My Audax year 2011 in review

Well not quite as I only had 9 months of the Audax year this year, but as the official season runs 1st November-31st October it’s now a new year. So to fill in some time before my first audax of the new Season (100km “To the Races” from Alfreton + 100km ECE) here’s a quick recap.

It all started from a cold side street in Leicester in Febuary 2011 with my first 100km, Rutland and Beyond. All a bit of a shock to the system after a couple of months of just trundling around. Just about managed to cope with a route sheet and a couple of photocopied pages from a Road atlas with the route drawn on in highlighter pen.

Things got better with the next 2 events as things got a bit longer (100km Three Fields + 200km Roses to Wrags). Got a bit more used to riding in company, not faffing so much at controls and moved onto GPS so I didn’t have to keep reaching for the map. Starting to get used to the idea of audax eating consisting of lard and sugar in heavy quantities.

First experience of riding in the proper dark (well 9pm) and first audax trip to the seaside as well with the Skegness 300km from Alfreton. Definitely starting to feel the distance now, but a lot better at making sure for a proper rest and refeed at controls. Discovered that hills make a huge difference on my first go at a GPS DIY. Discovering the joys of a horrendous headwind for 80km on the Lincolnshire cross, which was a taster of what was to come later on on my 600km ride. Then my first DNF for a calendar event with a broken saddle on the Moors and Wolds 400km (I now have a ‘fix’ if this happens again).

Another go at the hills with the Tramway 100km, much better this time. That wasn’t quite long enough for that month so I had another go at GPS DIY which worked out fine apart from a bit of rain. And then a 600km DIY along the London Edinburgh route (here and here) which introduced me to the benfits of not relying on a GPS alone for ride validation (which I forgot to remember later on in the year as well).And featured 300km of headwind, which I didn’t think was possible.

Next big ride was a solo 400km DIY cobbled together from bits of Moors and Wolds, another GPS cock up left the validation of this one in some doubt for a while as well. I really will make sure I get receipts in future. But it did mean that I also did another 200km GPS DIY so I could keep a nascent RRTY going. Quite a bit of elation when the validation did come through.

And then finished the season off with another hilly ride from Alfreton (Beware of The Plauge) which I ECE-ed into a 200km to keep the RRTY going.

So all in all a pretty good first season. 13 events in total with officiali 1,765 miles, a Super Randonneur award, and 75% of an RRTY. Not bad considering it’s less than 12 months ago since I actually bought my bike. I’ve learnt plenty about how I handle tiredness, the best way to pace myself around events and importantly, what service station and CoOp food stuffs I can eat in large quantities. I think my favourite ride of the year as the 400km DIY, on the ride everything seemed to just fall into place, and the great feeling of riding across Lincolshire and Nottinghamshire in the dead of the night on the homeward leg was amazing.

Plans are afoot already for 2012:

  • Entries are in for:
    • The Dean 300km (4 AAA)
    • Yr Ellenydd 300km (5AAA)
    • Mille Alba 10ookm
  • With plans to enter:
    • Brevet Cymru 400km (2.25 AAA)
    • Bryan Chapman Memorial 600km (8.25 AAA)

Which should give me an SR, and if the plans go through at the AGM one of the new fangles SR25’s as well. Will also leave me only 0.5 AAA short of an AAA badge, so it seems rude not to go for that as well. I want to keep the RRTY going as well, so here’s hoping for a mildish winter.

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