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Audax Celtic Knot 1,000K

posted 6 Jul 2015, 08:21 by Kevin Monaghan
(By Bernard Flynn)   
On the 12th of June, 1897, a group of Italian cyclists travelled the route between Rome and Naples, a distance of 230 kilometers, in a single day. Given the difficult cycling conditions of that time, this effort was considered to be "audacious". In France, at the end of the nineteenth century, the first cycle tourists had begun to organise, together with hikers. The creation of the Touring Club de France, on March 31, 1890, was the result of this coming together. Now, there are "Audax" clubs all over the world including Ireland. Audax, the long distance cycling club, run events from 200K upwards.

Recently, we had the Celtic Knot 1000K (yes one thousand !) which was run from a base in Clara, Co. Offaly. With an Audax event, you receive a map or route sheet at the beginning of the event along with a Brevet card which must be stamped or else a receipt or some other proof of passage at particular points. Audax events are also self sufficient, i.e. you carry all your needs on the bike from clothes to spares, tyres and tubes etc. and also food.

Stage 1, we had a 360K Clara, Co. Offaly to Sligo - Ballina, Co. Mayo, - Athlone, and back to Clara. Stage 2 (240K) from Clara to  Portarlington - Athy - Gowran, Co. Kilkenny, Kilcormac, Co. Offaly to Clara. Stage 3  (100K)from Clara to  Mullingar - Castlepollard and back to Clara. Stage 4 (300K) Clara - over the Slieve Blooms - Castlecomer - Enniscorthy - Athy and back to Clara!

The total time allowed for this event was 75 hours maximum. This includes any sleep time you may wish to take, breaks etc. Some people rode as small groups while others battled the whole route solo. Two riders rode straight through and one guy even did it on a Fixie (no gears). I was lucky to have been in a group of 5 riders for most of the journey and we averaged 25kmph throughout. Weather-wise, we were fortunate from a rain aspect but the wind was very strong by times. In true Audax style, the most climbing , or so it felt, was in the last 300K. I got about 5 hours sleep on  two nights and completed the event in a comfortable  65 hours.

This is a big year for Audax cyclists as the Paris/Brest/Paris cycle takes place in August. This is the "Olympics" for Audax. To take part in this event, a participant must have completed in a 200k, a 300K , a 400K and a 600K event this year. There are four cyclists from Mullingar who have now qualified and entered. They are : Conor Isdell, Dermot Hogan, Bernard Flynn and Ollie Green.

Aside from this event, there are events nearly every week, so if you feel the call of long distance cycling, look up the website,