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  1. #1
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    Average speed on long rides ?

    I am thinking about doing all the brevets for PBP and I wonder what speed to aim for. 300, 400 and 600 km seems very long so I am quite scared of hitting some kind of wall. Better start slow, but how slow ?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by plodderslusk
    I am thinking about doing all the brevets for PBP and I wonder what speed to aim for. 300, 400 and 600 km seems very long so I am quite scared of hitting some kind of wall. Better start slow, but how slow ?
    The only thing that matters in randonneuring is your overall average speed, including time off the bike at controls. The faster you can get out of the controls, the slower you can go when riding, and vice versa. The minimum overall average speed that will get you to controls before they close is somewhere around 10 mph. But if that's the maximum you are capable of, then PBP will be a challenge unless you are able to go long periods without sleep. The whole point of the 300, 400, and 600 is to help you build experience regarding your capabilities so that you'll be prepared for a 1200. Presumably you've ridden a 200, so you know how fast you can go in that ride. You could start out a tad slower and then as you get through the ride and find out how you feel, you can always speed up a bit.

  3. #3
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    the easy answer is: 300 km / 20 hrs for the 300. 400 / 27 hrs for the 400 and 600 / 40 hrs for the 600. ;p

    it's not a race and you won't get anything special if you finish 8 hours or 8 minutes before cutoff.

    However, with that said, benefits for working on speed
    - more cushion for mishaps and mechanicals
    - more rest time at controls (for PBP, this also means more cushion for long waits at controls)
    - more flexibility to stop and smell roses
    - more potential partners for pelotons and drafting

    If you can average 12.5 mph on a bike, you can finish a 300K with 5 hours in the bank. That's an hour that you can spend at each control, and still have 2 hours extra to deal with flat tires or bent spokes.

    If you can hold that average on a 600k, then that's 10 hours in the bank. That's enough for, say, 30 minutes of rest at each control and almost a full night's sleep.

    So, beyond pride, there are practical benefits to having a good speed, but that needs to be balanced against your capabilities. I would aim for a minimum of 10 mph average speed, that's total average, including time spent eating meals or resting at controls. That gives you a 2 to 3 hour cushion for difficulties.

    With that said, if you can spin a comfortable, easy gear and get 12 mph, then do 12.

  4. #4
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plodderslusk
    I am thinking about doing all the brevets for PBP and I wonder what speed to aim for. 300, 400 and 600 km seems very long so I am quite scared of hitting some kind of wall. Better start slow, but how slow ?
    You can focus on speed, but if you've ridden with a HRM you might be better served knowing where your limits are and riding with those in mind while watching your computer. Trying to stay below a specific threshold level for you on long rides may help in maintaining pace and energy as the ride progresses. You'll know how hard to work up a climb, or how hard to push to stay with a group. As you gain experience with riding beyond the 200k mark you'll get a sense from your body as to what feels good and sustainable.

    The speed equations look easy to make on paper... when there is a wall of climbing in front of you, or you overstayed your welcome at a control, or you hit a headwind, or have a mechanical - all in the middle of the night - is when things start to unravel.

    Try to stay on the bike and keep moving forward on the course. Limit your times at the controls, and limit as best you can nutritional and mechanical show stoppers or show slowers. Sleep enough to be safe and keep you moving. If you get a full night - great... if not - make sure its enough to recharge and keep you pushing ahead.

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    The minimum speed is 15 km/h for all brevets 600 kms and shorter. The longer brevets have an overall lower minimum speed.

    If you keep your on-bike speed around 17 km/h, your on-bike time for a 200K will be 11 hours and 45 minutes. The time limit is 13.5 hours, so that leaves you with 1 hour and 45 minutes during which time you can stop for breaks. It's quite doable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike
    Try to stay on the bike and keep moving forward on the course. Limit your times at the controls, and limit as best you can nutritional and mechanical show stoppers or show slowers. Sleep enough to be safe and keep you moving. If you get a full night - great... if not - make sure its enough to recharge and keep you pushing ahead.
    yeah, just to add to this -- the conventional wisdom for improving one's brevet times is to minimize the 'dead time' that one spends at controls. That means, if possible, stopping only as long as one needs to 1) get your brevet card signed, 2) replenish supplies, 3) jettison waste (biological and otherwise ) You can lose a lot of momentum if you hang out at a control too long, so do try to keep it to a minimum.

    With that said, if this is your first year of randonneuring, I would still set your priority as finishing the ride. If you can do it with a good time, then so much the better, but I wouldn't stress out too much if you need a little extra time at a control to recover from a sore back or butt. Even if you've had prior century riding experience, taking your bike on a 300 or 600k will amplify fit problems of which you may have only been dimly aware. A suboptimal saddle position that was tolerable on a century can become increasingly awful on a 400. Also, eating strategies that may work on centuries might be insufficient for a longer ride, so you may need to spend more time at a control for digestion or g/i issues. So, first-timers will be spending a lot of time addressing these little surprises, which will slow you down, but usually not enough to DNF.

  7. #7
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I'm a newbie to this, too. On the 200 I went out hard and was still going good at the finish, though my HR was in the toilet. So I started the 300 at my finishing HR for the 200. That was perfect. My finishing HR for the 300 was about the same as the HR I limited myself to at the start. My guess is that I can't quite maintain that HR for the 400 that's coming up in a couple of weeks, but it should be very close. I'd like to go out with the same HR I used on the 300 and see what happens. But keeping to that plan will depend on the pace of the riders I want to be with.

    So I'm agreeing with bmike, I think. Ignore your speed, watch your HR, and keep moving. BTW, my sort of middling HR - target cruising HR - for the whole 300 was 72% of max. My upper limit was 85%. I've done long distance riding, though only 200 miles and less, for many years and I'm very well trained. YMMV

  8. #8
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Better start slow, but how slow ?
    The idea that you can somehow "predict" the starting pace of a 600k is pretty much non-sense. Unless, of course you are some one like me, who has ridden 600ks straight through.

    Instead of looking at your speedometer at the start of a 600k, a better idea would be to pay close attention to your "engine" - in other words - pay attention to how you are feeling.

    Experienced riders will always look at the "big picture" during long rides and take special care to make sure they start at a comfortable pace. Expert riders make maintaining their personal well being the highest priority, not their speed.

    If you want to do well at the 600k, talk to the best riders, the fastest riders in your area. Ask the good riders about the route and the weather just before the ride. Ask them where they will try to ride fast, and how the weather will affect their ride strategy.

    If you are lucky, you'll hook-up with smart riders. If you're lucky.

    Whatever you do, don't listen to some clown, like me -- on the Internet -- get your advice from people who have ridden the exact route.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for a lot of good advice ! I have to decide on a pace from the beginning in order not to push a to high an average speed. What little pack riding I have done is with club riders mostly my own age(50) riding at between 25-29 km/h average. No problem for 100 km (or even 200) but probably not very wise as training rides for longer distances. So coming saturday I will try to go out slower than I like in order to have a nice experience of the whole ride.

  10. #10
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    If you want ride a fast Audax/randonnee, i think the easiest way to save time, is to save time on controls.
    To trying ride faster is more difficult thing. If you rise your speed 2km/hour, which is lot, you only save about 5-10 minutes/ 100km.

    We just rode our 300Km brevet last weekend. One rider drop off from our pace allways about 10km after we leave the control. He rode in his own relax speed after us. Always he catch us in the controls. He was quicker there and leave the control with us, -to just to drop off few kilometers later.
    But he rode that 300km almost in same time like we did. Despite he rode mutch slower speed than we did.

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