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  1. #1
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    My First 300K (this year) ... PBP Qualifier

    Well, I finished my 300K ... a PBP Qualifier.

    I have to say it was the toughest 300K I've ever ridden. I've never come in from a 300K and had to immediately lie down. But a cold/flu I've been battling all week, a separated shoulder, and WIND took it's toll.

    It was a beautiful sunny, warm day, and the morning was lovely with hardly any wind at all. The trees are beginning to sprout leaves, the grass is finally green, the sky and the ponds were glistening blue. The roads I chose for the first 1/3 of the brevet were very quiet, so the only sounds came from the many different birds. It was wonderful.

    And then the wind started. It was a crosswind (the type of wind I hate the most) strong enough to blow my bicycle into the lane of traffic, and to blow my helmet off my head. The wind did nothing for my lungs which were already affected by the cold/flu, I must have hacked up at least one entire lung out there .... and my poor separated shoulder ACHED from fighting to keep the bicycle in a straight line. It was really windy for probably 13 of the 17 hours I was out there.

    I think it was my stubbornness that got me through this ride. I made every effort to stay on the bicycle for as long as I could between breaks (that's something I'm working on), my breaks were very short, and I just kept slogging along. I figured if I stopped for any length of time, I wouldn't get going again.

    In the end, I finished the 300K in 17:20. Not one of my better times for a 300K, but not terrible.

    And today, I'm resting!!


    Right now, however, I have to say that I'm not looking forward to my 400K. I hope I'm feeling a lot better ... and I hope it is a lot less windy!!!

  2. #2
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I've always thought that the green of that province really needs its own name. It's such an incredibly lovely color. Farm country. Guess that's why one sees windmills in that terrain. On my 400, we went toward the Cascades for a while, until we were right at their feet, then we turned and went over some foothills near Mt. Baker, up to the border, then over to the Sound and along the shore, over some lovely road right above the water, then turned and went back inland, with the salt west wind at our backs. We had about 100 riders, so sheltering from the wind was no problem. You sure you don't want to try a ride down here? There'll be some nice 300s and 400s before PBP and after the snow melts off the high country.

    Useless to say, but try to rest up and get rid of whatever it is you've got. Might be a result of the stress associated with your injury. Take care.

  3. #3
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    Congrats on your 300K. I just completed my 400K yesterday. It was the easiest (and fastest) 400K ever- only 5500 vertical ft of climbing. Very scenic ride, beautiful weather, and pace lines all the way. Now it's down to the 600K on June 2nd. Apparently, they made the last 200K of this year's course super difficult (according to the organizer).
    Every time I do a Rando ride, even though I do well, I'm reminded that I'm not really a long-distance cyclist. I just don't enjoy being in the saddle that long. Even though I'm getting qualified for the PBP, I'm still not sure I want to do it.

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    My 200K, 300K, and 400K take me pretty close to the edge of the Rockies. It's rolling foothills, a combination of farmland and forests.

    I'd love to ride with 100 riders! I felt fortunate that there was 1 other rider with me for the first 100 kms or so. I doubt I'll be so lucky on the 400K and 600K.

    I am resting today, and I've got rest planned for the rest of the week. My physiotherapist threatened to tape and sling me if I didn't!!


    mitchel, congrats on your 400K ... I'm glad to hear yours was easy. I hope mine will be too ... but I have a sneaking suspicion mine has more than 5000 ft of climbing!

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    A couple photos of the area the 300K went through ...

    .
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Beautiful pics, Machka! I'd love to be able to come up and ride with you! Maybe some time I will be able to.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchel
    Even though I'm getting qualified for the PBP, I'm still not sure I want to do it.
    PBP is nothing like any other brevet. I don't know anybody who wished they hadn't done it but know several who wished they had.

  8. #8
    Senior Member skinny's Avatar
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    You have to do these alone 'cause you're so remote? Dedication. All the best on your remaining brevets. I'm doing a 200k permanent alone on Saturday. I'll think of you.

    Of course, everyone on randon is talking about PBP now. Cheers.

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinny
    You have to do these alone 'cause you're so remote? Dedication. All the best on your remaining brevets. I'm doing a 200k permanent alone on Saturday. I'll think of you.

    Of course, everyone on randon is talking about PBP now. Cheers.
    There's nobody else up in this part of the world who rides them. There are a few in the Calgary area who ride, but they are all racer-types who blast off at the start and I never see them again. This is my third season of randonneuring in Alberta, and I've ridden most of the brevets here solo.

    I miss riding brevets in Manitoba. There was (probably still is) a really good group, and most of us rode together all the way through. I really liked that ... it made brevets more of a social occasion, and we supported and encouraged each other.

    It is MUCH easier to be tempted to quit when you're out there by yourself.

    Fortunately, my father supports me in the evening and night portions of the ride. He checks up on me and is at the controls etc. Neither he nor I like the idea of me being out in the middle of absolutely nowhere in the middle of the night.



    Oh .... randon .... I've been trying to find that list. It used to be on Topica (and was very difficult to read and use so I never gave it more than a glance), but it's gone from there now.

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Thanks!

  11. #11
    Senior Member skinny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Thanks!
    You are welcome!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    It is MUCH easier to be tempted to quit when you're out there by yourself.
    Last night, as I rolled in to the end of the Boston 400 at around 2AM, Tracey, our ride organizer greeted me by saying, "wow. Finishing the hard way."

    "What's the hard way?"

    "Alone."

    Everything about that ride was fun and enjoyable, until the last few hours, which found me alone, in the dark, climbing up 1000 ft to the base of Crotched Mountain, surrounded by forest, shadows and the hobgoblins of sleep deprived hallucination. Even though I was 80% done with the brevet, there was still a part of me that just wanted to abandon right then and there, just to make the fear, fatigue and isolation go away.

    Congrats on getting through your 300, Machka. All the more so for doing it alone. Hope the wind is kinder to you on the 400. I bruised my left shoulder when a pickup nearly sideswiped me on my way home from work last week, and it twinged with a bit of sympathy pain when you described the pain of your post-recovery shoulder.

    If the cold proves tenancious, I found that cough drops helped clear my lungs and made it a little easier to breathe. I discovered this too late to stay in the fleche last month, but the drops were very helpful on the 300 I did the week later. Also, the astringency of the cough medicine was a nice complement to the sweetness of typical gels and energy drinks.

  13. #13
    Senior Member claire's Avatar
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    Hey Machka
    I hope you'll have nicer weather for your next brevets... That one sounded really nasty! Congratulations!
    Yesterday was very windy in France, and I was thinking how lucky I was not to do my 400 brevet this week end.

  14. #14
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    Congrats!

    Great to hear you're back on the bike! Congrats on sticking to it through those oh-so-demoralizing headwinds.

  15. #15
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    I'm glad to hear yours was easy. I hope mine will be too ... but I have a sneaking suspicion mine has more than 5000 ft of climbing!
    Yeah, a sneaking suspicion. You're funny! You plan it, you ride it, you report it! Kinda makes it hard to b***h about it, doesn't it? At least I can curse the organizer who thought that 50k of upwind chipseal rollers through dog country would be really fun.

  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    The thing is, I have no way of knowing how much climbing there is on my rides. Topographical maps are expensive, and websites here don't give elevation information. So it is just a guess that my 400K route might have more than 5000 ft of climbing.

    And ... believe me, I've also cursed the organizer ... knowing full well who the organizer is! Actually, I am going to reroute the 300K for next time. I really like the first 100 kms of it (quiet, scenic roads), but the rest of the ride has bits (some fairly lengthy bits) I don't like very much. One section of highway was really rough, had no shoulder, and was full of traffic this year. I don't remember it being that bad last year, but I think I'll have to choose an alternate route to avoid that section of highway for the future.

  17. #17
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    The thing is, I have no way of knowing how much climbing there is on my rides. Topographical maps are expensive, and websites here don't give elevation information. So it is just a guess that my 400K route might have more than 5000 ft of climbing.

    And ... believe me, I've also cursed the organizer ... knowing full well who the organizer is! Actually, I am going to reroute the 300K for next time. I really like the first 100 kms of it (quiet, scenic roads), but the rest of the ride has bits (some fairly lengthy bits) I don't like very much. One section of highway was really rough, had no shoulder, and was full of traffic this year. I don't remember it being that bad last year, but I think I'll have to choose an alternate route to avoid that section of highway for the future.
    Oh, I forgot . . . . . . you don't preride it, do you?

    Do you know that STP was started as a race to settle who was faster over long distances: racers or randonneurs? Didn't you mention that there are some racer boys down in Calgary? Did you ever think of going down there and making a presentation to their club? Or post the ride on their website. Something like . . . "nothing makes you strong like distance. There's no single thing you could do all season that will make you faster in your crits than coming up and riding 400k with me." I can just see you rolling along, sheltered by 6 racer boys in full kit. And then having to pull them the last 50 miles. . .

    You can drag the cursor along in Google Earth and watch the elevation in the status bar. I see Red Deer is about 2885'.

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I have no time to pre-ride. The last snowfall was April 21st ... it's really only just melted. I did ride this 300K route last year though, and it didn't seem too bad but then that was at the end of the season and I was stronger. I also rode a few sections of the route whenever the snow melted off the roads enough for me to get out, and those parts weren't too bad either. But I didn't get a chance to ride the whole route ahead of time, and this was a bad winter (worse than the last few years) so I've noticed the road in many places is in rough condition. In this case, what was a narrow "just tolerable" shoulder disintegrated into potholes and debris and was unridable. Too bad ... I actually liked part of that section of road.

    I didn't know that about the STP!

    The racer boys I was referring to ride with the Calgary chapter of the Alberta Randonneurs. They are the ones who knock off 200Ks in 7 hours etc. One of them was on a 4-man team for the RAAM last year. They called him up 2 or 3 weeks before the RAAM, told him that one of their team mates couldn't do it, and he went down and rode. He and his team did quite well. When I've done brevets with these guys I try to stick with them as long as I can ... and I usually last all of about 5 minutes.

    However, I am trying to promote Randonneuring in my area, and I have been trying to convince the racing club here that riding long distances would be great for their base miles! A couple years ago I had several of them out for a 200K, but not since. Actually ... I've taken newbies (to long distances, not to cycling) out on several long rides (centuries and 200Ks) and they rarely come back again. I really do try to stick with them, not drop them, give them helpful hints etc. ...... but I know one poor guy barely knew his name by the end of the century ......................


    BTW - our website, with some promo efforts: http://www.albertarandonneurs.com

  19. #19
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    I have no time to pre-ride.
    I vas yoking only.

    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    The racer boys I was referring to ride with the Calgary chapter of the Alberta Randonneurs. They are the ones who knock off 200Ks in 7 hours etc.
    Yes, we have those types down here, too, the unhumans like Ragsdale and Koenig. People who can ride 470 miles in 24 hours can be hard to hang with. Fortunately they are only about 5% of the population, so that leaves a lot of normal people to ride with. There must be some normal people in Calgary. Oh that's right, that's Canada!

  20. #20
    Senior Member Waxbytes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    The thing is, I have no way of knowing how much climbing there is on my rides. Topographical maps are expensive, and websites here don't give elevation information. So it is just a guess that my 400K route might have more than 5000 ft of climbing.

    And ... believe me, I've also cursed the organizer ... knowing full well who the organizer is! Actually, I am going to reroute the 300K for next time. I really like the first 100 kms of it (quiet, scenic roads), but the rest of the ride has bits (some fairly lengthy bits) I don't like very much. One section of highway was really rough, had no shoulder, and was full of traffic this year. I don't remember it being that bad last year, but I think I'll have to choose an alternate route to avoid that section of highway for the future.

    Machka have you tried:
    http://www.mapmyride.com/
    ?
    Uhmm...

  21. #21
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waxbytes
    Machka have you tried:
    http://www.mapmyride.com/
    ?
    Hmmm ... interesting. That's the first time I've ever seen anything that gives elevations for Canada. Any idea how to get it to show highway numbers? I'm making educated guesses on the roads, but sometimes it is hard to tell one from another.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Waxbytes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Hmmm ... interesting. That's the first time I've ever seen anything that gives elevations for Canada. Any idea how to get it to show highway numbers? I'm making educated guesses on the roads, but sometimes it is hard to tell one from another.
    The maps for my area show street names and hwy # s. Try scaling in for more detailed info.?
    Uhmm...

  23. #23
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waxbytes
    The maps for my area show street names and hwy # s. Try scaling in for more detailed info.?

    It shows the numbers for the main highways but not the Rural Routes and TWPs.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Waxbytes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    It shows the numbers for the main highways but not the Rural Routes and TWPs.

    What is a TWP ?
    Uhmm...

  25. #25
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waxbytes
    What is a TWP ?
    It's a Township Road ... they go east/west. Range Roads go north/south.

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