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  1. #1
    Senior Member The Octopus's Avatar
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    Ohio Randonneurs 1000K Ride Report

    The Ohio Randonneurs 1000K was this past weekend, with a start at 0500 Saturday and the riders permitted until 0800 Tuesday to finish. Ten of us started the 1000K (others were riding concurrent 600s and 400s), including 4 riders from Maryland (two of whom were on a tandem!). Nine finished; an outstanding rate for such a tough course. We had to deal with almost 29,000 feet of climbing (measured by GPS) although the weather was spectacular -- sunny, dry days for the weekend followed by a cool, overcast Monday with some rain. One rainy day out of three is real nice weather in this part of the world.

    This would be my second-longest ride ever. I rode a 1200K last year but I raced it. This would be a totally different experience. The course was three loops -- a 400K followed by 2, 300Ks -- that all returned to the starting location. No bad drop. No SAG. But you could easily ride it as a three-day ride, sleeping two nights at the start/finish, and carry minimal gear on the route. This was the plan.

    It was one of those rides where the plan actually works out perfectly. I rode predominantly with three other folks at a conservative (for us) pace. We finished the 400K at 2250 which permitted 4 hours of sleep and a Waffle House breakfast before setting out Sunday AM at 0600. The first 300K was completed by 2048, which permitted a Chipotle dinner, six hours of sleep, and another Waffle House breakfast before an 0600 start on Monday. The final 300K got done by 1914 (it was flatter than the first one!), which meant a good night's sleep before work on Tuesday. It also meant a 62:14 finish time, which I was very happy with for only my second ride over 400 miles.

    The route was epic -- the three loops pretty much toured all of southern Ohio, which is very rural, hilly, and has good, lightly traveled roads. We had to deal with one bridge that was unexpectedly out (the vote was to walk the I-beams over the 20-foot drop rather than add considerable distance finding a more sane route across) and some of the roads had recently been chip sealed, but otherwise the course was great. Saw too many deer to count, two wild boar, a heron, and a good-sized hawk. Also saw a juvenile opossum that unfortunately dashed under my front wheel for some suicidal reason. I didn't go down, but I fear the opossum didn't fare so well. Southern Ohio is a haven for dogs (although it's not Kentucky!), but surprisingly we had few that were interested in chasing us. The ride visited numerous state parks, traveled ridges, meandered along rivers, creeks, and through fields filled with a record soy and corn harvest. It climbed some very difficult hills, including two monsters with pitches over 20%. It had some fast down-hills (I'm a tentative descender and I still hit 48mph!).

    As for the lessons.... What made the ride so successful was the pacing. I'd ridden brevets very conservatively all year with the result being that I'd had a lot of fun, got to meet more people, and felt great after the ride. I'd hammered on the 1200K last year to break 65 hours and although I was very pleased with the result, it took a solid month to recover fully from the experience. This time I finished on Monday night and felt well enough to ride competitively with the "A" group at the local club ride Thursday night.

    Also, until this ride, I'd though it impossible to have negative splits (faster at the end than at the start) in a multi-day event. This ride really proved that wrong. The last 300K of the brevet was by far the fastest and the strongest and I was able to ride the last 50 miles of the 1000K in 2:20 -- a whopping 21.4mph average! And that was without drafting. And with a calm wind. By comparison, on last year's 1200K, I couldn't ride more than 12mph for the last few hours of the ride on completely flat terrain. I'd burned up all my matches already. Does sleep make a difference? I imagine so, but I had only 1 hour more of sleep on the 1000K than on the 1200K. I think the real difference was going out at a pace that I could maintain forever. Part of that was never drafting. I rode beside folks or behind them enough that I was out of the draft. I'm thinking that riding my own ride completely forced me to focus on pace a lot more than when I'm contributing to a common pace that's usually more aggressive than that which I can sustain entirely on my own.

    This 1000K really has my rethinking how to do long-distance races -- at least those 24 hours and longer. I'd always gone out hard, expecting to slow down, whereupon I'd rely on the cushion I'd built up, determination, and prayer to hang on until the finish. I think there's still a place for going and blowing it out in 12-hour and double century events. They're relatively short. And I doubt you'll win a 24-hour event that permits drafting without drafting. But for riding the Tejas 500 next month, I'm thinking of drawing on my experience with randonneuring this year, especially on the 1000K, and going out at 17-18mph, rather than trying to ride sub 5-hour centuries for as long as I can. I think I'll have more fun, be less destroyed at the end of the ride, and will be more likely to achieve my goal.

    We have a 200K and a 300K left in October and that's the end of the randonneuring season. I'm already looking forward to France!

  2. #2
    Senior Member knoregs's Avatar
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    sounds like a good ride and good conditions... you're a brave man starting a long day of riding with a Waffle House breakfast... but I guess at that hour there is not much to choose from... congrats!

  3. #3
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    Heheheheh... another who has found the pleasures of moderate pace. See more, talk more and feel more... relaxed and recovered. I think you have discovered what randonneuring really is about.

    A well-known Australian cyclist who has done mid-50-hour PBPs was found riding with the "pack" on a long randonnee several years ago. There was an expression of wonderment at why he hadn't blasted off into the distance. I think he said he had achieved all he wanted to achieve performance-wise, and now wanted to relax and enjoy the ride with others around him... which is exactly what he was doing.

  4. #4
    Senior Member cam117's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great ride. If you did not have SAG support, how do you carry your gear. Do you use panniers? What do you carry with you?

  5. #5
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Nice report. You seem lucky in Ohio - you're brevet season runs through October! The closest rides in the NE for my are burnt up by mid August - mainly for BMB qualification I assume.

    I've looked at the Ohio calendar for next year. Might give me a chance to ride some different terrain - as well as drop in a visit the folks on the way through.

  6. #6
    Senior Member The Octopus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cam117
    If you did not have SAG support, how do you carry your gear. Do you use panniers? What do you carry with you?
    [With the caqveat that I don't recommend this to anyone else]: I travel exceptionally light on my brevets. For the 1000K, the entire packing list was this: one tube, a patch kit, tire levers, and a set of allen wrenches/screwdrivers. I also had some ID, money, a bank card, and a cell phone. I had the required night stuff (lights, sash, ankle bands, spare batteries). I also carried two granola bars and two bottles, filled with lemon-flavored Garorade. Sunscreen. Sunglasses (with clear and dark lenses). A film canister of Ibuprofen and acetaminophen. A foot or so of electrical tape (many uses) wrapped around the stem. I used a GPS for the first two days but ditched it for the third (it broke!) and navigated solely off the cue sheet for Day 3 (no holder, folded in small zip-lock baggie). Everything fits into my pockets or (in the case of the tube and tools) into a tiny saddle bag.

    Insane? Sure. Here's the thinking behind it, though, and I welcome all comments. I knew the weather the first two days was going to be flawless. Foggy in the morning, burning off into nice, sunny days without too much heat and no real humidity. It wouldn't be too cold at night. In any event, I didn't plan on any night riding beyond a few hours. So veto any extra clothes and rain gear; I'd wear a short-sleeve poly-pro underlayer and a short-sleeve cycling jersey. Regular cycling shorts. Would have been nice to have some arm warmers for the first few foggy/misty hours on both days, but it was pretty warm and I could live without them.

    I know the roads for the first 700K intimately. The pavement is good. I might flat, and I might flat lots, but anything that causes a tire to slash is probably going to end my ride for other reasons. (i.e., the ensuing crash). The glaciers smoothed out our rocks in Ohio nicely; we don't have the nasty, sharp rocks that you Western riders have to contend with. So no extra tire in tow. If I can't boot it (with cold, hard cash -- a folded George Washington works great), I'm done. If I can boot it and return to the start/finish, I can swap for a spare tire in my hotel room (2 Gatorskins waiting for me there, in case I need them). I've also got the full compliment of cleaning products and lube at the hotel, so the bike will leave the 400K and 700K mark cleaned-up nicely.

    Food? Drink? The towns in Ohio are close together -- never more than 20 miles -- and barring some disaster, I'm fast enough to make no stops outside of the controles (anywhere from 35 to 60 miles apart) for food and hydration. I'd provision myself from convenience stores and fast food joints, generally doing most of my eating and drinking on the bike from whatever I'd bought en route. Not an inexpensive option -- I was blowing through $40-50 in food per day. But it meant I could carry very little and just re-supply at every controle, or in between if need be.

    Day 3 was a challenge. The odds of rain were high. It wasn't likely to be too cool or very windy, though. I opted not to carry my jacket (I had it at the hotel) when I left that morning and decided that I'd keep warm by riding quicker. I added a trash bag to the supplies in case that strategy wasn't possible. I did have to ride more quickly -- resulting in leaving two companions I'd spent 900K with -- to avoid getting chilled, but the extra few miles an hour did the trick.

    Pretty aggressive. Not recommended unless you're totally comfortable accepting the consequences of some mechanical DNFs (a broken spoke on my 20-spoke wheels or a kinked chain would likely have ended my ride, with no way to fix either). I carried much, much more (in a large seat-post rack) on my 1200K last year where I wanted to eliminate a lot of these risks. Traveling this light wouldn't have worked without the course being three loops returning to the start at 400K and 700K. The strategy was to take maximum advantage of that -- what amounted to two virtual bag drops.

    Part of this risk-taking is just that I like to live life on the edge and enjoy seeing what I can get away with. I accept having this attitude bite me in the ass from time to time. At least my failures tend to be spectacular and entertaining, if unnecessary had I been more conservative. Another aspect of it is my low gear is a 39x23 (part of the same disease, I realize). I can't add the pounds a lot of folks carry and get away with that questionable gearing (and I can't go bigger than a 25 without replacing the derailleur). Contravening all randonneuring wisdom, I like the aggro gearing; I have to keep in pretty good shape to pull off long, hilly rides with that gearing. Call it added motivation to keep training with all the local racer boys and girls.

    Don't worry -- PBP next year will be firmly in the "conservative" category!

  7. #7
    back of the autobus jobob's Avatar
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    Really interesting report and follow-up, Octopus, many thanks !

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    Awesome info, thanks for the report
    Jarery

    -If you cant see it from space, its not a real hill
    -If two bikes are going in the same direction, ITS A RACE!

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