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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 04-04-08, 06:51 PM   #1
nine
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Tips on not getting lost

I've been doing group rides with cue sheets, and I have a really hard time trying to pay attention to both the sheet and the road. Out of all the concerns I have for my first rando season, I think my biggest might be getting lost. I have a horrible sense of direction and all the centuries I have been on have had large groups to follow. Besides the obvious (cue, sheet, local maps) does anyone have any tips on how to make sure they stay on course. The Garmin GPS is probably in my future, but for now it's just me my cue-clips, and cheap cateye cyclocomp.
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Old 04-04-08, 07:03 PM   #2
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1) Sit down with the cue sheet and a road map, and go over the route before the ride.

2) Bring a road map on your rides so you've got something to refer to if you do get off the route (and off the supplied map).

3) Pre-ride the route ... and ride other roads in the area as well to become more familiar with the area. Explore!

4) Pay attention to road signs when you ride, whether you're on a brevet or just riding around. Practice looking for them at every intersection.

5) Get a compass, and go for rides with and without a map to practice using it.

6) Pay attention to where the sun is in the sky and how high it is, in relation to the time of day - this will give you a general idea of which direction you're headed.
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Old 04-04-08, 07:05 PM   #3
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I'm probably not the right person to speak to about this subject as I can't read a ride sheet because of my eyesight (I can't get my focus on the sheet). What might help is to break down the sheet into small boxes. Perhaps using a highlighter to highlight every other line. Maybe using different colored highlighters for different lines.

My way around these things is to just memorize the roads before hand. I've got a very good sense of direction.

This of course assumes that you get the ride sheet before hand. I also look up the route with Google Maps. I seem to be able to translate the Hybrid view to what I see on the ride. It kind of spooks my friend to just pop into the middle of the state (NJ) and be able to say "oh yeah I know where that is, just move over here and there's the road you want".
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Old 04-04-08, 09:46 PM   #4
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I get lost all the time too. So far I've found the best way to stay on course is to create a simple map using google maps as a reference, then write out at what point (in kms or miles) each road starts, or any other reference points along the way.

If you're computer is accurate and the maps of your area are as well, you should know if you're turning right onto route #14 at km 56 that you should keep you're eye out and if you're at 60kms you should turn around.
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Old 04-05-08, 03:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by nine View Post
I've been doing group rides with cue sheets, and I have a really hard time trying to pay attention to both the sheet and the road. Out of all the concerns I have for my first rando season, I think my biggest might be getting lost.
It's not that you're lost. It's that you're off-course

Lost implies that you don't know where you are and you can't find your way back. In most cases, with randoneering, being off-course just means that you missed a turn. You were supposed to turn left on Albequerque street after 6 miles, but you've gone 7 miles and still no Albequerque street.

Turn around and retrace your steps. Resist the urge to blunder forward and try find a shortcut to get back on the route. Technically, going off-course and then navigating back via shortcuts is cheating. If you're ever off-course, you're supposed to go back to the point where you left the course and resume your ride. In reality, though, this particular rule is impossible to enforce.

All the same, it is always possible for one to miss a turn. Don't fret or stress. If you're not sure if you missed the turn or if your computer is off its calibration, stop and wait a bit. If there are others on your brevet and you're in the middle of the pack, give yourself about five minutes and see if another rider shows up and can confirm if you're on the route or not. If you don't see anyone, head back to your last known good cue. It may be slower than improvising a shortcut, but it's less risky. and a wiser choice in the long run.
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Old 04-05-08, 07:45 PM   #6
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Garmin.

Whenever I have a ride now I map it out via cue sheet online and then download it onto my garmin as a course.

-D
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Old 04-06-08, 10:53 AM   #7
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All seem like pretty good answers. I've got a Garmon 305, but haven't taken it out of the box and now it's going on 2 years old.
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Old 04-06-08, 11:22 AM   #8
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Old 04-06-08, 12:47 PM   #9
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+1 for mapping out the cue beforehand & studying the route on a map, that's what I do. but even so, we get lost all the time on brevets. also, pre-riding the course might not be an option if it's a 300km+ route and you've got a life that can't be neglected.. least that's my case.

i'm thinking that after another few years of doing local long-distance rides, I'll get to the point where i can't get lost! one day.. most of our brevets are repeated anyway so this might be the case eventually.

also in brevets it's best to ride in a group, so you can get a 2nd opinion on sense of direction & where to go.

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Garmin.

Whenever I have a ride now I map it out via cue sheet online and then download it onto my garmin as a course.

-D
but these "only" last 15 hours right? might not be enogh for bigger rides.
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Old 04-06-08, 01:16 PM   #10
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also, pre-riding the course might not be an option if it's a 300km+ route and you've got a life that can't be neglected.. least that's my case.

Then pre-ride the more complex parts of the route. Get the cue sheet, study the map, and if there's a section where there there are a lot of turns in a short period of time (I think that's the most likely place to get off course), drive out there and ride back and forth in that area. Look for road signs and landmarks to help you out.

This is also a good way to get used to how the ride organizer has set up his/her cue sheet. Every different club I've ridden with has a slightly different cue sheet ... some are easier to follow than others. Also the distances on the cue sheet might not exactly match the distances on your computer. Whoever mapped the route might have been out a bit, or your computer might be out a bit. If you can ride at least part of the route (and preferably one of the more complex parts) you'll know what the ride organizer means by the various symbols and codes on the cue sheet, and you'll have a good idea how your computer distances relate to the cue sheet distances.

Sometimes you can't get onto the brevet route before the ride ... for example, if I decided I wanted to go to the Peace Region and ride a particular BC Randonneur brevet up there, I couldn't afford the time to go up there in advance to ride the route. In these cases, sites like this one: http://www.milebymile.com/ might be able to provide you with some general information about the area.
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Old 04-06-08, 03:23 PM   #11
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I have found most cue sheets so far have some errors, so I have decided to make my own using google maps or other software. Also I am able to condense them and add color coding as well so I can see quickly if the next turn is right/left/straight and also use color coding to determine if its less than 1 mile to the next turn, 1-5 miles or over 5 miles. I also make my own notation etc. Takes time and isn't possible if you don't have access to the cue sheet ahead of time.

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Old 04-06-08, 03:31 PM   #12
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I have found most cue sheets so far have some errors, so I have decided to make my own using google maps or other software. Also I am able to condense them and add color coding as well so I can see quickly if the next turn is right/left/straight and also use color coding to determine if its less than 1 mile to the next turn, 1-5 miles or over 5 miles. I also make my own notation etc. Takes time and isn't possible if you don't have access to the cue sheet ahead of time.
Just a word of caution about that. In California you might be able to make your own based on Google maps, but I would challenge you to try to recreate my 600K with Google maps. Google maps is not very good for Canada, and the 600K route I've designed uses some quite nice roads that exist in reality but do not exist on Google maps, which is based on information from about the mid-1980s judging from what their maps look like.
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Old 04-07-08, 07:28 AM   #13
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Would mapping out the course and using google maps print-outs be smarter than buying local road maps? What kind of maps do the more experienced riders bring with them?
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Old 04-07-08, 10:21 AM   #14
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<i>Google maps is not very good for Canada, and the 600K route I've designed uses some quite nice roads that exist in reality but do not exist on Google maps</i>

I'd always recommend comparing the software generated data to the brevet cue sheet and study any differences carefully to determine which is correct. In some instances I will use the official cue sheet values.

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Old 04-07-08, 10:51 AM   #15
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I am a big fan of preriding at least any confusing part of the route. But also, I do spend quite a bit of time with a map & the cue sheet. Often I'll make notes on the cue sheet such as the road before or the road after a turn, so in case someone stole the sign, I know when I go too far.

The one time I trusted a buddy and his "new garmin" for the route that he loaded, we got halfway out on the ride & the batteries died. Guess what, they don't work very well then!
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Old 04-07-08, 10:54 AM   #16
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All seem like pretty good answers. I've got a Garmon 305, but haven't taken it out of the box and now it's going on 2 years old.
Can't find it?
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Old 04-07-08, 10:56 AM   #17
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My 2 cents,
you are already lost. It's a matter of degree.
When you get more messed up than you want to be, backtrack, ask somebody,
or find a restaurant. You can even look at the map...

IMHO, the restaurant works really well. You get a break, a nosh, and directions.
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Old 04-07-08, 10:56 AM   #18
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I have found most cue sheets so far have some errors, so I have decided to make my own using google maps or other software. Also I am able to condense them and add color coding as well so I can see quickly if the next turn is right/left/straight and also use color coding to determine if its less than 1 mile to the next turn, 1-5 miles or over 5 miles. I also make my own notation etc. Takes time and isn't possible if you don't have access to the cue sheet ahead of time.

SharpT

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Old 04-07-08, 11:11 AM   #19
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<i>You're got some grungy looking bar tape and hoods on that bike Time for replacements
</i>

I may pick another color than white next time. These hoods are original, circa 1990, and the surface is sort of melting but structurally they are still sound. I looked into ordering some new hoods, NOS, but they are pricey.

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Old 04-07-08, 01:52 PM   #20
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Would mapping out the course and using google maps print-outs be smarter than buying local road maps? What kind of maps do the more experienced riders bring with them?
I prefer real, current road maps. Now some of those maps don't have the detail to show all the paved roads, so I am always on the hunt for more detailed maps, and occasionally I find them. I like maps, and I've got quite a large collection of them from various places in the world.

Once in a while I use a google map if I'm 90+% sure it is accurate, and I'll print out a complex section of the route.

Last edited by Machka; 04-07-08 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 04-07-08, 02:36 PM   #21
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The week before the event I will mentally travel it on Google maps or Yahoo maps taking it turn by turn over lunch or some in between moment. When the day arrives I usually don't even have to consult the cue sheet. If you are lazy GPS works too but if anything happens to that GPS you are majorly screwed.

Delorme mapping software is also handy, particularly the topousa (not sure if there is a Canadian flavor) product.
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