April is Adventure Month
by Dave Land, posted 10 April 2018
Follow JRtB on Twitter @justridethebike
It's time to get out there, get warmed up, and do something just a bit silly. What about an adventure?
The growth in adventure rides and races across cycling disciplines has been something we’ve watched with great pleasure. Many of them are on faintly conceived birthday lists “I’d love to do the BC bike race; have you seen the Cape Epic, it looks amazing’.
Watching the Colorado Trail Race (on youtube, of course), another one was added to our list. A pretty long, 500 miles, unsupported, bikepacking race, but with free entry. And then the Arizona Trail race appeared in the search results, 300 miles. The 45NRTH Fatbike Endurance Race? no terrain is out of bounds. Is this becoming exponential? Are they sustainable? Does it matter?
Self-guided adventures feel like they might be the most easily sustained, as they require the least organiser input, and are sometimes free. Compared to more rigidly organised rides, at which organisers aim to make money, it seems likely that the free ones have the chance of a longer life. If you are hardy enough. Then again, it might be suggested they are little different from being offroad Audaxes. Are they tougher simply because they are off road?
Audaxes, for those who don’t know, are long distance cycle rides, possibly a bit like very long sportives, but without the arrows, feed stations, support vehicles, timing chips or cake. You sign up (online normally), are given instructions on a route (sometimes with a file for your Garmin), sign in at a start point, and off you go. You will have to call into a few control points along the way, to prove you completed the route. Love it!
The major difference, for us at least, between road and mountain bike is that most mountain bike races can be ridden by amateurs. Whilst there is no suggestion they are cheap and cheerful. Something like the Cape Epic coming in at around 9,000R, it contrasts sharply with the Colorado Trail Race. But if you have the money you can apply to enter.
We would loudly and rightly applaud anyone that could complete the any of these races, (if this is you, drop us a line). See our chat with Anna Orenz, who finished the 2,500km Transatlantic way race in Ireland. But you don’t have to travel that far to have a micro-adventure with a bike. Any route that takes you somewhere you haven’t been before, any climb or descent that make you push that bit harder than normal, any ride that someone, somewhere thinks you shouldn’t be doing. We think they all count. If you don't fancy racing sign up for a fun holiday on the bike. Companies like Exodus Travel (there are plenty of others) specialise in organised cycling trips in countries all over the world.
The possibilities for adventure are everywhere, just go out and grab them.