An Adventure Show special on December 9 goes inside the world of the 'hardest bike event in Scotland' where competitors have to cycle 1,300km in just 100 hours

Your average sportive around the UK can top the 100 mile mark and can be an all-day affair, but for those riders who aren’t content with merely seven hours in the saddle there are the more extreme ‘Audax’ events.

Next Tuesday (December 9) an Adventure Show special on BBC2 Scotland follows every pedal stroke of the Highlands, Glens and Western Isles event, where riders must cover 1,300km in just 100 hours.

There are no team cars, masseurs or spare bikes for these riders, who need to gain stamps to prove they have reached each checkpoint on the course, cycling day and night to reach their target.

As if cycling 1,300km in 100 hours wasn’t tough enough, the Scottish Highlands are no easy place to ride, with 18,000m of ascent to tackle en route.

“Most Audax riders I know are very nice people,” says Swedish competitor Jan Andersson. “Yet something is wrong if you want to cycle these distances. They’re not normal… some masochistic nerve or gene is needed to do this.”

If you don’t live in Scotland you can still watch BBC2 Scotland on Sky, Virgin Media and Freesat, and the programme will be available on the iPlayer for 30 days.

The above video is a sneak preview of the Sore in the Saddle show that will broadcast next week. More information on the event can be found on the Audax website.

  • WinBoy

    Agreed. The wit who first said that ‘sportive riders pretend they’re racing, audax riders pretend they aren’t’ wasn’t far from the truth. However, it’s advisable for the cycling media to be cautious about such loose usage of the term ‘race’ because of the legal and regulatory implications. It only encourages a public attitude that any group of cyclists riding fast on the road are in a ‘race’, and should be subject to statutory regulation accordingly (see New Forest, Surrey, Etape Caledonia etc etc).

  • htrider

    The Highland Trail 560 is the hardest race in Scotland / UK and the winning time this year was just under 100 hours.

  • Rice Thims

    I am an Audax rider and a member of Audax UK. Did you read my post at all? You are in a personal race against the clock to reach controls (rule 9.8.3-9.8.5 Audax UK)and if you don’t think of it that way and not do some preparations you may find yourself out of the event especially on longer rides. Many Audax riders do time themselves and try to do personal bests. For example last year I participated in the Flatlands 600K. Some of my co-riders were trying to complete the ride in under 30 hours which is very respectable. Yes there are no timed results for Audax just simply if you completed the ride. In my personal opinion the time you complete a ride is irrelevant very few people attempt anything over 300K and completing anything like a 600K or more is reward in it self. Additionally, Audax is equally about the journey and the people. It’s about finding a warm vent on a cold city street, or a bus stop to take a rest with the five other cyclists you choose to ride through the night with. It’s about riding through the night then catching a quick nap before sun up to fool your body into thinking it had a full nights rest. Audax riders are the salt of the Earth real cyclists and people I am proud to be associated with.

  • WinBoy

    Goodness. I wouldn’t say that to an audax rider – still less to Audax UK. You’d get a pretty frosty answer. Rule 9.10: “AUK events are not races and no timed results list or placings list of any AUK event may be published.”

  • Dead Sheep

    I am really looking forward to this programme. This kind of event takes a certain type of stamina that most cyclists lack.

  • Rice Thims

    It is a race. A race against the clock. Make it to a control late and you’ll see what I mean. We have a saying. Sportive riders pretend they are racing and Audax riders pretend they are not racing.

  • WinBoy

    Since when has an audax been a ‘race’?