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It’s not about speed and it’s definitely not a race. The only person you beat is yourself.
London Wales London is a 407km test of your strength of mind. The distance you travel is not measured in miles or turns of the pedal, it’s your mental stamina that counts.
The 407kms take you from the west of London to Chepstow and back. Along the way you’ll cross amazing scenery and discover if you have the will power to complete the bike ride within the 27 hour time limit.
And in 2019 it will be a qualifying ride for the legendary Paris Brest Paris – the 90 hour, 1,200km ride that happens every four years.
You won’t be alone.
Riding an Audax event is about riding with like-minded people. You’ll make friends on the road and encourage each other to keep moving. You’re in this together and getting around isn’t about physical strength; it’s about supporting each other when the questions start nagging and the spirit starts flagging.
Taking a classic route along mostly minor roads and country lanes, we leave Chalfont St. Peter at 6 am and, avoiding most of the tough climbs of the Chilterns, head to Thame and your first stop at Woodstock. The field begins to spread out as people find the pace that suits them and begin to make connections; connections that can last as long as the next town or a whole lifetime.
From Woodstock, you continue over the Cotswolds up to Stow on the Wold and Winchcombe and then to Tewkesbury for lunch. The next section takes you to the challenging climb of Yat Rock before a fast descent into Chepstow and, at 218 km, Wales.
The return leg takes you over the Severn Bridge and back into England and the iconic climb to the Somerset Monument on the Cotswold Edge as you head over to Malmesbury. The ride then passes Royal Wootton Bassett to Lambourn and then into the lanes to Henley, Marlow and home by 9 am on Sunday.
Even the fastest riders will get to enjoy the peace of a night ride – very few riders finish before midnight. And riding at night normally means finding a group to share lights and stop you focusing too much on that internal monologue that questions what you are doing when heading home to bed is so attractive!
The route isn’t especially hilly although there some notable climbs in the Cotswolds and at Yat Rock and in Gloucestershire; the achievement comes from getting around within the time limit.
London Wales London is run by Willesden Cycling Club ; it’s a community event for community minded riders.
If you’ve enjoyed riding longer sportives like Ride London or the Fred Whitton and are interested in a fresh challenge, London Wales London might be the start of a new obsession. Riding a 400km cycle event brings a different type of achievement along with an ethos of support, endurance and camaraderie.
P.S the name of the event is a bit tongue in cheek – the parish of Chalfont St Peter just about goes inside the M25 but hey, where do PBP or Paris-Roubaix actually start?
Photo credits: Judith Swallow, Matthew Scholes