Saturday, 26 April 2014

Week 15 Sayonara mon petit Pompetamine, Hello hills

Time to part company with my On-one Pompetamine

All cleaned up, serviced and listed on ebay.

2 days and the buy-it-now was taken, perhaps I sold it too cheap and I certainly didn't want to sell it but it needed to go to make way for new projects, farewell it is.

Brucey bonus, the chap that bought the bike off me is an illustrator called Matthew Burton, known for among other things images for cycling mags, on collection he presented me with an original print from a series he did for peloton magazine, not sure what i'll do with it but i quite like it.

No cycling in the week, resting for the Dorset Coast 200k.

Before that though was Bespoked Handbuilt Bike Show. I have been so excited about this show, not quite as excited as last year when i got to present my own bike and it was with some in trepidation as i knew that downlands cycles would be there, who i can't help but feel are mostly responsible for my frame breakage. Anyway moving on from that...this years show was much bigger and as much as I liked last years venue, the new venue at the Olympic Velodrome, Lee Valley Velo Park was fantastic. An absolute pain to find and disorientating when inside but it really was a brilliant venue.

I really enjoyed the show, there were quite a lot of new things to see, mostly re spins on things I had seen before, how much can you vary a bicycle? right?......well it was lacking in some areas where some of the innovators of the past are obviously building bikes for paying customers instead of flights of fancy. There were new builders that were great to see, some more mature than others. There were the eccentric's as well, pushing their imagination, but only a little, influences being seen from other custom scenes such as chopper motorcycles and steam punk.

For me though, despite the excellent execution of some of the bikes there was one frame builder that stood out. Perhaps because it appealed to my own style but I thought Sparrow Cycles were truly standout. Hailing from Liverpool, their machines really oozed creativity and in a subtle way, innovation. The bikes all looked like patina restorations or really old school, to the casual on looker they would have looked like old bikes that were still usable but look closer and the detail was exquisite. These bikes were the only ones that made me look on in wonder, trying to understand how they had achieved what they had, some have still left me intrigued.

Dorset Coast 200k
This was to be a varied adventure, which actually started straight after Bespoked. I had to dash back from London (I say dash but the reality of London traffic was crawl) to get home before my cycling buddy Tim turned up.
After some grub (Indian...yum yum) we loaded the car up and both set off for the Sea. Initially this was to Poole where we would stay the night on Step Dad, John and mother's boat, 'La Mystique'.
Staying the night meant we didn't have a 2 hour journey straight before the 200k ride the next day. Tim seemed quite excited to be staying on the boat, after a cup of tea and a chat it was off to bed.....early start on the morrow :-(
I arose in the morning realising that I had set my alarm 30 minutes late, already I was on the back foot and starting to panic, no panicking from Tim of course. Mum made tea and toast, perfect start, then once in the car we both necked a couple Weetabix breakfast drinks. We had a vanilla one each and I think I had chocolate and Tim had strawberry, the unanimous conclusion was that the vanilla one was the better tasting.

Bikes unloaded and another cup of tea and it was time to set off.
Quite a large entry for an audax, some had already left and some were still faffing but we set off with a large group. The pace was blistering, warp drives engaged we covered 23k in under 45 minutes, i heard mutterings that we had done 30k in 30 minutes but the stats say different. At this point we got on the chain link ferry toward Studland.

Passing Studland Bay, Tim recounted stories of making an exhibition of himself on the beach, I tried to ignore him, closing my ears to such depravity.
The route was predicted to be a hilly one and it didn't "disappoint", the hills were rolling and the sections on the route sheet had anecdotal titles, one of which being the "roller coaster".
The scenery was absolutely stunning, the contrast of lush green grass, black and white cows against a crisp blue sky with the sea in the background. As the day progressively warmed and so we progressively removed layers. 
We hit upon a minor ish snag as we were to cross the MOD firing range.....the MOD were firing, making progression according to the route both illegal and dangerous. Our detour initially took us in the opposite direction, a local lass on the ride informed me in a ridiculous amount of words that if I went left and left again i would then be going in the correct direction, nice of her but nothing I couldn't have worked out for myself. 
We did take the initial left of suggestion, after which the same female whilst with a group of other locals wizzed past, informing us we were on track and to take the next left. However I had other ideas, we had obviously changed direction and added distance, my GPS showed that with a further detour, we regain some Peter's (Peter Kay's...K's....kilometers) whilst discussing this idea, with Tim showing a distinct lack of faith, the organiser arrived with apologies and a suggested change of route in the direction that I had suggested. Off we went fervently determined to now beat the group which went left.

Weymouth was our control, free cup of tea and a stamp for our brevet cards, we sat down for a cooked breakfast and along came the "turn left" group, mighty satisfied we were.
Breakfast devoured we pressed on feeling good and pretty quick. The scenery still ever beautiful.
Next stop was Axminster, a school being manned by a crazy woman threatening to give us detentions if we didn't eat lots of cake. The food was included in our entry fee so we obliged.
The next stint went well, couple of monster hills which made us puff a bit, I was really please that I didn't lag behind Tim by more than a few metres, (it can be hundreds of metres). 
Tim announced that there was a particular jovial anecdotal title for the penultimate section, it had "torturous" in the title. We interpreted this to mean there was a massive hill coming. I had my doubts, I kept trying to remember the route profile and kept thinking there was only one big hill before Dorchester and we had certainly gone up a big hill. We neared Dorchester, closer and closer, we rode through newly built up Georgian style areas. as we entered and exited each square our backsides were pummeled by sharp edged cobble rumble strips. After a few of these we realised "torturous route" wasn't describing a hill, it was the rumble strips, they were indeed torturous.
Our control was to be a cafe in the centre of Dorchester, situated just off a carpark. Dorchester itself is a beautiful town and well worth a visit, the disgusting greasy spoon we had the misfortune to use as our control was not. By far and away the worst eating establishment I have ever been in, The only good thing about this place was is signified only 20k ish to go which meant it kind of felt like the end,a flat route ahead and only 20K it was as good as done. In no time at all it was indeed done. We finished without the need for lights in 11 hours something, which we thought for such a hilly event was pretty good.
We loaded up and set off for home in search of a McDonald's to fuel the drive home. 
Another brilliant ride in the bag which was superbly organised with a beautiful route..

Total distance for the week 208.6K
Total distance for the year so far 1486K

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