I think it's better to try and give the organiser a ring if you can. EOD are not something they try to encourage for a number of reasons, except prehaps for shorter events where they are trying to get more people to give it a try.
Reason: The Brevet cards have to be preordered and printer.
The 'staffing' at the start tends to be a but thin so any additional work like entering people can delay the whole process.
Sometimes food is provided by the origaniser either at the end or at an otherwise isolated control and knowing numbers helps with his catering arrangements.
Speaking as an ex-organiser, EOL's are a blessing and a curse. Whilst the extra entry fee is always welcome it does add to the work burden at the start as Tim says.
And it adds to the commercial risk of having to purchase extra cards and get additional routesheets printed, as well as a last minute panic to get mor food in.
In fact even late entries are a pain in the bum as the cards need to be ordered a week in advance (it always seemed to be the old lags who entered late too - and they all had non-standard/crappy recycled envelopes too).
Gavin, as an ex-organiser, how do you react to someone like me ?
Does it mess-up your organising, or AUK HQ, or is it something that's simply never been heard of before ? (- can't believe that)
I want to do the odd audax, simply as a training ride.
I'm not interested in brevets, certificates, points, whatever, so I'm not going to join AUK or collect the things.
I'm a tri/duathlete, I do TT's, I also do some sportives. To me the odd audax (200k or less) is a good training ride.
I did a flat 200 in Cheshire early this year and a hilly one in WYorks.
Both had lots of older guys on tourers with bulging Carradices, but also lots of younger guys on carbon race bikes and wearing club or team-replica kit : they were going for it and it didn't look a lot different to a sportive (except having a route card rather than arrows and being £4 rather than £20...)
That suited me - to get in with one of these groups and whip round was good training, with options to stop at the caff or just chew on a flapjack on the way round depending on how I felt.
I understand the point of pre-entering, sending an SAE so I can get the routesheet and whatever info before the event, plus the organiser knows how many are going to turn-up, can plan food at the finish, etc.
But I don't want my brevet card back afterwards, I'm not collecting the things, so the second SAE seems a waste.
In fact, whilst I'll stop at the manned controls, if too many are the 'treasure-hunt' variety I might not bother stopping to find the answer or get a pencil out to write it down.
The only thing I've heard our local organisers grumbling about is behaviour at the start & near controls (peeing in the hedges), and riders who pack not notifying either him or a controller.
The latter often include local club riders treating it as a training ride, and just going home at the end because the official finish is out of their way.
It's a pain because if the organiser doesn't recognise the name, he won't know it's not a novice rider being very slow or in trouble, and will have to keep the finish control open until/past the official closing time, and may even end up driving round part of the route looking for them.
If you don't want the card returned, probably the simplest is just to write "No Validation please" where you are meant to sign the card at the finish.
EOL is welcomed, but you may get a late start if he has to recycle DNS cards, as he will have to allow a bit of late arrival leeway before marking someone as DNS and giving their card away.
Some organisers don't do EOL, but I think these will mostly say so on the calendar (check both notes and the entry closing date).
Whilst it's best to phone, try not to leave it until the night before the start - the organiser will have plenty to be doing then without adding blathering on the phone to the list.
Andy wrx - I think you've got a point there - if AUK want to encourage wider participation in events, which I think they do, they're going to have to start being more flexible about EOL (many organisers do already do this as standard though) and brevet cards/info controls etc. As you point out, it's really only those who are AUK members and actually want to collect points/prizes that need a brevet card at all. Maybe it would be simpler to just sign on at controls (as many organisers do already anyway - just so they know who has passed through) rather than bother with cards/info controls at all for those people - I don't think it would create any more work for the organiser.
The problem lays with the fact that AUK have to operate minimum standards for events to comply with ACP rules, as well as keeping their hardcore and quite insular CTC-centric regulars happy. Not an easy balancing act.
There was/is also a drive from the last PBP onwards to make AUK 'more professional' in the way it operates and to enforce that downwards to the organisers. Which is a good thing. I've rode some peerless events (anything run by Rocco and Liz, the Gourmet, and the Cotswold Beacon) and some that were a bloody shambles (hello Reading DA - you know who I'm talking about!).
A big part of the professionalism drive was a focus on Risk Management and being forcing organisers to think about what they were asking entrants to do was, I believe, the primary reason behind the Risk Assesment process. It was certainly something I appreciated as a new organiser and I would state that it actively improved my events - more so than the mentoring scheme.
Leaving the logistics of the event to one side - whilst I was content to have punters turn up on the day to ride The Anfractuous - a hilly 200 in early October, I was less keen to accept casual entries on the proposed January 200. Simply because I didn't think it reasonable to sandbag those who hadn't seen the routesheet and worked out that "2,700 metres of climbing, the last 1/3rd being flat" equated to the first 2/3rds being a bit of a gnarly old bugger. It's all part of the control of an event.
As far encouraging wider participation: I'm afraid I'm not so sure. I had the distinct impression that significant numbers of AUK's and many on the committee want (or wanted) AUK to be the hard rider section of the CTC. And the CTC simply ain't attractive to the average sporting cyclist.
EOL isn't going to help - you can almost never enter a sportif on the line. My club hold our Sportif on the same day, over the same hills, from a location next 2km away from the Chilterns 100km Audax. We are expecting 500 riders - the Audax will get 60. Does that make my point?
'Tis the way they are marketed I think - well, AUK doesn't really market their rides enough, that's the problem! I notice hardly any are mentioned in C Plus or other mags in the 'what's on' bit, it's mostly sportives. They should advertise the shorter, more accessible distance events (eg. 50-150km) in more places IMO - they are the ones that attract more people so the number of entries should pay for any advertising costs. The image of audax according to the people I know who are not members of AUK, is not very attractive. I'm not sure why this is, exactly, but AUK needs to find out, do some research and do something about it.
Blonde is quite right. The way Audax has been traditionally promoted (or rather, not been promoted), has allowed it to gain an image of dour, bearded loners, slowly peddling along the byways of Britain, in a vain attempt to postpone their appointment with St Peter.
Whether this is the true picture, or even one that Audax is happy with, is not the issue. It is the perception people have of them and the position which any 'promotional campaign' would have to address. The proof of this situation is gained when you talk to others within the wider cycling community (ignoring non cyclists for a moment). If you say you are a 'roadie', but you don't race as you prefer 'Sportives' including the Etape, Marmotte, Ardechoise and Paris Roubaix, people are envious. If you say you are an Audax rider and have done all sorts of great rides including PBP, they just look at you with pity and mutter 'sad bastard'.
However, there is one 'problem' with Audax riding that would cause tremors of fear to strike the heart of any PR people trying to promote a new image. Basically it's a sport based on riding further and further. Once over 300km tiredness and sleep deprivation become a significant issue, until you get to the zenith of the sport on the 1200 + km rides where tiredness is a major factor. All the evidence suggests that excessive tiredness is as bad for your judgement as being drunk. So essentially we are trying to populise a sport that could have as its slogan 'Come ride with us. It's cheaper than getting piss drunk - and just as dangerous!'
And then when it's over, loads of people jump in their cars and drive home, log on to their favourite forum and complain about 'inconsiderate nature of other road users'.
I think you witnessed a prime example of why in early December. Having to explain to a Club Committee of racing cyclists that 'it's a stitch-up from AUK again' was the final straw. But what the hell....if that hadn't happened then the rise of 'Club ACF' would have killed it anyway.
Anyhow, I'm pretty sure that AUK's press sec does send the calendar into C+ and The Comic - it's just that those 2 rags don't think Audax is sexy enough to write about.