John Thompson, the audax enthusiast

JT in an audax (photo by Fergus Muir)

Velo Club Baracchi ride John Thompson, whose enthusiasm is for audax events rather than time trials, rode the “Richard Ellis Memorial” 200-km audax on Saturday.

Usually referred to as Audax UK, the association for these in the UK, was established in 1976.  It oversees the running of long-distance cycling events, using a system of timed checkpoints, validating and recording every successful ride.

They are not competitive.  Each cyclist is riding to his or her own schedule within the time limits for the event.

Thompson’s ride in the Richard Ellis Memorial took him from Great Dunmow to Newport, Grantchester, Hawstead, Mistley and Bures before getting back to the base.

He took it at a steady pace and finished in 13 hours and thirty-six minutes.

He said his fitness was improving, but it was the sort of fitness needed for such rides and the final leg from Mistley held him up as it was dark and he was unfamiliar with the route.

Because of this he was stopping to check the route sheet and point his front light at signposts to avoid error.  The wind was not too bad and it dropped a bit but, he said, “There were just a few short stretches here and there that were a bit of a battle.”

At the club’s monthly meeting on Monday Mike Rainton gave an illustrated talk about one of his rides from Land’s End to John O’Groats and members made donations to his nominated charity, Saras Hope Foundation, which provides holiday breaks for children living with cancer.

John Swanbury reported that next year’s VC Baracchi Ringsfield Road Race has been registered with British Cycling and just awaits approval.

The event next year will revert to a Regional B one, which means that third and fourth category riders will not be joined by the second cats and will have a greater chance to shine, making it a good “grass roots” contribution to the sport.

This Sunday a reliability ride from Blundeston Plough at 9am organised by Gt Yarmouth CC rounds off the Holmes Cup inter-club competition.

If past years are anything to go by, VCB will be hard pressed to turn out as many members as the opposition and could easily lose the nine point advantage they hold from time trials in the year.

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