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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 08-25-09, 05:18 PM   #1
The Octopus 
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Last Chance 2009

Any other takers? I'll be there, riding it fixed, and hoping that the wind gods are kind to us. Depending on the weather -- it'll literally be a game-time call -- I'll take a whack at RAAM-qualifying.

More info on the ride here and here (the ride's official and frequently updated blog)
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Old 08-28-09, 03:08 AM   #2
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I really wanted to ride this, but my fitness level isn't where I'd like it to be. Maybe next year. I wish there was a 1200K in Texas.
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Old 08-28-09, 01:32 PM   #3
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Good luck!

Don't you have to notify the Raam folks before you decide to qualify on a 1200? Either way, bon route!
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Old 08-28-09, 03:41 PM   #4
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I wish there was a 1200K in Texas.
I think they said that Texas wasn't big enough to have a 1200K.



I really amuse me sometimes.
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Old 08-31-09, 05:07 PM   #5
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Don't you have to notify the Raam folks before you decide to qualify on a 1200? Either way, bon route!
You do and I did. 1200Ks require advance notification to the UMCA of the rider's intent to use the event to qualify for RAAM and it's also required that the rider notify the event organizer of the same in advance. Note that now the UMCA has a volunteer in charge of RAAM qualifications; let this person, and not the executive director, know of your intent to ride a 1200 for RAAM qualification.

Starting to get the wx forecasts.... Looks to be hot and dry, but what I really care about is the wind speed and it's still way too early for any meaningful forecast of that. Fingers crossed. Will post here about my plan and prep for the ride for the idly curious and to (hopefully) be of help to others attempting this in the future.

This will be my second visit to the Last Chance. I RAAM-qualified there in '05 in 63:24 on a bike with gears. My first-ever 1200 in my first season of randonneuring.... I'd pay a high price to have the weather this year that we had in '05. Not too hot, not too windy, and (for me -- others got wet) totally dry.
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Old 08-31-09, 06:29 PM   #6
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You know, if you qualify for RAAM twice, you have to actually do it. You could be the first fixed gear to do it solo...
I think if I were to do any 1200k fixed it would be the Last Chance. If it's really hot look for the tree. I know there is one tree on that route, somewhere...Have fun!
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Old 08-31-09, 06:53 PM   #7
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You know, if you qualify for RAAM twice, you have to actually do it. You could be the first fixed gear to do it solo...
I've already qualified twice. I'm screwed! Someday I'll do RAAM.... I'd do team RAAM in a second, but solo RAAM scares the heck out of me. Those guys and gals are studs and I'm just a mere mortal.

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I think if I were to do any 1200k fixed it would be the Last Chance.
That's what I hear. Historically it seems to be the easiest 1200K to qualify on, though some outstanding ultracyclists have tried and failed to qualify there. One guy had his RAAM qualfying dreams shattered there recently but then returned the next year and just destroyed the course record. It all depends on the wind.

The course is surprisingly not flat. There's good rollers for most of it, which have enough pitch and are long enough that I'll get forced out of the saddle a lot -- which is a good thing. My max speed on the route in '05 was only 37mph, so I'll be able to handle the descents without touching the brakes (unless there's a good tailwind going). (Quite different from the GRR, where the descents were hell on the fixie.) There is one 40-mile segment in Eastern Colorado that's dead flat that I'm really dreading. It's hard(er) for me to get comfy on the fixie than on a geared bike, and I've decided not to go with aero bars. I'm hoping for neutral wind there so I can get across it without too much pain.

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Have fun!
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Old 08-31-09, 07:03 PM   #8
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Do you have a tandem? We're interviewing for a 4th tandem for next year. We want to break into 5 days so we have to go very, very fast!
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Old 08-31-09, 07:30 PM   #9
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Wow, your gearing is going to be crucial. Riding into a headwind fixed gets old really quickly. How many gear inches are you planning on running? Have you considered running a second fixed cog with lower gearing and flipping the wheel if conditions don't suite?
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Old 09-01-09, 01:20 PM   #10
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Wow, your gearing is going to be crucial. Riding into a headwind fixed gets old really quickly. How many gear inches are you planning on running? Have you considered running a second fixed cog with lower gearing and flipping the wheel if conditions don't suite?
It's so true about gearing being critical. I'm probably going with 49x18 (70? gear inches), which is what I did the series and the Gold Rush this year with. I was pretty happy with it as an all-around, general-purpose gear. But I may adjust up or down a little depending on the weather forecast. I'd like not to use additional cogs if I can avoid it. Not that I'm the purity police or anything, but there is a certain aesthetic to pulling it off with just one gear for the whole ride. If the forecast is dicey, I'll likely throw a selection of cogs and a chain whip in my drop bag -- more for insurance that I can finish the ride than anything else. There's a 100% fixie finish rate on this ride (2 out of 2 have finished to date), so I'm more motivated to finish and protect that nice statistic than to qualify for RAAM.

Homeyba, I'll take a rain check on that RAAM deal -- though a tandem team would be AWESOME! I've got a one-year-old at home, so training for RAAM '10 isn't in the cards this year. But man, there's nothing like riding a fast tandem. Mrs. Octopus and I have a blast every time we take our Cannondale out.....
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Old 09-01-09, 03:37 PM   #11
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We're a mixed tandem team so you and your wife would have been pefect! Having a one year old takes precedence though. I fully understand that!

Tailwinds to you on the Last Chance! I haven't ridden the Last Chance but I've ridden through that area and I know how the winds can be. It's probably not a bad idea to throw some cogs in your drop bags just in case.
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Old 09-01-09, 06:33 PM   #12
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Hey Octopus, what sort of Fixie are you riding? I'd love to see a photo of how you set you rigs up.
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Old 09-02-09, 06:38 PM   #13
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Hey Octopus, what sort of Fixie are you riding? I'd love to see a photo of how you set you rigs up.
The bike is an IRO Jamie Roy, a 59cm aluminum frame. FSA Vigorelli cranks (175mm). I've been running 49x18 on brevets and that's probably what I'll attempt the LC on. (1/8" EAI cog, of course!) Super8 carbon fork; Easton EA30 bars; Cane Creek levers and SCR-3L caliper brakes. The wheels are Deep Vs mated to Phil Wood high-flange track hubs... both are laced three-cross with Wheelsmith DB14 spokes and brass nipples. Peter White built them and they're awesome wheels. The rear is a flip-flop, fixed/free, though I've not run a freewheel on it and I won't do so, either, on the Last Chance. I'm running Conti 4000S tires (much better wear than the 4000).

I'll dig around for photos of the bike, but here's a viddy from a fellow BF member and GRR ancien, which shows the bike step up for a 1200K and in action, starting at 6:07 (I highly recommend the whole video, which is outstanding).

I travel pretty light. Everything goes in pockets or a Caradice SuperC bag. With three bag drops (two, but you see one of them twice) and predictable (if not good) weather, there's no need to travel heavy. I run a Niterider Moab light, which easily runs through a full night and completely recharges in 4 hours. I'll throw the charger in the Atwood bag and partially charge it the two times I'm there there. We've got a good amount of moonlight on the LC this year, so if it's clear I can run the LED function, or my secondary Cateye without trouble.
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Old 09-03-09, 07:43 PM   #14
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Nice bike, and great video; thanks for the link. So you are running 71.8 gear inches assuming a 25mm tyre, that's a pretty good all round ratio. I notice the other fixie guy you are riding with is spinning a bit more. Did you guys ride together much? It would have been interesting to see if it got frustrating due to you both being fast in different spots or if he is just a natural spinner. I run 66.6 gear inches and find that suites my style, I'm also not afraid to use my brakes on descents So far I've only done a few 70-80km rides on it at a good speed. I'd love to do PBP one day fixed, I hear the course is not too bad with mostly just rollers. I might need a bike that's a bit more comfortable though.

Best of luck in the Last Chance, I hope The Anemoi are kind.
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Old 09-08-09, 05:55 AM   #15
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Ok, on the plane (literally) ready to head to Denver for the ride start at 0300 Wednesday. Follow all the action on Twitter at OctopusCycling. I'll send updates as I can from the road. Wish me luck!

@PartyPack: I rode with the other fixed rider (Rob Gray from the U.K.) for most of the ride. He ran 48x18 to start and changed to 48x20 at mile 500 (at Susanville on the return). Super nice guy and a wonderful riding companion.
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Old 09-21-09, 06:13 PM   #16
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I see you finished; well done what a big effort. How about a sharing with us what it was like doing such a long event fixed, things that worked, small observations, stuff that may be of help to us long distance fixie wannabe's.
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