What the heck is Audax?

It maybe that not everyone who wishes to ride one of these events is familiar with Audax and how it works. If not, take a read below:

Taken from the Audax UK website:  http://www.aukweb.net/aboutauk/faq/#055

What does the word ‘Audax’ mean?
It’s Latin for ‘bold’, and was first used in the context of endurance sports towards the end of the 19th century.

What do the words ‘Randonnée’ and ‘Randonneur’ mean?
‘Randonnée’ is a French word which loosely translates to ‘ramble’ or ‘long journey’ – it’s not really cycling-specific, but in AUK we take it to mean a long cycle ride. A ‘Randonneur’ is a person who has completed a recognised 200 kilometre ride.

What does the word ‘Brevet’ mean?
It means ‘certificate’, more or less. So it’s the card you carry, which gets stamped at controls and finally validated by AUK as proof of your ride. The word is often also used to describe the event itself – ie, a certificated ride.

What’s the difference between BR and BP events?

BR (Brevets de Randonneurs). These events ‘maximum time allowed’ is based on the actual distance of the event and a minimum speed set by the organiser. If you complete this event within the time limit then you can collect both the distance and AA points.

BP (Brevets Populaires). Events are usually run at more relaxed speed limits set by the organiser (with a minimum of 10km/h)

What is Audax UK?
Audax United Kingdom (known as Audax UK or AUK) is the foremost long-distance cycling association in the UK, and the biggest in the world. It was established in 1976. AUK oversees the running of long-distance cycling events, and, using a system of timed checkpoints, validates and records every successful ride.

Can anybody ride Audax UK’s events?
Although technically, AUK does not ‘run’ events – these are run by clubs or individuals under AUK’s supervision.
When a non-member enters an event, there is a small additional fee over and above the usual entry fee, which gives the rider ‘temporary membership’ of AUK for the duration of the event. This is necessary for insurance reasons.

What are AAA points?
Provided they are hilly enough, events are allocated 1 AAA point for every thousand metres of climbing, rounded to the nearest quarter point. Follow this link to find out more: http://www.aukweb.net/results/aaa/

How non-stop is ‘non-stop’?
The maximum time allowed to complete the ride is measured from the time you set off, to the time you finish. There are no allowances for breaks, meals, rest, sleep or mechanical breakdown. So in practical terms this means you have to ride fast enough to generate your own time buffers, especially on the longer events where you will need to rest or even sleep for a while.
This is not as tough as it may sound, as the maximum time limits are quite generous, with this in mind.

What are AUK events like?
They are NOT races. People ride them more in the spirit of an event like the London Marathon, everyone riding to their own limitations with the primary objective to just ‘get round’. These events suit everyone, clubmen, time-trialists, recreational riders, cycletourists, ‘born again’ cyclists, young and old, male and female. And you’ll see all sorts of machines – bikes, tandems, trikes, recumbents, and occasionally even stranger things …
Size of entry varies greatly but is typically around 100 starters. Small local events may have just a handful of riders while a few popular events attract 200 starters or more.
The routes typically feature a few fast main roads and a lot of quiet, scenic lanes. Many events are quite hilly, some are extremely hilly, and even the flatter ones usually have one or two challenging climbs. Some events are noted for the quality of home-cooked food and tender loving care supplied along the way. But most are not – self-sufficiency is a highly-regarded quality in AUK.
On the same theme, ‘support’ – for example a following car – is very much frowned upon. There are maximum and minimum time limits, which are designed to suit everyone from the fittest of recreational riders, to more occasional riders who have plenty of determination. Each rider carries a ‘brevet card’ which is stamped at intermediate checkpoints and at the finish, and which is later returned to the rider as a certificate of their achievement.

What do I get to show for it all?
Every ride completed within the time limit is held by AUK to be an achievement and is recorded as such in AUK’s permanent archives. The original brevet card is stamped and numbered by AUK and returned to the rider. On some events, marked in the Calendar as ‘BRM’, the records are also held in the archives of Audax Club Parisien (or ACP), which is the world’s oldest-established long-distance cycling organisation. On these events the card is also stamped and numbered by ACP before return.
Successful riders are entitled to buy AUK’s cloth badges and metal medallions for the various standard distances, and some big events have special versions of these as well.
AUK also runs an Awards structure for various combinations of events. For example, someone who rides a 200, a 300, a 400 and a 600km in the same season becomes a ‘Super Randonneur’ and a list of these elite is published every year in AUK’s Arrivée magazine. At another level, someone who rides 10x100km events over any period of time, gains a ‘Brevet 1000’.
AUK also runs a Championship structure, for the riders covering the greatest total distances in events during the year, with various categories including Juniors, Veterans, Trikes and so on. You need to have plenty of spare time on your hands to be in the running for these though – the record so far is 33,300 – equivalent to 167 200km rides in a year, or 3 and a bit per week, summer and winter!

If I can’t finish for some reason, what happens? Do I get picked up?
Generally, no. Do not expect a ‘sag waggon’ on these events, unless the organiser has said otherwise. Nor can you expect the finish, or any intermediate control, to be manned after the closing time as printed in your brevet card. You would be expected to make your own way back to your transport or directly home. It is common courtesy though, to get a message to the organiser if you possibly can.

Can I claim an extra time allowance for going off-route?
You can try. But you are most unlikely to succeed!