Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sagax et Audax

Over the weekend I finished moving into my new place. The house really is something - basically an old farm manor that has not been inhabited in years, in equal parts grand and derelict: dramatic staircase and French doors meet peeling wallpaper and broken floorboards. As befitting of such a residence, in the front hallway there hung a plaque with the family crest. It was too high for me to read the inscription, so I hadn't bothered to study it closely prior to moving in. But now my housemate took it down, and I heard him laughing down the hall. "Hey, look at this - Audax! Isn't that what you do on your bike?"

Wow. And yes, sort of. In cycling terms, audax is an alternative name for randonneuring - an organised form of long distance cycling. The international governing body for these events is known as the Audax Club Parisien. In Ireland and the UK, the term audax is used, whereas the term randonneuring is preferred in North America.

While I knew the word audax did not originate with cycling, I never thought to look up what it meant. Seeing it now on the crest prompted me to. Rather unsurprisingly in retrospect, it means "audacious" in Latin - brave, bold, courageous, adventurous. And looking into it further, I learned that the motto "sagax et audax" is a not uncommon one to be found on family crests, meaning something to the effect of "sharp and bold," or "astute and audacious." This would surely make an appropriate motto for a cycling family (are the Blayleys in need of a crest?). However, the owners of my house are dairy farmers.

Having started randonneuring last Spring with the New England Randonneurs, I would love to try some audax events here. Unfortunately Northern Ireland is in a weird situation jurisdictionally when it comes to cycling, and I do not believe any audax events are held here (though I'd be glad to stand corrected - anyone?).

But despite the lack of a local randonneuring culture, finding the word "audax" in my new home feels serendipitous. Could an Audax Club Nord-Irlandais be in the cards? An audacious undertaking for sure, but the routes and scenery here would be perfect for it.

32 comments:

  1. All the Audax UK events are here: http://www.aukweb.net/events/. You're right that N.I. doesn't seem to be listed as a region search/filter option. No luck under Permanents either. Perhaps contact AUK and ask if there's someone who looks after N.I., for Permanents at least. I'd be really surprised if there's nothing there.

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    1. Audax Ireland has this: http://www.audaxireland.org/calendar/gazetteer/Antrim-300/

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  2. How about this: http://www.audaxireland.org/ It even says Audax!!!

    And the calendar: http://www.audaxireland.org/calendar/

    Me simply googled "Ireland randonneurs" and voila (that's French for Voila!).

    ride long and prosper

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  3. Looking at Audax Ireland you may come under their auspices as there is one in Newry at the end of June. http://www.audaxireland.org/calendar/

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  4. Not sure if you got my first comment. Things don't always go well with the internet from Brazil.

    Audax Ireland: http://www.audaxireland.org/ On the calendar page there's a brevet in "northern ireland" come October 2014

    If you got the 1st comment, toss this in with the "bruscar"!


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  5. Thanks everyone; most of these links are already included in the post. I do know that occasionally there are events out of NI. What I meant was that there is no local club or series of brevets. Oh and yes - cycling in NI falls (for the most part) under the jurisdiction of Ireland rather than the UK.

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  6. I always enjoy your blog. They are very interesting and keep me coming back for more. Who knows, maybe you placed there for a reason like Kevin Cosner ,in the "Field of Dreams". Build it and they will come. Good luck with all your new adventures in your new home.

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  7. There's definitely a 200k called 'Around Down' in the summer and I'm 99% sure there's a few more I'd heard of in Norn Iron. I think there may be something based around this too..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malin_to_Mizen

    It might be worth asking on the cycling forum of Boards.ie about other brevets in the area though!

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  8. As far as I know "Audax' is the european and UK term for randonneuring. I have an 'audax' bicycle that is a randonneur.

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    1. The UK/IRL notion of the Audax bicycle is different from the French low trail 650B randonneur though. As far as I know, an Audax frame is basically a road frame, with clearance for wider (700C 28-32mm) tires, slightly more relaxed geo, and fittings for fenders.

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    2. If you're getting an "Audax" from Mercian, that's what you're getting...

      Spindizzy

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    3. Yep, it's a british built longstaff, gorgeous thing, meant for 700c and narrow tires. I was going to convert it to 650B, but it won't work unless I use 32mm tires max. The Audax frame is designed for long distances and audax events. It does have the braise ons for fenders, but not rear racks unless one goes with p clamps. So, it's definitely not a touring bike, which I think some rando bikes can do.

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  9. Ah...so that's why those words are highlighted in red...I may be slow but I am dumb. (I thought all links were blue....doh)

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  10. So just start one yourself!

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    1. Right. The Roe Valley Randonneurs...

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  11. V,

    I'm sitting here with Fear Rothar and his brother, who happens to be chairman of Audax Ireland. And while there is no local Audax club in your area, the deatháir mentioned that there are several sportives next door to you in Donegal and further south in Sligo. Check out the Cycling Ireland leisure calendar for sportives.
    http://www.cyclingireland.ie/page/events/calendar2

    Also the deatháir extends a special invite to you to come down to Dublin for The Angel of Mons 200 in January. I'll give you his details when I come visit next week.

    deirfiúr sa dlí of the chairman

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    1. Of course, i should have known : )

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    2. Heh. Did you really think you'd get away so easily?

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  12. Hey Velouria, I did the Around Down 200 earlier this year and it was a blast. Audax Ireland is a very friendly bunch and is intended to cover the entire island. I know of at least one member from Northern Ireland, but I'm fairly sure he's not the only one. You should definitely get in touch!

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  13. There are two Audax events starting in Northern Ireland in 2014, Around Down 200 (http://www.audaxireland.org/calendar/gazetteer/around-down-200/) and, new for this year, the Antrim 300 - http://www.audaxireland.org/calendar/gazetteer/antrim-300/. Serveral routes also pass through Northern Ireland, off the top of my head, the Carlingford 300 (http://www.audaxireland.org/calendar/gazetteer/carlingford-300/) and the Three Provinces 300 (http://www.audaxireland.org/calendar/gazetteer/three-provinces-300/) - there may well be others too.

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  14. Life can be stranger than fiction!

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  15. Talking about family crests and mottoes reminded me of a boy I was friendly with for a while, when we were about ten years old. I once went to his home for tea, and remarked on the cutlery, which was engraved with the letters WPRC. His father said that those letters represented the family motto, which was Wisdom, Pride, Rectitude, Courage. I was highly impressed although, even at that age, I thought such grand cutlery contrasted rather strangely with their residence, which was essentially the rooms above and behind a tatty shop in one of the less affluent parts of town. I lost touch with the boy but, a few years later, I noticed an item in the local paper. His father, he of the baronial cutlery, had been sacked from his job as steward of West Park Rugby Club for misappropriating funds.

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  16. Completely off-topic on the whole ranndoneuring topic, the motto "sharp and bold" seems quite appropriate for dairy farmers! Cheese can be described with either adjective! Am I really the only one whose thoughts went there?

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    1. Eh eh, I agree with you about this motto is not consistent with cycling excursion. I used to work a little in a dairy farm, so I can’t really understand what it’s mean. Maybe it’s a butcher’s motto?

      Laurent

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    2. Sharp and bold cheese!! Ha : )

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  17. How about we have our own Latin motivational rando war cry... semper interminabilis!...? Oh never mind. How do you say... "always thinking of food"... in Latin?

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    1. It's easy: "de cibo, semper aliquid existimantem".

      Thanks to Google's translator...

      I remember a guy who learned foreign language, with the aim to feel comfortable he strove to remember spirit from motto.

      Another motto: "Hungry bellies have no ears" witch Latin translate maybe "Esurientes capiunt, non auribus" .... funny

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  18. CTC NI appear a little Belfast Centric and the website is a little rickety so it looks like starting the club may be on ;) http://www.ctc-ni.com/

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    1. Ah thanks, didn't know about that one. Believe it or not, I have not yet been to Belfast!

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  19. My favourite Latin motto came from an Irish priest I knew many years ago. It was "mens tuus ego et ignis via," which he translated as "mind your eye and fire away." There's also the French saying from my school days: "Pas d'elle yeux Rhône que nous."

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  20. An alternative rendering of Sagax et Audax is, as I'm sure I don't need to point out in such erudite circles, Sagax Audaxque. Does anyone have a preference?

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    1. Ah but which is easier to say at the end of a 200K? With a mouthful of banana?

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