Straight on at roundabout


Route sheets
July 15, 2010, 6:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

An audax route sheet can seem quite complex and is actually the subject of some debate.  The debate is not about inaccuracies or interpretations but concentartes on the layout and style that can vary from event to event.

Some route sheets contain the barest bones of information.  Directions, distances and advice are dispensed persimononiously.  At best you’ll get the distance between directions together with the open and close time of controls.

By contract, other organisers seem to revel in providing turn by turn cumulative distances, intermediate mileages as well as helpful warnings such as the sharpness of a gradient or the looseness of gravel on a corner.

Getting pleanty of detail actually matters to me for reasons that might seem surprising.  Obviously more information means easier navigation, but in the age of the GPS, navigation is not the challenge it used to be.  The attraction for me is that more data makes a tough ride easier simply because the hardest bit of a ride is the bit between your ears.  A lot of information is exactly the distraction you need a ride has reached the dreadful gap between ‘I’m glad I entered because I didn’t realise how nice it is around here‘ and ‘ the end is in sight’.

In that desperate nether world, if I’m riding alone, I make continual calculations and predictions based on the routesheet information.  How many minutes to the next direction?  How many pedal strokes to the next control?  If I increased my average speed by just 1 kph what would that do to the time to the next cup of tea.

Which is great as long as you don’t commit the cardinal error of promising yourself a finish time.  In my experience this only ever turns into a morale-sapping disappointment!

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