My first experience of Audax riding. These events are quite different from the Sportives I have been riding to date. Audax is basically long distance riding – 100 km is at the short end – there doesn’t seem to be a limit! While I have no aspirations to ride hundreds of kilometres in a single ride, they do make a refreshing change from sportives:
- DIY navigation from a detailed route plan – no sign posted roads so I’m dependant on my bike computer to get me around correctly
- DIY food – generally carry your own/stop at cafes (I mostly prefer my own anyway)
- There are control points to make sure you’re actually riding the route
- Smaller numbers of riders (some of the bigger sportives have several thousand riders, RideLondon >20,000). Today’s ride had a total of 60ish riders over two distances! No congestion on the roads, no bunching up.
- The language of cycling is French (though the word Audax comes from Latin), hence the distances in km and many terms are in French.
I spent a lot of the ride on my own, at my own speed which seemed to be a bit faster than many. In sportives, I have to moderate my speed and stop myself trying to catch and overtake slower looking riders in front of me (I now find that can simply use too much energy and put me at great risk of cramp) but today I simply rode at my own pace without any little sprints. A cafe stop with most of the other riders at one of my favourite cafés and a brief stop at a café in my home town.
I was able to ride to the start from home – and therefore back again, adding 40km to the overall distance which effectively took the total to nearly the 100 mile mark. A slow puncture meant frequent stops to top up the air on the ride home – it didn’t seem worth trying to fully resolve it on the road.
It was a beautiful day – slightly crisp and cool to start with but the sun was there throughout. Definitely the start of autumn! Many quiet roads, a very few short sections of bigger roads. Some roads I already knew, but there were also many new ones. Unfortunately there aren’t many Audax events near me so I doubt will be riding many – though I will be looking out for them.