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  1. #1
    Not an internet law-maker Godwin's Avatar
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    Planning a 1200k

    I'm trying to plan a 1200k trip from Halifax to Toronto through New England. I've been doing a bit of research and a lot of riding over the past few months so I think I'm just about ready. I haven't done a multi-day trip yet so I'm going to do a couple before I leave. First off, what should I be aware about for riding the day after I've ridden a few hundred kms (and the day after that...)?

    Next, what am I forgetting? I'm bringing my giant Jandd saddle bag a bento box style bag and I'm planning on packing:
    Bivy
    Rain/warmer jacket
    Tights
    Extra batteries for lights
    Two extra tubes
    Multi-tool
    Small camera
    Tire and tube patch kit
    Pump
    Lighter could come in handy

    I'm taking two weeks off so in case I run into trouble or find I can't keep up the pace I'll have plenty of time to get home somehow. If I can get there in four days or less and have a few days to rest, should I try to make it back as well? Am I insane/fooling myself?

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Well, first, a 1200K randonnee ("randonnee": meaning it has been sanctioned by the ACP in France) has a 90 hour time limit. So it is possible to do the ride in 90 hours or less.

    Are you planning to ride it in a randonnee-like style? Or are you planning to ride it as a tour?

    Either way, have a look at my website in my signature line below. I've ridden four 1200K randonnees, so you can have a look over those stories. I've also done quite a bit of touring surrounding those rides, so I compiled a packing list (see "Packing List" in the sidebar) with a long tour plus a 1200K randonnee in mind. Some of the info there might give you an idea of what you're getting into.

  3. #3
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Whether you are insane or fooling yourself depends on how far you have ridden before.

    Doing this in four days would be equivalent to riding PBP. If you haven't done a multi-day ride, let alone a 600Km ride like that required for qualification for PBP, then you are unlikely to complete this ride in four days, let alone do it again a few days later. In fact, doing a second 1200 Km ride three days after the first would be an extremely impressive feat. You should consider RAAM in such case.

    I suggest that before you attempt this ride with such an aggressive schedule that you go out and do a 600 Km ride in a two day period. As you finish the 600Km, ask you self if you are ready to start out on doing it again.

    As far as your packing list goes, you don't have any change of clothes. You should carry a second set of clothes. What will you do when it rains and you are soaked (rain suit won't prevent you from being wet). You list no toiletries. Do you not wash, comb your hair, brush your teeth, etc.? What about a sleeping bag and sleeping pad to go with the bivvy? Will your bike light serve as a flashlight? Maps? Phone or calling card?

  4. #4
    Not an internet law-maker Godwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Are you planning to ride it in a randonnee-like style? Or are you planning to ride it as a tour?
    I would love to ride it as an official-style randonnee but I'm not going to try seeing as I've never done more than a double with some riding the next day. I'm planning on doing what I can and then resting. The day trips I have planned before I go will be at least 300k one-way, then back the next day. Perhaps I should add a second pair of shorts and jersey and a small toothbrush, razor, and package of soap of some sort (probably shampoo). I don't have room for a sleeping bag and I have enough scout training that I should be fine without one in the summer.

    On my last 300k ride I did ride a very short time the next day and was not very tired physically although I found myself to be fairly sleepy, not sure what that means.

    I think I'll print off some detailed maps and probably shove them in my bars or something to keep them dry and I'm planning to get a calling card and bring ID for crossing the border.

    I'm a little confused about your packing list Machka, do you really bring a tent and a bivy along with a sleeping bag, pillow, camping chair, ect. on your randonnees?

    Thanks guys!

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godwin View Post
    I think I'll print off some detailed maps and probably shove them in my bars or something to keep them dry and I'm planning to get a calling card and bring ID for crossing the border.

    I'm a little confused about your packing list Machka, do you really bring a tent and a bivy along with a sleeping bag, pillow, camping chair, ect. on your randonnees?

    Thanks guys!
    Your ID for crossing the border has to be a passport, as of January of this year I believe.

    And no, I don't bring a tent etc. for a randonnee ... as I said, that list is for a long tour plus a 1200K randonnee. For example, when I was in Australia a couple years ago, I toured by bicycle for 3 months, and in the middle of that tour, I did a 1200 km randonnee. That packing list is based on what I carried for that whole trip.

    However, for the PBP, I will be carrying a bivy and a sleeping bag liner.

  6. #6
    Not an internet law-maker Godwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Your ID for crossing the border has to be a passport, as of January of this year I believe.
    I'll check into that sometime over the next few days although last I heard they extended it for land and sea ports until next year.

    Sleeping bag liner sounds like a really smart idea, I should probably bring some spare cleats as well.

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godwin View Post
    I'll check into that sometime over the next few days although last I heard they extended it for land and sea ports until next year.

    Sleeping bag liner sounds like a really smart idea, I should probably bring some spare cleats as well.
    I thought I'd heard they hesitantly extended it till June 2007 for certain situations because of the line-ups etc. ... but I could be mistaken.

    If your cleats are new, you should be fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    I thought I'd heard they hesitantly extended it till June 2007 for certain situations because of the line-ups etc. ... but I could be mistaken.
    I had to go back to Canada two weeks ago to clear up some issues with a new passport and this was the situation as I was told by Passport Canada:

    You do not need a passport to enter Canada by land or sea crossing. A driver's license is fine (and was what I used when I entered Quebec, as Passport Canada had my passport in Montreal)

    Similarly, you do not need a passport to enter the US by land or sea. However, if you do not have a passport, expect to be asked additional questions to confirm that you have "a reason to return." Basically, proof that you have a residence, job and/or assets in Canada and that you're not some vagrant looking to sneak in. So, in addition, to a driver's license, it doesn't hurt to bring a recent bank statement, paycheck stub and/or utility bill.

    If you fly in or out of Canada and the US, a passport is required.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godwin View Post
    I haven't done a multi-day trip yet so I'm going to do a couple before I leave. First off, what should I be aware about for riding the day after I've ridden a few hundred kms (and the day after that...)?
    First off, I'd also ask how difficult your route might be. Some of the advice that's being proposed on this thread is taken from a randonneurs perspective, where the rides are not just 1200k, but 1200k with 60,000 feet of climbing. If your touring route is going to be less arduous than that, and if you're aiming for mostly flat stuff, then I think that you have a reasonable chance provided that you've done a couple of multi-day rides beforehand.

    So, things that I've found that have helped me with light tours.
    • begin recovery as soon as you stop for the day. There is a very limited window at which taking in protein and carb heavy foods will help your muscles recover from your ride. When you finish your day, your priority should be to eat/drink and stretch before attending to anything else (shower/hygeine, changing clothes, etc.)
    • make excuses to stop for things that you see on the road. I tend to find that just getting the kilometres in turns the ride into a grind. If there's a farmstand coming up or a store that claims to have the best coffee in the area, I'll stop and take them up on their offer. So long as you're finishing close to or a little after twilight, there's always a reason to stop, investigate and meet a few locals. It's what makes the trip fun.
    • additionally, when in a new town and looking for a meal, make a habit of asking folks on the street where they eat -- not where they'd recommend a visitor go to eat.
    • fresh socks have a way of making each day feel new. Conversely, few things can drill in a dreary sense of one's tour than waking up to put on wet and clammy footwear. So, always have a reserve pair of socks to wear in case you got caught out in the rain the day before.
    • additionally, when you train for multi-day rides, ride in the clothes that you wore yesterday (unlaundered) to prepare yourself for the unpleasantness of putting on yesterday's sweat.

  10. #10
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    the OP indicated that he wanted to complete the trip in four days. At 300 Km/day, that puts the ride squarely into the randonneuring style of riding and out of touring. The OP will have little time to stop and rest and is almost certainly going to have sleep deprivation issues as the miles add up and his average speed falls. As pointed out, this is equivalent to doing PBP, and even if the route is flat, it will be difficult to do in the timeframe desired.

    If the OP is willing to do this like a typical tour, then he should be looking at about 100-200 Km, or so, per day, depending on his fitness. As such, doing 1200 Km would generally be little problem for the average fit cyclist. But there's a huge difference between 200 and 300 Km per day when you start looking at multiday trips.

    Quote Originally Posted by spokenword View Post
    First off, I'd also ask how difficult your route might be. Some of the advice that's being proposed on this thread is taken from a randonneurs perspective, where the rides are not just 1200k, but 1200k with 60,000 feet of climbing. If your touring route is going to be less arduous than that, and if you're aiming for mostly flat stuff, then I think that you have a reasonable chance provided that you've done a couple of multi-day rides beforehand.

    So, things that I've found that have helped me with light tours.
    • begin recovery as soon as you stop for the day. There is a very limited window at which taking in protein and carb heavy foods will help your muscles recover from your ride. When you finish your day, your priority should be to eat/drink and stretch before attending to anything else (shower/hygeine, changing clothes, etc.)
    • make excuses to stop for things that you see on the road. I tend to find that just getting the kilometres in turns the ride into a grind. If there's a farmstand coming up or a store that claims to have the best coffee in the area, I'll stop and take them up on their offer. So long as you're finishing close to or a little after twilight, there's always a reason to stop, investigate and meet a few locals. It's what makes the trip fun.
    • additionally, when in a new town and looking for a meal, make a habit of asking folks on the street where they eat -- not where they'd recommend a visitor go to eat.
    • fresh socks have a way of making each day feel new. Conversely, few things can drill in a dreary sense of one's tour than waking up to put on wet and clammy footwear. So, always have a reserve pair of socks to wear in case you got caught out in the rain the day before.
    • additionally, when you train for multi-day rides, ride in the clothes that you wore yesterday (unlaundered) to prepare yourself for the unpleasantness of putting on yesterday's sweat.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom View Post
    the OP indicated that he wanted to complete the trip in four days. At 300 Km/day, that puts the ride squarely into the randonneuring style of riding and out of touring.
    actually, I read the original post as saying that the plan was to go for four days each way, but have the flexibility to do the entire round trip in two weeks if four days proves to be too ambitious. So, it didn't strike me as indicating that the rider had imposed any especially hard time constraints on themselves, which is part of what, imho, distinguishes randonneering from fast touring.

    ... well, that, and having the option to get a full night's sleep between riding days.
    Last edited by spokenword; 08-02-07 at 01:14 PM.

  12. #12
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spokenword View Post
    actually, I read the original post as saying that the plan was to go for four days each way, but have the flexibility to do the entire round trip in two weeks if four days proves to be too ambitious. So, it didn't strike me as indicating that the rider had imposed any especially hard time constraints on themselves, which is part of what, imho, distinguishes randonneering from fast touring.

    ... well, that, and having the option to get a full night's sleep between riding days.
    Hallifax to Toronto would be 1200 Km one way. 1200 Km in four days was the basic plan. And his packing list certainly leaned toward near continuous riding as it had no street clothes, sleeping bag, or other comforts.

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spokenword View Post
    actually, I read the original post as saying that the plan was to go for four days each way, but have the flexibility to do the entire round trip in two weeks if four days proves to be too ambitious. So, it didn't strike me as indicating that the rider had imposed any especially hard time constraints on themselves, which is part of what, imho, distinguishes randonneering from fast touring.

    ... well, that, and having the option to get a full night's sleep between riding days.

    Yes ... 4 days to do 1200 kms, and then another 4 days back covering the 1200 kms again for a total of 2400 kms in 8 days ... or 2 weeks if something happened to delay him.

    To the OP ... have you ridden more than 300 kms in one go?

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    Not an internet law-maker Godwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spokenword View Post
    First off, I'd also ask how difficult your route might be.
    I posted my proposed route here in the touring forum as I expected there would be more people familiar with the area. I'll be going through the Adirondacks so there will be a fair amount of climbing, it will be a little more than I'm used to but I am a fairly good climber as I live in a fairly hilly province. I'd like to keep up about 300k per day but if my body tells me I can't I won't, call it whatever you like. If it proves harder than I wish when I get there, which will probably be the case, I'll probably bus or rail it back either from TO or Montreal depending on how I'm feeling. It's further than I should probably go but that has been my outlook the past few months (6 months ago I thought 20km was far). My plan for the next couple of weeks is to train harder than ever and make plans for every possible unfavorable scenario.

    Thanks for the advice on recovery, usually after long rides I think of rest first then eating, I'll make sure t reverse that priority.

    Should I take some sort of spare tire? I'm putting on new ones before I leave and I'll bring a patch kit but I've never even had a flat on my racer.

    Do you guys have any tips on bivying? Such as finding a safe spot and reducing the risk of someone stealing my bike while I'm sleeping?

    Thanks again.

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    Not an internet law-maker Godwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    To the OP ... have you ridden more than 300 kms in one go?
    Yes, not significantly more but I had energy left over when I did so I'm planning on making a longer run before I go as well.

  16. #16
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godwin View Post
    ...Should I take some sort of spare tire?...
    Yes. Take a spare folding tire.

  17. #17
    Ready to go anywhere Csson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godwin View Post
    Should I take some sort of spare tire?
    Yes! On a recent tour my friend experienced a catastrophic puncture (attached). With a spare tire we would have been on the road in five minutes, without the solution included a walk and a taxi ride. Had it happened twenty minutes earlier it would have been a very long walk since we were high in the Alps. From now on I will always carry an extra tire while touring.
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  18. #18
    ****ist lazzarello's Avatar
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    I think you might consider giving yourself more time and not approaching this as a randonee. If 6 months ago you thought 20 kilometers was far I can't believe why you'd think 1200k is a good idea now.

    You can also use this as a sort of BMB training.

  19. #19
    Not an internet law-maker Godwin's Avatar
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    As I said above, I'm not concerned with getting it done in an official randonee time or whatever. I've also been cycling for years but focused on speed before I got a better road bike and over the past several months I've found I've adapted to long distances easily.

    Did my first test run with the loaded bike overnight, only a 100km trip (and 100km back) as I worked that day. I've now added a fleece hat, smart wool socks, thread and needle and emergency bivy sack to my list as it was colder than I thought. I also learned how important it is to build a ground cover from materials on hand such as leaves, needles, grass, ect. Next test run, is this weekend at roughly 600km round trip.

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