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  1. #1
    Senior Member darkroast's Avatar
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    1st Brevet (200km): pain and elation

    Last Saturday (Apr 19th), my friend and I completed our 1st brevet(link). Now, 2 days later, I can say that it was a blast. In fact, I would have said the same moments after getting the the control card stamped at the finish control. However, there were moments during the ride, that I found quite challenging. I guess that is why such accomplishments mean more; memories and sense of fulfillment last a lot longer than pain (to paraphrase a saying). I had not trained for this ride. My cycling had been limited to 25km round trip daily commute. Two weeks prior to the brevet, I had done a 100km Populaire, and that had been my longest ride. So not the best way to approach the 200km. I would have enjoyed the experience more, if I had been better prepared. I would like to do a 300km in mid-July and my aim is to train for that.

    I rode on a Kona Jack the Snake: 46x34 double w/12-27 rear. On whole I was very happy with the bike. I would have preferred easier gearing on a few hills. I hope that with better training this can be addressed. Alas, around the 110km mark I crashed - my own fault. I turned my head to ask my riding buddy if we were on the right road. Next thing I realise is that front wheel slipped on the road edge and the bike and I became intimate with the pavement. This resulted in bruised ego, right knee, elbow and hip and a bent derailleur hanger. Thankfully I was able to straighten out the hanger enough. Though I had trouble riding in some gears - this became a bit irritating during the last 90km or so.

    The major physical challenge that affected me on the ride were the knees. I have a Brooks saddle and it proved no source of discomfort. But my knees were a different story. Around 80/90km my left knee started to get uncomfortable. That pain was now replaced by the throbbing of the right knee after the crash. After the crash I did take a couple of ibuprofen tablets to help with the pain and sure enough the pain subsided and I was able to continue. Close to the finish the pain flared up again (medication had worn off). In the evening the knees were pretty uncomfortable - climbing up and down the stairs was painful. The pain seemed to be located around the sides of the knees rather then directly in the front or the back. Anyhow, the next morning the pain had subsided significantly and today it is hardly noticeable.

    In searching the forums, I think I need to check my saddle height again and make sure also that my cleats are aligned - last night I did check my cleats and determined that the left shoe cleat is about 1 or 2 mm further forward than the right. Of course the fact that I have not ridden such distances could also be a major factor. I have not had any knee issues during my commute trips.

    I would welcome other suggestions about knee pain.
    '09 SURLY LHT - beast of burden/commuter/tourer
    '09 MASI Speciale Commuter FG - commuter
    '08 Steelwool Pure Laine - the LD bike
    '07 Kona JtS

  2. #2
    Senior Guest Andrey's Avatar
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    Sounds like IT band problem with knees. Overuse of the knee in the incorrect position. I would raise the seat higher. If you are going to ride long distances I would raise the seat all the way up until you are not comfortable and then lower it a little so hips would stop rocking. I just went for a 138 mile very hilly ride and my knees started bothering me(IT band) at mile 80-90. I though my seat was high enough, bit it was not, I had to raise it a little and knee pain went away for the rest of the ride.

  3. #3
    Senior Guest Andrey's Avatar
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    BTW congratulations on the first brevet !

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Congrats on finishing your first brevet. It gives a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. Somewhere during my third year of randonneuring (last year) I got nearly all of the bicycle-fit issues resolved so that it isn't painful to ride brevets -- well, my muscles may be sore, but I mean that I'm not having to push through saddle pain or shoulder/hand pain. In many respects, even the shorter brevets in my first year were way tougher than the longer brevets are now. It really makes a difference to have a saddle that is comfortable enough you can ride 720 miles on it, then get off the bike for a nap, and hop back on a couple hours later to ride down to the stadium and greet friends riding in. (I have a Selle Anatomica saddle, but I'm not touting any specific brand here, just the notion that eventually you sort these issues out and it makes even long brevets easier than that first 200K with a saddle that feels like it has a spike on top of it.)

    You don't say which side of your knees, just not the "front" or the "back". I get pain on the inside of my knee if my saddle's too high. Pain above and below my knee cap if the seat's too low. I practically never get IT pain, but the one time I had it was because the cleats were too far to the inside of the shoes, so I was getting a bit of torque as the outside pressed down more. I moved the cleats to where my feet were balanced on top of them and that made the IT issue disappear. For others, I think IT issues are much more tricky to eliminate. I have my cleats pushed back as far as they'll go in their sliders so that a bit more of the load is born by the arch and a bit less across the ball of my foot.

    Nick

  5. #5
    Senior Member darkroast's Avatar
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    Andrey and thebulls: thanks for the words of encouragement.

    thebulls: I have a Brooks 17 Champion - probably around 1000kms on it. On the 200km I had no saddle issues. The knee pain was located more to the outside than top or bottom - also had some discomfort on the inside.

    Andrey: thanks for the heads up on the IT band - did a little read and the pain on the outside knee area seems to coincide with the symptoms of IT.

    I get the bike back from LBS tonight (straightened the hanger) and I will start to look at the saddle height as well as the cleat positioning.
    Last edited by darkroast; 04-21-08 at 06:29 PM.
    '09 SURLY LHT - beast of burden/commuter/tourer
    '09 MASI Speciale Commuter FG - commuter
    '08 Steelwool Pure Laine - the LD bike
    '07 Kona JtS

  6. #6
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Congrats! Perseverence is much of what randonneuring is about.

    Perhaps your knee pain is simple overuse. You did ramp up your mileage rather quickly.

  7. #7
    Steel Frame BrooklynRider's Avatar
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    Congrats on your achievement!

    I got IT syndrome last year after my first century in 18 years. Ibuprofen worked to finish that ride, but the IT bothered me the rest of the season. The advice on seat height is good advice. Another bit is to use a good road shoe on a road pedal. Learn to stretch the IT band at breaks, at home, at work, on the bus, before bed, when you wake up...

    Congrats again!

    Any photos of the day? Grimaces? Smiles? Your BIKE!

    All the best.
    ...Riding...Riding...Sleeping...Riding...

  8. #8
    Senior Member darkroast's Avatar
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    supcom & BrooklynRider, thanks for the congrats. I do need to follow a good stretching regime. I am hoping to do some specific training for the 300km scheduled in mid-July. I checked my seat height and from the middle of the crank to the top of the seat it measured 28.5 inches. Based on a fitting guide found on Rivendell bikes site, with my PBH (33.75 inches), the saddle height (from the middle of crank) should be around 29.7 inches. Over an inch off! Seems like a lot, anyhow I have increased the height, and will experiment with it over the next couple of weeks. As for road shoes/cleats, I use Eggbeaters for pedals and Sidi Dominators for shoes. Thanks to all for advice and encouragement.
    '09 SURLY LHT - beast of burden/commuter/tourer
    '09 MASI Speciale Commuter FG - commuter
    '08 Steelwool Pure Laine - the LD bike
    '07 Kona JtS

  9. #9
    34x25 FTW! oboeguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkroast View Post
    supcom & BrooklynRider, thanks for the congrats. I do need to follow a good stretching regime. I am hoping to do some specific training for the 300km scheduled in mid-July. I checked my seat height and from the middle of the crank to the top of the seat it measured 28.5 inches. Based on a fitting guide found on Rivendell bikes site, with my PBH (33.75 inches), the saddle height (from the middle of crank) should be around 29.7 inches. Over an inch off! Seems like a lot, anyhow I have increased the height, and will experiment with it over the next couple of weeks. As for road shoes/cleats, I use Eggbeaters for pedals and Sidi Dominators for shoes. Thanks to all for advice and encouragement.
    You should probably raise the seat height a little at a time. A drastic change could lead to more injuries!

    Edit: whoops! congrats on finishing. It sounds like you have the toughness to do longer events.
    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    Quote Originally Posted by sknhgy
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  10. #10
    tabula rasa nine's Avatar
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    was this one the princeton 200? if so, it was my first brevet as well (i was on an orange lemond). the saddle i thought was so perfect became a nightmare after mile 90, which was probably the only disappointment of the day. now it's back to the drawing board for more saddle experiments. other than that it was a great first experience, and i really need to add some more distance and hills to my training. i am now more than ever humbled by you 1200s.

  11. #11
    Senior Member darkroast's Avatar
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    oboeguy: thanks for the advice. I have raised the seat by 0.5 inch. I plan to keep it at that level and accumulate between 100 and 200kms. At 6 oclock pedal position, I still have a slight bend at the knee, so it is possible then I can raise the seat higher. But again I will take it incrementally.

    nine: nowhere near Princeton. The whole ride was either within Vancouver or just on the outskirts.
    '09 SURLY LHT - beast of burden/commuter/tourer
    '09 MASI Speciale Commuter FG - commuter
    '08 Steelwool Pure Laine - the LD bike
    '07 Kona JtS

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