my first 600k is coming up, it will include four mountain passes. (yeah the local rando group loves mountains, and i'm starting to as well!)
they'll have a motel or something at the 400km point, i hear, but i'm wondering if i should just ride straight through. for reference i did the three-pass 400k in 19.5 hours - not super-fast, but i think fast enough that i can do the 600k in about 30 hours.
i've read that if you're shooting for a 1200 (which i am, for next year though) that it's a good idea to ride it straight, to test your sleep-depreviation effects.
what (sleep-wise) approach do you take on 600k's?
if i do sleep, i'm thinking of just using a bivvy sack and "enjoying" the great outdoors - anyone do that on a brevet?
I like sleeping. I'm also more keen on enjoying the ride rather than setting personal bests. I also believe that if you have an eye towards doing a 1200k, you're never going to ride that 1200k straight through, and there's also a benefit to taking the sleep stop and getting used to getting up again after 90 minutes or three hours of sleeping. So, I say sleep.
I considered bringing a bivy sack along to PBP, but in the end just went with a sleeping bag. So long as you can stay dry by finding shelter under awnings or a bus shelter, then a bivy is usually unnecessary.
All the same, you could just stay flexible. Plan on riding straight through, but keep the sleep idea as a contingency.
SOMA Grand Randonneur, Gunnar Sport converted to 650B, Rivendell Rambouillet, '82 Trek 728, '84 Trek 610, '85 Trek 500, C'Dale F600, Burley Duet, Lotus Legend
First two 600K's, BMB, and PBP, I slept for 2 to 2-1/2 hours at the 400K point. Last year's 600K, I slept about 1/2 hour at 400K, then another 1/2 hour at 450K, then 1/4 hour at 500K. Last year's 600K took about 45 minutes less than the first time I rode it, which is about the same as my reduction in sleeping.
I'll be riding the SIR600, but I have no idea what it's going to be like to ride it. My average time to completion of the first 400K of all events 400K and longer has been about 23h40m With a ride start of 6 am, this has me pulling in to Silver Beach at 5:40 or so. I think the control closing time should be about 8:48. So if all goes according to this plan, I could potentially sleep on the floor for a couple of hours at Silver Beach. That seems a lot more convenient than carrying the extra weight of a bivy sack and hoping to find a convenient spot. Though I did carry a bivy sack on a portion of PBP but never used it, as a friend whose wife was supporting him let me sleep in his car.
you're never going to ride that 1200k straight through
No, but the Rocky Mtn 1200 (which I'm planning to ride this year) has a 10pm start for the 90hr group, and the first recommended sleep stop is 440 k in, which for me means at least 22hrs of continuous riding, starting with an all-nighter. PBP has similar night starts. So, I'm at least entertaining the notion of riding this weekend's (non-mountainous, thank you) 600k straight thru. I'll make the decision when I pull into the overnight control, sometime between 9pm and midnight Saturday. And I'm going to see if I can't convince my RBA to do what Davis Bike Club does in PBP years and start the 600k at 10pm instead of 7am next time PBP rolls around. Seems to me anything one can do to simulate some of the demands of a 1200 before the fact will help in the long run.
"And not only that, we boast in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us."
- Paul, Christianity's original ultra-endurance athlete
And I'm going to see if I can't convince my RBA to do what Davis Bike Club does in PBP years and start the 600k at 10pm instead of 7am next time PBP rolls around. Seems to me anything one can do to simulate some of the demands of a 1200 before the fact will help in the long run.
Last year the Boston 600k started at midnight and had moved its own sleep stop to about 440km in to the route. I found that to be a fine preparation for riding to Loudeac (also at the 440 km mark). Friends with whom I had been riding were originally talking about sleeping at Carhaix, but I think that if we had thought about that earlier, we would've actually ridden the 600k straight through.
Matt -- I think that, as Machka says, the recommendation for doing the 600k straight through is with the consideration that faster riders who can do a 400k in, say, 18 hours, could conceivably do a 600k with a full 8 hours of sleep in between and thus never test their ability to withstand sleep deprivation.
I seem to recall that you said that you had a pretty good 400k time (sub 20h, I think? Or maybe I'm confusing your report with Carbonfiberboy's) in any case. You might consider combining the 'best' of both approaches. Even if you're doing well on time, sleep anyway, to simulate the effects of resuming your ride after a sleep respite, but only sleep for 90 minutes so that you're still relatively sleep deprived.
In my limited experiance, 1 600k, I can tell you that I couldn't do it without some sleep. For one, I was so nervous I didn't sleep the night before the 0600 start. I brought along a sleeping bag and slept a for 1 1/2hours at about the 400k point. The RBA had a hotel a lot of people stayed at and I was even offered space on the floor of someones room. However, I carried that sleeping bag 400K and wanted to use it. I heard somewhere that 45 minutes is required for a complete REM cycle so theoreticaly the 1 1/2 hour rest gave me 2 cycles. Getting out of that bag and back on the bike is one of the most difficult things I've ever done though I felt fine the rest of the way and finished comfortably at about 36 hours.
Matt's ride will be in the mountains, so if he wanted to sleep after 400k he would definitely need a bag and a bivy. But I wouldn't advise trying it. You'd be crossing Cayuse Pass in the dark, and you could get et. Not a joke.
Is getting "et" while traversing passes at night a common occurence? And "et" by what? I expect I'll be climbing some passes in the dark on the SIR600. Inquiring minds want to know :-)
to answer a Q above, my 400k time (also in the same cascade mtns as the upcoming 600) was 19:36. (however the fastest did it in 13:51, so i'm certainly not leading the peloton by any means).
my plan at this point is to ride 500km (hopefully in under 24 hours for a new personal-best), sleep or rest for ~45 mins to 1.5 hrs, then finish up the last 100km. we'll see. chances are that it will be too hard to pass up a dry & warm floor at the 400km mark.
and fwiw, for my last two brevets (300k, 400k) i actually only had about two hours of sleep the night before - so i think i can handle some sleep deprivation, at least a little. but on a 1200 i plan to sleep as much as needed.
Just an update: I didn't ride the 600 straight thru. Had two straight hours of rain headed into the overnight control, and nobody else was up for continuing w/o a break. Still had a great ride: beautiful new course thru Oregon's Coast Range, middle coast and Willamette Valley, with pretty decent weather. The two hours of rain Saturday night was the only precip worth mentioning, and the temps never got below the high 40's or over the low 70's. And being the only 'bent rider who showed, I now hold the recumbent course record!
Though my only 1200k was PBP 2007 which had really bad weather and I did a 1000k in Bonifay... But I've done several of 600ks and less... and what I can say from watching the groups is... it depends...
If you are a slower rider then the sleep deprevation concerns are quite important not to overlook.
If you are fast enough then it makes no sense to risk falling asleep when riding.. Instead what is important is to ensure you keep enough time in the bank for the unexpected such as a mechanical failure or weather.
In my past I've doe 400k's in under 15 hours with > 5000 feet of climbing but 600k I've never done in under 30 hours because I sleep at least 4 hours somewhere after the 300k point.