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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 10-05-06, 07:43 PM   #1
sam83
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What to expect on a 300K Brevet?

Primarily regarding other riders.

I've done several centuries and a couple cross-state rides and am consdering a 300K in a couple weeks. I feel pretty strong, but certainly not over-confident.

Never done a brevet and this one looks like it will have less than 20 riders, none of which I know.

Should I expect a rolling community or a bunch of loners, or something inbetween?
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Old 10-05-06, 07:55 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sam83
Primarily regarding other riders.

I've done several centuries and a couple cross-state rides and am consdering a 300K in a couple weeks. I feel pretty strong, but certainly not over-confident.

Never done a brevet and this one looks like it will have less than 20 riders, none of which I know.

Should I expect a rolling community or a bunch of loners, or something inbetween?

Have a look at my website under "Brevet Stories" and have a look at the links for the 300K rides: http://www.machka.net/brevetstories.htm
I've also got some stories under "2006"
http://www.machka.net/2006/2006.htm

As for what to expect from the other riders ... it could be anything, mainly depending on how fast or slow you ride. In Manitoba, there was a group of riders who rode about my pace so we all rode together. Here in Alberta, there has rarely been anyone who rides my pace, so I have done most of my brevets solo.
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Old 10-05-06, 09:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sam83
Primarily regarding other riders. . . . Should I expect a rolling community or a bunch of loners, or something inbetween?
Up here in Ohio, it's a mix. We have some loners, but people tend to ride in small groups of 2-4 or 5 riders. For our rides that start in the dark, the group tends to stick together until daylight (which usually coincides with when we hit the hilly terrain, which really breaks the group up). We also tend to pair up (or more) when the sun goes down at night. Some folks will agree to ride the ride together beforehand. I rode the full series with another fellow by prior agreement, including 900K of the 1000K last month. Other folks just fall into riding with a group or another solo rider by unspoken agreement -- they just happen to be at the same pace.

I think we might be more "social" here than other randonneur clubs, though. My limited experience in Colorado and Illinois saw a lot more people riding solo than tends to be the case on the Ohio brevets. Our faster riders tend to slow down a bit to ride with others while our slower riders tend to work together to make better time than they would individually.

My guess is that with 20 riders already signed up, you'll have enough folks there to form some small, cooperative groups, even if the over-all dynamic of the club is more individualistic. Have fun and remember to post a ride report!
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Old 10-06-06, 01:28 AM   #4
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Irrespective of the number of other riders who do turn up, remember one very important thing -- ride your own event. Don't get caught up expending huge amounts of energy early on to keep pace with the fast and experienced riders. It might be fun in the first 20km to be a part of the party, but unless you pace yourself, those first 20km can be fatal.

Beware also riding with slower riders who may cause you unwarranted stress when your arrival at checkpoints gets uncomfortably close to the expiry time. If you feel that you are lagging, give your apologies, say it's been nice, and move on.

If you hook up with another rider or riders of about your own pace, well and good. You should be able to negotiate a kilometre or two and hour on the most comfortable pace for you and the other(s), and you can take turns pacelining (drafting) providing no-one falls into the trap of speeding up when they take a turn at the front. You also will need to concentrate on your refuelling and rehydration -- it is *very* easy to be distracted from this when in a group. In addition, you need to be satisfied that the breaks other riders take fit with your strategies for the ride -- they may want to take shorter or longer breaks than you.

Personally, I prefer to ride alone. That way I am not distracted from the job at hand -- I can maintain my effort at a comfortable level, and ensure my rehydration and refuelling needs are taken care of at the right times. But I also am happy in my own company, and others are not (which is fine, too).

Riding at night (nd likely you will if your average speed is under 30km/h) can be a bit spooky by yourself, but having a bike headlight behind or that red bike light ahead is a reassurance, even if they are several kilometres away. Be aware, too, that powerful rear LEDs, such as the Cateye 5 LED job, can be darned distracting to draft behind. And if it rains, mudguards/fenders with a long mudflap on the rear can be a courtesy to others.

Good luck with it. The 300 is a nice distance because you can get through it in a day, most of it before sunset, and you don't need to make arrangements to sleep.
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Old 10-06-06, 07:12 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Rowan
Irrespective of the number of other riders who do turn up, remember one very important thing -- ride your own event. Don't get caught up expending huge amounts of energy early on to keep pace with the fast and experienced riders.
+10
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Old 10-06-06, 07:50 AM   #6
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I'd expect it to take a few years.....300,000 miles is a really long distance.
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Old 10-06-06, 08:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan
Irrespective of the number of other riders who do turn up, remember one very important thing -- ride your own event. Don't get caught up expending huge amounts of energy early on to keep pace with the fast and experienced riders. It might be fun in the first 20km to be a part of the party, but unless you pace yourself, those first 20km can be fatal.
+1 to this. Exerting too much effort, too early in the ride, to stay in a paceline with riders who were much faster than me nearly did me in on my first set of brevets. I only really started to "get" the rides when I accepted the idea of riding at my own pace and knowing that there was no shame in letting the peloton go on ahead of me.

With that said, I think that there can be an important morale benefit to riding with someone. It's nice to have company, and it can be good if you have another rider who can egg you and encourage you forward. So, I prefer riding with one or two riders to the go-it-alone approach. I think that trying to maintain more than a two or three pack can be difficult over a long distance. People have different size bladders, checkpoint stays take longer, etc; so I wouldn't try too hard to stick with a group of say, six or seven; but if I find one or two guys who are just about my speed, then that's been rather helpful.

I'd also add to Rowan's mention of how randonneurs are pretty casual and promiscuous about the groups that they join and leave. Everyone rides their own ride. Nobody complains if you drop them and most folks won't stop if you fall behind.

The description that I've given folks is that the 300 is a good intro to the elements that separate brevets from "conventional" century rides. You get a little bit of night riding and a good test of your nutrition strategy; but it's "short" enough that you can make a few mistakes and still finish with a decent time.
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Old 10-06-06, 09:34 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by spokenword
+1 to this. Exerting too much effort, too early in the ride, to stay in a paceline with riders who were much faster than me nearly did me in on my first set of brevets. I only really started to "get" the rides when I accepted the idea of riding at my own pace and knowing that there was no shame in letting the peloton go on ahead of me.

With that said, I think that there can be an important morale benefit to riding with someone. It's nice to have company, and it can be good if you have another rider who can egg you and encourage you forward. So, I prefer riding with one or two riders to the go-it-alone approach. I think that trying to maintain more than a two or three pack can be difficult over a long distance. People have different size bladders, checkpoint stays take longer, etc; so I wouldn't try too hard to stick with a group of say, six or seven; but if I find one or two guys who are just about my speed, then that's been rather helpful.

I'd also add to Rowan's mention of how randonneurs are pretty casual and promiscuous about the groups that they join and leave. Everyone rides their own ride. Nobody complains if you drop them and most folks won't stop if you fall behind.

The description that I've given folks is that the 300 is a good intro to the elements that separate brevets from "conventional" century rides. You get a little bit of night riding and a good test of your nutrition strategy; but it's "short" enough that you can make a few mistakes and still finish with a decent time.
+1.

spokenword and I worked fairly well together for the first half of the boston 600k. Were we out front? No. Did we ride together for the whole time? No - we'd drift apart and fall back in line depending on terrain, eating / drinking / etc. We'd also drift into other groups, and fall off when we needed to. It worked well.

Comic relief is also important. Riding with someone who works your pace and has a similar sense of humor makes a loooong day that much more fun.

And remember - while riding a 300k is alot of work - it should remain fun. Stop, get off the bike, take pictures, eat, drink, wash your face and hands, smile - you are on your bike!

(note - I have a hard time following my own advice)


Some of the "club" riders (racer types and fast riders) have noted and even admired my ability to ride my own ride. (Bike like Mike was passed around a bit, especially when they think I'm crazy for finishing the regular group ride, turning on my lights, skipping the brew, and riding some more...!)

Sometimes I can hang with the group, most times I can't, or don't - and it doesn't bother me. Yeah, I wish I were faster, stronger, smarter, better looking, rich, had a sponsor, team car, etc... but I ride for the challenge - and because in the end, the only judge I have is myself.

Most randonneurs are a helpful, fun, understanding lot. And they range the gamut from racer types to fast tourists.

Enjoy.
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Old 10-06-06, 11:02 AM   #9
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Get a good night's sleep the week before. My two year old sun made my first 300k very difficult with his habit of waking my up in the middle of the night to go hold him. Luckily that phase is over now but good sleep the week before makes a night and day difference for me.
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Old 10-06-06, 05:06 PM   #10
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Because this might be the first night riding you have done and perhaps in an area that is new to you, I'd suggest that you should memorize the route. This is especially true if you are travelling through a town where the route takes a turn.
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Old 10-06-06, 07:33 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by spokenword
I'd also add to Rowan's mention of how randonneurs are pretty casual and promiscuous about the groups that they join and leave.

Promiscuous?! Does this mean I have to carry rubbers too? I would have never guessed.
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Old 10-07-06, 11:05 PM   #12
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Promiscuous?! Does this mean I have to carry rubbers too? I would have never guessed.
see, I like using that term because everyone knows the dirty definition, but few remember the more general meaning:

Promiscuity is the practice of making relatively unselective, casual and indiscriminate choices.

like, you know, joining threesomes without waiting to be invited.
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