Many thanks to Louise for penning a few thoughts on her experience of riding some audax events this year in the hope of encouraging more female participation.Good luck to Louise with her two wheeled plans for 2013.
Audax events are long distance cycling events, where cyclists cover 200km + in a day. The female participation in them is currently on the increase, with a record 25% of the field in last October’s audax being women! This is great news for the growing Audax community. Read on for a report from Orwell Wheeler’s Louise Nicholls who rode a few Audax events this year. I certainly want to give one a go now!
I have been cycling with the Orwells for 3 years on and off. I spent last winter cycling with the Ladies group (50-80kms each week). During the summer I would try and get out on the bike 3-4 times a week, 50-60km cycle after work and a 100km+ cycle on the weekend. I also attempt some racing.
Last summer I did a charity cycle from Dublin to Galway (230km in a day). I was quite nervous about the distance, the biggest cycle I had done before that was the Ring of Kerry. But I made it and I really enjoyed myself. I had heard about the Dying light – 200km Audax event and thought this would be perfect to end my season on. The charity cycle had left me keen to do more distances and I wanted one more big cycle before winter settled in. I turned up that morning, thinking it was going to be like a charity cycle event and to my surprise it was totally different. Over the years I’ve taken part in a lot of cycling events (sean kelly, ROK etc). There are things I love about them, meeting lots of people, cycling with friends…and there are things that I dont like…the Freds, how formulaic it feels as your marshalled around a course, the cost! With Audaxing – the idea is that you cycle a long distance, you are given a map, there are some food stops but after that you are a self-sufficient rider.
Well that’s the idea….I was nervous about my map reading abilities (I don’t have any) and I didn’t fancy being stuck on my own all day, or having bike problems with no support, or finding that I just can’t complete the course and having no idea on how to get home. I was scared about these things so my friend say he would cycle the dying light with me, however my friend “slept in” that morning so I took a deep breath and headed off with the 30+ gang. I really had nothing to be nervous about…. I was never left on my own, the other riders are incredibly supportive of each other… More importantly there were riders who were slower than me and I felt that I could cycle at my pace without having to keep up with stronger riders. The map reading is easy! I had a super day, and although I was pretty tired when I finished, I felt I have accomplished something special.
This year I have completed a couple of 200Km events with Audax Ireland and I’ve yet to have a bad experience. I’m hoping to attempt my first 300km in 2013. I’m on my winter training plan at the moment, which consist of very little cycling and lots of sitting around. Come January I’ll start to build up the kms in my legs but will continue to cycle with the Orwells.
For women considering Audaxing I would say, give it a go! If I can do it, pretty much anyone can (I am not the strongest/fastest cyclist). If you are fed up paying 40-80 euro for cycling events, hassling people for charity sponsorship with events that are packed with gangs of people then give Audaxing a go. You wouldn’t be left on your own, you will have a great day.
It’s just you, your bike and the road….. heaven!
via Women’s Cycling Ireland » An Audax experience.