Martin Malins writes…
Definitely a ride worth revisiting after 2002’s washout event which I rode with Rick Nainby on his first 200; this year it was Jan’s turn to break this distance. Despite going to Salisbury Plain the ride is not at all flat but mostly rolling even though it has some nice blasts along the Hampshire valleys.
Late starting owing to Jan EOLing so Jan and I rode mostly alone to Whitchurch where we met Brian our ride mate for the day; thereafter it went suspiciously close to Faccombe but eventually settled down by about Tidworth by the army camp; Jan was amazed at just how much of the area is used by the Army with tank warning signs and red flags everywhere. . We risked life and limb on the A303 to ride off route out to Stonehenge (a sign of the times; this is the 27th edition of the ride and due to the appalling fast traffic around the ride’s raison d’etre it no longer even goes there!) before the Friar Tuck cafe control in Amesbury; the weather a complete contrast from when Rick and I sheltered there from the torrential downpour..
We caught the headwind on the way back via Kings Worthy where we were enjoying the cool shady lanes just a bit too much and missed a turning. Fortunately Brian had a map which eventually put us back on track after a 5km detour. A head down section taking turns on the front into the wind was rewarded with the sight of Canadian Pacific on its last outing before overhaul at Alresford station on the Watercress Line; the last control.
The last 40k (of which 3 were thrown in for free as the route sheet was wrong) were remarkably benign, and my legs (which had climbed Ditchling Beacon on an overnight ride to Brighton just over 24 hrs before) had recovered by then. A cruel twist of fate saw Jan suffer the only puncture of the day 5k from the end but he was well pleased at completing his 1st 200. A classic Audax ride and here’s to another 27 of the same.