Audax rides are like a back-to-basics sportive, only much longer.
You are normally provided with a starting point, say a scout hut or church hall where the organiser will provide some hot drinks & snacks.
From there you are on your own!
Navigation is via a “Route-Sheet” of instructions provided when you entered the event, which you can put onto a map or convert to a GPS plot/route if you so wish. There are NO direction arrows, marshals, feed stops, backup vehicles or any support of any kind – you MUST be self sufficient on the ride.
To ensure that you cycle around the route, Audax rides use “Control Points”. These may be manned by a volunteer who will sign and stamp your ride card, or “Brevet” as it is know. The volunteer may also have water and snacks but don’t reply upon them.
Most control points are questions that can only be answered by visiting the control point (e.g. What Date is carved above the Church Door in the village?)
Occasionally a control point may involve getting a cash machine slip or a shop receipt.
Since virtually nothing is provided, the entry cost for these events is minimal, £5 being typical to cover the cost of your “Brevet” card & the hire of the hall.
Audax Rides begin at 200km (124miles) and normal distances are 200km, 300km, 400km, 600km and 1000km (620mls).
Exceptional Classic events include Paris-Brest-Paris at 1200km (745mls) and London-Edinburgh-London 1400km (870mls)
Note that AUDAX rides are not multi-day events. The rides are continuous!!
That’s right, LEL is a 870mile non-stop ride. Of course the organisers do have control points where hot food is provided and you can catch a nap on the floor (or indeed you can sleep in a bus shelter or park bench if you so wish). But the clock is always ticking due to the minimum average speed requirement.
Audax rides have maximum (30kph) and minimum (15kph) speeds so that people are not allowed to go too fast or keep the controllers waiting all day long. Normally meeting the minimum speed requirement is more of a problem – remember the clock is still ticking every time you stop at a control point or to nip to the loo, buy some food, go off course or catch a power nap !
For much more information on Audax riding, please see Audax UK, the governing body of Audax rides in the UK.
The Audax Wikipedia page provides a global outlook on this type of riding.