After a year of making effort to get to various events around country just said I do a brief review of various rides and perhaps other riders might comment of the ones they have done over the year(s).
The Audax Calendar has some really fantastic routes up there, which are available to everyone to ride. Having seen the planning/thought at first hand on one route, these rides aren't pretty or magical by chance.
My own preference is for quite roads/lanes where cars are scarce, rough(read no surface), climbing is fine with me. Others of course will differ.
Midleton 200. Perfect early season 200, primarily decent roads, plenty climbing but no steep stuffs and loads of places to refuel. Lemybrien back to Midleton is on some lovely quite back roads, especially Youghal-Midleton.
Jimmy 400km County Challenge. Starting in Ballina this is a spectacular route, through Mayo, Galway and Sligo. Crossmolina to Mulranny(throgh Ballycroy National Park), Westport all the way round to Cong and the sections through Ox Mountains are made for the bike. Really superb route and not that difficult
Three Rivers 300. Route primarily in Cork with a short bit in Kerry. Again primarily quite roads, with some stunning section in the uplands, Borlin, Coum and Mullaghanish along with some lovely quite roads following Blackwater from Millstreet to Killavullen. Kinsale along coast to Clonakilty via Ring is lovely on bike to. Highly reccommend, toughish but rewarding
Antrim 300. One of toughest routes on calendar but really well routed through the Gelns and coastline of Antrim. Stuart managed to make Toor Head even tougher. Top drawer.
Inner Ring 200. Just rode this yesterday and only Mick Byrne 200 is tougher for a 200.
I was lucky with weather, a little wind but sun all day and cloudless sky, but probably the most spectacular day I've ever had on a bike. It uses best section of Ring(circa 75km) and some of the best roads in interior of Iveragh. Unmissable
Pink Elephant 200. A favourite of mine and a lovely way to spend day on bike. Coachford to Clondroihid, Coum to Gougane and section around by Rathbarry are pretty special. Tough 200 but still very enjoyable. Rode this 5 times in last 10 months and on most sections cars a are a rarity.
National 600. Used as a qualifier for PBP and quite roads/lanes isn't the criteria. Was in good shape on day and flew around it, but not one i'd be too bothered with again
Celtic Knot 1000. Knee trouble caused me to only ride one loop of Knot but it was a really lovely day on bike. Again lot of quite roads which took a lot of route planning. Day 2 especially looked nice to.
Three Provinces 300. Wheel trouble again caused me to abandon this, which was a pity as was really enjoying route, even if the Polish monster was pushing the pace. I'll be back for this one. Really quite roads, lumpy as fcuk which makes it more difficult than one might think from the numbers
Not this year but last year I rode
Mick Byrne 200. Really tough route but great day on bike thanks to the route planning of POD. Highly recommend but be prepared to suffer, Wicklow 200 it's not
Priest's Leap and Devils Elbow 300. With 4000m climbing and some really brutal sections, you need to be in the full of your health for this one. You'd need to be in MB200 shape for this one, and if so another fantastic route.
Plenty more events on calendar and depending on what other posters say will target one or two of them before WAW. Had intended to do Beara 400 and The Brown Stuff 400 but life got in the way! 19 rides of 200km or more since December 30, with 5 being 6am starts 2-3hrs from base had me out of time/brownie points! There is something amiss when your alarm clock goes off when dark on the 21st June!
Anyway I'd be interested in thoughts of other lunatics sorry audaxers!
Only audax done to date is the Dying cow 200, but a fantastic route with lots of tiny l-roads. Like yourself, my preference would be for rougher semi-paved l-roads with the inner routes on the Iveragh a big favourite, so the inner ring is high on the bucket list, as is the long heron. Need to work on my fitness for both!
Just the Dying light for me. The Boreens in from the turn off the r156 Summerhill road into Dublin were great. Have to do a few more next year.
Are these spins for the "regular joe" or aimed at a more advanced, racer type person (or someone on the verge of racing)?
I've done a few of the Skoda/An Post spins, just wondering are the Audax ones at the same level, just more kms to get through? Or are they a faster ride (avg over 30km/h)?
did a couple of audax events when preparing for the raid pyreneen, and always enjoyed them. The Mick Byrne is a great event.
Definitely "regular joe" with a bit of endurance thrown in. There is a max (30kph) and min (15kph) average speed limit so you cannot race. It's more like orienteering by bike: You have a route sheet (optional gps track) to navigate and have to make controls within time limits. Some riders ride the thing as fast as they can, others are 'full value' and take their time, enjoying the ride, scenery and company. You can end up in a peloton at speed or ride solo or with two or three companions. I tend to go for 'full value' or thereabouts.
What you need for audax is a degree of self-reliance (no broom wagon, gotta be able to sort any problems on your own), a measure of endurance (and knowing how to pace yourself) and to be happy in your own company for hours at a time.
There's one on Saturday 14th heading out from Whitehall Church, Dublin 9 at 0700 but you'd want to be set up for night riding if you were going to use that as your first spin...
Are you Midlands based?
There are a few lads doing Audax out of the Wolftrap Club and one or two out of Portlaoise. If Dublin based keep an eye out for next one of these.
Audax from my experience is very inclusive, full of decent people who like to cycle and help others who cycle. "always finish, always finish smiling" is something you commonly hear.
On speed, other than a flat 200km with easy navigation and good surface (why bother ) with time taken to control( a receipt to prove you passed through a town within a certain time) probably three times really difficult for even the strongest guy to break upper speed limit. If controlling, eating navigation took 40mins total your moving speed would need to be 33km. Best of luck with that solo...
Certainly what works for me is to limit time off the bike rather than having to ride in the red at all. On a 200 solo that's usually 30mins stopped in total and well under an hour for a 300.
Have a look on website for more information
Anyway any Jackeen, or Drogheda head even, going to review a route or two...
There have also been a couple of intro to audax spins running recently at ~100k which are well worth getting to. Well run by a very knowledgeable and easy going crew, with an average moving speed of about 24kph last weekend on a pan flat route, and about 22kph a couple of weeks previously with a few hills thrown in.
I've ridden a fair few of the routes around Dublin in the last couple of years (at least 22 audax rides in the last 22 months).
The Angel of Mons 200 - Clontarf up to Drogheda and Castlebellingham across to Collon and Slane and then back to Dublin over the rolling ridges. More climbing that you'd think but some great views of the Mourne and Wicklow Mountains. I rode it the first year and the weather was awful, sleet and hail and early nightfall do not make for a pleasant ride, but it is January and what kind of eejit is going to ride 200km in January!
King's Mountain 200 - Held in mid-February and the weather is the toughest thing about this route. I've ridden over iced up roads and glorious sunshine or grey skies and a vicious head wind. It a lumpy route going west from Whitehall in Dublin through Meath to north-west Meath around Loughcrew where most of the climbing is located and then back to Dublin via Kells. Meath County Council seems to have forgotten to resurface many of the roads around Oldcastle! Self-supported but there's usually a good sized crew out.
Ardattin 200 - Leaves Bray, down the coast road to Arklow and swings inland to Woodenbridge and Aughrim. Lunch in the Ardattin Inn in Carlow and then back to Bray via Tinahely, Rathdrum and Ashford. Not the hardest 200, only 1400m of climbing and if you're with a fast crew it can be done in under eight hours. It's well supported, the jelly beans, water and cake are much appreciated and the wraps at Rathdrum are legendary. It's a good early season ride before summer sportive season as it takes place in early April.
Mick Byrne 200 - leaves Dalkey and heads south over most of the Wicklow climbs. 3500m of climbing evenly distributed over the 200 so don't go out at a fast pace or you'll be crying later trying to ride up Slieve Maan and Sally Gap. I use this one as a training route if I've got something tougher coming up. Also well supported with a car full of grub at the side of the road at the controls and the option for sit down food at Laragh.
Fratres Cruciferi 200 - flattish route out of North Dublin through Maynooth and down through west Wicklow to Athy and back up to Dublin. Very quiet bog roads with some tricky navigation due to few landmarks. A really nice late September spin.
Dying Light 200. Possible one of the least scenic routes through North Dublin to Ardee and then to Kingscourt in Cavan and back through Meath. Great catering and a really good atmosphere. It used to be the season finish but there are now rides in November and December.
Faceless Monk 200 - Like the Dying Light route but in reverse, quiet roads, some interesting information controls, some climbing near Ardee. You will need lights.
Gheimhridh (Winter) 200 - Leaves Stamullen and heads across Meath to Lough Derravaragh in Westmeath and then back through Kells and Slane to Stamullen. A nice route even if some of the bog road sections are tricky and the drumlins make it difficult to maintain an even pace. I rode it last year and we were covered in mud by the time we reached Trim. Well supported with food at controls.
The Angel of Mons was cancelled twice last January due to weather but in the spirit of HTFU, I did them anyway so had three 200's done by the end of January. It was bitterly cold during the first cancelled one.
Ronnie's routes, typically out of Glasnevin, tend to be scenic, interesting and moderately hard. He tends to choose small, quiet roads and even bog roads or tracks at times. The Three/Five Aquaducts 200 is a lovely canal-side spin but challenging in terms of time as the surfaces are slow.
The Carlingford 300 is a lovely, scenic, climby route up to the Mountains of Mourne and back over the Cooleys with a few kicks near the end.
Rideable with rim brakes or are those tow paths all mud in wet weather? Looks nice though
A friend said I could try his new 29" carbon mtb for a quick spin...
I gave it a go this year in lashing rain and the tow paths weren't too muddy.
Not a problem on a CX bike with disc brakes.
I've rode various sections of the Grand and Royal in muddy conditions last winter on a hybrid with rim brakes with no issues. The tow paths are flat and straight so braking isn't a problem. I think tyres would be more of an issue, and wouldn't fancy it on slicks after heavy rain.
UK events and differnt but ideal for lads with do it all bikes