El Presidente, Paul O’Donoghue, gives his full report on the 2009-10 season, a boom year for audax in Ireland:
2010 proved itself to be a year of steady growth for randonneuring in Ireland with more and better supported events being run since the early 1990’s. This growth is probably attributable to several factors; the revised P.B.P qualification criteria, the national rise in levels of cycling as a pastime and following on from this an increased awareness of audax as another facet of non competitive cycling which appeals to cyclists both newcomers and old hands.
It was also a year where some of the groundwork needed to ensure continued growth in the sport was laid down with Audax Ireland moving from under the wing of Sorrento C.C to a freestanding club affiliated to the National Governing body for cycling in Ireland, Cycling Ireland. Many thanks to those who organised and assisted at events throughout 2010 and also to those who brought their energy and enthusiasm to the refounding of the club and website. On a personal level aside from the initial few hours at the Borlin 300 I can’t recall being rained upon on any events throughout the whole year – a strange and bizarre phenomenon not experienced for many a year.
SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES
15 events were run in 5 counties by the following clubs; Clonmel C.C, Marble City C.C, Midleton C.C, Orwell Wheelers and Sorrento C.C. This panned out as 200 x 7, 300 x 4, 400 x 2, 600 x 1 and an Easter Fleche. 114 cyclists rode events with 68 content with the 200 distance. The majority of participants were C.I non competitive licence holders and day licence recipients followed by Orwell, Sorrento and Marble City members.
Unsurprisingly 200k proved to be the most popular distance. 300k’s also saw an encouraging trend of people stepping up to try this distance and indeed for some it was their introduction to audax. The 400s and 600 were also well supported with many riders taking part at this distance for the first time.
Super Randonneurs: we had 9 people completing an S.R series which is one of all the above distances – a healthy figure in a pre PBP year.
1000K: two riders Eoghan Barry (Orwell) and Kevin O’Sullivan (Midleton) completed the Mille Cymru in July. This was the inaugural running of this event which was widely acknowledged as one of the most difficult 1000ks available taking in a massive chunk of the high mountains and rugged coastline of Wales.
1200K: Marc Farrelly (C.I) signed up for The Lowlands 1200 in Holland. Despite some mechanical setbacks Marc rode valiantly to keep himself within the time limit regrettably deciding to quit within the final 100k due to sleep deprivation. Thankfully he’s putting his hallucinations to good use and has been instrumental in promoting audax.
Fleche: a team event run over Easter, this international event requires a team of 3-5 participants to complete a minimum of 360k over a 24hr period. Team “No particular place to go” managed to be the first team ever to complete this event in Ireland. Leaving Cork Kent Station on Good Friday the group rode through a cold night to finish the following day at the Stephen Roche Monument in Dublin with 430k on the clock. Well done to Eoghan Barry and Niall Diamond (Orwell), Andreas Voigt (Dublin Wheelers) and Mark Tyrrell (C.I). The feat was made all the more impressive as several of the participants had not cycled through the night before and the weather in the week prior to the ride was none too encouraging.
Overseas: Irish cyclists took part in events in England, Holland and Scotland. Members of Edinburgh Road Club and Seattle International Radonneurs took part in events here.
Several new and revived events have been added to the calendar for 2011 and in line with the growing interest in the sport two of these will take place in counties that haven’t run events in a long time. The main highlights of the calendar are:
- There will be a S.R. series in both Leinster and Munster this year – a first.
- Slieve Gullion Wheelers are running the first audax in Ulster since 1993.
- Barrow Wheelers are running “The Blackstairs 200” for the first time since 1994.
- Possibly our most challenging 400 “The Brownstuff” will be run for the first time since 1993.
- Several new events are being run ; Hollyfort Hills 200 (Clonmel), Beara 400 and 4 Counties 600 (Midleton) and Red Lane Red Line 600 (Bray).
For many people the quadrennial Paris Brest Paris will be the focus for 2011 and it is hoped that we will have a strong presence among the 40 or so countries expected to participate. Whether your goal is to ride your first 200k, complete an S.R. series or qualify for P.B.P there is scope within the calendar to set and meet your owns goals. Cycle safe, cycle smart, cycle smiling in 2011.