Author Topic: UAF 2019  (Read 435 times)

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
UAF 2019
« on: October 21, 2018, 09:39:15 pm »
UAF is the original form of Audax, riding in a group to a schedule averaging 22.5kph on the road + stops. http://www.audax-uaf.com

Most long-distance riders are looking towards PBP Randonneur next year but preliminary information for some interesting UAF brevets in France are:
- 09 Mar 100km Bi-Audax = ride in the morning and 25km Marche (6kph + stops) in the afternoon.
- 30 Mar 200km from St Remy les Chevreuse (outskirts of Paris & RER-accessible, we've done this by Eurostar after work on Friday)
- 15 & 16 Jun 200km out + 200km back
- 30 Jun 1000km Paris-Tourmalet (HK and I rode this in 2010, great fun)

HK and I are looking at doing several of these brevets to relax from PBP qualifying. Four course lunches and dinners with wine on the tables, along with hotel accommodation on multi-day brevets, helps in that regard.

UAF folk are incredibly welcoming, even to those incapable of speaking French, like myself. Helmets are compulsory and the usual lighting and reflective vest French road rules apply. Just ask if you have any queries.

HK and I also aim to run a 200 UAF in Cambridgeshire and Essex, probably next September. It'll likely be a good chance to swap tall tales for PBPers and others.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Ben T

  • What you saying, then?
Re: UAF 2019
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2018, 09:40:01 am »
A curiosity I have about UAF is how stops are coordinated. By communication, I would guess, to some extent, but of people's reasons for stopping - e.g. to put their jacket on / adjust their mudguard / fix their brakes / change the music on their ipod / make/answer a phone call / go to the loo / have a sleep, etc etc, - some of those things are more essential/urgent than others.

So how does it pan out in practice - are people effectively discouraged from needing to do these things, or do they all stop at once for a certain time at a certain interval?

So when I'm on a randonnee, I sometimes think "I could do with stopping soon, but it doesn't have to be right now", but sometimes (more rarely, but does happen) I have something for which "I need to stop right now". For the people that conflate the two, is UAF not for them?

What if someone simply can't/doesn't keep up - are they just dropped?

Sounds interesting, definitely.
This is destiny, it's fate, it's the matrix working in my favour.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: UAF 2019
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2018, 11:15:53 am »
Short answer - There are scheduled stops, about every 50km and folk try to do everything necessary then. To stop for a leak or fix a flat, just stop and chase back on as soon as possible, often with a stronger rider helping out.

Good ride captains will balance the opposing responsibilities of keeping weaker riders in the bunch in tough conditions and maintaining the published schedule. They tend to softpedal the climbs and gain time on the flat. It is commonplace for stronger riders to sit wide in crosswinds to allow weaker riders to get a better draft. Everybody has signed up to ride as a group and intentionally riding apart from the group will lead to non-validation.

I wouldn't want every brevet I ride to be a UAF but they make a nice change for many folk. Think of it as an Arrow to York writ large.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: UAF 2019
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2018, 11:18:46 am »
What size groups are we talking?

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
Re: UAF 2019
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2018, 11:20:13 am »
Corss-posted with LWAB:

Basic rule is a short break (~20 minutes) every 50k or so, and longer breaks at meal-times.  When I was organizing and someone stopped one of our road captains would ask if they needed help: if they did he would wait then help them catch up, otherwise they would rejoin under their own steam.  With the other organizers I know of you're on your own.  The UAF also have a rule that if you're 10 minutes late at a halt you're considered to have packed.  I was timed out at one stop during PBP 2006 simply because I headed for a loo as soon as I got there and nobody noticed I'd arrived. (I contested that later, successfully.)  I don't think that organizers other than the UAF itself apply the rule - I certainly didn't and neither did other UAF Audax clubs I rode with.

UAF-affiliated clubs may also allow unplanned mass halts, e.g. to put rain jackets on, but IME the UAF itself doesn't.  I also know a couple of hardened UAF types who won't even sit down & have a coffee at planned stops. I never did work them out.

Nice things: you're always in a pack with lots of shelter, the road captains take the brunt of the wind up front, and traffic calls, lights, etc. are looked after by road captains front & rear, and maybe one or two riding up and down the pack as whippers-in. Meals and sleeping accommodation are laid on. The organizers' aim is to use all the time allowed for the brevet, although a little euphoric sprinting might be tolerated at the end - I did one with the Mulhouse bunch where the entire 70-strong pack was hitting 36 kph over the last 25k just for fun.

Not so nice: it can be hell on the bowels. The choice between "sitting on it" for three hours to the next halt and having to catch a pack doing 22.5 kph after a 10-minute trip into the bushes can be agonizing. And when you get to the planned halt there might be fifty other bods in the queue - or better still, there might not even be a loo available. T'other thing is that delays on the road due to headwinds etc. get taken out of rest time. Again, on a long brevet it can be hard to stay awake after lunch when you're plodding along at 22.5, especially on the 3rd day of a 1000k.

Other UAF rules include no flashing lights and no helmet lights on the road, although helmet lights can be useful during halts.
I dare eat all that may become a man.

But hold the oysters.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: UAF 2019
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2018, 11:33:27 am »
The 10 minute rule seems to have gone the way of the dodo, assuming 'best efforts' by dropped riders to regain the bunch. I spent a considerable percentage of the 2016 PBP Audax shepherding 'waifs and strays' back to the bunch. I got a 'chien de berger' trophy for my efforts at the following UAF AGM, along with a very nice bottle of Champagne.

Bunch sizes vary. Minimum start group size is 4 and minimum number of finishers is 3, otherwise it isn't a valid UAF brevet. Not too different to the Arrow to York (I wonder where ACP got the idea for riding as a group). Most brevets have 1-3 dozen riders. The biggest events may exceed 100 riders but French road rules require things like follow and lead vehicles as the group size increases and traffic control motorcycles for the very biggest groups. During PBP Audax, I've covered hundreds of kilometres without putting feet down at traffic lights, roundabouts and so on. The motos just stop everything and the bunch sweeps through at 22.5kph.

Maximum bunch sizes are typically limited by restaurant and hotel capacities, so might be as little as 2 dozen for a local brevet. Meals are pre-ordered and included within the entry fee, as are hotels for longer brevets.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
Re: UAF 2019
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2018, 01:36:58 pm »
The 10 minute rule seems to have gone the way of the dodo, assuming 'best efforts' by dropped riders to regain the bunch. I spent a considerable percentage of the 2016 PBP Audax shepherding 'waifs and strays' back to the bunch. I got a 'chien de berger' trophy for my efforts at the following UAF AGM, along with a very nice bottle of Champagne.

Joël said at the end of PBP 2006 that in looking after the needy he'd ridden between 150 and 200% of the 1200 km.

French law used to impose a maximum of 20 vehicles/group, whether bikes, motorbikes, cars or steam traction engines.  For bikes, this was relaxed a few years back to 50/group.  Although it's against UAF mores to deviate from 22.5 average on shorter brevets, we used to have fast groups and slow groups, and send the mighty belters away first.

We used to have around 70 folk on a 100k, 50 on a 200k, 25 on a 300k and around 20 on 400k & 600k.

Another nice thing I'd forgotten is that, while nobody has a reserved place in the pack, weaker riders are usually given the places just behind the leading road captains so that they move at a fairly constant speed. The tail end can have "elastic" problems, and is much more tiring. In 2006, with a single pack of 180 riders, this was fierce.
I dare eat all that may become a man.

But hold the oysters.