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  1. #1
    Senior Member claire's Avatar
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    First 400 brevet!

    I'm just back from my very first 400 km (actually 418 km) completed in just under 24 hours... And it was hard... Much harder than the 300 km brevet I did 3 weeks ago!!!
    First thing I did wrong: started too fast for the first 150 km, my friend and I paid for that later!!
    Then second thing: eat a pizza at dinner... It just didn't work, and we spent the whole night feeling like throwing up (my friend actually did throw up in the middle of the night) and consequently we didn't eat during the night and had a really hard time making it through the night!
    The good things now: my lights system which worked really well (the NightHawk halogen and the EL500 Cateye for the downhill plus the headlight to fix my friend's puncture in the middle of the night), and a great hour of "sleep" wrapped in a space blanket at the bus stop... great memories...
    Other interesting thing: I didn't know you can get REALLY sleepy on a bike... Always thought that you would feel OK even with the lack of sleep because it's outside, there is fresh air and you have to stay concentrated... But during the night it is very dark around and it gets tempting to close your eyes sometimes...
    Anyway, I'm done with my pre-PBP brevets, and I've done a few mistakes I won't do again next year!
    Now I'm not doing more than 250 km in one day for the rest of the year!!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member The Octopus's Avatar
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    Congrats!

    I've got our local 300K coming up this weekend. The 400 is in June and the 600 in July. Our series is really late this year, but that'll make for more finishers and more faster rides as everyone will be in better shape.

    Are you doing a 600K? Hopefully I'll see you and 3000 other randonneurs in Paris next year!

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Congratulations!!

    The 400K is my favorite distance ... you can do it all within 24 hours and you don't suffer from the sleep deprivation that you do on longer rides. I've got my 400K in two weeks!

    What time did you start your ride? Mine usually start about 4 or 5 am, and then finish by about midnight or 1 am, so there isn't a lot of night riding, and we definitely don't stop to sleep. I'm guessing yours must have started at a different time of day.

    I'm glad your EL500 is working for you ... mine died, but then almost all my lights die. And is that the Nighthawk Nomad? I had two of those and they both died too. I've been in this many years and am still working on lighting issues.

    I'll echo The Octopus's question - are you doing a 600K? If you are planning to do the PBP next year, I would strongly recommend doing a 600K this year. For me, the 600K is the hardest of the bunch ... harder than a 1200K. It would give you a really good idea of what you might be facing on a ride like the PBP.

    Oh, and if the PBP 2007 is anything like PBP 2003 ... there will likely be something in the neighborhood of 4500 other randonneurs there!

  4. #4
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Good job! I've yet to do a 400K, but with two 300K brevets in the bag this year, I think I'll give it a go later this month.

    I read about randoneurrs doing a lot of sleeping in strange places - usually on concrete. Does anyone carry one of the lightweight Thermarest sleeping pads for napping? I have a Prolite 3 that easily fits inside a Carradice saddlebag. I would think that it would be most helpful. Add a space blanket for warmth or perhaps a summerweight down sleeping bag and your camelbak for a pillow and you'd be set for a couple hour nap.

  5. #5
    Ranzak
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    I continue to be amazed and inspired by the randonneurs here. Congrats Claire!! I hope to ride a 200 and 300K brevet this year.

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    I read about randoneurrs doing a lot of sleeping in strange places - usually on concrete. Does anyone carry one of the lightweight Thermarest sleeping pads for napping? I have a Prolite 3 that easily fits inside a Carradice saddlebag. I would think that it would be most helpful. Add a space blanket for warmth or perhaps a summerweight down sleeping bag and your camelbak for a pillow and you'd be set for a couple hour nap.
    I don't carry a Thermarest. The most I carry is this:

    http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1147667283999

    I also carry a space blanket, but I don't like them as well. They are really too small, they aren't very warm, and they make so much noise that it is hard to sleep.


    I mainly sleep in ditches where there's long grass for padding, but I've also slept on one of those indoor/outdoor rugs on the door step of a church, on a gravel road (gravel is surprisingly comfortable), in the middle of a parking lot on the cement, on sidewalks, on the front lawn of a church (btw - churches are great places to find sleeping spots!!) .........

  7. #7
    Senior Member claire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Congratulations!!

    The 400K is my favorite distance ... you can do it all within 24 hours and you don't suffer from the sleep deprivation that you do on longer rides. I've got my 400K in two weeks!

    What time did you start your ride? Mine usually start about 4 or 5 am, and then finish by about midnight or 1 am, so there isn't a lot of night riding, and we definitely don't stop to sleep. I'm guessing yours must have started at a different time of day.

    I'm glad your EL500 is working for you ... mine died, but then almost all my lights die. And is that the Nighthawk Nomad? I had two of those and they both died too. I've been in this many years and am still working on lighting issues.

    I'll echo The Octopus's question - are you doing a 600K? If you are planning to do the PBP next year, I would strongly recommend doing a 600K this year. For me, the 600K is the hardest of the bunch ... harder than a 1200K. It would give you a really good idea of what you might be facing on a ride like the PBP.

    Oh, and if the PBP 2007 is anything like PBP 2003 ... there will likely be something in the neighborhood of 4500 other randonneurs there!
    My mistake... the nite hawk is actually also a LED, got it from MEC when I was living in Toronto: http://www.nite-hawk.com/store/custo...cat=252&page=1
    Its beam is a bit wider than the cateye's so I found it really comfortable for night riding. PLus, you get light from all the other cyclists as well.
    I'm not doing a 600 because there is no 600 organised in Ile-de-France this year. I'll have to wait until next year! But I'm glad I got an idea of what it's like to do a lot of cycling at a time. The ride started at 2pm, so we did have a complete night to deal with!

    Now my plan is to work on getting faster. I thought that if I could ride faster on a brevet then I can sleep more... I was getting really sleepy yesterday and I was really glad that I got a 30mn sleep in the middle of the night. Also, I need to get my bike better adjusted. For one thing, I need a shorter stem, my shoulders and neck were so painful at the end...

    Machka, by the way, one last question: my friend and I were ready to ride the whole night on our own (we're 2 girls) and we didn't want to force anyone to stay with us, but the 2 guys who rode with us insisted for staying with us because they didn't want to let us alone during the night. Of course we were happy to have some company (and they were very nice and experienced riders)... So do you ever ride on your own during the night? Do you think you should always try to stay with a guy during the night? I guess it also depends on the country. The guys were mostly scared of people coming out of nightclubs.

  8. #8
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by claire
    Also, I need to get my bike better adjusted. For one thing, I need a shorter stem, my shoulders and neck were so painful at the end...
    Lots of stretching helps too ... I've got to get back into the habit of regular on-bike stretching again.


    Quote Originally Posted by claire
    Machka, by the way, one last question: my friend and I were ready to ride the whole night on our own (we're 2 girls) and we didn't want to force anyone to stay with us, but the 2 guys who rode with us insisted for staying with us because they didn't want to let us alone during the night. Of course we were happy to have some company (and they were very nice and experienced riders)... So do you ever ride on your own during the night? Do you think you should always try to stay with a guy during the night? I guess it also depends on the country. The guys were mostly scared of people coming out of nightclubs.
    I've ridden several brevets solo ... and right through the night solo. It would be nice to ride with someone ... I'd prefer that ... but everyone else either takes off on me, or I'm the only person on the ride.

    Sometimes it can be unnerving. On my 2003 600K, I was dropped at the 100K point and rode the next 350 kms or so alone. What I didn't know was that two of the guys were a mere 15 minutes, or so, ahead of me ... I caught up to them at 2 am at our designated sleep stop. But at midnight I rode through a small town, and decided to stop at a small motel just out of town to see if it was open. I was tired of riding all by myself out there, and was also just generally very tired. I walked up to the motel with my bicycle, saw that it was closed, and then started to walk back to the road. All of a sudden there was a male voice which said, "It's closed." I nearly fainted. Even more disconcerting was the fact that the voice came from a man sitting in a pick-up truck next to the motel, and that he'd watched me walk past the truck all the way to the motel, but I hadn't seen him. I muttered something about heading into the town (the opposite direction to where I was really planning to go) then rode out without any lights or anything on for quite a ways until I was well out of sight of the motel.

    Here in Alberta, 90% of my rides are completely solo. I might see some of the other riders if there is an out-and-back portion of the ride, but that's it.

    My 400K is coming up and it looks like I might be able to ride with a couple of the guys for the first 20 or 30 kms, but after that I will be on my own. I'm a little nervous about that, but if I want to do a brevet series here, that's the way it goes.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    The 400K is my favorite distance ... you can do it all within 24 hours and you don't suffer from the sleep deprivation that you do on longer rides.
    I join in offering you congratulations, Claire.

    As a non-randonneur, just-centuries cyclist, I had to laugh at reading this casual reference to "longer rides." Depending on weather and life's various obligations, 400K is a little less than two weeks worth of cycling for me this time of year. You randonneurs are an impressive lot!

  10. #10
    Senior Member claire's Avatar
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    Hey, thanks everyone... Honestly, last night I was feeling a bit disappointed, because my friend and I seemed to be the only persons of our group (there was 7 of us) who really seemed to struggled during the night, and because I thought I was prepared enough for it. Also, I was a bit frustrated because my legs were feeling fine all the way but I was limited by eating difficulties and some asthma. Now I know that randonneuring is not only about spinning the legs and I'm learning for next year's series...

  11. #11
    Senior Member claire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    Good job! I've yet to do a 400K, but with two 300K brevets in the bag this year, I think I'll give it a go later this month.

    I read about randoneurrs doing a lot of sleeping in strange places - usually on concrete. Does anyone carry one of the lightweight Thermarest sleeping pads for napping? I have a Prolite 3 that easily fits inside a Carradice saddlebag. I would think that it would be most helpful. Add a space blanket for warmth or perhaps a summerweight down sleeping bag and your camelbak for a pillow and you'd be set for a couple hour nap.
    I like to travel light, so I wouldn't take a thermarest or a sleeping bag. I was cold in my space blanket but I was so tired that it didn't bother me to rest for half an hour. Plus, I was just happy to get off my bike for some time and to be lying down on concrete instead!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Albany-12303's Avatar
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    What exactly is a Brevet?

    I checked various on-line dictionaries and only came up with definitions relating to military rank.
    2005 Lemond Sarthe
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  13. #13
    Senior Member claire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany-12303
    What exactly is a Brevet?

    I checked various on-line dictionaries and only came up with definitions relating to military rank.
    I guess the Randonneurs organisations depend on countries. In France, they depend on the Audax Club Parisien, and they're called BRM (Brevet de Randonneur Mondiaux). Basically it's a long ride that you have to complete in a defined time limit, which includes the breaks, and without assistance.
    To make things more complicated, they're different from Audax rides, where you ride in a pack at 22.5 km/h average with a captain. But in England, what they call Audaxes are actually BRMs... Machka can probably tell you about the Canadian Brevet.

  14. #14
    RiverCity reneuend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany-12303
    What exactly is a Brevet?

    I checked various on-line dictionaries and only came up with definitions relating to military rank.
    Machka is the true expert on this subject, but I'll give it my best.

    A brevet a type of ride that pits the rider against time and the elements, unsupported. The unique and nice part about brevets is that fellow riders tend to help each other out.

    Paris-Brest-Paris 1200k (the most well-known brevet) requires qualifying brevets of 200k, 300k, 400k, and 600k. You can learn more at http://www.rusa.org/pbp.html. rusa.org also lists qualifying brevets around the U.S. should you be interested in trying it out.

  15. #15
    RiverCity reneuend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by claire
    I'm just back from my very first 400 km (actually 418 km) completed in just under 24 hours... And it was hard... Much harder than the 300 km brevet I did 3 weeks ago!!!

    The main thing is, you made it! Congrats for hanging in there!

    I think starting so late in the day made it harder than it needed to be. You would have done much better had they started at the break of dawn.

  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany-12303
    What exactly is a Brevet?

    I checked various on-line dictionaries and only came up with definitions relating to military rank.


    Here's a definition of brevet, randonneuring, etc., complete with links to the websites of the organizing bodies for these things:

    http://www.machka.net/rand.htm


    My website, in signature line below, also has stories of many of the brevets and randonnees I've been on, as well as links to numerous long distance cycling sites.

  17. #17
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by claire
    Hey, thanks everyone... Honestly, last night I was feeling a bit disappointed, because my friend and I seemed to be the only persons of our group (there was 7 of us) who really seemed to struggled during the night, and because I thought I was prepared enough for it. Also, I was a bit frustrated because my legs were feeling fine all the way but I was limited by eating difficulties and some asthma. Now I know that randonneuring is not only about spinning the legs and I'm learning for next year's series...
    No, Randonneuring is not only about spinning the legs.

    But I was thinking about that 2 pm start ... I've never heard of a Randonneuring event starting then, and I know I wouldn't like it. Most start early in the morning, or quite late at night. My preference for the longer events (1000K, 1200K, etc.) is a 10 pm start, and my preference for the shorter events is a very early morning start.

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lrzipris
    I join in offering you congratulations, Claire.

    As a non-randonneur, just-centuries cyclist, I had to laugh at reading this casual reference to "longer rides." Depending on weather and life's various obligations, 400K is a little less than two weeks worth of cycling for me this time of year. You randonneurs are an impressive lot!


    It was just a term of comparison between the 400K and longer rides such as the 600K, 100K, 1200K, and 1400K.

  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Forum moderator(s) ....... could you move this over to the new Long Distance forum?

    Thanks!!

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    Dang! I can't even count that high! I'm thoroughly impressed! I'm also thoroughly inspired. Thanks!

  21. #21
    By-Tor...or the Snow Dog? hi565's Avatar
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    Moved to Long Distance Cycling.

    hi565
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  22. #22
    randonneur from Ukraine serhiypopoff's Avatar
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    My first 400 K done at 15 April 2009, solo

    Results
    Distance 400,07 км, pedalling time 16:04:25,32 , average speed 24,9 km/h., maximum - 70, calories - 14065, average bpm -111, average cadens - 75, ascent 2867 m.
    Total ride time 19:30 hours .

    - river Stryj

    - tyre defect, 90 km


    - mountain section. 120 km, village Smozhe, altitude 800 m

    road profile

    road map
    Last edited by serhiypopoff; 01-03-10 at 09:31 AM.
    "Some people are born to design cars, .... Ernesto Colnago came into the world with the vocation for making bicycles" Rino Negri.
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  23. #23
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    I don't carry a Thermarest. The most I carry is this:

    http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1147667283999

    I also carry a space blanket, but I don't like them as well. They are really too small, they aren't very warm, and they make so much noise that it is hard to sleep.


    I mainly sleep in ditches where there's long grass for padding, but I've also slept on one of those indoor/outdoor rugs on the door step of a church, on a gravel road (gravel is surprisingly comfortable), in the middle of a parking lot on the cement, on sidewalks, on the front lawn of a church (btw - churches are great places to find sleeping spots!!) .........
    There are now space blanket style bivy sacks that weigh only 3 oz. and can be repacked. Check out REI, for one source. Mandatory for backcountry skiing, and I think would be great for PBP and other long events.

  24. #24
    Randomhead
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    Interesting elevation map. I wouldn't usually plan on sleeping on a 400k, but a 600k doesn't make much sense without sleeping. Just noticed this thread was started over 3 years ago. On the 600k I did, I was in real danger of going to sleep on the bike. I also didn't realize how cold it gets at night even in late spring. Not a fun thing. I think my recent discovery of bubble wrap sized to cover the chest would have helped a lot. It also has the advantage of being light and disposable.

  25. #25
    GLA
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    serhiypopoff, congratulations on your 400. An awesome effort

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