Saturday 6th August 2016, 8 am
Entry to the event via AUK website
About the route
This event is a 209 km ride through the Surrey Hills and on into West Sussex, turning around just past Chichester. It is based around many of my training routes and club runs and features some well-known climbs and some less well known lumps as well. I much prefer to ride on lanes than main roads and I have tried to keep the main road sections short and generally, they are unavoidable without massive over-distance. Consequently, this is a pretty laney ride and I always find it remarkable how many lanes there are in this crowded bit of the World, some which seem to not be used by anyone much. This does also mean that you need to keep on your toes with the navigation!
Whilst there are some tough climbs, the total ascent figure is not off the scale (around 2300m) and there's plenty of flatter stuff to get your speed back up (and the last 25km or so is pretty much flat all the way to the end, so tired legs should make it to the finish). Rolling with two or three vicious climbs just about sums it up! (Bedham Hill, Duncton Hill and Barhatch are the ones I find particularly challenging, particularly on fixed).
The event is X-rated. This is not nearly as exciting as it sounds! It simply means that there are no facilities provided on the ride, so we make use of commercial controls (i.e. cafes and shops) along the way.
As with all Audax events, you need to be self-sufficient. There's no way-marking or broom wagon, so you need to be sure you can get around using either the route-sheet, or the GPX file provided and, in the event of any mechanical issues, you have got the tools to get you sorted with most issues (at minimum, you should have a spare tube, tyre levers, pump and a small multi-tool of some form).
Being summer, you can hopefully travel with very minimal additional clothing. Depending on how the weather looks, you might want a light rain jacket, but hopefully not much else (though arm warmers can be useful if it's a bit chilly at the start or if you are likely to be using all the time available). The majority of riders should be okay without lights for the ride, but those on the fuller value end of the ride will need them and you might want them for the ride home if you stop for a couple of drinks at the end etc. (sunset will be around 8:40 pm).
Other than that, it is as easy as riding a bike. You will be given your brevet card at the start. This will have various boxes for the controls as listed below, where there will a stamp, sticker or receipt to collect (more details on the route sheet for each control), and there are a number of info controls where you will have to answer a simple question to prove you have been past that point (something like "what is the distance to Richmond on the signpost at the junction?"). A pen or a pencil is a good thing to have, or a good memory and fill them in at the end (or take photos of them and, again, fill them in at the end).
Remember that Audax is not a race, there's no prize for finishing first, so enjoy it and really do not worry too much about the time. The times for each control are printed on the brevet card, but the really important one is the end, where you need to be back by 21:56.
The profits from the event will be split between two charities who both do vital work in areas that have sadly touched many of us:
Campaign Against Living Miserably - suicide is the single biggest cause of death in men under 45 in the UK.
RoadPeace - 1 in 75 of us is bereaved through a road crash. Road deaths are sudden, violent, unexpected and premature.
One important request: If you do abandon for any reason, please text or call the number on the brevet card to let me know. There's nothing worse than waiting and worrying about a rider still being on the road. If you think you are going to make it around but be out of time, again, please just let me know.