Author Topic: If audax isn't competitive, then why bother with validation at all?  (Read 15524 times)

vorsprung

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If audax isn't competitive, then why bother with validation at all?


There's PBP qualification for a start - that's what AUK was originally invented for.


ok, granted. But:
* PBP is in itself just another audax
* lots of people ride audaxes in britain that either have already done pbp (and thus presumably qualify for it again), or else have no intention of riding it.

Incorrect on both counts

Firstly, PBP isn't "just another audax"

"presumably qualify"- You presume too much.  Everyone has to do an Super Randonneur series (200.300,400 and 600) in the year in question to qualify.  Occassionally people who have done multiple PBPs ( more than 3, say) can get special pleading to skip part of the qualifications but this is exceptional
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urban_biker

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*moved from BCM thread*

Well, Audax isn't competitive in terms of times apart from against yourself. You *can* set yourself personal targets and try to beat them - if you like. The faster people are just those you can aspire to perhaps stay with on the odd occasion. There is also a strange trade off between sleep and speed. If you can do without much sleep you can stay with those who are technically much faster.

The competitive element comes in at the level of how many miles you have ridden and how many audaxes, hence the points system, validation and the awards at the AGM each year. So Audax *is* competitive - but its not about how fast you finish each ride, its about how many rides you complete. Thats what AUK is there for - to encourage long distance cycling and more of it.
Owner of a languishing Langster

It is competitive - with myself.

Validation proves I did it. Points motivate me.

Not all rides are fun all the time - I need other motivators to drive me on when the main one, the cycling, is failing to deliver for some reason.

Given my history of inactivity, poor lifestyle choices, and general lard-arsery, the fact that I can ride a push bike 600km is nigh on miraculous. Damn right it's competitive. Just not in an obvious way.

Manotea

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Heigh ho, here we go...

1)  Validated Events and Series of Events set standards, providing a measure of performance and an aid to motivation. The extent to which one is in competition with oneself or with others is purely a personal matter. Yes, AUK offers pots for points but ISTM they are more a matter of celebration than competition.

2) PBP really is 'just another audax'.

3. Er, that's it really.

border-rider

For me, validation provides a framework that gets me out on the bike. Yes the only person who cares is me, but I can set myself goals (n points in a season; an SR Series; try to get round in under nn hours) and being a bloke, I'm target/metric driven - so it all helps.

That's very different from being competitive in an event - I tend to roll along at my own pace and I'd be very put off by any overt element of placings or rankings.  Maybe if I were faster that would be different, of course :)

fboab

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I'll (probably) never win anything based on speed. Like Chris, I could easily find evidence to show my life history is a succession of poor choices many of which could have been life threatening. The fact that at my age I'm even considering riding 1000km is nothing short of miraculous and I like the fact there is incontravertable proof that I've ridden what I have.
Without validation I wouldn't push myself so hard. No one else is impressed, but I am, and that's what counts.
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Martin

the first medal I ever got for cycling was a 200km one; it was nice to feel I'd finally acheived something after n years of soul destroying TTs. You can even get one if you come "last"

AikenDrum

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It's certainly become more competitive since I started doing it last century  ;)

Internet forums like this one have surely played a part in this, with people talking about their "PB" for this or that event, or listing all their events in their signature like it's a DSO and bar.  ;D

There's still a need for validation, if only to stop people whose confidence outstrips their abilities from applying to do rides like PBP, and possibly taking a place from someone more deserving i.e. someone who can ride 200,300,400,600 in a season. Many people on this forum probably look at PBP as the Audax equivalent of the London Boreathon, and it's not, but that's what it would probably become if entry was by open ballot.
London's burning with boredom now

Audax isn't competitive on the road bar a few who like to push themselves and be pushed by others and try and get back first. There's no great surprise in that, someone has to be first. But they don't get any thing extra/special from AUK for doing so. Their competitiveness doesn't affect the people plodding along at the back.

There's also a competitive edge to the points (AUK,AAA,FWC,Recumbent,..etc...) championship, but the vast majority of people don't worry about this and carry on doing the rides they want to do.

But it's a long way from the competitiveness of racing.

Validation is a completely separate thing, rides still need to be validated but AUK chooses to publish points tallies and lists of rides completed which is the basis for comparison and competition.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Weirdy Biker

All Audax UK does, really, is ensure that we do events in accordance with certain regulations.  That's validation.  Cyclists who don't feel the need to have their ride validated in this way can just ride their bike without filling in a brevet card.

I do wonder, however, if the OP is confusing validation with the recording and making public of "points"?  That is unecessary but lots of people get motivation from that.  It's a human thing - more of a self-validation than anything more sinister.

urban_biker

  • " . . .we all ended up here and like lads in the back of a Nova we sort of egged each other on...."
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Re: If audax isn't competitive, then why bother with validation at all?
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2010, 10:45:03 am »
. . . .  or listing all their events in their signature like it's a DSO and bar.  ;D


BTW  - I'm one of those that does that - but I never saw it as bragging. Just a social thing really. Means that people know what rides I'm doing and when we are likely to meet up.
Owner of a languishing Langster

Euan Uzami

Re: If audax isn't competitive, then why bother with validation at all?
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2010, 10:50:15 am »
Interesting reading, thanks.
So, leaving PBP qualification aside, to the people that say "it's important but only for me and not anyone else", would you be happy to just:
* be sent a brevet card in the post with your route sheet
* told what points you would get if/when you complete the ride
* record the points total in a spreadsheet which you are sent on membership of AUK which just sits on your own computer (or even paper in a drawer)?
In other words, are you happy not to prove you've done the ride to anyone else but yourself.

Just to make it clear i'm not criticizing anybody's attitudes or reasons for want of validation for any reason, I'm just curious really. I got thinking about it while on the BCM, and just sort of started asking myself what *my* attitudes to validation are, and I haven't really come to an answer yet.

Weirdy Biker

Re: If audax isn't competitive, then why bother with validation at all?
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2010, 10:50:49 am »
. . . .  or listing all their events in their signature like it's a DSO and bar.  ;D


BTW  - I'm one of those that does that - but I never saw it as bragging. Just a social thing really. Means that people know what rides I'm doing and when we are likely to meet up.

It's also a motivation tool.  Research shows that if you write it down and tell other people you are more likely to follow it through.

My sig line on points etc is a bit self centred though.  Part of the social networking trait of making available personal information that no-one else cares about  :)  If I were to rationalise it, the events are to let people know what events they might see me on next (hence why I don't mention perms).  The points etc are to suggest what type of riding I do (mine probably gives a fairly accurate audax profile of me).

AikenDrum

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Re: If audax isn't competitive, then why bother with validation at all?
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2010, 10:53:20 am »
. . . .  or listing all their events in their signature like it's a DSO and bar.  ;D


BTW  - I'm one of those that does that - but I never saw it as bragging. Just a social thing really. Means that people know what rides I'm doing and when we are likely to meet up.

Time you changed your sig then.
London's burning with boredom now

Euan Uzami

Re: If audax isn't competitive, then why bother with validation at all?
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2010, 10:54:40 am »
I do wonder, however, if the OP is confusing validation with the recording and making public of "points"?  
Yes, I think I am.
I meant the latter, thinking that the two were synonymous, but not really considering validation to mean self-validation.
I used the term 'validation' originally to mean the gaining of stamps and the handing in/sending back of the brevet card, i.e. the "recording and making public of points", but you're right that it could also mean self-validation - but then again don't  we subsonsciously do that on every ride whether it's an audax or not...

border-rider

Re: If audax isn't competitive, then why bother with validation at all?
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2010, 10:57:07 am »

So, leaving PBP qualification aside, to the people that say "it's important but only for me and not anyone else", would you be happy to just:
* be sent a brevet card in the post with your route sheet
* told what points you would get if/when you complete the ride

So far, so much like a perm ;)

Quote
* record the points total in a spreadsheet which you are sent on membership of AUK which just sits on your own computer (or even paper in a drawer)?
In other words, are you happy not to prove you've done the ride to anyone else but yourself.

One could do that just by riding outside the Audax framework.  The validation thing is all about doing it within a structured and external framework.  

I also like to have specific goals for myself - so I might be trying to get a Brevet 25000 for example, which would inspire me to get off my arse and enter and ride ab Easter Arrow.

AikenDrum

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Re: If audax isn't competitive, then why bother with validation at all?
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2010, 10:58:06 am »
. . . .  or listing all their events in their signature like it's a DSO and bar.  ;D


BTW  - I'm one of those that does that - but I never saw it as bragging. Just a social thing really. Means that people know what rides I'm doing and when we are likely to meet up.

It's also a motivation tool.  Research shows that if you write it down and tell other people you are more likely to follow it through.

My sig line on points etc is a bit self centred though.  Part of the social networking trait of making available personal information that no-one else cares about  :)  If I were to rationalise it, the events are to let people know what events they might see me on next (hence why I don't mention perms).  The points etc are to suggest what type of riding I do (mine probably gives a fairly accurate audax profile of me).

This kind of sums up why ICBA with the likes of Facebook/Twitter - wrong generation I guess - my two daughters can't wait to post pics/discuss every minute detail of last night down the pub "OMG I was soooooo pissed LOL..." etc etc.
London's burning with boredom now

Nonsteeler

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Re: If audax isn't competitive, then why bother with validation at all?
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2010, 11:07:20 am »
the first medal I ever got for cycling was a 200km one; it was nice to feel I'd finally acheived something after n years of soul destroying TTs. You can even get one if you come "last"

Validation and competitiveness are for me different things. Assuming that there was no competition in audax rides (I believe there is as others have pointed out, personal best etc) validation would still make sense for me. As MV and others have said the there is motivational factor. What I'd like to add is that validation adds to the sense of achievement  doing a ride. Every couple of Ks somebody cares (sure, sometimes more, often less)  if I have ridden the min. distance between two controls. Their validation helps me to value the ride. This function is similar to parts of this forum - reading about  an audax here afterwards adds to the sense of achievement. It is nice to see that other people care in a very similar way about riding a ride. Also the little badges and medals you can buy afterwards can do a similar thing. Never thought they are worth it but after my first 600 last weekend I thought 'sod it lets celebrate and get whole set' (regardless of the fact that they will end up in my son's bric-a-brac toy box). Validation, badges and this forum help to make a ride special.

Maybe in a perfect world I would be completely intrinsically motivated and I would need this trumpery. But I am not.
Sadly, melancholy doesn't pay my rent.

αdαmsκι

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Re: If audax isn't competitive, then why bother with validation at all?
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2010, 11:09:43 am »
One could do that just by riding outside the Audax framework.  The validation thing is all about doing it within a structured and external framework.  

Being able to validate the rides gives me something to aim for and a reson to finish. The first time I rode a >200 km ride was a 400 km ride that I did on my own, before I'd joined AUK. I'd finished the actual route I wanted to do and was heading back home when I got a puncture. It was gone 11pm, dark, and I'd already done over 400 km. I couldn't be bothered to fix the puncture and so called out the calvery to pick me up. Had this been a validated ride (a DIY, Perm or Calendar event) I'd have fixed the puncture and ridden the final 20 km. However, I don't feel that I cheated on that ride because I'd set out to complete a specific aim and I'd achieved that aim. I also knew I could have ridden the final 20 km, but I just couldn't be ar$ed to fix the puncture.
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mattc

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Re: If audax isn't competitive, then why bother with validation at all?
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2010, 11:20:11 am »
...
In other words, are you happy not to prove you've done the ride to anyone else but yourself.

Just to make it clear i'm not criticizing anybody's attitudes or reasons for want of validation for any reason, I'm just curious really.
I don't think I can answer this, because I started riding Audaxes [and thus also rides over 100 miles] knowing full well that the framework existed (badges, multiples-of-100km, PBP qualification etc ... )

So if I consider, say, riding a 200km perm route because I have a free Saturday, my motivation is inevitably coloured by knowing I could "score 2 points" for it!

From another angle... of course this nx100km stuff is all arbitrary. To understand it, look at marathon running. Running a marathon is not in any significant way harder than 25 miles - conditions on the day, gradients etc make as much difference. And yet how many runners would strive towards running "a 25"?

You see, it's natural to be motivated by these bizarre artificial targets.
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Euan Uzami

Re: If audax isn't competitive, then why bother with validation at all?
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2010, 11:37:43 am »
So if I consider, say, riding a 200km perm route because I have a free Saturday, my motivation is inevitably coloured by knowing I could "score 2 points" for it!
but what if, say, for the sake of argument, there was a 100km audax going on from the next valley along that you thought was a nicer route?
Which leads me on to my next question, would/do you bother with validation for a 100km audax? Apparently they aren't "BRM" and thus not "proper" audaxes... this is what got me thinking about it, to be honest - I thought 'now I'm knocking out a 600, would I actually bother getting my brevet card stamped for a 100?', and then that led me on to thinking if I wouldn't bother with getting it stamped on a 100km, then why am I on this?

Quote
From another angle... of course this nx100km stuff is all arbitrary. To understand it, look at marathon running. Running a marathon is not in any significant way harder than 25 miles - conditions on the day, gradients etc make as much difference. And yet how many runners would strive towards running "a 25"?

You see, it's natural to be motivated by these bizarre artificial targets.
Good point - why don't they have 103km, 268km, 341km and 578km audaxes? ;) Why do they have to be boring and always go for a nice round number  ;)

Euan Uzami

Re: If audax isn't competitive, then why bother with validation at all?
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2010, 11:39:20 am »
But presumably they originally chose 26 because that was how long the route round the parts of london they wanted to route it round were originally, and then it has stuck and is the yardstick for any marathon wherever.

border-rider

Re: If audax isn't competitive, then why bother with validation at all?
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2010, 11:42:52 am »
but what if, say, for the sake of argument, there was a 100km audax going on from the next valley along that you thought was a nicer route?

I would always prefer a nice route (even if it's not validated or not an audax)

These days I quite often ride a 200-or-so loop from home just as a ride in preference to entering and driving to some less interesting audax. 

But if I want to make sure I'm not going to cut it short, I'd enter it as a DIY perm ;)

Re: If audax isn't competitive, then why bother with validation at all?
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2010, 11:44:26 am »
In my personal view audax validation and the hunt for points occasionally verges on the obsessive/ridiculous.  I've read on here of people prepared to take far less pleasant roads simply to get a receipt for DIY purposes.  To me that's crazy.

Re: If audax isn't competitive, then why bother with validation at all?
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2010, 11:44:46 am »
But presumably they originally chose 26 because that was how long the route round the parts of london they wanted to route it round were originally, and then it has stuck and is the yardstick for any marathon wherever.

The current Marathon distance has a very odd reason for being chosen as it is:-

Marathon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."