A bit of context.
Back in 2002 when The Wattmeister was a fledgling long distance cyclist….a raw novice, barely out of the plimsolls and scarf school of sartorial elegance, he entered his second 400 kms audax. Some lessons had been learned from his first experience over the distance in 2001, but, as the cliché goes, we never stop learning.
It was about 6 o’clock in the morning and about 250 kms into the ride. The Wattmeister was half-heartedly grovelling his lonely way up a steep little hill somewhere near Liphook in East Hampshire. There was still 30 kms to ride until the next audax control in Ewhurst and his rumbling stomach boomed out a scratchy accompaniment to the dawn chorus.
His spirits needed a lift. Along came salvation in the form of experienced audaxers Tim and Pauline Wainwright. He jumped in their slipstream and unashamedly took a tow for the best part of 90 minutes. Tim and Pauline’s navigation was faultless, the pace was just perfect, and the company was reassuring in every way.
Tim was an audax stalwart. His article in the audax quarterly magazine Arrivé on how to construct a riding plan for the 2003 edition of 1200kms Paris-Brest-Paris randonnée gave an insight into the character of the man. It was full of good advice imbued with common sense and punctuated with positive encouragement for the inexperienced. The Wattmeister made good use of this most sound of templates.
Alas, Tim died on March 1st. By all accounts he was riding his bicycle. Both he and Pauline inspired me to do much more than I ever thought I could. RIP and thank you Tim.