Brevet de Randonneir / Audax cycling

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If you love the challenge of long distance cycling, the Audax is a must for you.

The concept has been on my radar since I really got interested in long distance cycling a few years ago. 

With the rise in Sportive popularity and the growth in people entering them to race I have been reluctant to enter them in more recent years.  I wanted to tap in to something less commercial and more about time on the bike not speed on the bike, I want to explore and just enjoy my day out on two wheels and that's excactly what the Audax offers.

The addition of a new titanium bike which is super comfy to ride and the suggestion from a fellow Dunwich Dynamo rider the week before prompted me to go online and not only enter a 200km ride in Essex but join AudaxUK.

I entered and within minutes had the route sent to me with a welcome email.   I downloaded the GPX on to my garmin and packed up some snacks for the ride.

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The Essex R&R certainly doesn't stand for rest and relaxation. However, following on from years of racing it was a result to turn up to a cycle event and not only be relaxed but offered free breakfast before I set off; even though I was a good half hour later than planned!

The first 'control' was a post office about 20miles in from the start, we had to get a receipt to prove we had been. I purchased a cereal bar but was so excited by the receipt I ended up leaving my purchase in the shop!

The route was stunning with quiet country roads and a list of recommendations about good places to stop to refuel it was just like riding with a local. 

The format of Audax means you are not having to keep up with the group and there's not strict start and finish time, you just hop on your bike and ride the route. The style of this Audax is known as  Randonneuring, instead of riding together you cycle at your own pace, stop/sleep when you need, fuel yourself between 'controls' and finish within an agreed time limit.

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Finished off with free teas and cake at the end, with a friendly bunch of cycling fanatics!

What more could a cyclist want?!

http://www.aukweb.net/

Best cycling kit to survive winter training

Having the wrong kit can really ruin a good ride, especially when the weather turns.  When you're training and putting some serious miles in you want reliable kit.  Tyres are the key thing to get right. The last thing you want to be doing is stopping for a puncture, especially when its cold and/or wet. I always recommend the following tyres to give you the best chance of avoiding punctures...

Continental Gatorskin Tyres

Having good tires is essential.  They need to grip well, ride well and have a reduced risk of punctures, the Gatorskins offer all of the above. All but one of the 14 riders used these tyres for a 1500 mile ride and there was only one puncture, it wasn’t a Gatorskin tyre.

I tend to buy the folding tyres for two reasons; You can easily ride with them in your jersey if you need to and you can test your thumbs by changing without leavers.

I usually buy 23mm in the summer and 25mm in the winter or if I am likely to be riding slightly rougher roads.

Continental Gatorskin Tyres

The next thing to get right is your kit.  Warm kit that wears well is essential on the bike to help you enjoy your ride.  I'm a huge fan of the following kit :

Gore cycling Kit

Great kit to keep you warm and comfortable.  I've used the power jacket on seriously cold and wet days this winter,  it fits well, keeps the cold and rain out and looks great too! I wouldn't leave the house without mine when I'm putting in a winter road ride!

GORE Cycling Apparel

2XU base layers

I love this kit!  I've used 2XU kit for rugby, running and cycling,  it does the job, wears well and puts up with the strains of all three sports I've tested it with. 

2XU base and compression layers

SIDI Shoes

Rated more for the way these wear,  I've been riding in mine for 5 years, raced Cyclocross and they visit muddy mountain biking trails weekly.  They are still going strong!  Great design and hard wearing.

SIDI Cycling Shoes

I'll always recommend that you try to get the best deal with your local cycle shop, support them and they will support you when you need it.

'With the right kit, there is no such thing as bad weather'.  The feeling of getting a good ride in and coming in to the warm for cake afterwards is the best reward for your dedication!

Get out and ride!

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