One of the many awards Audax organise is Randonees Round the Year. The rules are simple, you must complete a 200km (or longer) ride which is eligible as an AUK ride in each of 12 consecutive months to gain a special badge and your name on the roll of honour, sounds easy? far from it!
I started the quest back in March 2006 with the Denmead 200; my traditional first 200 of the year. I managed to get all the way round to February 2007 thanks to El Supremo Dave Hudson who organised a special RRTY series of 200s; the last 4 of which took me all over the South over that winter. With the intensive training for PBP I carried on through to August of that year and got to November without any problems. However in December the calendar events dried up so I was forced to improvise. A group of us devised a DIY ride around Kent 10 days before Christmas; although the cold and wind took its toll and just 3 of the 7 starters finished; just arriving back in Sevenoaks in time. After a relatively easy 200 around Berkshire at the end of January 2008 there was just one more ride required, so 3 of us elected to ride Dave Hudson’s permanent from Pulborough in freezing early morning conditions.
Things went well with advertised rides until May; but as I was going to France in June I elected to ride another permanent from Hailsham to Liss and back on a sunny and calm Wednesday; this was my first solo 200 and was almost stillborn when my rear tyre exploded 12km out from Hailsham, but I managed to limp to Lewes to buy a spare, the only place that sold one being a lawn mower repair shop!
July brought another solo; this time a one-way 300km following the London- Edinburgh route as far as Thorne and despite being a fine day tried my persistence to the limit with many wrong turns.
As I was in France for 2 weeks again in August I devised another DIY from our holiday home, this went without a hitch but was very hard going on the way back into 80km of dry and dusty headwind. September and October brought 2 of my favourite 200s; the Anfractuous across the Chilterns and Newbury Downs and the (very wet and windy) Hailsham event to Dungeness. November was the month of the Audax AGM and dinner and as it was relatively local in Guildford I devised a “dinner dart” where you are free to make up a 200km route that finishes at the AGM venue; I rode this with fellow PBP vet Billy Weir and starting from home went over Harting Hill then via Denmead Alton and just near Reading; going considerably overdistance to avoid the main roads and finishing in Guildford after 230km. In December I also rode from home; this time to Hailsham and back where I completed Dave Hudson’s “Mince Pies and Stollen” Christmas 100; this being my first combination of a DIY ride and a calendar event; and it was a welcome boost to be able to ride with many other riders for the middle section.
January brought the Willy Warmer on the very last day of the month; so close to my third RRTY I did not want to risk anything going wrong which would leave me without a ride that month so I rode it a week earlier as a route check with Paul the organiser; just as well as 2/3 of the way round Paul’s front tyre also exploded so I volunteered to ride to Basingstoke to obtain a spare; without which Paul would have had to limp back on the train after a 10km walk.
And finally despite the awful wintry weather of the first weekend of February I managed another “DIY + calendar” from home again to Hailsham to complete my third RRTY. Just 2 more years to go to obtain the exclusive “RRTY x 5” blue badge which only 21 riders in the UK have achieved so far, but will it stop there? !