Audaxers / Randonneurs - Share your knowledge and experiences!

I started riding sportives and audax back in 2010 when I came back to road cycling having spent the previous 15 years on my mountain bike. At the time I didn’t know the difference.

I’d say what I like about audax is the vibe and the types of characters it attracts. The 70 and 80 year old who’ve been riding them for over 4 decades and still use lighting technology and bikes from the 80s to the youngsters in their 20s and 30s on about a modern a bike and setup as you’ll see.

The types of bikes are everything from folding bikes, mtn bikes, ordinary road and touring bikes, time trial bikes, recumbents, velomobiles, trikes. Everything from DI2 and aero wheels , to fixed gear bikes, to down tube shifters. Hydraulics disc, rim brakes. Traditional luggage , bike packing luggage though the latter as many are finding slow you down on audax.

You’re not competing and someone finishing before you, has zero effect on your enjoyment of your day out. There are all sorts of approaches, some maintain a high average and short stops at controls, some maintain high average but have decent stops, some rider slower but have minimal stops. The last group are wily old campaigners and can often be back sooner than those who ride fast. They spend minimal time stopped maybe less than 5 mins stopped over 200km etc in some cases. No one cares how quickly you completed an audax, and in the UK no times

I love the places the routes take you and type of lanes and places you’d never find unless very local to the area. Even in your own local area you can be surprised at places audax takes you.

I love the night riding which is essential if you’re going to tackle 400km and above events. I’m also a big fan of dynamos as battery lights are generally a world of recharging faff and pain on all but the shortest audax.

I’m also an organiser and love putting events together and seeing riders coming back having had a great day or weekend out with smiles on their faces and tales to tell. You see the first back, you see the last back, and they all get the same reception.

You hear tales of riders suffering problems, and other riders sticking with them to get through a bad patch or fix a mechanical. No one goes I can’t help this rider as it’ll ruin my “race”. There really is a lot camaraderie on the road.


No one will try and convince you. It’s entirely up to you. My only comment on PBP is that it’s a 4 day festival of cycling with a 1230km ride to take part in it all. Seeing whole villages supporting the event 24hrs a day is something else.


So here’s what might be a silly question:

I’ve never done anything much over a metric century but love watching people doing ultra stuff and reading ride reports/books from transcontinental riders.

My local coffee shop/bike hub puts on various ultra events and have one in June '23 that looks like a perfect “beginners” event at 320km.

Assuming that you can average out 20kph (which is low as there’s maybe 80km plan flat and last 20ish is all down) its 16hours ride time.

I’m currently working on a polarised plan until mid December. I’ve never done even 50% of the distance but it really grabs me. How does everyone get in long distance stuff? Leaps into the unknown?

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Yep, once you do 100km, you can definitely do 320km as well, it just takes more time and calories :slight_smile:

Only thing to consider: whatever niggles you have during 100km ride will amplify over longer duration. Try to keep as comfortable as possible. If you plan to use clip-on aerobars, ride on them 1-2 months during preparation. It strengthens your neck that gets often sore.

EDIT: helpful TR blog posting about planning pacing for long events. Although, it seems more race oriented. For my own long solo rides (12-24h) I limit initial over-enthusiasm to HR cap, ~70% of cycling HRmax, which usually falls into 60-65% of FTP.


Sounds perfect to start, although I would try earlier 200km on your own or with friends, 100 out and 100 back, taking plenty of time. Try a few of those to get used to the time in the saddle & distance.

For the actual event break it into 100s. The morning 100, afternoon 100 and evening 100. I always try to conserve any efforts into the last 100. i.e. remind yourself it’s all about the last 100. An easy average of 20km/h at the beginning may seem hard at the end.

As @svens says comfort is key. Niggles add up over time. Comfort gets you further down the road over long distances.

Hope it all goes well! Half the fun is in the planning and anticipation.


Well I’ve been impulsive and paid for my entry!
7 months to find some legs!


I like not recording and publishing finishing times. In the clubs i have ridden with (in the US), all the times are published (online and sent out by email). The faster people are idolized and the slower people are pitied. I would prefer if the times weren’t published. I know when i finished. Other people needn’t know.


Thats the Audax spirit that attracts me to the discipline; its not about the speed but doing the journey.

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Because I am a data nerd I started looking at the number of calories required for 20 hours (that 16 riding at 20kph and some faffing time) which looks like 10k kcal which is a metric boat load.

A gel or bar an hour probably covers 50% of the total calculated required unless you accept you’ll be running a deficit throughout and just try to slow it.

How on earth are you carrying all this food? I’ve got a top tube, bar bag and saddle bag but dammit I’ll be loaded down at this rate, that’s without water. Since it starts at 18:00 I’ll need enough to see me through to the early morning before I can raid a shop.

If you do 100km rides frequently enough (weekly) at low intensity, you’ll become well fat-adapted i.e. getting much energy from body own stores. Nevertheless, eat and/or drink additional calories as much as you can.

I use 2x 750ml bottles every 3-4h, one with Maurten 320 and other with electrolyte tablet with no calories, for rinsing teeth after sugary sip every 10min. Whenever those bottles run out, will stop at gas station to buy new water and also eat whatever looks good at that time (usually around 300kcal). Sure, I’d be still in huge calorie deficit and probably could train gut to handle more (likely twice more) but for up to 24h at 60% FTP rides actually haven’t felt the need. With such ride, my usually stable weight goes down 67 → 65kg that I’ll pick up again over 3-4days after.

Yes, creating routes mostly revolves around planning those stops. Luckily where I live there are at least some 24h gas stations every 100km or so. But yes, there have been occasions where had to ride 1-2h completely dry. Haven’t tried myself but water purification tablets may help if there are rivers around?

So, this makes 8-10 sachets to carry, not too much, all fit well into bar bag. Top tube bag contains battery pack, phone and emergency energy chew in case will run out of drinks. Frame bag contains additional layers for night riding when temperature may drop quite low (~10℃). All tools + pump go into frame itself, I ride Specialized Diverge has in-frame storage. For next summer long rides, may install additional bottle cages, so could carry 4x 750ml bottles that would make me truly self-sufficient for over night.

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Haha yes basically. Though it’s a good idea to do a 200 first. When I first began extending my distances we were in lockdowns and I sometimes got into trouble because I underfuelled. When you have shops available this is less of a problem, but a big part of your preparation should be about working out how to get the calories in. Everyone has a different approach but here’s mine: I measure out drink mix into sandwich bags (90 g per bottle/litre) and drink 8-10 l per day for a 300. I also eat food at controls. Combined that gets me to about 5000 kcal with 7-8000 expended.

Not a wise idea in the UK, most places are too close to farms and rivers have plenty of run off fertilizer and chemicals (according to my gf who works in that field, as it were).

Some good thoughts here, which I’ll implement and play with in the upcoming months.

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You don’t, you stop during an audax and buy real food, carrying enough emergency / snack food as you feel comfortable with with the route of the event and weather conditions.

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Pretty much. I didn’t do any training when I started audax. I had a 5 day cycle commute, 38km a day plus longer ride on a Saturday. I did a 200 then couple of months later a 320km event etc. I’ve only started training now that I no longer have the cycle commute.

Oh, this is interesting… Thanks @alexgold123 One thing I heard with running is to take speed into distance. In other words don’ttry and do distance and do it faster, but build speed (FTP) and then go longer.

Mark Beaumont;'s comments gel with that (though he is quite an athlete and the exception).

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Have any UK based folks done the Bryan Chapman Memorial 600? The most climbing I’ve done on a 600 is 5800 and I found that pretty tough. The BCM has almost 8000. I’m just wondering if I’m going to end up being too slow.

The climbs are mostly long and not very steep. There are some chevron climbs but you can count those on the fingers of one hand. Roads are good and not full of gravel in the middle like the lanes on some audaxes. It’s a good outing , and I would not worry too much about the 8000m climbing figure as you can get into a steady effort on most of them and have the reward of a fast descent the other side.

Thanks! Guess, I’ll put an entry in. The worst that can happen is that I end up out of time or with no sleep.

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Once you get over a fear of not finishing in time, it frees you up to try events harder than you’ve done before and see how you get on. It’s very liberating.


True. I’ve never not finished an audax, but I’ve also been super lucky with the weather and conditions. It will be good to stretch myself.

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