What is an Audax?
An Audax is a ride of a set distance and suggested route, which riders complete independently, gathering evidence of their ride by completing a Brevet card. The Brevet card will typically contain route quiz questions and spaces for stamps received at control points. Some describe it as “orienteering on a bike”. Riders will be provided with a written routesheet and more often than not a .gpx file for the route.
Unlike sportives, there is no signage, riders are expected to be self supporting in terms of food and water, and there are no prizes for coming first – the ride simply has to be completed within a (generous) time limit.
The most common distances are 100 and 200 km, but there are lots of rides at 300, 400 and 600 km, with a few flagship events like the 1200 km Paris-Brest-Paris, run every 4 years (see Steve Luck’s account of the Paris-Brest-Paris).
Riders generally enter events as individuals, though there is a wide community of audaxers across the UK and futher afield, and you will often see the same familiar faces.
The events are run by volunteers, usually making a negligible profit which goes to charity or the kitty for the event next year. For more information take a look at the (basic but functional) Audax UK website http://www.aukweb.net
How do I enter?
Choose an event by looking at the calendar http://www.aukweb.net/events/ – and follow the instructions given there. You can usually enter via Paypal, but some organisers are happier with a cheque and an SAE.
What is included?
This varies – best to check the supplied details before you set off… You’ll get a routesheet with control open/close times (these are usually very detailed, but a few older events may just give you village names). There may be food and drink at some of the controls, but don’t rely on this, and familiarise yourself with shops close to the route in case you need extra water. Controls may be commercial outlets such as cafes or pubs.
What do I need?
Usually the same stuff you’d take on any day ride. Mudguards are often encouraged, so pay attention to any instructions from the event organiser.
For longer events including night riding you’ll need reliable lights, so consider taking spares and extra batteries or battery packs. You may also experience a wider range of temperatures, so dress accordingly. For very long events, you will need to take a rest or rests en route – village halls may be set up for this.
Note that Audax events are NOT supported! You ride at your own risk.
Didcot Phoenix and Audax
Many Phoenix riders have ridden Audaxes over the years. There are trophies for the most AUK points gained each season by male/female members.
The Barbury Bash is a 200 km ride with a 100km little brother, organized by Didcot Phoenix and run in July.