SPENT an interesting weekend filming with the Adventure Show. Regular presenter Dougie Vipond was taking part in the Snow Roads Audax, a massive 300km ride with 16500 feet of climbing over some of the classic ’snow roads’ in the eastern highlands - the Cairn o’Mount, the Cabrach, the Lecht, Gairnshiel and Glenshee.
Dougie did brilliantly - the furthest he had ridden in a day before was 120 miles so bumping that up to 180 miles, with all that climbing thrown in for good measure, was quite an achievement for him. He did it in 18.5 hours and despite having problems with his chain, his derrailleur and his guts, he coped magnificently.
What I found most interesting was the general camaraderie amongst these audax enthusiasts. Someone described an addax to me as a cycling event for middle-aged men with beards and rickety old bikes with mudguards and lights, and while there may be an element of truth in that I found the Snow Roads event to be exactly the kind of event I would want to take part in, an event where people looked out for each other and actually helped each other complete the course. There were incredible parallels with the TGO Challenge in that sense.
Dougie had some problems with his chain in the first few miles and that put him back a bit in terms of time, so he was playing catch-up all day. When it was obvious he had a broken link in his chain a little group suddenly appeared with all kind of tools and toolkits and soon had him on the roads again. He bought a new chain in the bike shop in Banchory. Several times other cyclists mentioned to me that they would make sure Dougie made it and certainly, at all times, there were little groups waiting for him, supporting him and encouraging him, all the way to the end, especially when he went through a pretty bad patch when he had been sick and had some pretty severe stomach problems.
I knew very little about audax events before this weekend and I was really, really impressed. Might even consider doing one myself in the future!
We were filming the whole thing for a future Adventure Show which will probably be broadcast later in the year. Look out for it, should make some good and interesting television. And well done Dougie Vipond, a very impressive performance