Audax tips?

Talk about anything.

Moderators: Bearbonesnorm, Taylor, Chew

Post Reply
User avatar
composite
Posts: 1493
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:26 pm
Contact:

Audax tips?

Post by composite » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:03 am

In a fit of blind confidence, I joined Audax UK last night and signed up to my first event, 214km in 12 days time!

I guess one of the most important things is to just make sure you keep an eye on the control points. Was thinking I would write those out with distances and stick them to my top tube. I thought that there must be some Audax riders on here and wondered what tips you might be able to give me? :-bd

Chew
Posts: 2479
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:46 pm
Location: Halifax

Re: Audax tips?

Post by Chew » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:22 am

When you sign-on there will be some kind of route sheet detailing all the controls and their distances. I just shove that in my pocket and remember where the next one is.

The usual rule of minimising stopped time and being efficient when you do.
For a 200 if plan on having 2 proper stops to have a good feed, but you’ll tend to find that the controls will be set out in a way to allow this.

Just think of it as a BB200 without the pushing and a different set of loones :wink:

jameso
Posts: 3416
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:48 pm
Location: Chilterns

Re: Audax tips?

Post by jameso » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:33 am

:-bd
I really like audax events, only done a few over the years but keep meaning to get to more. Done a number of routes as solo/permanents w/o all the stamps, just keeping tabs on my av speed etc. Enjoy riding like that. Main thing I learned is to start slower than feels normal and aim to finish at that same pace, it's like a long winter base-pace ride. Take hills really easy. The time controls feel fairly generous but can still be a challenge. Personally I'm not into the idea of going 'faster' in audaxes, just how well I manage pace vs stop time, so a good tip/habit is watching my overall -not moving- average speed vs the average I had in mind, eg the average needed to complete ~10% under the time limit.

User avatar
composite
Posts: 1493
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:26 pm
Contact:

Re: Audax tips?

Post by composite » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:18 am

jameso wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:33 am
:-bd
I really like audax events, only done a few over the years but keep meaning to get to more. Done a number of routes as solo/permanents w/o all the stamps, just keeping tabs on my av speed etc. Enjoy riding like that. Main thing I learned is to start slower than feels normal and aim to finish at that same pace, it's like a long winter base-pace ride. Take hills really easy. The time controls feel fairly generous but can still be a challenge. Personally I'm not into the idea of going 'faster' in audaxes, just how well I manage pace vs stop time, so a good tip/habit is watching my overall -not moving- average speed vs the average I had in mind, eg the average needed to complete ~10% under the time limit.
I'm not bothered about doing them quick either. Right now this is about me trying to work on pacing for consistency and just getting miles back in the legs, so everything you are saying resonates for me. The other thing is I want to get back into is the mentality of having a route you have to follow and getting to the end of that. 214km will be the longest I have ridden in a few years, although I have done some 170km rides this summer and stuck very strictly to my planned route to try to get back to that mindset.

User avatar
ScotRoutes
Posts: 5776
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:56 am
Location: Cairngorms
Contact:

Re: Audax tips?

Post by ScotRoutes » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:15 pm

James mentioned it above but on long rides of this kind I've had a GPS displaying overall average speed and tried to maintain that at, or slightly above, my planned speed. I found it good for watching I don't stop too long, or making me put a bit of a spurt on so I don't drop below during any stops.

BenS
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:31 pm
Location: Cardiff

Re: Audax tips?

Post by BenS » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:39 pm

Take something to write with - you'll need to write on your Brevet card.

Depending on how efficient you need to be at controls always order something you can eat straight away as well as something that needs to be prepared.

Ask for water bottle refills when you order not when about to leave.

I often find the 1st half hour to be slow paced as everyone doesn't want to be the one to ride off of the front. Riding off of the front will often get you to the 1st control in front of the bulge and make things a lot quicker.

User avatar
Charliecres
Posts: 1075
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:28 pm

Re: Audax tips?

Post by Charliecres » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:07 pm

I’m watching this with interest as I’ve been thinking about giving audax a go.

User avatar
johnnystorm
Posts: 3369
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:55 pm
Location: Eastern (Anglia) Front

Re: Audax tips?

Post by johnnystorm » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:18 pm

Like Scotroutes says, set your GPS to show overall average speed and distance covered. The brevet card should tell you the controls and the time window you should arrive at them. When you reach a control just make sure you have a look at when the next one is so you don't ride past an info control. If you forget a pen take a pic with your phone.
I managed to rescue a ride by taking a pic outside the control. The receipt they gave me had the wrong time on it! Shame really as it "proved" I'd averaged 35kph in 50mph headwinds. :lol:
Image
Blog, News, Reviews, Opinions, Routes: http://www.advntr.cc

User avatar
composite
Posts: 1493
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:26 pm
Contact:

Re: Audax tips?

Post by composite » Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:05 am

ScotRoutes wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:15 pm
James mentioned it above but on long rides of this kind I've had a GPS displaying overall average speed and tried to maintain that at, or slightly above, my planned speed. I found it good for watching I don't stop too long, or making me put a bit of a spurt on so I don't drop below during any stops.
I have that on my GPS anyway but importantly I need to remember to not pause it when I stop. I guess you would say that I use it as a "moving time" average speed at the moment.

Thanks for the input guys, very helpful.

User avatar
ScotRoutes
Posts: 5776
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:56 am
Location: Cairngorms
Contact:

Re: Audax tips?

Post by ScotRoutes » Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:16 am

Yeah, my Oregon records both Overall Average and Moving Average.

If you're interested, I did a wee blog page about preparing for a long ride where I'd set a target pace.


https://www.blog.scotroutes.com/2016/07/10.html

jameso
Posts: 3416
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:48 pm
Location: Chilterns

Re: Audax tips?

Post by jameso » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:04 am

It's a good blog post there ^ too. I spent more time looking at my averages after reading that. I'd spent time monitoring stop time effect in average speed in prep for a race a while back but Audax gave me a different perspective on it. When watching it over a ling ride it's surprising how fast the average drops when you stop and how hard it is to make it back up - less so and more so respectively as the ride goes on.

User avatar
Dyffers
Posts: 519
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:10 pm
Location: Darkest Dorset

Re: Audax tips?

Post by Dyffers » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:17 am

Some random thoughts in no particular order from a few years of audaxing:

Take some pocket food, in something you can dip into whilst riding to cut down stopped time and keep your digestion going between control food options

If there is an info control, it'll be an easy question; look at the question in the card at the previous control, then remember the answer and don't stop to write it down

Ride whatever bike you're comfortable on if it's fast enough; there'll be old boy on a depleted uranium-framed tourer with the biggest rackbag you've ever seen that will pass you on the final climb when you're feeling rubbish

A very experienced rider once said "If you're having to try, you're trying to hard"; don't smash it up the hills if you're just building back up to all day riding again

Having said don't smash it, it can be worth putting in a little extra effort for a tow on a group that's working well, especially if it's a windy day

The group riding skills range from experienced club rider to zero, so be wary about drafting close in until you've assessed the riding style

If you catch a rider / group and want to sit on wheels for a rest for a bit, say hello and that it's your intention to sit in for a bit; audax is about being social in groups, not gurning trying to drop everyone else, and generally if you announce your intention to do no work on the front everybody accepts this fine

Even if the forecast is wall to wall sunshine all day, take your lightweight waterproof as being wet and cold with anouther 6 hours of riding ahead of you makes it hard to keep your head in it

Similarly, take a front and rear visibility light as it make be miles of visibility at sea level but you're going up to Dunkery Beacon / Bulky Gross / Great Dun Fell where it might be 50 yards visibility blanket fog / horizontal rain

Think of dull boring roads as opportunites to make up time

It gets weirder the further towards the back you get

Make sure you eat some cake sitting in a cafe at some point round the ride, it's the rules :-bd

BobCatMax
Posts: 271
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:18 pm
Location: south coast
Contact:

Re: Audax tips?

Post by BobCatMax » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:09 am

I love audaxing, I've got one this coming weekend. (although this is technically a Brevet Populaire because it's less than 200km, an Audax is 200km or more)

lots of great advice written above, and I've only been doing it a few years so I doubt I have even half the wisdom up there to add.

I would definitely recommend taking some nibbles with you. the control points can have anything from a decent spread to the most lavish feast (anything by El Supremo comes under this).

I would echo Dyffers but probably add that there will be more than one of them and they will pass you throughout the day!

I tend to spend a fair bit of time planning my ride on rwgps to avoid the busier roads but you don't have to, I just really like planning.

sitting just above the minimum speed is known as a Full Value Ride.

Enjoy yourself, it's a delightfully civilised, slippery slope.
Image Image

User avatar
composite
Posts: 1493
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:26 pm
Contact:

Re: Audax tips?

Post by composite » Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:10 pm

So it's normal that food is provided at control stops? I guess I should just clarify with the organiser.

I had planned to go with my fuelling strategies from when I was still doing big riding, I was very used to riding and eating and that still seems to agree with me. As long as I eat at least something (normally a small something) once an hour I find that keeps me going and agrees with my guts. After last weekends ride stopping for a coffee and then a quick sandwich, it made me think about other ways. It was nice to stop and if I have to do that for controls anyway then I might as well use those moments to get something down my neck. The 2 approaches aren't mutually exclusive though.

Thanks for the blog post link, will read over a cuppa this afternoon.

Edit this is the one I'm doing by the way https://www.audax.uk/event-details?eventId=7273
Last edited by composite on Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jamiep
Posts: 458
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:34 pm
Location: Edinburgh
Contact:

Re: Audax tips?

Post by jamiep » Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:17 pm

Basic food will typically be provided by the organiser for the finish (unless the audax is an 'x rated' one). But controls are typically at/near normal cafes where one buys one's own food

jamiep
Posts: 458
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:34 pm
Location: Edinburgh
Contact:

Re: Audax tips?

Post by jamiep » Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:30 pm

I did a solo 400 yesterday, to complete the 200, 300, 400, 600 Super Randonneur for the season.

- Go at a steady pace and fuel regularly, and you'll be able to carry on pretty much indefinitely.
- Don't dally at stops but always stop to eat if you feel the bonk coming on else it'll be too late and you'll slow to a crawl.
- Treat it as a series of short rides between cafes rather than one massive ride.
- Don't have the distance on the GPS's main map screen, just the total average speed else you'll be distance watching, which will barry your head in.
- Podcast or audiobook in case you need to take your mind of it.
- Stop immediately to put on / take off waterproofs rather than getting soaked then doing it.
- Whenever you stop, even briefly, take a nibble and a drink.
- Stop immediately to check any rattle etc before it ends your ride.
- Carry extra gloves if the ride is so long that it is into into nightfall.
- You will always hit a rough patch where you are struggling. Eat some more. Then carry on and push trough it because every pedal is a pedal that gets you closer to the finish.

User avatar
AlexGold
Posts: 118
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:54 pm

Re: Audax tips?

Post by AlexGold » Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:58 pm

All good tips! I'm an occasional reader and very occasional poster on here, my main thing these days is Audax.

I'd add to the above, especially taking into account what the event is, 'Don't be shy about jumping off and walking'! That event is known as a real tough one and whilst not the toughest climbing imaginable, there's a fair bit of it. Blowing your legs up early muscling too hard a gear up a 20% incline isn't necessarily the best idea :smile:

Other than that, eat, drink and enjoy! I find a frame/top tube bag helps a lot to keep food close to hand without overloading pockets. I'd also generally stay away from sports nutrition (especially gels) and try and eat a mix of sweet and savoury. I generally have some sort of 'sweets' (like jelly babies), sweet solid stuff (flapjacks, belvita etc) and savoury (sandwiches, sausage rolls) in or around me most of the time and alternate between the three. If sitting to eat a control, hammering in some sweets on arrival will help you get back on top of fueling while waiting for food to be delivered.

Check the info/email/routesheet for specifics, there may be food at the start/end/middle or other tips mentioned that you might want to know about.

User avatar
composite
Posts: 1493
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:26 pm
Contact:

Re: Audax tips?

Post by composite » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:25 pm

AlexGold wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:58 pm
All good tips! I'm an occasional reader and very occasional poster on here, my main thing these days is Audax.

I'd add to the above, especially taking into account what the event is, 'Don't be shy about jumping off and walking'! That event is known as a real tough one and whilst not the toughest climbing imaginable, there's a fair bit of it. Blowing your legs up early muscling too hard a gear up a 20% incline isn't necessarily the best idea :smile:

Other than that, eat, drink and enjoy! I find a frame/top tube bag helps a lot to keep food close to hand without overloading pockets. I'd also generally stay away from sports nutrition (especially gels) and try and eat a mix of sweet and savoury. I generally have some sort of 'sweets' (like jelly babies), sweet solid stuff (flapjacks, belvita etc) and savoury (sandwiches, sausage rolls) in or around me most of the time and alternate between the three. If sitting to eat a control, hammering in some sweets on arrival will help you get back on top of fueling while waiting for food to be delivered.

Check the info/email/routesheet for specifics, there may be food at the start/end/middle or other tips mentioned that you might want to know about.
I'm reasonably familiar with a number of the climbs around Church Stretton and had already thought that in the context of this ride, there was no shame in walking the steepest ramps.

I have never been a fan of "science food" and will certainly be taking real food with me. Haribo and flapjacks for something more substantial and I was always partial to a think layer of peanut butter spread on a wrap and rolled up. I also really like Battenburg as the perfect mixture of fat and sugar. I remember riding the BB200 a few times riding along eating a Batterburg, taking bites out of the whole thing like a Mars bar! :grin:

User avatar
AlexGold
Posts: 118
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:54 pm

Re: Audax tips?

Post by AlexGold » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:42 pm

composite wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:25 pm
I also really like Battenburg as the perfect mixture of fat and sugar. I remember riding the BB200 a few times riding along eating a Batterburg, taking bites out of the whole thing like a Mars bar! :grin:
Sounds similar to my penchant for carrying marzipan, bought in blocks from supermarket (bonus points for 'brandy marzipan' from waitrose) and occasionally pulling it out and taking a chunk out of it! This led to someone once thinking I was eating a block of cheese, which might also be a good idea :lol:

Chew
Posts: 2479
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:46 pm
Location: Halifax

Re: Audax tips?

Post by Chew » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:06 pm

composite wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:10 pm
So it's normal that food is provided at control stops?
Not provided, but usually available.

Controls will usually be a cafe where you may get a stamp, or a town where you'll need to get a receipt

So on this event theres a control at 104.3k in Montgomery.
You just have to prove you've been there at a certain time, so its easy to pop into a shop to buy a sausage roll and get a receipt with a date/time :-bd

Unless you need a completed brevet to qualify for PBP or something I wouldnt worry about it too much.

jamiep
Posts: 458
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:34 pm
Location: Edinburgh
Contact:

Re: Audax tips?

Post by jamiep » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:35 pm

Oh, another tip for long distance cycling generally, go as easily as possible up hills so as to not go into the red. But also go hard descending, working about as hard as you do when cimbing, in order to maximise the distance/effort balance overall

User avatar
composite
Posts: 1493
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:26 pm
Contact:

Re: Audax tips?

Post by composite » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:55 pm

Thanks for the tips all. I'm going to write up a blog post that puts all of these tips into one list and anything else that I learnt or that I tried that worked out well.

I did the ride last Saturday, it was 214km and about 11000ft of climbing which took me 10 hours 35mins, end to end. Surprisingly this made me 7th home from 83 starters. I really enjoyed the format and I'm definitely going to do more.
Quick write up here: https://www.composite-projects.co.uk/20 ... ler-214km/

BobCatMax
Posts: 271
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:18 pm
Location: south coast
Contact:

Re: Audax tips?

Post by BobCatMax » Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:37 pm

fantastic.

I wish I had time to do more and longer ones but family and work currently don't allow. I hope to make that change in a few years time.


very glad you enjoyed it so much
Image Image

Post Reply