Author Topic: audax for beginners  (Read 4573 times)

ahconway

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audax for beginners
« on: February 13, 2005, 08:07:17 PM »
At long last, I've joined Audax UK and will be doing my first ride at the end of Feb - a 100k near Reading.

I'll be riding my newish Raven.

Any tips for a audax newbie? Will I be an oddity on a bike with flat bars?

Andrew
 

PH

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Re: audax for beginners
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2005, 04:18:17 AM »
The first Raven I saw was on the Mildenhall audax last year, so neither you nor I will have been the first.  I've seen every type of bike from carbon race machines to tandem recumbents including full sus MTBs and fixed gear antiques.  The majority will have drop bars, but it's not a requirement! I doubt Nevermore will be the only Thorn there, the last one I did there were five, my Raven, two Nomads an XTC and an Audax, that was out of 40 bikes!
Tips - there's only one really, ride your own ride, go at a pace you're comfy with, doesnít matter if it's faster or slower than anyone elseís, it's not a race. Oh and enjoy it[:D]


ahconway

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Re: audax for beginners
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2005, 10:18:00 AM »
Thanks for the tips and info PH.

As a veteran randonneur, how do you recommend carrying the instructions sheet? Space on my bars for fastening gadgets is extremely limited.

Also, is it a good idea to buy the OS map and bring that along too?
 

PH

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Re: audax for beginners
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2005, 08:51:01 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by ahconway


As a veteran randonneur,



LOL, I wouldnít go that far, this is my third season and Iím hoping to do my first 300k.

The best place for a map is on top of a bar bag, not really practical on a Raven.  The route sheet is usually an A4 sheet folded in four, each quarter showing directions to the next control.  I used a clear pencil case taped to the stem, not the most elegant solution, but it was cheap and did the job.  Popular with the racers is wearing them on the arm, attached with a couple of elastic bands.
I like to look at the route on an OS Landranger map before the ride, if I have one available, to get some idea of what Iím in for.  Itís not necessary to take one with that much detail with you.  I buy cheap road atlases from the remainder book shops (3 miles to the inch) highlight the route, cut out and take just the page.  Iíve only once gone so off route to have needed it.

MikeT

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Re: audax for beginners
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2005, 09:14:08 AM »
Continuing on for the Audax question. I'm also new to Audaxing, I used  one of the bar top map holders last year, very good. I've just fitted a front bar bag, not too much space for the hands but I'll give it a try. On the subject of luggage, what do you guy's recommend. I turned up for a 200km with a rack pack and seemed to have much more than the others. Some guy's appeared to almost nothing? What do you recommend luggage wise for say 100 -200 - 300 - 400km?
 

ahconway

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Re: audax for beginners
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2005, 09:03:27 PM »
Excellent questions MikeT - look forward to seeing responses.

And to add another question to it, what does one bring to eat? On long rides, I've always subscribed to the "eat before you're hungry, drink before you're thirsty" theory - which means that I usually pack a lot of snacks and bars and such.

I know that it's good form to spend money at the controls, but I expect to spend on Lucozade and not have to rely on Mars bars and cheese sandwiches to get me through the ride!
 

PH

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Re: audax for beginners
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2005, 03:45:09 PM »
So, how was it[;)]

ahconway

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Re: audax for beginners
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2005, 12:38:54 PM »
Thanks for asking, PH! In a word, it was tough! Tougher than I'd expected, in fact.

In terms of bits to bring along, I was well-prepared. I had my trusty Raven and a pannier with a sandwich, some jaffa cakes, a bag of trail mix (granola, peanuts, M&Ms, and raisins), and a half dozen energy bars (including a couple regular Powerbars which froze solid - I managed to bloody my lip at one point trying to gnaw through it!). Also a set of allen keys, and flat repair bits. I also had an OS map and I had laminated the instruction sheet and hung it around my neck (that worked well since I could tuck it into my visi-vest when not needed).

Because the weatherman was predicting freezing rain and sleet for the day right until the day before, I suspect that the turnout was smaller than usual - only about 40 riders or so, including two tandems, one Moulton, an Airnimal, lots of winter training bikes, but no other Ravens.

I had lots of attention from the start with everyone wanting to know if the hub is really worth £600... I more or less gave everyone the same answer, having to do with the hub being great but nothing without the rest of the bike, which was designed specifically for it.

In any case, I was a little surprised on arrival to find that, at 39, I was one of the younger people there. It finally occurred to me that most of the people who turned out were almost certainly hardcore randonneurs who do this sort of thing every weekend, and have done for some number of years.

My surprised turned to worry after we'd been off for a half hour or so and I found that the average speed of the group was approaching 15mph - much quicker than I'm accustomed to, particularly at this point in the season. I was one of the last to reach the lunch stop and was already pretty tired by then.

Then, at the first information control after lunch, I came across a chap who seemed comfortable riding at my pace and we did the rest of the ride together, which was certainly preferable to the first half, which I did mostly on my own. (The only downside was that he had a Hampshire-Surrey accent that I found to be indecipherable at several points!) Some ambiguous (agreed by all, not just us laggards!) instructions sent us off into an unplanned diversion at one point, but we managed to make it back to the route without too much worry.

100km doesn't sound like an unmanageable distance, but when I finally got home afterwards, I saw that with my ride to the station in London and the ride to the start on the other end, I was just over 80 miles. That was definitely a bit much for me in my current fitness and in this cold weather. I was totally wiped out that night and stil felt fatigued the next day - but not sore at all.

It may have been a bit early for me to attempt this distance, but I think I would have fared better if I'd remembered your advice from the start - it's my ride, not anyone else's.

The Raven performed very well indeed - no complaints at all. It felt a little sluggish at times, though I suspect that was just my legs tiring out! I had had some trouble with hand/wrist pain before, but none of that this time (looks like I can finally chop the top off the fork tube!), and my Brooks saddle, while still rock hard, was fine too.

I will definitely do more audax rides - probably the West London 1/6 in April will be next.

 

PH

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Re: audax for beginners
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2005, 06:16:53 PM »
Congratulations, hopefully the first of many.  The winter season seems to attract the hardcore, not many others are daft enough!  Even so 40 is a decent turn out for Feb.
Sticking to your own pace is an art, itís all too easy to go with a group and regret it later in the ride.  Even though I know better, it still sometimes happens to me.
If you continue to Audax, Iím sure our paths will cross at some time

ahconway

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Re: audax for beginners
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2005, 05:10:58 PM »
I'm finally off on my second Audax ride, only four months after the first! Should be in better shape this time, and the weather will almost certainly be more co-operative.

It's the Suburban Breakout 110km leaving from North London on 10th July 2005.

Maybe I'll see some other Ravens this time?

See http://www.audax.uk.net/cal/calsolo.php?Ride=546 for details.

Andrew
 

PH

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Re: audax for beginners
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2005, 10:58:09 AM »
About time too[;)]  Hope you enjoy it.
Are you still on the 1.75Ē tourguards?  Iíve changed to 1.5Ē Hi-Roads for summer riding, what a difference!  Itís narrowed the speed gap between the Raven and my touring bike to almost nothing and made choosing which bike to use harder.  Iíve done three Audax on each this season and Iím beginning to question if I need a second bike, if I didnít already have it I wouldnít be looking.
Are you doing the Audax from the Mildenhall Rally?  Itís a good ride and a chance to pick up some cheap kit.
Iíve just been to York Rally, Thorns everywhere, all sizes, models and ages, including at least three Ravens.

ahconway

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Re: audax for beginners
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2005, 12:44:21 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by PH

About time too[;)]  Hope you enjoy it.
Are you still on the 1.75Ē tourguards?  Iíve changed to 1.5Ē Hi-Roads for summer riding, what a difference!  Itís narrowed the speed gap between the Raven and my touring bike to almost nothing and made choosing which bike to use harder.  Iíve done three Audax on each this season and Iím beginning to question if I need a second bike, if I didnít already have it I wouldnít be looking.
Are you doing the Audax from the Mildenhall Rally?  Itís a good ride and a chance to pick up some cheap kit.
Iíve just been to York Rally, Thorns everywhere, all sizes, models and ages, including at least three Ravens.




I am indeed looking forward to the ride. I would like to have done more before now, but there don't appear to be many within easy reach of London unfortunately. Still loving the Raven, though I'm still on the 1.75s. I suspect that I'll stick with them throughout the summer, lacking time/money/gumption to make a change. Plus, I have a slightly irrational aversion to swapping tyres before they're ready to retire, like putting on yesterday's socks!

I do hope to do the Mildenhall event - I'll post here if so.

Andrew
« Last Edit: June 30, 2005, 01:05:20 PM by ahconway »