Bolton I decided the large bag of jelly babies had to be distributed as I had by this point carried them for over 100 miles and sharing them amongst the group I felt sure

Cresting the tough Fleetmoss Climb

Cresting the Fleetmoss Climb.

the lessening of the weight might allow me more speed to keep up with the ever quickening pace as the rain continued to fall forgetting that the sugar content only made my fellow riders go faster!

With aching legs and now damp to the core due to the steady rain from Yorkshire back home we re-entered the H.Q. at Claughton to the delight of those that were there having completed their individual rides. Again photos were taken and cake and coffee were passed round the group proceeds on the day for the sale of refreshments made £150 to be donated to Macmillan Cancer.

I spoke to Allan soon after the event and he assured me that he has received many positive comments regarding the event and Southport CC are keen to build on this new reputation to ensure many more local riders choose to try an
Audax by holding it again next year chapeau! Congratulations go to Allan and his lovely wife and all the clubmembers who gave up their day to help make this event the most successful Southport CC event this year so far! Lastly a big well done to all those brave riders who managed to complete their chosen ride in good time and for those that didn’t
quite make it there is always next year where Southport CC will make you most welcome!

Allan, Pete and Dave at HQ

Allan, Pete and Dave at HQ

If there are any local businesses that would like to sponsor any of Southport CC’s great calendar of events then please contact Ken Beck Email:kenbeck18@hotmail.com for more details

Keep peddlin’
If you have any further comments or stories then please drop me Ian a line at Ian462@msn.com

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