The Cambridge Autumnal 200 calendar event  Enter this ride

8am, Saturday 21 October 2017, from the Recreation Pavilion, Girton, Cambridge (next to the church).

214km, 15 to 30kph (6h48m to 13h36m).  1400m of climbing.

Autumn is a great time to celebrate the start of the new Audax UK season by getting out on the winter bike and putting away some miles — with London-Edinburgh-London next year (2017), October is the perfect time to start your LEL campaign!

This was taken in late summer — it probably won't look quite so verdant in October

For this autumnal adventure, the route takes you exactly due east across the gently rolling Suffolk landscape via the old towns of Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds and Debenham to the historic castle-and-market town of Framlingham for lunch.  In a rather fantastic spot of good luck, on the day you will be riding to Framlingham, they are getting ready to receive you at the annual Great Framlingham Sausage Festival(Pork Pie in March, Sausage Festival in October, who'd've thought … )

After the turn the route heads back to the well-respected cyclists' shop+café of Maglia Rosso at the former Metcalfe Arms PH in Hawstead for a bite to eat in the afternoon.  And then it's a push back up and over the chalk massif that is linked to the Chilterns Hills to one of two long descents back to the plains and thru Cambridge to the finish at Girton Pavilion.

Lots of strange-sounding road names in Suffolk — this lane's much nicer than its name suggests

At this time of year the trees will be golden and the hedges less-bushy, so the open skies should offer some magnificent big-scape scenes, even if it's raining!  You do need to hope for either a westerly to push you all the way to the first control on the open sections, or a benign northerly or southerly; an easterly would make the exposed first half somewhat character-building!

  

You'll pass through lots of pretty old towns and villages built using traditional methods

With only two controls, the first at 101km, you can focus on the ride itself and not on the controls!  You do pass thru several large towns in case you need to stop, though, so it's not completely in the wilds of Suffolk.

This is the perfect opportunity to give your winter steed a proper shake-down ride on what's a straigthtforwardly quick route with plenty of opportunities to stop on the way.  This is a great route for group-riding making it a very sociable event, as well as an opportunity to thoroughly check the winter bike.

Cambridge is 50 minutes from London by train and most East Anglia rail services also pass this way. Girton is also very accessible by car. There will be cake at the finish.

Who knows — it might even be sunny!

Note: if you can't make 8 October, Tom's running the Richard Ellis Memorial rides the weekend before.

The route

The route follows a mix of lanes and quiet B-roads, with the occasional very quiet A-road for fun — perfect for autumn, whatever the weather.  With only two controls, this is a really fun ride where you can concentrate on the ride itself and not on controlling.  The first stage is 100km straight to Framlingham, although you pass thru three major towns, should you need to stop. 

The other half of the ride comprises two legs stopping at the Maglia Rosso café — although you do pass thru Stowmarket, that's your only viable stop before Fulbourn and Cambridge.

IMPORTANT ROUTE CHANGE It turns out we can't use the road between Six Mile Bottom and Great Wilbraham, because the council will be fixing the flooding problem under the A11 — finally.  Therefore the route now drops from Balsham Heights down to Fulbourn, which is in fact a simpler navigation in the dark for anyone near the back.  For reference, this is route "C" on the routesheet and GPS files.

Another August photo — the sky will be just as wide, but the wheat will be gone

Starting from Girton Pavilion, where there will be some basic breakfast refreshments before the start, the route heads thru the back of Cambridge city centre and out along Newmarket Road all the way to Newmarket — although a wide road, it is very quiet, especially early on a Saturday morning, and you may find yourself in one or two quite quick groups along there.  In fact it's a lovely smooth, gently rolling road used for the time-trial courses E33/10+13.

From the centre of Newmarket, there's a sudden 8% ascent with gallops on either side and you'll inevitably meet a number of stud groups out training.  The route quickly moves to the lanes with a few rises and falls until eventually there's a brief main road into Bury St Edmunds.

Thru the centre of Bury (which is not a control) — the on-road alternative is surprisingly tricky to navigate due to Bury's one-way system — and then out into quietest Suffolk on the other side.  You'll pass through historic Haughley with its ancient motte-and-bailey castle on the LHS as you enter the village before some really wide-open landscape.

At Framlingham it's a free control — the two cafés on the mini-roundabout are expecting you, but there is also a Co-op, as well as pubs, bank ATMs and other cafés up the hill in the town centre.  Anyone getting an entry ticket for the castle at the very top of the hill as their proof-of-passage can have an extra slice of cake at arrivée ;)

From Framlingham you turn around to head westwards, dropping down thru Stowmarket and into the Rattlesden valley, and you follow the river valley almost all the way to the control at the Maglia Rosso at Hawstead.

The route gets a little more lumpy to re-ascend the chalk hills between you and Cambridge and provides a lovely long 6km descent thru Six Mile Bottom, Great Wilbraham and finally into Fulbourn — it's a very gentle descent by the end, but it still goes down.  On re-riding the route and considering lighting-up time, we've reverted to the original route, as it's easier to navigate in the dark.

We really hope nobody needs the services of this classic, based in Earl Soham

Then back thru Cambridge city-centre to cross the Cam and climb up Castle Hill (the motte is still visible at back of car park on RHS — it provides great views across Cambridge's historic city centre) and follow the Roman road back to Girton — by the time most riders pass thru, the crowds will be at dinner and the city centre quiet, but quick riders beware the omnipresent tourists!

The controls

Start and finish at the Recreation Pavilion in Girton next to St Andrew’s Anglican church on Cambridge Road, CB3 0FH, 2km northwest of Cambridge city centre.

There are two commercial controls; you must get a suitable proof-of-passage (receipt or stamp) at both:

Framlingham, Suffolk — There are several cafés, banks (ATMs), shops and a large Coop.  We usually stop at Paddy & Scott's little café on the mini-roundabout, but I suspect they won't be able to accommodate everyone at the same time, so the café next door in the baker's — Bakers @ 221B — are also exepecting you and there are plenty of other snackeries, pubs and whatnot up in the town.  Not forgetting the Great Framlingham Sausage Festival — but you must make sure your receipt is printed and includes time and date!

The Maglia Rosso café, Hawstead — this is a mandatory control and Nik will be stamping brevets in the afternoon. They are putting on a special audax-friendly menu in the afternoon and they always have lots of good cake (not as good as Mrs W's at arrivée, mind you) — you still have over 60km to the finish from here, so worth at least stopping for a cuppa.  They have an outside tap for filling bottles — self-service and much quicker overall.

Toilets are available at the start/finish and plenty of towns along the way, or behind the many hedges along the route (although don't ask me about the time I did just that … ).

The routesheet and GPS files

This is the FINAL version of the route and therefore the FINAL VERSIONS of the routesheet and GPS files.  This route was checked on 24 September resulting in one significant and a few minor updates to the route.

There are two versions of the routesheet, depending on what you want: one has distances between instructions and holds your hand; the other contains just the turn-by-turn instructions with only as many distances as necessary for navigation and planning, as preferred by old-school audaxers:  (updated 25 September 2016)

There are several versions of the GPS files, depending on your device and preference: TCX files provide turn-by-turn in Garmin Edge devices; GPX files provide a track to follow on-screen on all devices, although older devices need tracks with fewer than 500 points. They're all here, although you only need to download one.

IMPORTANT — there is an out-and-back section to Framlingham of about 20km each way, so the route is split into two GPS files of ~100km each. You must make sure you copy both files to your GPS device. You will see CB_AUTUMN_200C on your GPS screen with _C1 being the route to Fram, and _C2 being the route back; the full 200km routes end in _C and don't have a number on the end.

NOTE you need both GPS files from whichever ZIP file you download from below — one gives the route from Girton to Framlinghahm, and one back to Girton.  (updated 25 September 2016)

If you really must have one single 200km route, then use the below GPS files, but you must be aware of the out-and-back section to Framlingham — pink-line-followers, you have been warned!

Getting to the start

Hopefully you live close enough to cycle to the start — it would really help us if you didn't need parking, as there's a local football match on the same day!

Cambridge is well-served by train and you should be able to catch the 06.44 from King's Cross, London, and arrive just about in time for the start — don’t worry if you’re a few minutes late to the start, we will still be there for the start of the 100km event until 9am.  It’s an easy 7km ride from the station to the start through the historic centre of Cambridge — routesheet | GPX | TCX — if you use these instructions, continue past the Co-op to the start on RHS in 1km next to the church.

We have been asked to keep the front car park clear for a local football match and for visitors to the recreation ground while you're all away cycling and we won't know until closer to the date whether the back field will be dry enough to park on (as used on the Pork Pie in March.).  Wherever you park, please park considerately.

Refreshments

Light refreshments will be available before the start from about 7am.  There will be hot’n’cold refreshments and cake at the finish, included in the entry fee.

On completion

The arrivée will be manned, so we will collect your brevet from you on completion, along with two proofs-of-passage.  Please remember to fill in the boxes with establishment name and time, and sign your brevet before handing it in with your PoPs!

Have a great, safe ride, and enjoy sampling those sausages!  Enter this ride