Discovering Shropshire Audax.

I’d signed up for this Audax at the last minute having been in touch with Ray about which one he was doing the week before. He had opted for the 118 Km, 77 mile one rather than the 200 Km event. Pah I hear you cry I wouldn’t get out of bed for that.

Well looks are deceiving and I had spent Friday programming the route into Marengo. Cross referencing it with Anquet OS mapping. It turned out to be a hilly ride due to the rolling hilly nature of the area.

Every time I looked down at the Edge it was showing 10% gradient or seemed that way.

At the start there is much mirth among our group as Ray is checking tyre pressures by squeezing the tyre and coming up with a figure. The funny thing was he was remarkably close on three occasions. Triple puncture Guy should have had his sorted before the event and we had a stop a mile or two down the road to check that the tyre wasn’t going soft. Ray pronounced it Ok at 110 PSI. This puts us towards the back of the ride after a quickish start.

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The first control is just past the world Heritage site, IronBridge. You can just see the bridge in the third picture. As you come down the valley you can’t help but wonder what this huge building is with cooling towers. It turns out to be a power station in the most unlikey of situations or perhaps not given this was at the heart of the industrial revolution.

I fell off the back of a fairly large group for these pictures, the actual one of the bridge not making it onto this post.

The first control was at the Tandem shop after negotiating what looked like a landslide. With the card stamped it was time to regroup and do a bit of climbing. It was staring to brighten up a bit and although the roads are still wet it hadn’t rained on us.

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Things get a bit spread out on some of the climbs but it allows me to get a few shots in at the top. The last one in this sequence is at the second control point at Rays Farm. The turn is near the bottom of a hill and it’s a sharp climb up to the farm. The chain derailed on the Toy as it got shoved into the granny ring. But no damage done. Busses full of kids were struggling up the hill.

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Once out of the control guess what, more climbing. The next section involving the highest point on the ride, Wenlock edge.

Guy Unknown RiderChester Road Club in formationLast one

After the final control things have brightened up again and it’s turning out nice.
Now the thing is when your riding as a group you go at the pace of the slowest member but things get spread out a bit on the hills. It’s just the way it is, as once you get bunching of riders accidents tend to happen on the steep bits. Touching a wheel means your on the deck.

I tend to favour going off the front and waiting at the top, sometimes to take a picture sometimes not.  A rider passes me as I ease up at the top of one of the climbs so I’ve got to return the favour on the next climb. More of a dash down one side of the hill and a sprint turning a big gear up the other. Honour restored it was time to slow down for the others.

It’s not all one way, but the faster riders tend to be at the front anyway. These rides aren’t races but there is an element of competition lurking under the surface.

Another rider passed comment on the Nike Lance 2 shoes. If it was going to be wet I wouldn’ have worn them. As it was they got lightly soiled we shall say at the end of the ride. Nearing Upton Magna there is a tractor and muck spreading tailer that has plastered the road with muck. It spreads for quite a distance. Now I don’t hang around as any traffic coming the other way would plaster you with the stuff. Given the speed I’m not expecting cries from behind me. Guy has leapt on my wheel and I’ve no mudguards.
You can picture the scene, to add to it Janet is on Guy,s wheel. It was a fairly clean ride up until then. Within another couple of hundred yards we are back at the start another great ride over.

The Edge is playing up at the moment by not splitting the rides up properly. Will post a link to the route when I get it sorted.

Link to Google Map of Ride

Missed out a few bits and pieces about the ride, two rides in two days takes a fair bit of writing up and the Edge not splitting them has had me trying to work around a fix for most of the week. SportTracks saving the day in the end.

 

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