Audax made it’s entrance into the New England cycling scene on 2-3 November 2019. The region is in the middle of the worst drought on record, with bushfires, cracked earth and hungry stock the dominant features of the countryside. This didn’t take the shine off the quiet country roads, mountain air and interesting terrain.
Saturday’s rides headed South from Armidale, with stops at the friendly and hip towns of Uralla and Walcha. There were four local riders, and three from outside the area. Three riders were new to Audax. Two recumbents and an upright took the sealed 200km option, the remaining four tackling mixed 200km with more than 40% gravel. One of the riders suffered 5+ flats, the sharp rocks of the New England roads too much for his setup. He took sealed roads back to town, coming in with a local. The wind was Northerly, meaning headwinds all the way home. Five out of the seven finished their 200km.
Sunday’s rides had 7 entrants. But after Saturday’s exertions, we were down to 3 starters, one doing 100km, two doing 200km, all opting for the gravel routes. The ride had stops at yet more cool little towns, Guyra, Glencoe and Black Mountain. There were plenty of close encounters with cows, surveys of recent bushfire activity, coffees and ginger beers. Winds were Northerly again, meaning a fast return down the hill back to Armidale, which was appreciated by fatigued legs at the end of a 400km weekend. Looking forward to more of the same next year, but hopefully with a bit more green beautifying the hills.