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Thinking of forsaking sportives for audaxes

skinseyskinsey Posts: 105
Before sportives became popular I used to ride a fair few audaxes. Someone else had the hassle of putting the route together, and they were invariably good ones. However, sometimes the self-navigation was a hassle, so I switched to riding sportives in the main. Over the last couple of weeks however I think I might have begun to swing back. Here's why.

First, I entered the Cheshire Cat sportive for next March - it was £28 for the long route. This is not a moan about cost - I suspect that with the timing chips, feedstops, signage etc etc, it's not too bad. Second, I then and went did the Cheshire Safari audax last Sunday which cost me £4.50 - and that included coffee at the beginning, and frankly, far better catering at the end than I've had from the majority of British sportives I've done. It was also a cracking route ridden by friendly riders. The contrast in fees was quite striking, and made me wonder what I was paying the extra for.

Maybe I don't need the competitive element of the sportive as much as other people, and maybe I don't mind the reputation of audax riders as much as others (though I do look out of place among them without a saddlebag and full mudguards). I'm not going to give sportives up completely, but the joy and simplicity of the audax - and their cost when I've got less money in my pocket - has definitely put them back on my riding agenda.
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  • skinsey wrote:
    Before sportives became popular I used to ride a fair few audaxes. Someone else had the hassle of putting the route together, and they were invariably good ones. However, sometimes the self-navigation was a hassle, so I switched to riding sportives in the main. Over the last couple of weeks however I think I might have begun to swing back. Here's why.

    First, I entered the Cheshire Cat sportive for next March - it was £28 for the long route. This is not a moan about cost - I suspect that with the timing chips, feedstops, signage etc etc, it's not too bad. Second, I then and went did the Cheshire Safari audax last Sunday which cost me £4.50 - and that included coffee at the beginning, and frankly, far better catering at the end than I've had from the majority of British sportives I've done. It was also a cracking route ridden by friendly riders. The contrast in fees was quite striking, and made me wonder what I was paying the extra for.

    Maybe I don't need the competitive element of the sportive as much as other people, and maybe I don't mind the reputation of audax riders as much as others (though I do look out of place among them without a saddlebag and full mudguards). I'm not going to give sportives up completely, but the joy and simplicity of the audax - and their cost when I've got less money in my pocket - has definitely put them back on my riding agenda.

    I am with you 100%. We had a similar discussion on a different thread. Yes, sportives are way too expensive, whether it is for charity or for someone's profit, I am not prepared to pay 25 pounds or more to ride on public roads open to traffic and often get only rubbish food. You are paying a lot for the timing chip (around 7 pounds) and for extensive insurance cover (how extensive it has to be seen though as we all know insurance policies).
    I will probably ride only the Chiltern 100 next year because my club is involved in organising it, and because it's 15 pounds. As for the other sportives, not for me.
  • I think that you raise some very pertinent points here - especially over the cost benefit issue of sportives.

    You may or may not have seen the Mad March Hare sportive which costs the princely some of just £8 - an important point as the organiser is seeking to run the operation at cost rather than at profit. The event website points out that:

    This is NOT a full-blown sportive but riders can still expect to be looked after.

    A safe, quiet, picturesque route
    A clearly way-marked route with day-glo signage (route-card supplied as backup)
    1 Feed station, food and drinks will be provided.
    Individual Times for all
    Professional photography courtesy of sportivephoto.com
    HQ with toilets, hot/cold food and drinks
    All riders will receive a discount voucher for use at Speeds Cycles


    Now I must admit that I am slightly biased because I know the organiser and he also a member of a local cycling club, but it will be worth seeing how a sportive can be run without the heavy fee for the participant.

    http://www.madmarchharesportive.co.uk/

    As for audaxes, they do provide an excellent alternative especially if they are organised well - though there are a few duff events around. I tend to only ride local audaxes but I can vouch for three that are excellent alternatives:

    1. The Beacon RCC audaxes http://www.beaconrcc.org.uk/audax/index.html
    2. Danial Webb's events: http://www.danialwebb.com/
    3. Kidderminster CTC's 'Kidderminster Killer' a tough ride that finish could easily off most sportivers! in Sept.

    In these hard times of recession and gloom, sportive organisers are going to have think carefully about how much they charge!
  • More or less on the same topic - I've started triathlon, which are really expensive! Going rate is £35 even for an event just over an hour, although there are some longer events like Helvellyn Tri for the same price.
    You can't beat fell running for value for money - providing your legs will work that way!
    I did Wasdale this year which was about £8 for a five hour event that included gorgeous 3 course meal from catering van at finish. They have a great solution to electronic timing chips: you have a rubber ring with 8 plastic clips with your number on (of the type you used to find clipping the plastic bag around your bread loaf a few years ago!) and you place these in the awaiting bag of the marshall at each of the checkpoints you visit. Very civilised, although probably wouldn't work so well for the faster speed you do on a bike!
    Anyway, I suppose what I'm saying is - with very few exceptions - we all seem to get ripped off for our "leisure pound".
    aspra nella virtu', dolce nel sacrificio
  • mrushtonmrushton Posts: 5,182
    My pet peeve about Audax is that farking route sheet nonesense and going on winding rubbish back roads. I understand however the organiser(s) can't send lots of cyclists on main roads but sometimes I think all the cows in the world have voided their bowels on the road. I have toyed with the Garmin idea but don't really want to part with the money but my vote is that vfm it has to be audax. Good days,leave the m-guards at home.
    M.Rushton
  • nickwillnickwill Posts: 2,735
    I think that the very well attended sportives 1000+ entries probably generate a reasonable surplus, but would suspect that those with 200-300 entries are not much above break even. The costs of signposting, timing, hire of HQ building, and insurance add up quite quickly. Contrast that with an audax where the only cost is perhaps a start and finish location and some printed route sheets.
    For me sportives score every time because of the lack of faffing with navigation and the slightly more competitive ethos.
    Its good that we have both to cater for different preferences.
  • andy_wrxandy_wrx Posts: 3,396
    For my extensive (i.e 2 :D ) experience of audaxes, I really didn't see that much practical difference to sportives in what I got out of it.

    Interesting routes - the two I did were a 200k in Cheshire/Shropshire which was flattish but had lots of interesting back roads and 200k is 120-odd miles, and a 110k in WYorks/Dales which was seriously hilly and challenging

    At the front of these two audaxes, lots of fit&fast younger men on fancy carbon bikes wearing either club kit or team-replica kit and going flat-out in chaingangs
    (Alright at the back there were older guys with bulging carradices riding old-style steel bikes and wearing woollens...)

    Routecard rather than direction arrows - but it really wasn't difficult to navigate, it was e.g. '60.4miles turn right into New Lane' and the only right turn on the road after about 58miles was New Lane...
    Besides, if in a group, it seemed someone had done it the year before and knew the way.

    No feedstops, but checkpoints were often cafes and so on and you can easily carry some gels, bananas & flapjacks in your back pocket if you don't want to stop.

    On the other hand, both these audaxes had massive great buffets available at the end, all sorts of sandwiches, cakes, fruit, tea&coffee, etc - a far better spread than I've had at some weddings & christenings !

    No timing chips or results published - so what !
    If I can go out and ride as quick as I can and get to the buffet and then watch other people coming-in after me, isn't that the same as 'getting a good time' ?

    Oh yeah, the price - including this great big buffet, £4 rather than £25...
  • mrushton wrote:
    My pet peeve about Audax is that farking route sheet nonesense and going on winding rubbish back roads. I understand however the organiser(s) can't send lots of cyclists on main roads but sometimes I think all the cows in the world have voided their bowels on the road. I have toyed with the Garmin idea but don't really want to part with the money but my vote is that vfm it has to be audax. Good days,leave the m-guards at home.

    I did understand the second line until the bowels bit, what does the rest mean in English?
  • ColinJColinJ Posts: 2,218
    mrushton wrote:
    My pet peeve about Audax is that farking route sheet nonesense and going on winding rubbish back roads. I understand however the organiser(s) can't send lots of cyclists on main roads but sometimes I think all the cows in the world have voided their bowels on the road. I have toyed with the Garmin idea but don't really want to part with the money but my vote is that vfm it has to be audax. Good days,leave the m-guards at home.

    I did understand the second line until the bowels bit, what does the rest mean in English?
    I agree about the routesheets, but I generally like 'winding rubbish back roads' :wink: .

    "The Garmin idea" is to use GPS to navigate by. I do this on audaxes now, having got thoroughly fed up with the routesheet on my first one. That was on a fairly easy to navigate '200' in the Yorkshire Dales. The trouble was that the calibration on my bike computer was slightly off so the distances on the routesheet didn't match the reading on the computer. I was having to do mental arithmetic as I was riding along to correct for the errors. By the time I finished the ride, I realised that I'd spent half of it thinking about navigation rather then the scenery or the riding.

    When I saw the routesheet for 'A Mere 200' in Cheshire I just knew that I'd get lost over and over again. It was detailed and clear but I just don't like to concentrate that hard when I'm doing a long ride. There were literally hundreds of twists and turns to be navigated.

    I bought myself a Garmin Etrex, bottom of the range model. You can pick them up for about £60 if you shop around. They don't have maps built in, you'd have to pay more for that type, but as I said - I don't like to think much when I'm riding and staring at maps involves thinking, especially when the screen is really small and you aren't riding in the same direction as the map is 'pointing'. I just plot the routes at home using Memory Map software and upload the data to the GPS. It displays a 'breadcrumb trail' for me to follow and i can see the turns coming up in plenty of time. I've done about 2,500 km worth of events now using GPS and have had no problems at all.

    Vfm = value for money.

    M-guards = mudguards = fenders in the USA. Used to be a requirement for audax, but is usually optional now. Still a good idea in bad weather, but as mrushton said, they can always be left off the fine-weather bike.

    I do the odd sportive too and I'll do more when I'm fitter and can afford to. I would like not to come in in the bottom 5% of the field though... Must try harder!
  • nunnun Posts: 434
    The whole "sportive" thing seems to have gained a lot of popularity in the UK and I bet some folks are upping the prices to take advantage, 35 pounds registration is ridiculous and I can see why you'd go back to audax. Sportives have always been a bit too "roadie" for me.

    In the US, Randonneurs USA organizes regional brevets under ACP rules that count towards PBP qualification. Membership is $20 and registration for each brevet up to 200k is about $20. The longer ones ie 400k, 600k and the infamous Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200k cost more. The support is excellent, so UK sportives do seem expensive.
  • normanpnormanp Posts: 279
    mrushton: don't knock the backroads. Audaxes have provided some of the best rides ever for me - endless interest - routes you never knew existed - nearly traffic-free routes - informal and friendly - cosy tea shops and a chat with other riders - the countryside/birdsong/smells of wet leaves etc etc. This suits me fine for autumn to spring when its worth upping the pace & doing some sportives. If all you want is optimal training then cycle up and down the A40 - but the experience will be horrible!
  • As for audaxes, they do provide an excellent alternative especially if they are organised well - though there are a few duff events around. I tend to only ride local audaxes but I can vouch for three that are excellent alternatives:

    1. The Beacon RCC audaxes http://www.beaconrcc.org.uk/audax/index.html

    In these hard times of recession and gloom, sportive organisers are going to have think carefully about how much they charge!

    Amen to the Beacon RCC Audax. Its the Gold Standard as far as I am concerned. Worth the 50 minute drive to get there. Plenty of food at the start/ the end, the best route sheet ever and so many doing each different distance that they have to run routes opposite to each other just to accomodate everyone... and despite me pleading with George (for that is the miracle worker of the club) to put the price UP, he insists on keeping it so low i can't work out how they even make ends meet. Did I mention the free drinks bottle you get just for finishing?
    2 minute grovels can sometimes be a lot longer..tho' shorter on a lighter bike :-)

    Ride the Route Ankerdine Hill 2008

    http://peterboroughbigband.webplus.net/index.html
  • Amen to the Beacon RCC Audax. Its the Gold Standard as far as I am concerned.

    Forgot to mention I meant the mid year Cotswold Outing audax in June. I've never done the early snowdrop version. But I'm tempted, other than the very early start in the dark to get there :!:
    2 minute grovels can sometimes be a lot longer..tho' shorter on a lighter bike :-)

    Ride the Route Ankerdine Hill 2008

    http://peterboroughbigband.webplus.net/index.html
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Amen to the Beacon RCC Audax. Its the Gold Standard as far as I am concerned. Worth the 50 minute drive to get there. Plenty of food at the start/ the end, the best route sheet ever and so many doing each different distance that they have to run routes opposite to each other just to accomodate everyone... and despite me pleading with George (for that is the miracle worker of the club) to put the price UP, he insists on keeping it so low i can't work out how they even make ends meet. Did I mention the free drinks bottle you get just for finishing?
    Don't forget the charming refreshments-servers on the morning shift. It's not easy keeping 400 cyclists hydrated at 8am you know. :wink:

    Ruth
  • BeaconRuth wrote:
    Don't forget the charming refreshments-servers on the morning shift.

    Ruth

    oops - sorry Ruth :oops:
    2 minute grovels can sometimes be a lot longer..tho' shorter on a lighter bike :-)

    Ride the Route Ankerdine Hill 2008

    http://peterboroughbigband.webplus.net/index.html
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    mrushton wrote:
    My pet peeve about Audax is that farking route sheet nonesense
    Yes this is a common complaint from people. In fact some say it is the #1 reason sportifs with little arrows and people waving to show you the way are really so popular. I'm afraid I can't offer a magic formula for making route sheets easier. Trace the route out on the map before hand so you know where you are going and ....follow the instructions..?
    and going on winding rubbish back roads. I understand however the organiser(s) can't send lots of cyclists on main roads but sometimes I think all the cows in the world have voided their bowels on the road.
    I definitely agree with you on this one. The problem is that the most direct route from one place to another often involves a crappy lane.
    I have toyed with the Garmin idea but don't really want to part with the money but my vote is that vfm it has to be audax.
    I don't like GPS myself but several people I've ridden with seem keen on them. GPS is just another bit of BS as far as I can see. Spend hours downloading maps and routes and reprogramming it. Carry 2 spare packs of batteries. Then the rain gets in it and it packs up.
    Good days,leave the m-guards at home.
    The real problem with mudguards is the way they get broken and bolts fall out and they get jammed with mud. Good when they don't misbehave though
  • I must admit that sportives are a bit expensive. I try to get in the FWC each year because it is such a good event but that is the lot.

    However, I find audax great fun and really enjoy it for all the + reasons previously mentioned. I use a Garmin Vista HCX which my good lady bought me for Christmas last year. This was after I got lost in the 2007 Katrine Kapers several times and ended up getting back to the Arrivee after 2100 (just within hte time limit), and it poured with rain all day. I now have to promise to text base every couple of hours to confirm that I haven't be run over by a combine harvester. A small sacrifice IMO.
    I have only two things to say to that; Bo***cks

  • Amen to the Beacon RCC Audax. Its the Gold Standard as far as I am concerned. Worth the 50 minute drive to get there. Plenty of food at the start/ the end, the best route sheet ever and so many doing each different distance that they have to run routes opposite to each other just to accomodate everyone... and despite me pleading with George (for that is the miracle worker of the club) to put the price UP, he insists on keeping it so low i can't work out how they even make ends meet. Did I mention the free drinks bottle you get just for finishing?

    Coincidental to this discussion - the Beacon RCC have just opened entries to their Sunrise and Snowdrop Express event via online booking - I bet that there are not many audaxes that do that! None of that two SAEs nonsense.

    http://www.beaconrcc.org.uk/audax/express/index.html
  • Damn, forgot to mention their really excellent website (well done webmaster...Phil?)
    No it really is superb!!
    ....and you can even download all the different file types for your gps, googlyearthy, memorymappy wotsits etc. One very very switched on club. Can't they move to Hinckley and show Hinckley how these things SHOULD be done. Oh don't get me started....

    Maybe I'll start a "rival" club/group in Hinckly for those who'd like to ride together without cliques in a positive and welcoming environment, where if you don't want to race, then that's OK, if you have flat bars then thats also ok (I kid you not!) hmmm there's a thought
    2 minute grovels can sometimes be a lot longer..tho' shorter on a lighter bike :-)

    Ride the Route Ankerdine Hill 2008

    http://peterboroughbigband.webplus.net/index.html
  • peanutpeanut Posts: 1,373
    I think Audax are brilliant. Its the way I first started years ago.
    They are so well organised with plenty of food and drink and support.
    Many are oganised and run by volunteers and local bike club members who make no profit .

    The routes of the 10 or so I've tried are interesting varied and safe and have been carefully developed over many tears. They are great social events too as the emphasis is definitly not on racing round in the shortest possible time.

    The events are fantastic value for money .Its also good to be able to purchase a medal at the finish as something tangiable to show for all the effort. :roll:

    I'd like to thank anybody and everybody who has anything to do with putting on Audax events for us.

    :lol:
  • ColinJColinJ Posts: 2,218
    vorsprung wrote:
    GPS is just another bit of BS as far as I can see. Spend hours downloading maps and routes and reprogramming it. Carry 2 spare packs of batteries. Then the rain gets in it and it packs up.
    I have the entire UK OS Landranger (1:50,000) series condensed into one seamless map so I don't have to bother downloading maps.

    Programming routes? Fair enough - most audax organisers don't provide suitable files so that is something I have to do. I take the route sheet and plot it on my digital map. If you don't like that kind of thing, I can see that it would be a pain. Perhaps I'm weird but I actually really like looking at maps and quite enjoy plotting the routes. It takes me an hour or two to do the route of a typical 200.

    My Garmin Etrex has a current drain of about 100 mA (not using the backlight) so a fully-charged pair of 2,700 mAH NiMH cells lasts over 24 hours. You could get a very slow 300 out of one set of batteries. You could do a slow 600 with one change of batteries. That's not a big deal.

    The Etrex is very well sealed. I've used it in heavy rain, sleet and snow and not had a problem with it.

    The biggest problem I've had with my GPS is that it is a slightly loose fit in the handlebar mount and on a long ride, the rattling starts to bug me. I'm going to pack the slot in the mount with a layer of gaffa tape for my next ride - that should sort it out..

    My only other complaint is that the cheapo model I have doesn't beep for turns. A little box flashes on its screen just before a turn, but if I was looking at the screen, I'd know that the turn was coming anyway. I've missed about 3 turns in 2,500 km of use, but have only gone about 50 metres past them before I realised my mistake. 300 m of extra riding in 2,500 k isn't bad.

    If you want your navigation handled for you - ride sportives. If you like map-reading, ride audaxes and do what I do. If you want to do audaxes and can cope with route sheets, use them. If you want to ride audaxes, hate maps and route sheets - follow someone who definitely knows where (s)he is going :wink: !
  • It's funny how things change, really. As someone commercially interested in the way that events change (I own Sabbath Bicycles) and as someone whose been racing, audaxing and reliability-ing (is that a word?) since i was about 14, it's intreguing to watch.

    In the old days, there was audax (cheap to enter but with 'basic' facillities.) They were largely aimed at people who weren't racing.

    There were also early season reliabilities (aimed at all; used by racers who wanted to hone their condition and by 'club' racers who wanted to batter their mates as well as club riders who wanted a challenge) which were similarly cheap but only available in the early season.

    Then there were the races themselves which assumed people really wanted to race as in 'cross the line first'... All three, though, largely relied on the closed world of the club system and people just knowing through knowledge passed down where they were and where they went.

    So Sportives SHOULD fill a gap; firstly they are available all year round, they are open to people who want to 'kind of compete' (even if only on time) because they appeal to people who aren't racing. Their major selling points, though, is the accessibility to the non-traditional club cyclist (which is great for me and my business as it opens up the market) - so great for the sport as a whole because it makes for more people getting involved.

    Secondly, they are great because they SHOULD offer better route information so that participants get get on and enjoy the ride, rather than navigating (actually thats linked to point 1 - again it lets newcomers get involved more easily because they'll feel less apprehensive about route finding) and the fact that they offer wireless timing.

    Sportives - good ones - will succeed because they offer more openness in terms of participation and because they offer better facilities in terms of timing, directions and community through functionality and facilities. The best ones will survive because they have thse points of difference - and therefore justify their higher entry prices.

    Meanwhile, the other types of event should survive because of new interest in the sport from new participants in sportives and exactly because they aren't sportives...

    Greg
  • andy_wrxandy_wrx Posts: 3,396
    There seems to be a trend of renaming early season reliabilities as 'sportives' and charging £20 for them, rather than a fiver as before...

    It's this whole new market you talk about
    - yes, it is the stereotype, but on a sportive there really are an awful lot of 40-something, slightly overweight, Assos & Rapha-wearing guys sitting on Pinarellos/De Rosas/Colnagos/Cervelos
    - I guess these guys never knew about £5 reliabilities and are willing&able to spend £20...
  • peanutpeanut Posts: 1,373
    andy_wrx wrote:
    There seems to be a trend of renaming early season reliabilities as 'sportives' and charging £20 for them, rather than a fiver as before...

    It's this whole new market you talk about
    - yes, it is the stereotype, but on a sportive there really are an awful lot of 40-something, slightly overweight, Assos & Rapha-wearing guys sitting on Pinarellos/De Rosas/Colnagos/Cervelos
    - I guess these guys never knew about £5 reliabilities and are willing&able to spend £20...

    and thank god for them Andy :wink: without them a lot of the sportives and audaxes wouldn't survive. Can't knock it cos we are all really benefiting from the latest surge in cycling interest.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    Damn, forgot to mention their really excellent website (well done webmaster...Phil?)
    No it really is superb!!
    ....and you can even download all the different file types for your gps, googlyearthy, memorymappy wotsits etc. One very very switched on club. Can't they move to Hinckley and show Hinckley how these things SHOULD be done. Oh don't get me started....

    Maybe I'll start a "rival" club/group in Hinckly for those who'd like to ride together without cliques in a positive and welcoming environment, where if you don't want to race, then that's OK, if you have flat bars then thats also ok (I kid you not!) hmmm there's a thought


    Either that or join Hinckley and try and institute change from within. I don't believe there's a club in the UK where every member is cliquey or elitist. Some clubs have got a little bit stuck in a rut - perhaps they only cater for certain types of rider or the lack of new blood makes them appear a closed shop - most often it is just the way they appear rather than the way they actually are though. If you joined you'd probably find plenty of people willing to contribute to bringing the club on a bit if you are. It's got to be said though there are quite a few people that censored about stuff like this but don't ever get involved in actually running a club themselves.

    edit : censored word starts with a b and ends in itch.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • andy_wrxandy_wrx Posts: 3,396
    peanut wrote:
    andy_wrx wrote:
    There seems to be a trend of renaming early season reliabilities as 'sportives' and charging £20 for them, rather than a fiver as before...

    It's this whole new market you talk about
    - yes, it is the stereotype, but on a sportive there really are an awful lot of 40-something, slightly overweight, Assos & Rapha-wearing guys sitting on Pinarellos/De Rosas/Colnagos/Cervelos
    - I guess these guys never knew about £5 reliabilities and are willing&able to spend £20...

    and thank god for them Andy :wink: without them a lot of the sportives and audaxes wouldn't survive. Can't knock it cos we are all really benefiting from the latest surge in cycling interest.

    Sorry, I'm not trying to be snotty about these guys (I probably tick a few of those boxes myself, if I'm honest 8) ), I'm more knocking bandwagon-jumping clubs suddenly upping their reliabilities from £5 to £20 by adding the magic word 'sportive' and getting them listed on cyclosport.co.uk

    I guess if it means those clubs make a few quid more, then providing they invest it in running other events, more coaching, getting more people into cycling, etc or even simply it stops the club folding for lack of funds, then it's still a good thing.

    But the original point of this thread was about how audaxes offer much the same as sportives for a fraction of the cost, wasn't it ?
    So price-upping reliabilites by rebranding them as sportives is relevant, no ?
  • peanutpeanut Posts: 1,373
    sorry Andy I wasn't being critical of your comments which I agree with wholeheartedly by the way.
    I guess I was just taking the opportunuty to praise those that volunteer their free time to organise and run these events for our benefit.
    I am luck enough to be able to afford £20.00 for a sportive or reliability but can appreciate how that cost could be prohibitive for some . Especially if doing a lot of these events.

    I think Audax should actually put their charge up a bit really because I cannot see how they can do it for a fiver. I'd be more than happy to pay £7-10 if it meant more feed stations or inproved insurance or support etc.

    I'm surprised at the lack of food and support comments given about Sportives considering folk are forking out £20+ For that i think organisers should be offering a free momento of the ride like a T shirt or medal or something
  • I do quite a few audaxes each year, and they tend to be really well run.

    The Peak Audax club put on some crackers, as do the West Yorkshire DA of the CTC.

    The West Yorks are doing the Spring into the Dales next April for £3.50 (£5.50 for non-CTC members). So not bad value, and there's always some good food at the end.

    I mainly do the audaxes, or rides with mates based on audaxes we've done, and then splash out on one or two sportives each year, to get ready for our trip to the Alps.

    Suppose the sportives are better sign posted, but hey, it adds to the adventure when you've gotta map read as well !!
    "There are no hills, there is no wind, I feel no pain !"

    "A bad day on the bike is always better than a good day in the office !"
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    Everyone to there own I suppose...but I think there's a few ways you can look at this...

    On an Audax (which I've never did...but I did do the Wild Wales Challenge?)) I take it you have to navigate your way through vast stretches of countryside...this means constantly stopping and checking maps etc....theres a lot of good in this...this represents the same scenario I use on any new ventures into unkown terrain for me...I have to map my way through the route...and in doing so you really end up knowing the area like the back of your hand...I'm from Scotland and I know the Lakes/Dales/NY Moors so well now I rarely need mapping...and thats due to studying the maps etc....however a negative of this is when its 'pissin' down with rain...your map gets wet...its hard to read...the effort and concentration levels required for such mapping when your cold and freezing is so tough...not only that but stopping so much really kills all momentum and can add hours to a ride (depending the length of route) so in adverse weather or really long runs it can become a real pain in the butt....

    On a Sportive (which I've did a good few)...I find it dead exciting...so many riders heading off...so many different levels.....normally your always with other groups...always end up having a craic with many others.....the signposting makes the route flow...I find signposting such a releif...you can really get going and have no fears of getting lost...and to me its a blessing to not bother about directions for a few rides throughout the year........and you can build real momentum.....and the Feeds are likes Oasis's in the desert at times...I look on these as milestones..."get to that feed then I'm half way there etc"....a great releif at the finish aswell...so many guys elated and dead chuffed about the day......on a negative side....too many riders think its a bloody race and put others in danger with stupid riding or "racing for a time"....also I fear tons of riders come back from a Sportive and have no idea where they have spent the last 8 hours or so....due to it being signposted...

    Its upto the Rider what he choses....Audaxes have been around for an age and have there place firmily rooted in UK Cycling...they are cheap....and 'no frills'....

    Sportives are IMO are not expensive for what a rider gets...£15 - £30....fully signposted 100+ mile route....2/3 excellent feeds....timing....number plates...certificates/bottles/T shirts.....

    Everyone is different....but I know shortly at Xmas I'll be having a night out with the lads at work and I know one round will cost me more than £30.....I know where I'd rather put my money....
  • skinseyskinsey Posts: 105
    As the OP, I honestly wasn't moaning about the cost of sportives - I think they're pretty good vfm, and many of them are superb. This year's Devil Ride for example (which I think Richyboy did) was a great route with excellent organisation, and I'll probably do it again next year.

    I guess my point really was that like many others who aren't hardened racers but still want an objective to base their training on, I got caught up in the sportive rush, and going back to the simplicity and "grassroots-ness" of an audax was really refreshing. Or maybe it's because I think I cracked the navigation thing without resorting to maps! (The solution being a computer set up in km, and the route sheet a) in a waterproof transparent cover, and b) attached to cables with a bulldog clip. Sophisticated heh? No GPS for me!).
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    RICHYBOYcp wrote:
    Everyone to there own I suppose...but I think there's a few ways you can look at this...

    On an Audax (which I've never did...but I did do the Wild Wales Challenge?)) I take it you have to navigate your way through vast stretches of countryside...this means constantly stopping and checking maps etc....
    No. There is a route sheet. It has instructions like "L at T sp Chester". On the better route sheets the distance is next to the instruction. So all you have to do is watch the odometer a bit and wait for the next instruction
    l now I rarely need mapping...and thats due to studying the maps etc....however a negative of this is when its 'pissin' down with rain...your map gets wet...its hard to read...
    it's easy to read a small route sheet in the rain. Most of us have a dohickey for clipping it to the bars.
    the effort and concentration levels required for such mapping when your cold and freezing is so tough...not only that but stopping so much really kills all momentum and can add hours to a ride (depending the length of route) so in adverse weather or really long runs it can become a real pain in the butt....
    you don't have to stop to read a route sheet that is clipped to the bars. Obviously any ride in adverse conditions is ......adverse...
    On a Sportive (which I've did a good few)...I find it dead exciting...so many riders heading off...so many different levels.....normally your always with other groups...always end up having a craic with many others.....
    Most audaxes are like this. They don't have such big fields as the commerical sportifs though.
    Sportives are IMO are not expensive for what a rider gets...£15 - £30....fully signposted 100+ mile route....2/3 excellent feeds....timing....number plates...certificates/bottles/T shirts.....
    Is there a ride that does "2/3 excellent feeds", timing, frame plates, a bottle and a T shirt for £15?
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