Cycle Together

This Summer Solstice, Go Long

Riders in shadow in the park on the summer solstice

The most wonderful time of the year – in the eyes of lots of athletes. Summer means longer days, warmer rides, a daily dose of vitamin D and sweet shop tan lines. 

It’s not all about getting up at silly o’clock to train on quiet roads, think of what you can do with some time away from work. You can make the most of summer cycling by getting involved in cycling events, travelling around with like-minded people and challenging yourself outside of your usual loop. 

Ultracycling 

The clue is in the name with this one, an ultra-endurance style of riding, a way of challenging yourself with friends or on solo adventures. 

Ultracycling is where athletes compete in events not less than 200 kilometers or for a specified time of at least six hours in duration – most races are longer than this and often span over a few days. 

These kinds of events are more than going on a long bike ride, they allow athletes to challenge themselves and get the best out of themselves.

Road bike with bike packing bags in front of British Countryside

Load up your bike for some ultracycling

Fun facts

  • Ultracycling is a single effort longer than 200 kilometers or six hours in duration 
  • It is one of the fastest growing cycling disciplines
  • It all started with Race Across America Race Across America in 1982 
  • It’ll test your willpower, determination and fitness
  • You’ll get to test yourself against other athletes as well, and make the event what you want 
  • It will teach you things about yourself that you won’t have known before 
  • You can take part on any type of bike i.e. super lightweight race bike, aluminum bike, fixed gear bike, single speed or tandem 

Ultracycling races are some of the most inclusive races that are held all over the world, and there is even a championship which is defined in various categories. 

You can get started by increasing your distance through entering some sportives, we have a blog combined soon on this topic and get some fitness tips from here.

You can find lots of races to enter here. If you fancy dipping your toe in the water in a semi-supported way, then you can also take part in a brand new race called Race Across UK

Audax

Audax, also known as a Randonnée internationally, is a ride that has a time limit on it, including stops for food and rest. It’s a little bit like orienteering on a bike!

As a general guide, most riders are expected to average a minimum of 15kph if it’s a fairly flat or rolling route. However, that does vary a bit depending on the type of route that is set out. 

These are great events to get involved in, as they aren’t seen as a race therefore, individual times aren’t published. If you finish within the time limit, then you have succeeded. Taking away the competition side of such an event can help make it much more enjoyable for everyone taking part, as your goals can then be based around your own ability and fitness at the time of entering. 

However, this kind of event will challenge you in many other ways, as you’re expected to be self-sufficient. This doesn’t mean you can’t find a group to ride with, but you’re expected to navigate for yourself. And if you have a mechanical on route, you’re expected to fix it yourself. It does mean you can put in extra training goals because you also need to train your mechanic skills. 

Fun facts

  • Distances range from 50 kilometers to 1400 kilometers 
  • You get a Brevet Card to get signed/stamped at each checkpoint, which you can keep as a memento after the event 
  • Some audaxes provide food along the way, on some you have to source your own
  • Some events are flat, some are hilly and some are rolling, so you can choose one with terrain that suits your strengths
  • They take place across the world, so you need to be prepared for all types of weather 
  • Routes are tested and planned by experienced organisers
  • There will be plenty of checkpoints depending on the distance you choose, they also provide snacks and resting points 
  • As well as having a lower speed limit, audaxes also have an upper speed limit
Selfie of friends during an audax

Audaxes are more fun with friends!

An audax is one of the best competitively not competitive ways to test yourself, while being in a situation like no other. It’s also a great way to explore the world and make the most of the Summer Solstice – enjoying time away from work and responsibilities while finding freedom on your bike. Whilst audaxes take place all year round, having extra daylight over the summer when you’re riding over 200km in one hit is a real bonus.

Fancy giving it a try? Find some events on the Audax UK website. 

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  • 22 days ago

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