Upper Thames Audax 2015
November 8, 2015
A very wet and windy edition for the 2015 Upper Thames Audax.
We rolled out at 7:30 and almost immediately the drizzle started. I found I was quickly overtaken by most of the field on the first leg down to the info control at Dunsden Green. No doubt everybody was feeling perky and enjoying the tailwind. I figured I’d hold back a bit as the long stretch west would be tough into the wind. The rain had picked up and there was tons of debris on the lanes. Just when I was thinking that I hadn’t passed too many people fixing punctures, I heard pfft, pfft, ppft coming from from my front wheel. Typical.
The climb up to the Christmas Common info control was uneventful but we had to make a detour around Little Milton. Apparently a driver had taken down a light pole so the road was closed. At around this point the rain became so heavy that it caused my Garmin screen to lock. Lucky I was on the map page as I couldn’t scroll left or right. Being stuck on an info page would’ve been less than useful. I was completely drenched by the time I got to the first control at Waterperry Gardens but was still warm so didn’t feel too uncomfortable. Other riders looked very miserable as they shivered in the car park, soaked through.
We started to feel the effects of the headwind when we turned north west at the next info control but it was only when we headed west after Bicester that it got really tough. The rain was heavy and the windy was gusty so I just put my head down and ground into it, being careful not to push too much over my threshold. This strategy seemed to work as I wound in a few riders and quite quickly found myself at the control in Chipping Norton. The rain had stopped but the run south from there was just as tough as we were now heading straight into the wind. At times I needed the 34×28 just to get up some fairly minor bumps. Again, I just put my head down and ground it out. Probably, at this point, holding back in the first leg began to pay dividends as I could stay up around my threshold and keep pushing into the wind. The last info control was a relief as we turned east and could finally enjoy a tailwind for the 30 km run in to the finish.
My stats for the day:
- 216 km
- 9:12 moving time
- 1,756 metres elevation gain
- 203 watts normalised power
I’m a bit sceptical as to how accurate the power reading is as my Stages meter was having trouble in the rain. At times it was registering nothing and at others it said I was pushing over 10,000 watts. My 5 second second peak for this ride was apparently 2,415 watts. If only it had come down to sprint!