LWL (London-Wales-London) 400km Audax. Sat 4th May

Bill Mayes and Ray Claridge entered LWL (London-Wales-London) 406km Audax with a 27hr time limit.

It wasn’t a good start as they arrived 30min late due to a road closure, so missed the grand depart!  The duo started catching up with other riders just before the first control, but missed out on the normally faster grouping at the start and settled for a steady pace for the many miles ahead. The weather was good, some blue skies and slowly got warmer towards mid-afternoon. The route went through the Cotswolds and down into Wales via Symonds Yat which is the hardest climb on the route. Across the Seven bridge which is always a treat. Then into Somerset and up Somerset monument climb as the evening was drawing in. Into the night back towards London. They both made good time at their own speed and kept in touch via text. Bill had a more eventful ride than Ray, witnessing a cyclist knocked off her bike by a car (not on our event) and assisted with that, then got blocked ascending Symonds Yet by an oversized camper van and had to help with that, then had chain problems resolved with a jug of Olive oil from a restaurant on route, apparently, he forgot to wax it!

Unfortunately for Ray, he didn’t get any sleep the night before and this massively caught up with him just after the last control, with the final 80km through the night a real struggle and his avg speed slowly lowered. The temp dropped to 3c, so on went the down jacket, indispensable for nighttime Audaxs. Ray finally rolled into the finish control at 5.15am – 3h:45m within time limit. Ge grabbed some sleep before Bill came in at 8.15am with 45min to spare – not bad considering we started late and good practice for LEJOG this Summer.

Overall, a very enjoyable Audax with very good hot food at the 4 manned controls and very helpful volunteers. This is Ray’s second LWL and he said he may do again in the future it’s that good.

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