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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 01-03-07, 09:09 PM   #1
hammond9705
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Completed my 200K Brevet!

The Lone Star Randonneurs have a traditional New Years Day 200k. I rode this one as my first brevet. I rode fairly often in 2006, but my longest ride was only 76m, so I was a bit worried about the distance but figured I could make it. I made a goal of finishing in 10hours, but since I didn't have any recent experience at this distance, it wasn't a real scientific goal. There were about 35 riders at the start. It was cold at the start (about 32) and warmed up to about 54 during the day and there was a slight wind (maybe 10mph). The course was fairly flat (this is north Texas) with a few rolling hills. Those of you from the mountain states would probably call it very flat.

The ride started at 7am. The sun was just coming up, and I started with my taillights on, but no headlight. I don't have any recent night riding experience, so I had recently bought a Cateye 530, but just installed it the night before the ride and didn't really test it.

I started with a fairly fast group (too fast for me), and finished the first 50m in about 3hours including the first control. I didn't notice it much at the time, but we had a tail wind on this leg. After about mile 40 I rode by myself. I didn't really think about it before then, but once I got dropped by that group I had to start reading the cue sheet. The ride had a lot of turns (I think 92), and I hadn't practiced reading the cue sheet while riding.

I reached the second control at mile 64 in 4hrs 16m. At this point I was feeling pretty good, and thought that I might make my goal of 10 hours. I ate lunch at this control and then got back on the bike for what turned out to be the hardest leg. We turned into the wind and it killed my average speed. The leg from mile 64 to 82 was the worst. There were a few more hills and the head wind made it a tough stretch. Once I finished that leg, though I knew that I would complete the brevet. My pace was down, but I kept plodding along, knowing that I could finish. I ended up finishing the 127.2 miles in 10:38. Missed my goal, but brevets are really pass/fail, and I beat the 13:30 standard and got my medal.


Lessons:
-Practice under the ride conditions (ie with lights and reading a cue sheet)
-Print the cue sheet big enough so that you can read it while you are riding and position it correctly. I had it over the stem, but it would be easier to read if I could get it in front of the handlebars. I am going to experiment some more with this.
-Put new batteries in your lights before the ride. Batteries are cheap. I had to turn the rear flasher on near the end, and didn't realize that it died before I finished. I just barely finished before I would have needed my headlight. I noticed as I was putting my bike away that it was pointing up into the air. One flat, and I would have been riding in the dark, and would have had to fix the lights.
-There aren't any pit stops on brevets, and stores are far between once you get in the country. Once it starts getting warmer I will have to carefully plan how much water I take, and where I can get more.

All in all it was a great experience. It was a friendly group, and the ride was well organized. The cue sheet was clear and without mistakes. After the ride the organizer had a small party with traditional New Years black eyed peas. I would highly encourage the Texans to try a ride with the Lone Star Rando group. Or you Northeners who would like to get some brevets in before spring. They have a 200/300 on Jan 20. I think that I might do the 200 again and try the 300 in Feb.

Bob
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Old 01-03-07, 09:57 PM   #2
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One thing you probably need to slip in there is: Ride your own ride. It's very easy to get lost after being dropped from a group (or continuing on ahead of one) if you haven't kept up with your route instructions.

But well done!! First of the New Year on the forum.
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Old 01-03-07, 11:38 PM   #3
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Congrats Hammond, and welcome to the LSR. I rode that ride as well and you are correct about the leg between Italy and Waxahachie being tough. It was deceptive, but there was a lot of exposed uphill that let the wind come at you you full force. I was really dragging on that leg as well.

Rowan's advice is good. There are some very strong riders in the LSR and if you're not careful, you'll expend a lot of energy trying to keep up with them between the first couple of controls. Best to ride at a comfortable pace, especially while you're learning how to manage your energy on the long rides.

BTW, we have a large number of RUSA Permanents in the D/FW area that are available for you to ride anytime you like. They range from 100K up with a large number of 200K routes. Just contact the route organizer (you can get the email address from the RUSA Permanets database: www.rusa.org) and set up a time of your choosing. You might also subscribe to the LSR mailing list linked to on the LSR website (www.lonestarrandon.org) as members often ask for company on permanents that they are going to ride. There's lots of opportunity to ride some of the best routes in the area.
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Old 01-04-07, 10:05 AM   #4
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Congratulations! From here it is a long downward spiral of addiction! Yes you say today it was only a 200k, but tomorrow you'll be telling us you might want to try a 300k and before we know it you will have slipped into a 400k, a 600k, and we all know where that leads to!
Seriously though, good job. Especially on noting things you learned. With these rides the more knowledge you collect the easier they get and the more you refine your technique the less chance of having a DNF. It took me a few Brevets to learn how to let myself get dropped rather than blowing up. The really funny thing is there is usually a group behind you somewhere that is likely going your spead if you hadn't blown yourself up first.
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Old 01-04-07, 06:04 PM   #5
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Congrats!

I just put my check in the mail for both RUSA membership and Lone Star Randonneur membership. I'm looking forward to my first 200K (January 20, 7:00AM start in Willow Park!).

I'm new to long distance riding so I hope I can cut it. I'll be one of those people that gets dropped by the fast group, for sure. Hope to meet everyone out there soon.

Thanks for telling us about your first ride. I really enjoy reading rider stories and hope to learn things from them about how to prepare, what to carry and so forth.
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Old 01-04-07, 07:01 PM   #6
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Welcome, Gillett. I hope I'll see you at Willow Park. And don't worry about getting dropped. There's always someone like me plodding along back there. Just take it easy, eat and drink plenty, and you'll do great.

I believe the actual start point for the ride will be across the street from the Ramada Inn in front of the Brookshires Grocery store. Look for a congregation of cyclists in the area.

And let's hope for good weather.
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Old 01-05-07, 03:23 PM   #7
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Congratulations! and thanks for sharing your ride and thoughts with us. Do keep us posted on how your season progresses!

Rowan's advice is very sound. Brevets are long enough that any "mistakes" made on the front end -- riding too fast being chief among them -- create an avalanche of other "mistakes" and bad decisions as the ride progresses, which can really increase the odds of a DNF or lead to an experience that's just not any fun and potentially unsafe, too.

I had a lot of fun randonneuring this past season by slowing waaaaay down to a pace that was much below that which I'd ride if left to my own devices. It meant I always had company to ride with (if I wanted it) and I got to meet a lot of different folks, too. It also meant that I was always riding at a pace that was comfortable for me, which led to a lot of fun on those rides....

Anyway, thanks again for sharing and keep up the good work!
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Old 01-05-07, 07:50 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by supcom
There's always someone like me plodding along back there. Just take it easy, eat and drink plenty, and you'll do great.
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Old 01-06-07, 03:07 AM   #9
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Great job! a bunch of people in SoCal are running a 200k this morning (as it is 1AM I believe that I am going to skip this one) and every event brings new challenges, rewards and lessons.

They only get more fun from here on out!
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