|Pelverata Saddle is the toughest climb of the day|
The ride, which has been running for many years, wasn't organised by Audax last year although I'm told a few intrepid riders did the course on their own. I stuck my hand up as ride organiser this year for two reasons: firstly to gain some experience running events, secondly so I didn't have to ride the bugger. I was a lot fitter in 2009 than I am now, and even then I found it a challenge.
The task was made much easier by the fact that I had four volunteers offer to help out to help me with the ride. That meant we could have three fully staffed checkpoints, which makes life infinitely easier for the organiser who doesn't then have to dash all over the course opening and closing checkpoints as riders pass through. Most riders commented that the reception and support at the checkpoints was the highlight of their day.
|Heading up to Vinces Saddle.|
I left home at 5.30am and set up the my little folding table at the start at 6.15am for early arrivals. There were none of course and the last ten minutes before the ride was a flurry of entry forms and payments going one way and cue sheets and brevet cards the other. We ended up starting a few minutes late.
I headed out onto the course to take photos, catching most of the riders as they went over Vince's Saddle. Everyone was travelling strong, although there was a wide spread between riders even at that early stage. I raced to the supermarket to buy the remainder of the food for the controls, then headed to Silver Hill where Heather was chatting to a group of Southern Pedals riders who were passing through on a training ride. The first arrivals weren't far behind and Chris arrived, picked up the supplies for the Woodbridge Saddle control and left to greet the riders at the top of one of the hardest climbs of the day. Then I wandered off to Kaoota to meet Stephen and set up that control and wait.
|Frank looks glad that Silver Hill is behind him.|
The finish should be called "The Control of Smiles" because looking back on my photos, everyone has very broad grins - either at the joy of completing the challenge, or perhaps just because the pain has stopped. At any rate I was kept busy with riders arriving from 3.55pm right through to two minutes before the official cutoff of 8.38pm.
Thanks to all of the riders for taking part and their feedback, and hearty congratulations to our volunteers for making this one of the best Audax rides I've been involved with in recent years.
3763km so far this year.