Long distance natter & stuff on twitter hashtag… #vcwaudax 
Somerset 100 mile Sportive

VC Walcot members turned up in force for this event and so we are lucky to have 2 different perspectives from one event this week.
Great reads both of them…
First up is Jason Bhandari, who writes: 

I don’t often ride sportives these days but really fancied giving the Somerset 100 a go since it is a local event, the profits go to charity and I was using it as preparation for a longer ride in June.  I wasn’t disappointed, the sun shone for the entire day showing the Levels in their very best light, in stark contrast to the winter floods.

I arrived early at the event start eager to secure a parking spot.  This gave me a chance to take my time to prepare and amazingly I was the first of the 300 riders to sign on.

At a little after 8.30am all the riders set off, some on the shorter 35 mile loop with the majority aiming for the 102 mile loop.  I had opted to do the later.

It had been more than a year since my last century so my strategy was to just enjoy the ride and the sun.  With this in my mind I rode well within myself and tagged onto a group of a dozen or so riders.  After a while though I pushed on a little harder and from that point on, probably from around the 30 mile mark, I was either riding in very small groups, as a pair, or solo.  A few of us were yo-yoing back and forth between each other as we each experienced good and bad patches.

The Somerset 100 is a relatively flat sportive with only 1000 metres of elevation gain making it a fast course.  Since I hadn’t ridden this distance for a while I was happy for the long stretches of flat.  On the hillier sections I made sure to ride well within myself and just spin up them as easily as I could.

I made especially sure to hydrate and eat well during the event and this paid off as I entered the last quarter of the ride.  My nutrition was made up of a banana, rice cakes (see recipe here: http://pages.rapha.cc/team/rice-cakes-a-recipe), a couple of slices of fruit cake from the feed stops and in the last 10 miles I popped a gel.  I use gels very sparingly as I don’t particularly like them.  If I use too much of them they hurt my guts.  That said, when one is nearing their limits on the bike eating a gel can give the necessary boost which it did.  In total my fluid intake was made up of 1 bottle of coconut water and 3 bottles of water with Nuun electrolyte.  I’m prone to cramping over long distances but even with the warm temperatures I didn’t suffer a single cramp.  A massage two days earlier may also have helped with this.

On the subject of feed stops, there were just two which considering the event profits go to charity is fair enough.  The first was around the 54 mile mark and the second at 70 miles.  The stops were a no frills affair but there was more than enough water, bananas and cake for everyone.

My only gripe relates to the signposting.  Although the frequency of signposting was good the signs themselves were too small making it difficult to distinguish them properly.  Bigger signage please organisers!

Sign posting aside the Somerset 100 is a fantastic and friendly local event and one that I intend to do again next year.  I mentioned earlier that I was using this sportive as preparation for a longer ride.  On 8 June I’ll be riding from the North Yorkshire coast over to the coast of the South lakes, across the Moors and dales, a total of around 150 miles and I daren’t imagine how much elevation gain.

I’ll be doing this ride (the longest I’ll have ever done) along with my sister and her boyfriend and maybe one other rider.  They are using this ride as preparation for their charity ride across the USA in September from East to West coast, 100 miles per day for 30 days.  If anyone is interested in knowing more please visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=cycol4kitale&isTeam=true.

Keep a look out for my write up of the 150 miler. It will no doubt be epic!

Jason’s stats: (WOW) http://connect.garmin.com/activity/502121366

Clubrider runs leader Mat Croft travelled with some VCW mates and writes:

‘Somerset 100’

Six of VC Walcott’s finest headed South to the levels to take part in the ever popular Somerset 100 Charity ride. Paula, Dave A, Iain, Andy G, Andy L and Mat set off along with 300 others on a beautifully bright morning – having ignored all sun protection warnings! 

A super fast and pancake flat start along the levels parted us from the (mainly) 35 milers as the glorious sunny day unfolded. There is a friendly, supportive and relaxed atmosphere on this century with waves from the local villagers. 

The 75 mile lunch came surprisingly soon and off we confidently headed for the last little bit…..oh how wrong ! Apart from some steep climbing in the Mendips the maths says it all. Another 30 miles over the first 75 is not ‘little’ and the last few hours – just short of our normal Sunday ride was very quiet and I think we were counting pedal strokes by the end. 

It was 6 tired Walcottites – along with new found friends – that lay in a warm field on Sunday evening, over filled with coffee and energy gels but proud, satisfied and talking of the next one…. 

Bryan Chapman 619km Audax
Weather was scorching from the word go. Lost count of times I filled my water bottles but I discovered that chilled Volvic fruit flavoured mineral water makes an ideal cycling companion.
At Dolgellau control point at 224km’s I messed up big time and confused toothpaste tube with conotrane tube as I re-packed my bag for the night-time leg. I’ll leave you to work that one out but for a few hours I really did think I had got myself into another pickle of my own making.
There was a bridge closed which added an extra 16kms to route making a total of 635kms or 395 miles in old money. Highlights were seeing Wales at it’s spectacular best and for once the mountain peaks not covered by cloud. The night ride through Snowdonia was just magic. I got back into Dolgellau sleep control at 4.00am by which time all the beds were taken so slept on a wooden floor for 2 hours although it felt like the executive suite at the Ritz by that point and set me up for the Sunday ride back to Chepstow.
Physically, I felt fine throughout (apart from the saddle chafing incident) but tiredness kicked in around midday Sunday making basic navigation decisions appear really difficult and my judgement with intermediate route-sheet distances went completely. It’s a bit like a pc running really slow, everything just took so long!
I finished at 7.45pm and the organiser told me I was exactly mid person to finish at that time.
The silly season (Laurie’s description – not mine!) continues in June when I am riding my next 600http://www.aukweb.net/events/detail/14-50/
Upcoming events
This weekend is the Brimstone 600 audax http://www.aukweb.net/events/detail/14-176/ so if you see any bedraggled looking cyclists with saddlebags in the Batheaston area on Sunday spare them a thought. They will have ridden well over 300 very hilly miles and still have to get back to Poole via just about every killer hill in the area. I rode this event just once and it nearly finished me off….
Good luck to Martin Croxford from Bath & everyone else who will be riding the Brimstone this weekend.
Steffi Shelley-Smith is looking for others to join her on the Silk Run 100km Audax on Saturday 31st May, from Tewkesbury.


See Steffi’s 8th May posting on the VC Walcot Facebook page.
Further Out
Monmouthshire 100km Audax
Sunday 8th June starting from Abergavenny
3 members already entered
Gospel Pass 200km Audax
Saturday 14th June starting from Apperley, nr. Cheltenham
2 members already entered 
BikeBath Sportive weekend
Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th June. Starting from Bath.
VC Walcot won the prize last year for biggest club turnout, same again this year?
Nick Rearden has thrown down a turnout challenge on twitter to our neighbouring clubs and collected our award last Sunday on behalf of VC Walcot
Bath CC 100 km Audax
Sunday 6th July 08.30 starting from Combe Down, Bath
Online entry and also a GPS route available
Maybe Nick can throw down the gauntlet for this one too?
I hear its 6-0 to us so far!
Our friends at Great Weston Ride are running a 56 mile challenging route across the Mendips and Somerset levels on Sunday 20th July. The ride starts from Long Ashton Park & Ride and eventually finishes in Weston-Super-Mare with proceeds going to help in the fight against prostate cancer. http://www.greatwestonride.com/
This makes an ideal family day out with relatives and family able to meet you at the finish, making it a real fun day out for all.
Even Further Out
Exmouth Exodus all night ride
Saturday 9th August starting from Green Park station in Bath this year and finishes on the south Devon coast.
Organised food and rest stops along the route.
Last year return transport was provided for riders and bikes at a very reasonable rate.
An ideal opportunity to try an all night ride for curious or adventurous types seeking something new and thrilling.
(More to follow)
Tewkesbury 300km Audax
Saturday 9th August starting from Tewkesbury at 06.00
Ideal event for anyone wishing to try out this distance for the first time
Not ridden it but I hear it is flat, fast and easily ride-able in daylight with a speedy finish.
Clubrider Andy Lenthall has been strong armed into entering the Blenheim Palace Sportive on Sunday August 17th starting from Woodstock, Oxfordshire.
Andy is seeking others to join him. See his March 21st post on the club’s Facebook page
Wiltshire 100 mile Sportive
Sunday 7th September start/finish at Devizes, Wiltshire. Start times between 07.00 – 08.00 to suit you.
David Acklam informs us this is a great route across the Pewsey vale and Wiltshire downs.
Audax Club Bristol 200km Grimpeur
Latest news for this event planned for later in summer.
Starts at Aztec West with ample parking and easy access from Bath
Takes in the best of the Brecon Beacons, including the famous ‘Tumble’ climb
Looks a belter…
Members: Do give me a shout if you want to list an event, are seeking others to ride with, can offer a lift or have ridden an event and want to recommend it and I will post what you want me to
Goes quiet for a bit now…but lots about to kick off at Odd Down and plenty of exciting things happening in other areas of the club during summer months…
Andy C