I've been waiting all week for the hangover to kick in. The stiff knees. The aching forearms. The painful posterior. The heavy legs. But, ... nothing.
Sorry? What am I talking about it? Right, well ...
An audax is, essentially, a organised long-distance cycle ride. You're given a route card, with directions, and there are a number of control points along the way. At the control points you stop and get your card stamped and your arrival time is recorded. The controls are generally at cafes or pubs, so you can stop and have a drink and a piece of cake too. It's not competitive, but there is a time limit (albeit a pretty generous one). Interestingly, there's an minimum time limit too, to discourage racing.
Due to one thing and other, the other mainly being the kids' rather enthusiastic swimming club timetable, I set off rather unprepared. The maximum allowed time was just shy of 13 and half hours, and I didn't really have any doubt that I'd finish the ride within time but I did expect to suffer. The classic cycle training maxim is "ride your bike", which is what I'd failed to do. On the 25th of April, so long ago it doesn't count, I rode down to Oxford. On the 13th of June, I did a 65km circuit. And that's more or less it. There were no miles in my legs. So I was expecting to struggle.
We had the good fortune to have more or less perfect weather, ie. not warm, not cool, no rain, light winds, overcast all day, which certainly helped. I didn't get lost, managed not to set off too quick, and found some good guys to ride with. Some of the hills were hard work but I managed not to stop, even if I occasionally dropped to walking speed. There were some cracking downhill stretches, my cycle computer tells my I hit a maximum speed 70kph (a rather alarming 43.5mph). 200km is a pretty long way, and the last 35 or 40km were really pretty difficult, but I rolled into the finish in 10 hours. Not bad for a first go, I think.
And why no hangover? No idea. Do it again? Yep. Absolutely, but hopefully with a bit more prep.