Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Audax Apprentice

Audax is a cycling sport in which participants attempt to cycle long distances within a pre-defined time limit. Audax is a non-competitive sport : success in an event is measured by its completion.  Audax has its origins in Italian endurance sport of the late nineteenth century, and the rules were formalized in France in the early twentieth century.

The distances covered can be huge, with some events incorporating overnight stops, but for an Apprentice then the distances I am concerned about are around 100km+, a baby audax if you like.

For those who dont know me, or have not read my profile, then I should say I am a very late comer to cycling, having only taken up cycling after I retired when I was 60 yo, and so have no inbuilt reservoir of core cycling endurance; 100 km is a VERY LONG WAY !

My normal cycling involves much shorter distances and is invariably aimed at discovering new tea shops. However at the beginning of this year a friend, a veteran racing cyclist who is still incredibly fit, told me of his aim to cycle 10 audax events this year and suggested that I should give it a try.

In a moment of foolishness I agreed and the randonneurs at my local cycling club, Derby Mercury RC,  also gave me encouragement.  A previous post described my first adventure and now I have completed a second audax, The Three Fields around Alfreton and the Nottinghamshire lanes which was another 104km and involved another 1100 m of climbing.

Team Mercury were again out in force making an early arrival at the food stop

I have to say that stopping at this Church Hall was a delight; the local church ladies had provided streams of tea and coffee all supplemented by a vast array of home made cakes. It seemed a shame to leave but leave I must and so on towards Holocaust Hill and then some splendid  scenic views

Cyclists need food, lots of it, when attempting long distance rides and I treated myself to a wonderful plate of beans on toast with a fried egg on top at Southwell...true rocket fuel

It has been explained ( INSTRUCTED!! )  that all audaxers should have a rear mudflap on their bikes, the use of mudguards is of course not up for debate, and so, in an attempt to obey ' the rules '  my Mercian now proudly boasts a rear mudflap in Mercury Blue.

This was an excellent ride, though I could have dome without the loss of my climbing gears on the last 10km hilly climb to the finish, big gear hill climbing is not to be recommended for Old Age Pensioners, but Mercian have now fixed this problem for me and replaced the ruined gear cable.

Next up will be Charnwood In The Spring, another baby audax but with hopefully slightly less climbing and somewhat warmer weather.

I doubt that I will complete 10  events but I am certainly enjoying new rides around the country.


  1. All this is making me feel tired, but keep up the good work. These things can get very addictive.

  2. It was you who helped me on my first pedal turning about 8 years ago opened up a world of delight...thank you

  3. Well done Peter on completing your second Audax you'll soon have 10 in the bag 👍🚴

  4. Pleased to see that you are enjoying you journey into the world of Audax... Take each one as it comes and as Mark says you will soon have 10 in the bag.....

  5. Mark - I suspect it will be more than ten, he has a way with numbers!

  6. Trevor , it was you who explained to me that high cadence and lower gears would still get me there without losing pace...and I think of that every time I ride.
    And Mark, if I continue like this I might even be accepted as a Mercury Randonneur one day!

  7. Very lovely Mercian! I've just got my first Mercian and wondered what bars and stem you are using here? They look great. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Andrew, the bars, stem and seat post were all Nitto S65..and everything is going fine 5 years on