At the end all you have are great stories, a Strava track and memories of taking on a tough challenge in a spirit of companionship, community, understated achievement and mutual encouragement. Riders support themselves; there are no broom wagons and there are legendary tales about resourceful cyclists managing to finish despite broken frames and outrageous odds. However most of us only ever have to face the occasional puncture; when you see another rider in trouble you stop to offer at least moral support.
Volunteers all over the country organise events that vary in length from 100 to 600km and even more. 2017 saw the four yearly running of London-Edinburgh-London, a 1,400km five day trial; the UK’s flagship endurance event. While sportive fans were enjoying the brilliant mass event of the Prudential Ride London, 1,500 audax riders were grinding through the 890 mile round trip between London and Edinburgh in under 117 hours. It’s just a different appeal and a different type of challenge.
Rides are not created to generate profits; when a surplus is made it is most likely to be donated to a local charity or used to bolster club funds. Entrants ride at a maximum speed of 30kph and a minimum of 15kph including stops. Audax rides follow a suggested route, checking in at prescribed points. Completing an audax brings few rewards or badges, it earns you the personal satisfaction that you have taken on an endurance challenge like no other.
When they’re not riding, audaxers can’t seem to stop telling their stories. Some inspiring reading can be found at yacf, the unofficial forum for all things audax.