Heart of England 300 2024

Ride Details

Series 5 Audax Season 2023-24, Ride number 6

Ride Stats

Ride Notes

An early start for this one (6:00am) meant I had an overnight at the Cirencester Premier Inn. Got to the départ in good time for some tea and toast before the start.

As is usual on a calendar event with a mass start there was a certain amount of sorting into groups for a few km. After this I settled into a group of 5 or 6 for the first 20km. Once the climbing started I found myself alone in the Cotswolds - a cloudless sky and a slight chill made it really pleasant and I was actually glad to be riding at my own pace. Chatted to a couple of lads who caught and passed me in quick succession, but I wasn’t going to try to hold their wheels as they were a little bit too fast.

Dropped off the hills for the flat run in to the first control in Alcester at 66km just before 9:00am - luckily I arrived before the rush and settled down for scrambled egg on toast.

The sun was still out on the next leg to control #2 at Atherstone - the nagging north-north westerly made it a bit of a slog although this part of the country is lovely for cycling. The cafe control was rammed so after checking-in I had a 5 minute sit down and then went on my way. The next control at Daventry was 69km away, so I figured I could find somewhere to stop - no such luck! After the info control, I pedalled on through Leicestershire and Northamptonshire to the 3rd control at Daventry - a vegan health store and café in the town centre. Beans on toast (yes more toast!!), an oat milk latté and a cereal bar made me feel full of… well… beans!!

However, straight after Daventry there were a series of lumps. Nice. But not on that full a stomach. Note to self - study the route sheet if you’re unfamiliar with the area.

Then I hooked up with three fellas who were just slightly faster than me and going well - Matt, Harry and Tom. Got a really good tow into the fourth control at a pub near Tackley. Not wanting to stiffen up I had a quick coke, some peanuts and headed out. The evening was now really lovely - clear and cold with a tailwind. At about 270km the three man train passed and I was invited aboard - fantastic! Stayed on until they stopped at Brize Norton. From there it was a solo run on largely empty lanes, accompanied only by a nearly full moon in the clear sky….. the train finally caught me about 500 metres from the arriveé.

A billiant route and well organised event - chappeau to the organisers - made even better by the weather.

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