It happened. We failed an audax attempt. But it didn't happen the way I was expecting. Our riding was not the problem. It turns out the scope of an audax ride is bigger than we first thought because we failed before we even left.
When you set really specific parameters for a ride, like riding together, predetermining the speed, and planning arrival at checkpoints en route down to the minute, you're guaranteed to not meet expectations at some point. We learned this week that, if the Denton cycling community wants to maintain a weekly audax, we need a large roster of potential riders who feel a responsibility for maintaining the regularity. I don't mean the tempo; I mean the regularity of participation, the regularity of our attempts.
No one can come to every ride every week, but we should all see ourselves as part of a large team capable of rostering a local/regional bicycling act of tourism every single week. This includes people who have never been on an audax before. We need first-timers. We need you.
A regular audax requires a large team for a number of reasons obviously including the fact that this is a group sport that depends on the variability of the team effort. If we don't try an audax every week, we can't ride an audax every week. So let's roster ourselves a team big enough to handle our own individual life schedules as well as our intermittent flakiness and varied interests (you need not be a bicycle enthusiast to ride an audax.) With 15-20 local riders committed to keeping audax going in Denton, we can meet our own standards and provide a sustained and sporting ride for our local cycling community. These are our requirements:
Start with at least 4
Finish with at least 3
Leave together, return together
Promote bicycle tourism and teamwork
Finish between 20 and 25 kph average speed by arriving at planned checkpoints on schedule
Let's throw a large net in town and catch every cyclist we can. We need leaders who can encourage and socialites who are fun to be around. We need college kids on vintage 10 speeds with flat pedals and older riders with saddle bags older than those college kids! We need women, and we need men. We need beginners who are challenged by the course and want to experience longer rides. But we also need seasoned riders who can step up on rides when the route is especially difficult or long or when the weather is especially terrible.
So, help out. Volunteer your presence on a local cycling effort. It's not doing something for someone else; it's doing something with someone else.