The Cheltenham Flyer, a 200km Audax starting in Andoverford and proceeding clockwise along the route of the River Colne through Faringdon to Burbage, then crossing the Pewsey Downs to the picturesque village of Lacock before returning to Andoversford via the Market town of Tetbury. This was my choice for March as I am trying to do some Audaxes that I have not done before.
The route is shown to the right and can also be found on here on RidewithGPS . The ride was due to start at 08:00, I was up at 05:00 and out of the house by
05:30 for a 90minute drive to Andoversford near Cheltenham. Arriving at just after 07:00 I had plenty of time to get myself ready, have a cup of tea, sign in and pick up my Brevet Card. At 08:00, on the dot, we were off about 65 of us in total, though we would soon be well spread out.
The ride elevation was showning a mixture of rolling and lumpy with 2 or 3 climbs involved. The elevation measured at just below 2000m on the RWG Map
Start to Fernham (Control 1) – 48kms, 1hr 53mins, Avg Spd 25.4kph, Ascent 501m. A lumpy start which settled down to an uneventful but good paced first leg of the ride. Cakes and tea awaited us at Fenham Village Hall.
Fernham to Burbage (Control 2) – 40kms, 1hr 56mins, Avg Spd 21kph, Ascent 571m. A tough second section with 3 good climbs in excess of 10% en route. As the route slowly turned towards the west we started to feel the effects of the forecasted wind which would hit us hard in stage 3.
Burbage to Lacock (Control 3) – 43.5kms, 2 hrs 07mins, Avg Spd 20.6kph, Ascent 407. Right from the off the third leg proved difficult going with a headwind averaging around 16mph and across Pewsey Downs, which being generally flat and wide open afforded absolutely no protection from the wind. My only consolation was that I eventually saw one of the “White Horses” which had been carved into the chalk hillsides. The final run-in to Lacock was a a fast descent from Brampton into the old picturesque village for more cake and tea.
Lacock to Finish – 69kms, 3hrs 8mins, Avg Spd 22.1 kph, Ascent 777m. The longest leg on the ride proved to be quite uneventful apart from one long but not too steep climb towards the end followed by a sharp steep descent (12% at least) with a 90-degree left hand turn at the bottom and then a 4 km rolling ride to the finish where tea, cake and sandwiches awaited us.
I finished at 18:25 and just before it got really dark. I was 9hrs 8mins on the bike and 10hrs 25mins end to end. Fairly pleased with that given the wind conditions.