Taking The First Step Towards Audax

LeetleGreyCells

Un rouleur infatigable
From watching a number of videos about Audax and reading about Audax on a number of sites (including all the great info here on Cyclechat!), I've come to the conclusion that Audaxers are completely mad. In which case, I should fit in well :okay:

I've been trying to come up with a plan to get fitter and stronger so I can complete ever-increasing distances. To date, the furthest I have ever ridden is 100km. In Audax, that's a short ride (and doesn't get you any Audax points!).

I'm probably wanting to start this at the wrong time of year, but I figure if I can do it in winter, I should be fine for the rest of the year (I did my one and only metric century in 35 degree heat just to prove to myself that I could... :laugh: ).

I'm planning to do my first 200km Audax on 1st February, giving me 2.5 months to get fit enough to complete it. My plan is to ride as much as possible between now and then whether out on the road on my own, group family rides or on Zwift. During my research, I read that to get fit enough I should be riding between 10 and 14 hours per week - not to measure in miles how far I ride, but how long in time. When you sit and work it out, and try to include at least one rest day per week (and not including life getting in the way), 10 hours seems like a lot. I'm going to track my time on the bike and try to see an increase each week. The theory is, the more I do the easier it should get. I thought I would also complete some of the Zwift training plans too.

I will gradually increase my distance out on the bike. There are some permanent events at 100km which I thought I would do which should help me get used to the amount of time and distance too. If I gradually increase both time and distance, I should acclimatise to the riding better.

Any thoughts or tips on what else I can do to achieve 200km and beyond?
 

Heltor Chasca

Out-riding the Black Dog
It will consume you. I started this time of year a few years ago and was hooked. A few 100s then 200s. I’m up to 500 now and this season I would like to do a SR (200,400,600) I’ve done a RRTY and I’m working towards an AAA RRTY. Collecting badges and medals is all consuming.

At 45 I have probably lived less than some of these old hands have been audaxing. I am not a natural cyclist but I have a mindset that can get me round. I also love the mixture of solitude and social encounters. I can’t think of a better cycling pastime and way to see the country. Audax is very diverse.

No advice other than pity. In a nice way 😉

For other reasons I started filming a few rides

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPTgTWf9m2WJl3HL8kc105A
 
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DCLane

Found in the Yorkshire hills ...
If you can do 100km then there's the Randonneur series; complete a 50km, 100km and 150km ride for that.

The Super Randonneur is different 200/300/400/600km rides from 1st October-30th September.

My first one was a 120km ride in 2012, which went so badly I didn't do any more for 18 months. Since then I've done everything up to LEL.

Basically, once you've done 100km a couple of times then 200 isn't that tough. It's further, not necessarily faster. Fuelling is more important the further you go, together with pacing things appropriately: too often I've met riders who've blown up at 2/3 distance or just haven't eaten enough to keep going. Once you go over 300km then you're into night riding, which is another experience and requires extra clothing, plus mind games start creeping in. From 300km you may also want to carry extra spares/tools on the bike and it's at that point things you thought were fine when doing 100km aren't in terms of set-up.

But then I'm an oddity: I went from 240km in 2014 to riding the PBP SR qualifiers and the 1200km of PBP in 2015. 2017's 1400km LEL ride was preceded by almost nothing in 2016 due to injury. This year I've done my SR but am unlikely to in 2020 due to track racing at the moment.
 
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DCLane

Found in the Yorkshire hills ...
Audax riders are mostly a friendly bunch as well. I've met a whole pile of riders on there, some who are on CC, as well as the 'other site' (YACF). If you're into Youtube (a la Hector's above), a lot of Katie Kookaburra's video's cover audax: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCzN8KWKew4fp-AWIuE7E8A

You'll find that the quality of riding is generally higher than on a sportive or charity type ride. There's fewer wannabe racers and far less sketchy riding so if I want to ride with others I'll find it easier, although I do tend do ride solo these days due to post-accident and post-operative complications affecting my pacing.

Bikes vary from the latest carbon machine through to home-built bodgery: mine's at the latter end. No bike snobbery really exists: there was a huge amount of interest in a rider on the Blackpool-Glasgow-Blackpool 600 I rode in 2018 who turned up with a box of bits in the afternoon, built the bike at the HQ just before the start and then she rode it that evening over the whole event. Someone else had a Di2-equipped Pinarello Dogma and the only question was whether the battery would last: it didn't!
 
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dave r

Dunking Diddy Dave Pedalling Pensioner
From watching a number of videos about Audax and reading about Audax on a number of sites (including all the great info here on Cyclechat!), I've come to the conclusion that Audaxers are completely mad. In which case, I should fit in well :okay:

I've been trying to come up with a plan to get fitter and stronger so I can complete ever-increasing distances. To date, the furthest I have ever ridden is 100km. In Audax, that's a short ride (and doesn't get you any Audax points!).

I'm probably wanting to start this at the wrong time of year, but I figure if I can do it in winter, I should be fine for the rest of the year (I did my one and only metric century in 35 degree heat just to prove to myself that I could... :laugh: ).

I'm planning to do my first 200km Audax on 1st February, giving me 2.5 months to get fit enough to complete it. My plan is to ride as much as possible between now and then whether out on the road on my own, group family rides or on Zwift. During my research, I read that to get fit enough I should be riding between 10 and 14 hours per week - not to measure in miles how far I ride, but how long in time. When you sit and work it out, and try to include at least one rest day per week (and not including life getting in the way), 10 hours seems like a lot. I'm going to track my time on the bike and try to see an increase each week. The theory is, the more I do the easier it should get. I thought I would also complete some of the Zwift training plans too.

I will gradually increase my distance out on the bike. There are some permanent events at 100km which I thought I would do which should help me get used to the amount of time and distance too. If I gradually increase both time and distance, I should acclimatise to the riding better.

Any thoughts or tips on what else I can do to achieve 200km and beyond?
I've never done Audax seriously, though I've done several, last one in 2014. I typically ride two 50-60 mile rides in a week which usually gives me somewhere between 7 and 9 hours in the saddle, so I recon three or four rides a week should be enough to get you enough time in the saddle.
 

Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
During my research, I read that to get fit enough I should be riding between 10 and 14 hours per week - not to measure in miles how far I ride, but how long in time.
I think that's a bit of an arbitrary figure. I ride significantly less than that (like less than half that much) and I can cope with 200k OK. (And occasionally more).

I'm not saying "do what I do", rather suggesting that you shouldn't take those figures too seriously. They may not apply to you at all.

Much of it is in the mind. If your bike is comfortable, you ride at a sustainable pace, and eat regularly, then - eventually - the end arrives. It's just a question of patience, and willingness to ignore complaining limbs while waiting for the finish to come to you. Well - it is for me anyway.
 
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I'm in a similar position @LeetleGreyCells. I upped my mileage to a cehtury this year (160k), but didn't manage 200k yet. I had previously topped out at 120k but nin 2018 I hardly cycled so I was effectively physically starting from scratch, although I was psychologically a bit more prepared.

I was advised that "Muscle memory" makes a big difference and commuting 10-14k a day would certainly help, and this was correct. I also found that each distance I aimed for (starting with 60k) seemed much longer before than after I rode it. 100k was a big psychological change: after that anything was possible. I used the same route for the century, riding to Tübingen (50k), then continued up the valley to Rottenburg (60k), then playing mind games for the next few K's along the valley, jumping from village to village until I reached the point I knew was 50 miles from where I live.

As an added advantage I'd been riding upriver most of this time so the majority of the return was very slightly downhill. Of course I blew this advantage by riding too fast and wearing myself out before the hills to our village...

Writing this it occurs to me that it's cold but dry and sunny, I may yet try for that 200k...
 
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dave r

Dunking Diddy Dave Pedalling Pensioner
I'm in a similar position @LeetleGreyCells. I upped my mileage to a cehtury this year (160k), but didn't manage 200k yet. I had previously topped out at 120k but nin 2018 I hardly cycled so I was effectively physically starting from scratch, although I was psychologically a bit more prepared.

I was advised that "Muscle memory" makes a big difference and commuting 10-14k a day would certainly help, and this was correct. I also found that each distance I aimed for (starting with 60k) seemed much longer before than after I rode it. 100k was a big psychological change: after that anything was possible. I used the same route for the century, riding to Tübingen, then Rottweil, then playing mind games for the next few K's along the valley, jumping from village to village until I reached the point I knew was 50 miles from where I live.

As an added advantage I'd been riding upriver most of this time so the majority of the return was very slightly downhill. Of course I blew this advantage by riding too fast and wearing myself out before the hills to our village...

Writing this it occurs to me that it's cold but dry and sunny, I may yet try for that 200k...
When I was a club rider and used to do the spring reliability trials, 50 or a 100 miles in 4 or 8 hours, I cocked up several by either starting too fast or getting into a group that was too fast for me, I usually ended up crawling in on my own at the end.
 
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OP
LeetleGreyCells

LeetleGreyCells

Un rouleur infatigable
Being able to ride at my own pace is what appeals particularly. I know it can be easier to ride in a group, but that all depends on the group's speed. The last group ride I did rode at a faster pace than advertised and I did struggle to keep up. So having the option to ride at a speed that suits me and enables me to finish the route is wonderful as it's more important for me to complete the distance challenge rather than keep up with other riders.
 

Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
Being able to ride at my own pace is what appeals particularly. I know it can be easier to ride in a group, but that all depends on the group's speed. The last group ride I did rode at a faster pace than advertised and I did struggle to keep up. So having the option to ride at a speed that suits me and enables me to finish the route is wonderful as it's more important for me to complete the distance challenge rather than keep up with other riders.
I find audaxes have a really nice mix of encouragement to speed up a teeny bit combined with freedom to control your own pace.

An audax is an event. I've made the effort to get to the start. There are people who have volunteered to do controls so all that atmosphere speeds me up a touch. Also there are groups and individuals going the same way. So you can tag on for a bit, especially on the flat bits, but there's no obligation to match their pace. Being slow up the hills won't entail making a group of people wait for you at the top as it might on a formal group ride. You just drop off into your own world.
 

lane

Veteran
I have only done two 200s. This year I achieved my R500 which means I had to ride, 50,100,150,200 which is probably a nice initial target. Although by the sound of it you could be more ambitious. I don't think you necessarily have to ride 10 to 14 hours a week to get to 200 - I didn't. If you regularly ride 100k at the weekend then do may be a couple of 150s you would easily be able to manage a 200. Best way is to give it a go and see if you enjoy it. Work out how long you are allowed for the ride, how long you will take to cycle it at your average speed, how long you can stop for leaving a buffer for any unexpected events and work out a plan based on that. I am a slow rider but have never been out of time - close on occasion though! Work out how you will follow the route GPS or route sheet. Other than that no more to it than any other bike ride really. Good luck they are a lot of fun. I like to ride audaxs in areas I am less familiar with to make it more interesting. Although I enjoy some rides a lot and hence repeat them several times.
 

OldShep

Senior Member
A friend introduced me to Audax 25 yrs ago. I did a 100k obviously no bother and enjoyable. I asked him what training would I need to do to ride the longer events? His reply was none just ride your bike.
I took his word for it and my next ride was a 400 organised by him. I hadnt been on my bike or a few weeks due to work before the event. So I did a 50 ml ride Wednesday night after work, before the event.
Ate my way round it and wrote in Arrive later how I’d gained weight on that ride!
The following years saw me riding 2 3 &400 with never any training.
i peaked in a PBP year and after my last qualifying ride, the very last organised Daylight 600, suffered regular migraines for the next 3 years.. Thereby ended my Audaxing.
I loved the rides, I loved the riders and characters and thoroughly had a good time and a great insight into other areas of the UK. Just go for it but the 1st of February sounds a bit grim to me. The earliest I used to ride was a 200 out of Hawick in March and snow sometimes stopped that one.
 
From watching a number of videos about Audax and reading about Audax on a number of sites (including all the great info here on Cyclechat!), I've come to the conclusion that Audaxers are completely mad. In which case, I should fit in well :okay:

I've been trying to come up with a plan to get fitter and stronger so I can complete ever-increasing distances. To date, the furthest I have ever ridden is 100km. In Audax, that's a short ride (and doesn't get you any Audax points!).

I'm probably wanting to start this at the wrong time of year, but I figure if I can do it in winter, I should be fine for the rest of the year (I did my one and only metric century in 35 degree heat just to prove to myself that I could... :laugh: ).

I'm planning to do my first 200km Audax on 1st February, giving me 2.5 months to get fit enough to complete it. My plan is to ride as much as possible between now and then whether out on the road on my own, group family rides or on Zwift. During my research, I read that to get fit enough I should be riding between 10 and 14 hours per week - not to measure in miles how far I ride, but how long in time. When you sit and work it out, and try to include at least one rest day per week (and not including life getting in the way), 10 hours seems like a lot. I'm going to track my time on the bike and try to see an increase each week. The theory is, the more I do the easier it should get. I thought I would also complete some of the Zwift training plans too.

I will gradually increase my distance out on the bike. There are some permanent events at 100km which I thought I would do which should help me get used to the amount of time and distance too. If I gradually increase both time and distance, I should acclimatise to the riding better.

Any thoughts or tips on what else I can do to achieve 200km and beyond?
Make sure your bike fits you properly, and that it’s comfy. Doing long rides on a bike that’s the wrong size / shape for you, with uncomfortable contact points, isn’t going to be any fun. A lot of the distance riding ‘thing’ is really about the mental side of it. Make your routes as interesting as possible, and it’s easier to do the miles. Build up the mileage gradually, and you’ll find that going long isn’t as bad as it sounds ‘on paper’, and your fitness will improve , probably more quickly than you imagine. The old adage of ‘winter miles for summer smiles’ is surprisingly accurate as well, so if you can get out in the colder, darker months, it will pay dividends, when conditions improve. The mileage you do in a group, is always easier than what you do solo as well. Last but not least, get yourself a colourful bobble hat, a Brooks saddle, and some mudguards, on your bike, or the Audax ‘tribe’ will disown you.
 
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OP
LeetleGreyCells

LeetleGreyCells

Un rouleur infatigable
Last but not least, get yourself a colourful bobble hat, a Brooks saddle, and some mudguards, on your bike, or the Audax ‘tribe’ will disown you.
Just been pricing up mudguards. A helmet will put paid to the bobble hat I'm afraid (I have seen most riders wearing one in all the videos I've watched), and my Opal saddle is extremely comfy. I will have the mudguards... ^_^
 
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