Beacon Roads Cycling Club
Beacon Roads Cycling Club

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Tips for taking part in challenge rides

  • Check out the FAQ pages and other guidance published by organisations such as Audax UK, Cyclosport, CTC and BC. Get advice from experienced riders by using the Beacon message board or other forums.
  • Before some very demanding events (e.g. the Etape du Tour) you need to get a medical certificate. If you've got any qualms about your health, talk to your doctor before doing other tough events, too.
  • Make sure you've got enough miles in your legs: you should already feel comfortable riding at least two thirds of the event distance ahead of the day. If it's a tough ride you've got lined up, give yourself a few days rest as well.
  • If you are doing an AUK event, there will be no rescue service, so make sure your bike is in good nick, with sound tyres, etc. Remember that some Audaxes use rough country lanes, where very lightweight racing equipment may be found wanting. Whatever sort of event you're doing, take a few basic tools and spares with you.
  • If there's the slightest risk of you failing to finish in the daylight (e.g. if you have a mechanical problem), fit lights.
  • Always carry some money and a mobile phone. Consider programming the organiser's (mobile) number into your phone, along with that of your next of kin, listed under something that someone else could find easily, such as ‘Home’, ‘Next of kin’ or ‘ICE’ (In Case of Emergency).
  • You will probably be given or get chance to buy plenty of food during the event, but carry some with you just in case. Never ride without at least one water bottle and top it/them up whenever you can. Eat loads the day before, with the emphasis on easily digested carbohydrates, such as pasta, bread and rice.
  • In an AUK event, if you are at all unsure about your ability to find your way, take a map with you, in addition to the organiser's directions. You can buy little gadgets for attaching directions to your bars; otherwise a laminated sheet can often be secured with rubber bands and/or cable ties. GPS is becoming increasingly popular for Audax navigation and some Audax organisers (including the Beacon) will provide Audax routes in the most common GPS formats. For more info, see http://www.soi.city.ac.uk/~jwo/landserf/audax/.
  • Don't get carried away early during the ride. Most challenge events involve slow roads, tough climbs and a lot of miles. What's more, unless you're exceptional, there's always going to be someone stronger than you: follow his/her wheel at your peril.
  • If you can't complete a ride, make sure the organiser knows you've given up.

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