And the question is really how does your region handle 'gravel grinder' or 'mixed terrain' Audax rides.
In Australia besides the normal road riding we have a Dirt Series whereby completing Dirt events of 35km, 70km and 100 in the same Audax year will qualify you for an award. The rides are done wholly offroad (or as close to) and a minumum speed of 10kmh instead of the usual 15kmh is allowed. Generally the courses are designed to be less technical as the distance increases, you can't have the 100km as technical as the 35 as the extra distance becomes the challenge for riders. Locally our DS rides have been popular this year, owed in part to our keeping the rides near facilities, on signed and known offroad routes and working hard on the 'fun' aspect. We've kept away from the previous attempts, courses with names such as 'There Will Be Blood' that for some reason drew few riders.
That's the Dirt Series, ratified by Audax Australia only and covered under the rules for Brevet Dirt:
"Brevet Dirt (BD) – calendar events shorter than 200 kilometres where the route is primarily on unsealed surfaces, controlled similarly to BRM rides and registered with Audax Australia only."
A newer sort of ride is the 'gravel grinder' or 'mixed terrain' rides. There's an interesting read here and link to Wikipedia. Often these have been run as multi-length rides, you can opt for the shorter ride done wholly offroad that is covered under Brevet Dirt rules and ride speeds or do the longer which is a mixture of sealed and gravel, covered only under the normal road rules (Brevet Randonneur Mondiaux) and the usual 15kmh minimum speed for the whole length. There are no specific rules with our region for mixed rides, even the definition is a bit loose but the road rules are applied simply as the route is "primarily on sealed roads". Obviously the longer mixed are tougher and haven't been all that successful. I've noticed that the mixed rides are focussed on the distance and the unsealed sections are promoted as challenging, no allowance is made for these slower and often steeper sections and in a few ride reports the riders failed to make the qualifying time. Locally we're looking at trying some gravel grinder courses but success will be hard. Will anyone turn up for a start?
So how are 'mixed terrain' run in your neck of the woods and what rules or guidelines are used? What worked for you?