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Audaxes are about Long Distance riding

vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
The recent thread about Audax riding vs Sporitfs seemed to come to the conclusion that Audax rides( ie those under AUK regs ) were pretty similar to Sportifs, just cheaper and more basic.

However, I cannot agree with this. Although there are Audaxes over a variety of distances, the gold standard of Audax riding is getting a "Super Randonneur" award. To do this you have to ride a 200km, 300km, 400km and 600km ride in one season.
You don't have to be any physically fitter to do this than to ride a sportif, But a different psychology is needed. It's a completely different endeavour.

There are plenty of people that enjoy 100km AUK events. Most of the people commenting on Audaxes seem to have only ridden these. These 100k rides are there for people that are too old/young/unwilling to ride the 200km+ real Audax rides. Also some people see them as preparation for the longer events. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with doing these rides. I am saying that a 100km ride and a 300km ride are completely different.

Audax rides are about long distance riding. Audax rides are not "cheap" sportifs just as sportifs are not "expensive" audaxes
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  • skinseyskinsey Posts: 105
    I was the OP on the other thread, and I certainly didn't mean to imply audaxes were cheap sportives and vice versa - it was just a celebration of going back to audaxes after some time away.

    And vorsprung - I totally agree with you about the long distance. In fact, since I did a 160 km audax a couple of weeks ago, I've been inspired to have a go for Super Radonneur status next year, and am building a new bike (emphasis on comfort rather than speed) to help me do it. At the moment the furthest I've ridden in one go was 150 miles in the 2004 Etape. I'm also currently planning a LEJOG for April, so after a few years of sportives and a bit of tt'ing, I've decided that for me 2009 is the year of the long distance bike ride. Just not sure whether my backside will appreciate this decision...
  • andy_wrxandy_wrx Posts: 3,396
    The recent thread about Audax riding vs Sporitfs seemed to come to the conclusion that Audax rides( ie those under AUK regs ) were pretty similar to Sportifs, just cheaper and more basic.
    - I thought the more common and cynical view was that sportives were just audaxes dressed-up a bit, priced-up a lot and aimed at the sort of people who wouldn't ride an audax in a thousnad years !


    100k and 200k audaxes are compared to sportives, because 200k is 120andabit miles and most sportives are just over the magic century.
    A 200k audax with 'grimpeur' in the title might well be a very similar route to a sportive.

    There might well be a big cross-over in that the same riders will do both, or will start with one and have a go at doing the other 'sort'.


    I'll happily belive that a 300k upwards audax on the other hand is a different beast and attract a totally different rider to sportives.

    You're arguing that a 300k is a 'real audax' but a 100k audax isn't a 'real audax'...

    Hence anyone who does 100k audaxes can't be a 'real audaxer' ?

    - I'll leave you to make that argument !
  • chuckcorkchuckcork Posts: 1,471
    Put it another way....if you are doing a 300km Audax then the time frame is between 10 hours and 20 hours to complete, which means that you are likely to be cycling in the dark and direction finding ditto. How many sportives are in the dark and require the level of preparation to do that and to cope with the weather across such a timeframe?

    As for the 100km distance, not much longer than a club run is it?
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • Is that 600km in 24hrs ? That's an average of over 15 miles every hour - chapeau to anyone who can do that.

    On the 100km udax/ shorter route sportives being similar to club runs - I think this is one of the reasons sportives have become popular. They are very like club runs but people aren't joining clubs so much and clubs arn't publicising that this is what they do every week if you join. It shows that if clubs opened up/ publicised more there is an audience for them.
    To err is human,
    but to really screw things up you need a shimano - campag mixed drivechain.
  • chuckcork wrote:
    Put it another way....if you are doing a 300km Audax then the time frame is between 10 hours and 20 hours to complete, ?

    ..... unless you are doing 200km on the Kidderminster Killer, in which case it is still 10 hours at the fastest!
  • ColinJColinJ Posts: 2,218
    I ride audaxes and sportives and enjoy both, but I know deep down that I'm not really a 'true' audax rider. I don't like riding in the dark, so I'm never going to enjoy doing ultra-long rides.

    The longest rides I've ever done were about 225 km. I'm usually pretty tired at the end of that kind of distance, but I've done a couple of long rides when I was reasonably fit and I know that I could have easily gone on for another 75 km. I'd already got home though, so I didn't see the point.

    As I get fitter, I'll be able to ride faster. One day, I might be able to ride a 300 in the time I used to take to do a 200 (say 12 hours) and I'd probably have a go at one. 12-14 hours on the bike in daylight is okay. I can't see me ever wanting to do a 400 or a 600, let alone P-B-P or L-E-L.

    The thing with audax is that you are pushing your ability to stay on the bike for long periods of time. The minimum event speeds are easily achievable by anybody who is cycling fit. You know deep down that you could do a longer distance, it's really down to whether you want to, and are prepared to find the time and commitment to build up to it. I'm not. I'd definitely agree that the limits in audax are more psychological than physical.

    The thing about a sportive is that there is no maximum speed. You can always try to go a bit faster next time. I like that. Knowing that there must be some sort of physical limit, but not knowing what it is.

    There is a bit of an overlap between audax and sportives, but yes, they really are different things.
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    zenzinnia wrote:
    Is that 600km in 24hrs ? That's an average of over 15 miles every hour - chapeau to anyone who can do that.

    If you did the Mersey Roads 24 hour time trial I guess that 600k in 24 hours might be possible.

    The time limit for a 600 is 40 hours, 400 is 27 hours, 300 20 hours and a 200 14 hours.

    On a 600 you would usually ride 350-400k have a couple of hours sleep then do the last 200-250k
  • To me, one of the distinctive characteristics is the non-competitive nature of audaxes. I don't remember hearing stories of riders stopping in the middle of sportives for a plate of beans and toast and some cake :-)

    Sportives remind me of marathons/half marathons, with a lot of people intent on getting round the course and gaining some sort of personal best.
  • The OP could be construed as a rather snobbish attitude. Maybe it's the riders who stick to Perms and don't need structured events who are the 'proper Audaxers'?

    To be honest I've more time and respect for someone on a 60km charidee ride who's pushing themselves further than they thought they could go than an Auk bashing out another 600km to rack up Championship points in some rigged competiton. Nice to know that in the couple of years I've ignored Audax the beard stroking hasn't stopped :evil:
  • Hi,

    I know this doesn't add to the debate but isn't cycling just great fun! There are so many things for us to try and experience - and really the roads are always there waiting for us to pass through.

    :D Tom
  • ColinJColinJ Posts: 2,218
    edited November 2008
    The OP could be construed as a rather snobbish attitude. Maybe it's the riders who stick to Perms and don't need structured events who are the 'proper Audaxers'?

    To be honest I've more time and respect for someone on a 60km charidee ride who's pushing themselves further than they thought they could go than an Auk bashing out another 600km to rack up Championship points in some rigged competiton. Nice to know that in the couple of years I've ignored Audax the beard stroking hasn't stopped :evil:
    Once, I was on one of my early 200s and started speaking to another rider. I told him that 200 km was stretching my distance limits because until recently, my longest rides had been 100 milers.

    His reply? Not "Well done mate, nice to have you with us" but "(sigh) I hardly ever bother with 200s any more because there is no challenge in them!"

    My reaction was to think (a) "Thanks a lot mate, that's really encouraging to an audax novice" closely followed by (b) "If you don't find this ride challenging enough, try riding at more than 20 kph then!" I will always find 200 km rides a challenge if I want them to be. Let him ride at a speed 10% higher than he is comfortable with if he wants a challenge! Or not bother with 200 km events ridden by mere mortals - he could just shut up and stick to 600s :wink: !
  • pneumaticpneumatic Posts: 1,989
    Hi,

    I know this doesn't add to the debate but isn't cycling just great fun! There are so many things for us to try and experience - and really the roads are always there waiting for us to pass through.

    :D Tom

    I'm with Tom on this. What is better than being out on your bike, pedalling away towards some personally meaningful target? It could be getting to work, reaching the top of a hill, completing 100, 200, 300 k with or without getting off, getting a good result in a timed event, beating your PB, reaching that campsite. does it really matter what the target is? It's the riding towards it that's fun.

    As for who is cool and who is not, I only hate bigots, because they're all the same!


    Fast and Bulbous
    Peregrinations
    Eddingtons: 80 (Metric); 60 (Imperial)

  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    It depends on what 'cycling enjoyment' means to someone....

    For me, cycling 300Kms - 600Kms would not form any type of enjoyment or satisfaction, such a distance would just take out all I love about cycling....the longest ride I've ever did was the Dave Lloyd Mega....at 140miles....and that was well enough for me....in fact maybe too much...My summer rides roughly average 80miles...for me thats a stiff challenge (as they always tend to be challenging terrain) and maybe 6 times a year I venture into the 100miles mark...adding to that around 4 Sportives of around 100-115miles...this for me presents the best scenraio in terms of Challenge and Time on a bike...anything over 10hours starts to deteriorate my enjoyment....

    I do however think the Elenith or the Kidderminster Killer would meet my own personal enjoyment factors.

    Again, its what ever floats your boat?.....and if people love going out and Cycling 24hours solid..on they go!

    P.s There is some crazy guys out there right enough...mixing insane distances and insane Terrain.....theres a thing called the RATA (Race across the Alpes)...and its just bonkers...you have to either superhuman fit or have just excaped from Broadmoor....
    and this makes the Super Audax guys seem a mere stroll....
    Check it out:-
    http://www.raceacrossthealps.com/
  • normanpnormanp Posts: 279
    I'm not sure that the 'real audaxer' term is useful: who knows what personal/physical difficulties a rider has overcome to complete even a 50k ride? I have ridden plenty of 100 & 200k rides in the UK but not longer - partly because the 'randonneur' style means that cyclists get very spread out on longer rides & it can get a bit lonely! The most enjoyable Audax ride I have done was in Frace - 300k but in Euraudax style: in a group all day wih a captain and designated riders front & rear. This was sociable, included 3 great meals together and averaged 22.5kph precisely (within a few minutes). It is a great shame that Audax UK do no Euraudax style events.
    BTW website is here (pretty bad design!):
    http://www.audax-uaf.com/cyclo/pages/calendrier.htm
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    The OP could be construed as a rather snobbish attitude. Maybe it's the riders who stick to Perms and don't need structured events who are the 'proper Audaxers'?

    To be honest I've more time and respect for someone on a 60km charidee ride who's pushing themselves further than they thought they could go than an Auk bashing out another 600km to rack up Championship points in some rigged competiton. Nice to know that in the couple of years I've ignored Audax the beard stroking hasn't stopped :evil:

    I've got plenty of time and respect for anyone riding any distance for any reason
    I was just trying to bring out the differences between audax rides and sportifs - they are very different things.

    Sorry if that came across as elitist
  • JamesBJamesB Posts: 1,184
    As Richyboy says it`s whatever is your personal preferences -- years ago I rode Audaxes, mostly 200 but a couple of 300 and 400s as well; I still have vivid memories from these as great cycling moments, riidng up near Tal y llyn lake at 2 am on a summers night by moonlight :D , riding through Glen Shee at 3 am with barn owls flying across the fields, riding on Exmoor on such a windy day that I rode tight against the beech hedges, on the wrong side of the road to get shelter :(
    I`ve not ridden Audaxes for years now, having gone across to Sportives, IMHO Sportives much faster and compertitive but I may welll pick up the Audax baton again.Good memories from Sportives too - scorching day riding on TOBM, terrible weather on GFC crossing Arenigs :(
    Each to their own but IMHO Audaxes / Sportives shouldn`t be set against each other, they are all part of the cycling scene meeting and complementing different needs
  • BooboocpBooboocp Posts: 1,156
    JamesBwmb wrote:
    I`ve not ridden Audaxes for years now, having gone across to Sportives, IMHO Sportives much faster and compertitive but I may welll pick up the Audax baton again.Good memories from Sportives too - scorching day riding on TOBM, terrible weather on GFC crossing Arenigs :(
    Each to their own but IMHO Audaxes / Sportives shouldn`t be set against each other, they are all part of the cycling scene meeting and complementing different needs

    James, agree with above with one exception, Audaxes can be very competitive! I used to ride them regularly (all distances from very short to very, very long) and I almost always rode them as fast as I could when fit enough. I remember riding a particular hard sportive (spring into the dales?) and trying desperately to hang on to Brian Sunter's wheel (if you don't know him, he is a legendary time trialist here in Yorkshire) and it was harder than going out on a chain gang!

    I've also ridden the Elenith and myself and a few others were competing to be first finisher. One lad blazed off the front and I chased him for the whole event - he beat me by about one and a half minutes. I used the word beat deliberately, because we were racing against each other. So yes, they can be competitive if you want them to be - and there's the thing, they (like sportives) are exactly what you want them to be.
    <b>Event Website:</b> http://www.whiteroseclassic.co.uk
  • zoomcpzoomcp Posts: 975
    I organise a 100k hilly Audax; I'd say about half a dozen of the 60ish entrants treat it as a race; some (very few, often not even entered) even cutting short the info controls in order to be first back. Cheating? of course, their cards don't get validated and they've done less distance than the official riders. But at the end of the day they are having a fun and challenging ride for the fraction of a cost of a sportive and helping to support the event and also AUK if they pay the day insurance rate :)
  • Both Booboocp and Zoomcp are quite correct in their observations. I quite only admit to being one of those riders that tend to ride the route as fast as possible and yes they can be competitive. During this year's Beacon Cotswolds Expedition Audax of 200km, I rode flat out an average of 29kmh in order to complete the with a personal best. Upon reaching the HQ, I soon realised that there had been a pursuing group of Kenilworth riders attempting to chase me down - I had apparently knocked them off the position of first riders back!

    A non-audaxer could easily stereotype audaxers as bearded guys, wearing Plus-4s, riding an old fashioned steel bike with heavily loaded wax-cotton Carradice panniers. To extent they do exist but today, more and more audaxers are of a younger generation who are prepared to use an audax as a test of their athletic ability.

    Despite audaxes having roof limits for speed, attempting to ride at a consistent 30kmh on a mountainous audax would easily see off most sportivers. The resulting effect is a good enough margin for competitive riding amongst participants.

    Co-incidental to Booboocp's comments on the Elenith, I have ridden the other audax organised by Kidderminster CTC, the Kidderminster Killer. The Killer is quite frankly, a ridiculous event, tough, hilly but great fun. The majority of riders complete this 200km in 10-12 hours. Most sportive riders would find this frustrating due to the slow nature of the course but even then, riders may be competitive.

    Not all audaxers appreciate the cyclosporty nature of some riders. I have overheard growls and complaints by the traditionalists that view sportivers as disruptive to the nature of their events. I clearly recall on the Redditch audax, one rider grunting at the two of us for riding flat out around the route. But there again, he did have a beard, was wearing sandles and was carrying a wax-cotton Carradice pannier :lol: .
  • zoomcpzoomcp Posts: 975
    Whilst people are increasingly riding Audaxes for fun or training (whihc they lend themselves well to) with no interest in the awards, competitions and longer distance rides I think an important point needs to be made;

    Audaxes are run very much on quiet routes with low traffic volumes, the use of both manned and information controls keeps riders as much as is practicable to the published route, and the temptation to cut short the route by using high traffic and potentially dangerous A roads is thus reduced. If riders are going to enjoy the events for the ride rather than validation they should respect the organiser's route (even if it takes a little longer) over and above any desire to finish first.

    Hope this makes sense :)
  • jimwinjimwin Posts: 208
    andy_wrx wrote:
    The recent thread about Audax riding vs Sporitfs seemed to come to the conclusion that Audax rides( ie those under AUK regs ) were pretty similar to Sportifs, just cheaper and more basic.
    - I thought the more common and cynical view was that sportives were just audaxes dressed-up a bit, priced-up a lot and aimed at the sort of people who wouldn't ride an audax in a thousnad years !

    100k and 200k audaxes are compared to sportives, because 200k is 120andabit miles and most sportives are just over the magic century.
    A 200k audax with 'grimpeur' in the title might well be a very similar route to a sportive.

    There might well be a big cross-over in that the same riders will do both, or will start with one and have a go at doing the other 'sort'.

    I'll happily belive that a 300k upwards audax on the other hand is a different beast and attract a totally different rider to sportives.

    You're arguing that a 300k is a 'real audax' but a 100k audax isn't a 'real audax'...

    Hence anyone who does 100k audaxes can't be a 'real audaxer' ?

    - I'll leave you to make that argument !

    ===============================================

    I was going to start a thread very similar to this but did the decent thing and searched to see if had already been covered - which it has.

    My view is that 100K upwards to 300K audaxes are very similar in nature though audaxes are more reliant on self-sufficiency and there are no marshalls - so run at a much lower cost.

    Yes, part of the audax culture of extreme distances means that you will find riders prepared for everything but speed. But in rides even up to 300K, you'll also find riders with the same capabilities as you find in sportives. For my money, a 200K audax beats a typical sportive any day. So I fail to understand why the sportive events suceed in charging the punters so much more dosh.

    - JimW
  • GreenbankGreenbank Posts: 731
    andy_wrx wrote:
    You're arguing that a 300k is a 'real audax' but a 100k audax isn't a 'real audax'...

    Hence anyone who does 100k audaxes can't be a 'real audaxer' ?

    Depends on your terminology. Audaxer yes, they're doing an audax. Randonneurs no, it's not a 200km or further ride. "Real Audaxer" to me anyway, implies "Randonneur". So someone who only does 100km rides, in my opinion, isn't a "real Audaxer".

    The first Audax event (in 1897) was a 200km cycle completed between sunrise and sunset. That's where the standard was set, both distance and time limits.

    Only events of 200km and more, with certain time limits, are considered proper Randonnees. Shorter than that, or more relaxed time limits, and they are Brevet Populaires.

    You're only a marathon runner if you complete a full marathon. Doing two half marathons doesn't make you a marathon runner.
    --
    If I had a baby elephant signature, I\'d use that.
  • Foz72Foz72 Posts: 81
    >"Real Audaxer" to me anyway, implies "Randonneur". So someone who only does 100km ri
    rdes, in my opinion, isn't a "real Audaxer".

    Frankly I'm not the slightest bit interested in what you choose to 'imply'. An 'audax' is a controlled, non-competitive cycling tour under the auspices of (in the UK) Audax UK, regardless of length. A randonnee is 200k plus, whether you like it or not. See http://www.aukweb.net/index2.htm and go to the FAQ. Plain as you like.

    Adding in words like 'real' is, sad to say, just so much nob-waving.

    Ride. Enjoy.
  • GreenbankGreenbank Posts: 731
    Foz72 wrote:
    Frankly I'm not the slightest bit interested in what you choose to 'imply'.

    Interesting given that you then go on to get upset about what i stated quite clearly was my own opinion.
    Foz72 wrote:
    An 'audax' is a controlled, non-competitive cycling tour under the auspices of (in the UK) Audax UK, regardless of length. A randonnee is 200k plus, whether you like it or not.

    Nope. A 200km at anything less than 14.3kph is not a Randonee. Regulations 5.7 and 7.2 apply.
    Foz72 wrote:
    Adding in words like 'real' is, sad to say, just so much nob-waving.

    Here's another way of stating my opinion:-

    Audax UK was created (amongst other things) to promote long distance cycling (actually it was created to make UK entry into PBP much easier, but it's grown from that). I don't think rides below 200km are "long distance", especially not once you start doing longer and longer rides. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with 100km rides, I did one earlier this year, but they are meant as an introductory step to get people up to the traditional Audax distances of 200km and above.
    Foz72 wrote:
    Ride. Enjoy.

    Exactly.
    --
    If I had a baby elephant signature, I\'d use that.
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    I do both sportives and audaxes and enjoy both (and in fact key targets this year involve a mixture of the two,).

    However for those with audaxes close to their hearts I would encourage something be done in terms of marketing and facing up to the fact that their current core population is not getting any younger. (Just turned 50 myself and have a beard myself in fact...)

    Dont think I am being ageist, take a look at the photos/reports in the Audax UK magazine if you dont agree.

    or take a look at website http://www.aukweb.net/index2.htm informative but not exactly an eye catcher.)

    or consider that the membership of the whole of Audax UK is not much bigger than the number of people who take part in UKs biggest sportive.

    or consider that our clubs yearly Audax was dropped this year because the organiser (who moans about everyone doing sportives not audaxes) had a disagreement with the committee and threw his toys out of the pram.

    Two specific suggestions to start with;
    - Drop the barmy need to do a bit of tourist sight seeing for controls.
    - Back to OP market the long distance events much more.
    --For those having done a sportive or two a logical next challenge may well be a 400km or longer (BTW 24 hour sportive is happening at Le Mans but boring in comparison with Audax). Some at least of those paying £1000+ to do the Etape might well be tempted to do a 400/600 here but probably dont even know they happen.
    --And by anybody's definition the PBP or the LEL are mega challenges. The LEL is probably the biggest amateur cycling event happening in this country and in top 3 whole world 2009. But who knows its taking place? (Not Bikeradar I think, at least cant find it via search)
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • toontratoontra Posts: 1,160
    I do both audaxes and sportives also and enjoy them both, in different ways. I agree with much of what bahzob says about the future of Audax UK, and would add that I really think their event entry system needs to enter the 21st century.

    For example, this evening I'm sending off entries for 3 audaxes. This will take me the best part of an hour. I have to:

    1) Write a personal cheque (remember those!)
    2) Write out 3 envelopes - including 2 stamped/addressed (remember those)
    3) Print out and fill in an entry form

    for each event. Therefore 3 cheques and forms to be filed and 9 envelopes and stamps.

    To enter a sportive takes about 10 seconds with on-line registration.

    I'm afraid that unless Audax UK update their marketing and proceedure they may wither. Having said that I really do appreciate all the dedicated work done by the volunteers :)


    a serious case of small cogs
  • zoomcpzoomcp Posts: 975
    toontra wrote:
    To enter a sportive takes about 10 seconds with on-line registration.

    I'm afraid that unless Audax UK update their marketing and proceedure they may wither. Having said that I really do appreciate all the dedicated work done by the volunteers :)

    actually it takes 10 seconds to enter an AUK event online (for the ones which offer it) using PayPal

    although it's only available to AUK members :(

    regarding LEL; the topic has been done to death elsewhere; I think I can only see one person here that doesn't also reside there.
  • toontratoontra Posts: 1,160
    zoomcp wrote:
    [
    actually it takes 10 seconds to enter an AUK event online (for the ones which offer it) using PayPal

    although it's only available to AUK members :(

    Hmm, well, I'm an AUK member but out of 25 events entered none of them (including LEL) have had online PayPal entry. On that basis I can only assume that the percentage that do are very small. :(


    a serious case of small cogs
  • zoomcpzoomcp Posts: 975
    toontra wrote:
    zoomcp wrote:
    [
    actually it takes 10 seconds to enter an AUK event online (for the ones which offer it) using PayPal

    although it's only available to AUK members :(

    Hmm, well, I'm an AUK member but out of 25 events entered none of them (including LEL) have had online PayPal entry. On that basis I can only assume that the percentage that do are very small. :(

    if you go to the calendar and select 3 line display it shows you which ones are PayPal-able; and yes it's not very many but getting more each year. I now only accept Paypal entry for my event less than 7 days before due to the vagueries of the post.
  • PHcpPHcp Posts: 2,748
    If Audax is about long distance cycling, why's the car park allways full?
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