WHAT NOT TO DO ON YOUR FIRST AUDAX RIDE
What is an Audax? Audax rides are non competitive bike rides where all riders aim to complete a long distance route in a set time.
The word ‘Audax’ translates to ‘courageous’ or ‘bold’ and shares its origins with the word ‘Audacity’. Feeling particularly courageous and bold one sunny Saturday in May a group of us (the unofficial Cotswold Outdoor Ladies Cycling Team) embarked on our first Audax ride. 66 miles of country road and 1162 metres to climb.
Everyone who set off that day will agree that they learned a lot about long distance cycling whilst on route, here are some tips from our brave riders to help you on your first long distance ride…
What Not To Do:
1. “When pedalling up a nasty hill… don’t look up! Apart from the aching in your legs you can trick yourself into thinking you’re cycling on flat ground (kind of).”
2. “Don’t get separated from the main group like I did and cycle 10 miles in the wrong direction!
”Be prepared to self-navigate. Take a printed map and junction by junction instructions in an easy to see or pull out case. Assuming I would stay with the group I didn’t take a map or route directions, so after splitting from the pack early on I decided to follow the rider in front of me. It turned out he was doing a sportive and I was aimlessly following him in the completely wrong direction. On realising my somewhat vital error, I also remembered my extra layers and water were waiting for me at the first checkpoint and I had absolutely no idea where that was. A car recce would have helped too.”
3. “Don’t forget to service your bike beforehand and do check you can easily get into your lowest gear when needed. My bike refused to go into 1st gear, so I ended up riding every hill in 4th!”
4. “Don’t forget to pack PROPER FOOD. Luckily I was bailed out with the offer of a peanut butter and jam sandwich. Energy gels are great for race day but nothing beats having some ‘proper food’ to eat.”
5. “I would have eaten more the day and night before and made sure it was a carbohydrate packed meal. Trust me your legs will thank you on the day.”
6. “Don’t ignore your body. If parts of your body start to swell or hurt, evaluate whether this is just a barrier you need to push through or whether you are causing damage to yourself. However much you want to finish it’s not worth doing damage that will prevent you from partaking in challenges again. Your health and well being are worth more than any medal or time.”
WHAT WE WOULD DO NEXT TIME:
1. “Having never taken on a challenge like this before I would suggest a warm up and cool down before and after the ride.”
2. “Take a positive mental attitude with you. Or failing that take Sharon, she could get you through anything! You need great team mates that will support you through the ups and downs of any challenge. Find someone who will push you just enough to go faster but not so much that you feel out of your depth and can’t keep up.”
3. “I used an anti chafe stick called Glide on the sensitive areas and I didn’t seem to suffer as much as the others. My Dare2B capri leggings were really comfortable too.”
4. “Pack jam sandwiches – they are best jam sandwiches you will ever eat!”
5. “Use tried and tested kit (and food). My Altura gloves were amazing, I have no blisters on my hands – also loved my Dare2B kit, the leggings were great as they gripped your legs helping them stay in place. I’d also recommend Torq bars for a tasty quick snack.”
6. “Take what you need. You may not be as stupid as me, but you may still get lost. Make sure you have enough water and fuel to get you through your ride in case it’s longer than expected. The same goes for clothing and repair kit!”
7. “Do make sure everyone knows where they’re going or better still has a GPS device. After the first eight miles in I lost three of my flock of five. Once all back together we laughed – you quickly learn to stick together or get lost going nowhere.
“We used a Garmin Edge with turn by turn navigation on the day, providing seamless directions (for those who had one).”
BEST PART OF THE DAY:
“Arriving at the finish line to all your friends and family cheering after a mammoth 8 hr cycle – AMAZING feeling!”
The unofficial Cotswold Outdoor Ladies Cycling Team
We are a group of like-minded ladies who fancied a taste of cycling adventure for one weekend. For more information on Audax rides, with advice from the professionals, head to http://www.aukweb.net/.