Audax is a strange time consuming past time for the committed long distance cyclist held under the rules of Audax UK and here is my summery of my very own Audax year. My main objective for 2012 was a minimum of a 200K a month. My Summery for the year 4,055KM (2503miles) in 167 hours at an average speed of 24.3kph (15 mph) with 31000+ meters of climbing (102, 000 ft). Times are moving speed and do not take into account stops.
Friday the 13th of January and on a cold but very clear morning I set off for my first 200K Audax of 2012. It was a DIY via GPS event – a route is agreed in advance and verified using the GPX track downloaded from the GPS after the ride. I didn’t need to worry about the track – I stopped for food at Audlem and within half an hour of leaving the cafe was violently sick! Food poisoning. Not the best start to the year and a rather unpleasant 24 hours followed….
Saturday 23/01/12 Doctor Forster Winter Warmer, Cardiff. 201KM and in 8h 09 minutes
January’s second attempt at a 200K didn’t get off to a great start – I arrived at the start an hour late after misreading the times to be met with an empty car park! A frantic phone call later and all was well and off I went to catch the Peleton! I remember bit of ice but generally a beautiful day with a magnificent ride over the Severn Bridge at Bristol watching the sun come up and a really lovely route apart from Gloucester which was horrendously busy. A route split into two half – the English flat lands along the Severn and a few lumps and bumps heading back to Cardiff.
27 February 2012 DIY to Newport 201 Km in 8H 13
I can’t honestly remember too much about this ride apart from the fact it seemed quite hilly for a flat ride! It was rode alone on a dull winters day!
25th March 2012 the Chirk 200, 208 km in 7h.30
This is a lovely Audax which is generally flat across the Cheshire Plain from Poyntyn to Chirk in Wales before turning around and following a parallel route home. I’ve done this ride several times and it is an excellent route.
6th of April DIY 210 from M4 near Hungerford to Crowbourgh in Sussex
This was a hilly route with nearly 10000 ft of climbing along the lines of the Downes passing through picture perfect villages with cricket greens and thatched cottages and pubs. It was also very windy but always from behind! We had stayed at the service station the night before and I had left under a blue sky at -4c! Lovely riding through new country to me and it was wonderful to meet the family again in the evening.
14th April 2012 Yr Elenydd 300k this is a rather hilly 308 km (190 miles) across Shropshire and Wales with 5000 meters (16500 ft) completed in 14h 35m. This ride is an Audax classic following a very senic (hilly!) route from Upton Magna, E of Shrewsbury going through Shropshire’s ‘blue remembered hills’ on to the infamous road to Tregaron and the rather steep Devil’s Staircase before following the mountain road to Rhayader and on back over the Long Mynd to Shrewsbury. Cold, hilly, wet, hilly, wind, hilly, snow, hilly – did I mention the where a few hills? I remembering having to stop to buy an fleece and a pair of gloves and the temperature maxing out at about 6c. Brilliant ride over beautiful country. One of the highlights of the year.
13th May 2012 the World’s End 200, 208km in 8.49 starting in Macclesfield then across the Cheshire Plaine to Mold before climbing worlds end and a really supper fast wind assisted ride back to Macclesfield. I mainly remember suffering like a dog for the first half after just coming back from a week of excess on holiday in Italy. It was 100K in before my legs stopped complaining!
9th of June the Moors and Wolds 400k – this 411k (253 miles) event was rode in 16h 37m and had a bit of everything weather wise except June weather – flash floods of biblical scale – the police where stopping cars and closing roads to prevent major damage, strong winds – thankfully normally from behind, and I managed to explore a part of the world I do not know very well. Excellent ride in great company with some lovely high lovely riding and some pan flat moors. A very nice 400K ride.
15th of July the Hills and Plains of Cheshire 200, this 210 km ride was finished in 8H and 12m and is a really lovely ride taking in some of the hilly bits of Cheshire around Macclesfield before a loop of the Plains. It really is a cracking ride and was done in fine weather as far as I can remember. Not that the was much fine weather in 2012!
28th July the Two Coast 600K, this lovely event I had to pull out of at the 400K mark with a injury in a place where the sun does not shine….. It a beautiful coast to coast route but being an Audax it starts in the middle and finishes in the middle! None of this catching a bus home…. I had made a minor adjustment to my saddle – but it is funny how 15+ hours in the saddle shows up the slightest flaw in the bike set up – sitting was painful for a week after! Still a good solid 250 miles in the legs.
10th of August 2012 and the highlight of my Audax year the Schiehallion Sunrise 400K, this 410k (253 miles) event had nealy 18000 ft of climbing and a lot of it in the dark! A really stunning route through the mountains and glens of Angus and Perthshire in great company. The ride started at 9pm (I had been up all day by this point as had no hotel room…. Not a good start!) went though the night and as the name implies went below the beautiful mountain of Schiehallion at sunrise. And if the sun came out for an hour all day it came out at the base of this fabled mountain. This was the first time this ride has taken place and I’m sure it is destined to be a classic – if you don’t mind the odd hill or three!
2nd September 2012 the The Wizard and the Llamas 140K, I extended this ride to over 200k as I started from home and met Debbie and another Jo on their first Audax and rode around with them. The are not many ‘shorter’ Audaxes around the North West to introduce people this strange hobbies but this is a good one – some rugged climbing but mainly a flat ride in beautiful country with some excellent cake stops on route!
14th September DIY 600K, another 600 with a DNF in the column – I realised after spending so long in my own compnay I needed someone else to talk to and for no other reason but borrdom jumped on the train at Melton Mowbury with no pie after 390km! I can report that train services are greatly improved since the last time I had to catch one. Still looking a the map it was some impressive miles with just myself for company!!
14th of October the Horseshoe Pass 200K, this 211K ride starts in Congleton before shooting across the Cheshire plain to Chirk in North Wales and swinging back home via the lovely climb of the Horsehoe Pass. I think it was one of the nicest days of the year with sunshine! The hadn’t been many.
16th November DIY to AGM, 204 km down through the Shropshire Hills before turning West in Knighton for the Audax AGM in Llandrindod Wells. Horrible weather, low cloud, rain and just really wintry but a no ice. Not a fun day to be out on a bike really!
15th December and the final long one of the year – on my own down to Church Stretton and back. 204 km with a few lumpy bits and a pleasing end to the year. This was my third attempt at getting out to do a 200K in December – ice had stopped the previous attempts.
Happy riding and have a great 2013 😉