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  1. #1
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    brevets & mountains (not hills, mountains!)

    so my first 400k is coming up this saturday, and it just so happens that it's the local "three-pass 400k"!! that means that in addition to covering 400km of ground, we're also going over three local passes!

    for the locals, we're doing snoqualmie pass, blewett pass, and stevens pass! the elevation profile looks like this, with blewett the high-point at ~4,200 feet (~1200 m):



    ouch. should be fun. i've done a 4,500 foot climb before, but that was only a 115-mile day..

    so anyone else do brevets up & over mountains? i can't wait to tell my war-stories from this ride, and i'm intersted to hear others' stories about brevets in the mountains as well. do tell!
    pro-meter: lol

    blog

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    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    What's the total elevation gain? 4500 in a 115 mile day is a hill!

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    New England mountains are a different creature from West Coast mountains, but the Westfield 400k goes over Brodie Mountain Road and past the Jiminy Peak Ski Resort on both the outbound and the return legs, and the Boston 600k goes through the Green Mountains in Vermont on both outbound and return. Our rides out here tend to focus more on series of steep, heavy rollers; though either mode have their proponents and detractors. I rode part of the Boston 600k with an RM1200 veteran, who infinitely preferred a steady, long mountain gradient to all of the up-and-down stuff that we have.

    Enjoy the 400k. Personally, it's my favorite distance. An entire day out on a bike, long enough for the entire affair to feel like an adventure; but doesn't eat up all of one's weekend.

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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I'm expecting the SIR Mountain 400 to be about 12,000' of climbing. The worst will be at about 200 miles, after the last pass, where we go up and down an assortment of short but quite steep hills, so save a bit. I've done RAMROD a number of times and a number of other mountain rides up to 10,000' in a day. The main thing is to pace yourself in the early going when you are fresh. It won't last. Also start eating and drinking right away and keep at it. I think one's behavior in the first 3 hours is critical to success. You do it right then and you've got it made.

  5. #5
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    What's the total elevation gain? 4500 in a 115 mile day is a hill!
    well actually, it the 4,500 foot climb was over about 35-40 miles. the entire ride (High Pass Challenge) was 115 mi. the mountain in that case was St. Helens.

    i heard somewhere that this ride will feature about 13k feet of elevation gain! can't wait..

    our 600k is is a "four pass" event, so this should be a nice "warm-up" for that!!
    pro-meter: lol

    blog

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Here in Alberta we often have a Mountain Series. I'm not sure if we're running a 200K in the Rockies this year, but there are two 300Ks, a 400K, and at least one, and possibly three, 600Ks in the mountains. Plus there are several which sort of nip into the mountains and out again. I've ridden the 400K and one of the 600Ks in the past.

    The Rocky Mountain 1200 is also a mountain "brevet", and I rode that in 2002.

    You can see all my stories about these events on my website!

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    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    well actually, it the 4,500 foot climb was over about 35-40 miles. the entire ride (High Pass Challenge) was 115 mi. the mountain in that case was St. Helens.

    i heard somewhere that this ride will feature about 13k feet of elevation gain! can't wait..

    our 600k is is a "four pass" event, so this should be a nice "warm-up" for that!!

    I think we're just spoiled here in California. Our neighborhood training course is nearly 5k in 21 miles (GMR). The centuries are 10k in 62 miles and 12k in 72. Then lots of downhill


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    I'm signed up for the SIR600, "Four Peaks" brevet. It'll be my first brevet out there (my mom's flying me out for my dad's 80th, and it just so happened that there's this little bike ride going on the weekend before).

    I've never ridden in the West (beyond riding around on Bainbridge Island) so I am very intimidated by the ride profile. Though supposedly it is more steady climbing and there isn't the constant up and down we face on our rides near DC. Last week's permanent had _no_ climb of more than 400 feet, but still amounted to nearly 10,000 feet of climbing in just over 200K.

    Still, check the attached ride profile for the SIR600 as compared to the Boston to Montreal piece of BMB, both shown to the same scale. Yowza!
    Attached Files Attached Files

  9. #9
    Cycling Skier songfta's Avatar
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    You should be fine with that kind of elevation gain over 400 km. Yes, it's a decent amount, but there are far worse in shorter distances:

    Mountain Mama Road Bike Challange (Monterey, VA): 13,100 feet of climbing over 101 miles (9 summits).
    Mt. Shasta Super Century (Mt. Shasta, CA): 16,500 feet of climbing over 135 miles (4 summits).
    Mountains Of Misery (Blacksburg, VA): 11,000 feet of climbing over 121 miles (finishes with a 1er categorie climb over the last 5 km).

    Even with a more loaded brevet/touring setup, the mountains should be fine. Just make sure your gearing is adequate and your spin cadence is consistent, and you'll be all set.

    Good luck!
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    Looks like a fun ride! The Georgia 400k has about 19,000ft of climbing, with 12,000ft or so of that in the first 200k. That profile is kind of similar, getting most if not all the serious climbing out of the way before the halfway point. I am starting to like those type of ride profiles, counting down the "serious" climbs as we go through the day. I bet there will be some spectacular views, always makes those long sweaty spins up the mountain worth it!

    If you want to check out a pretty gnarly 600k, check out the Middle TN 600k. I'll be giving it a go this Saturday, 26k ft of climbing, including the famous Cherohala Skyway loop.

  11. #11
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnoxBreezer View Post
    I bet there will be some spectacular views, always makes those long sweaty spins up the mountain worth it!
    you bet - i happened to get a chance to drive over the route last weekend, and snapped a few pics:

    going up stevens pass (3rd pass of the day, ~1000m):



    and now going down - can't wait!


    more images from this 400k route on my blog.
    pro-meter: lol

    blog

  12. #12
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    mattm,

    Can't wait to hear your ride report on the 400.

    I went for an SIR600 training ride this weekend (in Virginia) that included an entirely gratuitous 1300' climb up a dead-end road with several long sections of 20 percent grade (Chester Gap) followed by a 20 mile, 2800' climb up Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah Park. I had a blast. What's more, it drizzled on me the whole time I was on Skyline Drive, just like Seattle weather :-).

    Here's the MotionBased link:
    http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/5701847#

    This was the second-hardest century that I've ever done, in terms of climbing. It had 9900 feet of climbing. My overall average speed was 10.8 mph, which is OK. Sure hope the SIR600 won't be this hard, though. Dunno that I can ride that hard for 3.75 times as long :-)

    Nick

  13. #13
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebulls View Post
    mattm,

    Can't wait to hear your ride report on the 400.

    I went for an SIR600 training ride this weekend (in Virginia) that included an entirely gratuitous 1300' climb up a dead-end road with several long sections of 20 percent grade (Chester Gap) followed by a 20 mile, 2800' climb up Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah Park. I had a blast. What's more, it drizzled on me the whole time I was on Skyline Drive, just like Seattle weather :-).

    Here's the MotionBased link:
    http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/5701847#

    This was the second-hardest century that I've ever done, in terms of climbing. It had 9900 feet of climbing. My overall average speed was 10.8 mph, which is OK. Sure hope the SIR600 won't be this hard, though. Dunno that I can ride that hard for 3.75 times as long :-)

    Nick
    The three-pass 400k was tough, but a blast at the same time. lots of details on my blog, but basically it took 19 hours and 20 minutes - 5 AM to 12:19 AM. the passes weren't too bad, but stevens (the last one) was definitely the toughest, steepest, and the longest climb we did.

    GPS users reported 5-6% up Snoqualmie Pass (I-90), and I think it was the same up Blewett. So not too steep, but you're climbing for 30-40km, or more I can't remember. I think Stevens hits 7% in a few places but it's not much more than that. Blewett and Stevens get steeper towards the top, but not for too long. The rolling hills at the end of the route were the worst/steepest, even if only .25 miles long!

    The 600k in june is going over stevens & blewett, but in the other direction, which looks to be harder in both cases - so good thing you're getting some big climbs in! I think the other side of stevens is 7% for 6 miles or so, including 20-30 or so miles of even getting to that point. on the way down it i saw someone walking a bike up, it looked rough. It was 34 degrees in the beginning of the ride, and 95 degrees in the middle of the day, and bone dry. Sometimes WA weather isn't all that bad! Especially east of the mountains I think.

    Btw, sounds like a great ride you had - did you really hit 70 mph or am I reading the graph wrong?
    pro-meter: lol

    blog

  14. #14
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    You're reading the graph right, but I never hit 70 mph. Sometimes the GPS creates "artifacts" if it gets a wrong read on your location. And I think I had to switch it off and on at some stage, since it got confused about my routing and said I had 88 miles to go when the cue sheet said 35. Dunno why that happened. But I'm sure I hit speeds up into the mid-40's.

    The ride up Skyline Drive had the first four or five miles at about 7 percent but other sections were more moderate. It's funny when you've been riding pretty hard on a steep bit and then you hit something more moderate and the next thing you know you're riding at almost 20mph uphill.

    Is there an SIR listserve where I could try to get some feedback on gear/clothing choices &/or contact someone who would have a GPS track from the 400?

    For clothes, I was thinking:

    For most of the time -- sweatband, wool short-sleeved shirt, shorts, wool arm and leg warmers, medium-weight wool socks;

    For nightime, cooler weather &/or descents -- lycra headband, lightweight helmet liner, heat-exchanger face mask, toe covers, and a thicker pair of socks;

    For rain or to supplement cool-weather clothes -- rain-proof helmet cover, Gore Tex jacket, RainLegs, Burley rainshoes, and SealSkinz gloves. Maybe a lightweight, long-sleeved underlayer in case it gets cold at night.

    By my calculations, including MTB shoes and helmet, that's 8.2 pounds of clothes, of which 4.4 will be worn all the time, and 3.8 will be in the saddlebag awaiting inclement conditions.

    FWIW, the ride two weekends ago was rainy and in the 50's and I ended up wearing all of the clothes listed above, except for the SealSkinz gloves, helmet liner, and arm and leg warmers.

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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebulls View Post
    Is there an SIR listserve where I could try to get some feedback on gear/clothing choices &/or contact someone who would have a GPS track from the 400?
    indeed, there is! you can sign up for the SiR email list here: http://www.phred.org/mailman/listinfo/sir

    clothes-wise you should be fine, sounds very similar to what i wore on the three-pass 400k (minus the rain gear, but for the 600k i'll be hauling that too).

    one other thing you'll definiltey want, is reflective gear - two ankle bands, and a reflective vest or sash. these are actually required by the organizers.

    good luck with your training - june 7th isn't that far away!
    pro-meter: lol

    blog

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    Thanks for your comments. I'm assuming also that regardless of forecast it would be foolish to leave behind raingear, since weather conditions in the mountains are unpredictable. For the same reason, I assume I should plan to ride with my fenders, regardless. As to reflective stuff, I always wear a diagonal sash and a pair of Rivendell ankle straps that stick out three inches to the sides, day or night. Anything that might help catch a drivers eye. I also have a Sayre reflective vest that I could bring, but I haven't been wearing that for the last year. Or I could wear my "PBP orange vest" but that is too hot for a hot day. I'll check the rules on your website.

  17. #17
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    your sash & ankle bands should be enough - i think the (RUSA) rule is just ot have reflectiveness on front & rear of you, and your ankles.

    and yeah, it won't hurt to bring rain gear, but i might gamble it depending on what the forecast says.. a lot can happen over 600k!

    so are you doing it straight through, or will you rest at the 400km point? i haven't decided which to do yet.
    pro-meter: lol

    blog

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