To help put together what events members are riding or thinking about riding, recommendations, general advice, lift sharing and all the rest of it, I have put together a mailing list for those who ride Sportives/Audax, are thinking of riding or are interested in what its all about. Just drop me an email me at with ‘Sportive/Audax’ in the subject and I can add you to it.
 Barry’s Bristol Ballbuster Audax on Sunday March 30th
The Las Vegas Institute of Sport really know how to run an Audax and this event justified all the good things I had heard about them. There was a 213km event and two 116km rides to choose from, all starting and finishing from Long Ashton community centre and easy to get to from Bath.
There was a party atmosphere at all the control points, the food really hit the spot, the route was well thought out and although lumpy at times very enjoyable. I have posted some pics from my ride
The day started out warm and just got hotter and hotter plus it was a nice surprise to pass the Easyriders & Clubriders returning from watching the Bristol South Road Race, going the other way on the stretch near Norton Malreward around midday.
I would highly recommend this event as a cross between the traditional village hall type Audax controls catering for hundreds of riders mixed with modern day online organisation, gpx. routes and a really friendly & switched on crew running things. This is how events should always be…
Danny Lunnon also rode although I did not see him as his ride had a different start time but he has written about his experience and has some sound advice, below.

I had a good ride and really enjoyed the sunshine and food at the WI stops.

Cycling groups and the WI is a fantastically mutually beneficial union!

It was good to have choice of filled rolls, soup or cakes rather than the usually cake or banana option.

I find myself craving something savoury after a long ride fuelled solely on cakes and sweets. 

I completed it in an elapsed time of 5:23 at a moving average of 15.2 mph which was quick for me for 70 miles, motivated on the whole by getting to the front of the food queue!

On the route back I found myself leading a group of people who all set out without a route sheet or any way of navigating.

It was a novel experience leading a group up the hills and not having a host of people overtaking me!

The route covered roads that were familiar to the Saturday group around Doynton, as well as taking in Thornbury, Chipping Sodbury and Dundry.

 Anyone thinking of doing an Audax needs to have some method of navigating, the route sheets are generally excellent.

Many laminate them and find some way of attaching them to their handlebars.

I favour taking a Satnav as well as it takes less concentration.

The rides have no mechanical support so as with a club ride you need to take tools and spares to get you back.

A phone and some cash for a taxi are useful if something unrepairable happens.

All the best


Next weekend


A group of VC Walcot Clubriders are, as our friends across the pond would say, going to do Belgium.
David Acklam, Mike Bedford, Myself, Peter Nobes, Paula Sage, Sadie Wright & Phil Wyatt are travelling to Oudenaarde in northern Belgium this coming Friday to ride the Tour of Flanders sportive on Saturday, watch the professional race on Sunday then travelling back on Monday. We are all really looking foward to the trip and hopefully we will send some updates during the weekend about how we are getting on.
Sportive captian David Acklam has organised the trip and helped us first timers prepare for the ‘bergs’.
Sportsrider & Clubrider, Angus McKendrick is riding the Valley of the Rocks 200km Audax in Devon on Saturday
When organisers mention ‘scenic, rewarding & spectacular views’ in their prospectus then instinct suggests its gonna be damn hilly and with total climbing of 3900 metres…. looks like it is. (that’s about 2 Alpine passes!)
Here is a map of the route
Having been on the receiving end of Angus climbing on club rides I can see why the event appeals and look foward to hearing more about this ride.
Further out 
My next Audax is the Heart of England 300km from Cirencester on Saturday 26th April if anyone fancies riding it and would like a lift. Leave Bath at 4.15am…ouch!
It is an ideal event for the 1st time at this distance because after the first 25 mile Cotswolds section the rest is mostly flat or rolling and on very quiet roads. It was an eye opener to me how nice it is skirting around the big urban areas of the Midlands, just a few miles from cities such as Coventry and Nuneaton. If you have ridden 100 miles before then 186 (300km) is very do-able, its just 4 x 45(ish) mile back-2-back rides really with refreshment stops at the end of each leg, if you break it down into manageable chunks and don’t dwell on the total distance until you have finished.
Some of the Clubriders are planning to ride the Mendip 100 mile sportive on May 18th. More to follow on that.
The Bike Bath weekend of 28/29th June is sure to be of interest with several Sportive ride options on both days. Helpers and marshalls are needed and anyone doing so will be offered free entry to the Bike Oxford events. More to follow on that too.
Bath CC are running their 100km Mendip Audax
on Sunday 6th July from Combe Down in Bath. This is the second year of the event and I heard great reviews from last year which included live TV coverage of the TdF at the finish. It would be really good to enter in big numbers for both these local events. How good would that look.
I hear Rob the organiser has a new 200km event from Bath into Wales planned for the future so even more exciting stuff in our area on the cards.
Our friends at Great Weston Ride are running a 56 mile challenging route across the Mendips and Somerset levels on Sunday 20th July. The ride starts from Long Ashton Park & Ride and eventually finishes in Weston-Super-Mare with proceeds going to help in the fight against prostate cancer.
This makes an ideal family day out with relatives and family able to meet you at the finish, making it a real fun day out for all.
Even Further out 
Easyrider/Clubrider, Andy Lenthall has been strong armed into entering the Blenheim Palace Sportive on Sunday August 17th.
Andy is seeking others to join him and you can see more about this on his March 21st post on the VCW Facebook page.
Audax Club Bristol event organiser Paul Rainbow has a 224km Grimpeur (Climber) event planned, hopefully for later this summer taking in some of the best climbs of the Brecon Beacons, including the famous Tumble. For those who like a bit of excitement it also includes an 11km fast descent into Crickhowell (not literally!) and Paul describes the route as, “pretty hilly!!”
Provisional route suggestion is
Start/Finish would be Aztec West which is very easy to get to from Bath and has ample free parking. More to follow on this as details get finalised. 
til next time
Andy C