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Leisure Cycling – What’s On This Year?

posted 2 Apr 2012, 14:22 by Kevin Monaghan
(By Conor Isdell)   
While our racing colleagues having been making headlines in recent weeks the remaining 70% of the club - the laid back, chilled out leisure division  - have also been busy!  So what’s happening on the leisure front over the coming months? The main events for Leisure riders are normally called Sportive or Touring events.

What is a Sportive?
A Sportive is a longer distance, organised, mass participation event typically held annually. These events challenge participants over a set course and organisers typically offer a choice of distances and will provide support with supervising marshals and food and water stops that are very welcome to all participants. They range in distance from 60km right up to 160km (or 100 miles in old money). The An Post series is a very good example offering a series of 5 events set in beautiful locations around the county offering 60km, 100km and 160km in each event. The schedule for 2012 is as follows:-
  An Post Tour of Sligo                6th May
  An Post Tour de Burren             23rd June
  An Post Meath Heritage Tour     29th July
  Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford     26th August
  An Post Rebel Tour of Cork       15th September

In case we forget the club’s own Tour of the Lakes takes place on 15th, July with marshalling and food stops provided. We will be updating the calendar on the club website with details of selected upcoming leisure events however a more complete listing is available on the Cycling Ireland website although it might be best to re-check the dates nearer the time to confirm the event is going head. We also hope to text members on a monthly basis with a list of events for the month ahead.

What is Audax/Randonneuring?
SR Medal
This is another type of leisure cycling where the challenge is to complete the distance rather than do it fast. This is generally for experienced cyclists as the events start at 200km (yes, that was not a typo) and go up to 1,200km. There are generous time limits to complete these events with the average speed being between 15kph and 30kph. Some of the most famous ones at the extreme are Paris-Brest-Paris (1200km), London-Edinburgh-London (1,400km) and Boston-Montreal-Boston (1,200km). 

Within Ireland there is an association called Audax Ireland who organise and regulate these events and have about 12 events set for the coming season with names like “The Surf and Turf 300km” starting in Clonmel, “The Three Rivers 300km” in Cork and “The Dying Cow 300km” in Wicklow. Typically these events attract small numbers about 30/50 riders where self-reliance with bike and gear is required. When you read these notes hopefully about 8 members from the club will have completed their first Audax event, the Ardattin 200km in Wicklow on Sunday last.  Take your pick on what floats your boat and get a plan and enjoy your cycling!