At the start of the year, I had thought I might do the 110km Spring into the Dales Audax today. And then the people I thought I might do it with went off to do the far more glamorous (but harder) Paris-Roubaix. At the start of the week I still thought maybe I’d do the Audax if the weather was good…but then it looked to be a bit windy, and the 50km I did with @accidentobizaro felt quite enough.
I really like the idea of Audax. The emphasis of the events is on long distance riding, and some of them are so long they take a couple of days, and you ride through the night, or sleep on some local village hall floor. There are shorter 50km ones, but whatever the distance it’s more about the personal challenge than the speed, and it’s all very jolly and friendly. There’s also quite an emphasis on tea and cake. There are no goody bags, no sponsors providing isotonic gels, no tri bars – instead there’s lots of people with large saddlebags (often containing a flask and picnic), and even the occasional trike. For under a tenner – and maybe even under a fiver – you navigate your way (the routes are not waymarked) around the countryside, collecting stamps on your brevet card, which proves that you’ve completed the route. Sometimes there’s no stamp, but instead you have to spot some local piece of information on your way round the route. In fact, it’s basically a treasure hunt for grown ups, with a large pile of cake (and sometimes rice pudding) at the end. I hope to do more of them this year, but today it was not to be. Instead I coughed my way with the rest of the family along route 66 to Hebden Bridge and back. 3km, rather than 110km – but 30 days of biking is all about the personal challenge, rather than the distance, right?