Monday, 25 January 2010

The Nomad does an Audax

I decided to introduce the Raven Nomad to Audax riding on Saturday and entered the 'Little Willy' 115 km event starting from Chalfont St. Peter, Buckinghamshire.

Nomad kitted out for an Audax

I arrived nicely in time, after packing the bike into the car and racing around the M25. I had a quick cup of tea, picked up my brevet card and was soon on my way, along with about 25 other riders.

The first leg was out to Pangbourne on a relatively direct route via Beaconsfield, Marlow and Henley. It was quite fast without any real hills. The roads were a touch busy and the winter weather had left the tarmac in a sorry state. I had no problems with the roads on the Nomad, of course. (I think the pot-holes were a bit scared, actually).

I tanked along feeling pretty good and I was still with the front group when we reached Lou La Belle in Pangbourne.

A great café, Lou La Belle. We timed it just right, with most of the riders from the 'Willy Warmer' 200 km already gone and not many locals around. Service was fast and after a cake and more tea, I was on my way again, accompanied by a guy from High Wycombe CC.

We chatted for a short while about my forthcoming Canada trip, but he was riding a racing bike and the Nomad's weight was beginning to take it's toll on me, so our pace wasn't matched. He'd slowly edge in front of me and then stop for some reason, allowing me to pass him. He did this several times and it affected my karma a bit...

The route back across the Chilterns, via Christmas Common (they actually grow and sell christmas trees there), Lane End, Flackwell Heath and Wooburn was comparatively lumpy, but nothing too serious except for Windsor Hill out of Wooburn. That had me grovelling a bit, as I was pretty tired by then! The Nomad's crawler gear range was engaged. There were also some stupendous pot-holes on the Flackwell Heath 'road' just before. Some looked a foot deep! One had even drawn a crowd of people as I passed!

I was very tired at the end, but pleased with my effort. I averaged just under 23 kph. The Nomad takes about 6 kph off my averages, when compared to the Seven, so not bad at all for January!

Thanks to Paul the organiser. I chatted to him during the afternoon, rather than rushing off and it was good. Great after-ride food as well, served up by his daughters. Thanks guys!

It was also good to catch up with Steve O again. I've known Steve for nearly 25 years. We meet occasionally at Audax events. We chatted at length about my trip, as he has also biked across Canada! I also found out he has a Thorn eXp Rohloff bike, so we had to have a long discussion about that as well...

A rather nice day, all in all.

1 comment:

Stuart said...

Hi Shaun

Your Nomad looks great in race mode!!! No racks and mud guards.