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  1. #1
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    Places I have slept

    Randonneuring does extraordinary things to one's judgment. I mean, who would curl up on the side of a road and go to sleep, with traffic buzzing past about two metres away?

    Yes, I have.

    That was on a Giro Tasmania 1000 several years ago. My regular ride partner, Tim, had gone to sleep just off a bridge back up the road; I tried then to sleep, but couldn't. I rode on for another five kilometres or so, then felt the urge to nap. I laid the bike down on the verge and stretched out next to it. I must have looked a bit of a sight to people driving by.

    On that same event, I found out that those little mylar space blankets that fold up into a tiny package, can unwrap into a good-sized piece... good enough to keep the rain off if it weren't for the incessant tapping noise as droplets hit silver surface.

    On PBP2003, I reclined against a stone wall with full sunshine on me and eyes closed, and napped as other riders glided past me, again, just metres away. It was one of the most pleasurable randonnee sleeps I've had. Later, I napped at the bottom a hill and was checked by one of the motorcycle outriders, just to make sure I was OK and knew that I didn't have far to go to the fnish. Yes, damn you, I was just dreaming about the finish!!!!

    After Machka and I withdrew from PBP2007, we found some solace under a tiny railway shelter. We tried to sleep and almost made it, unitl first a fast freight train, then a fast passenger train went past us, again only metres away.

    The coldest nap was on the Stone the Crows 400 in Southern New South Wales. I pulled off into a small clearing and napped for about five minutes before my shivering woke me, and I set forth again... with frost on the grass.

    On the Last Chance, Machka and I tried to get shelter from the cold night wind tucked into the alcove at a church. We didn't do particularly well there. But we also stopped on several occasions to sleep on the side of the road.

    In fact, on one occasion, we chose a gravel road off to the side and I slept gloriously for about 15 minutes. On another occasion, the spot we chose was also the meeting place for a guy and his girlfriend on a Harley Davidson to stop and do something -- we aren't sure what, but the bike's exhaust sure made sleeping difficult. Machka lay there with her hands crossed on her chest, while I was wide awake... for all the world, with our bikes on the ground and her in a death pose, it looked like a fatal accident scene!!

    I once rode from home to the start of a 200km to Wilsons Promintory and return. The ride there was around 170km. I rode overnight after work. I slept for an hour on the front porch of the information centre at Inverloch (sleeping bag and mat included). I left my gear in someone's car, rode the 200 (including another nap on the grass outside the park entrance station at Wilsons Prom) then collapsed into a bunk in a cabin kindly offered to me by the ride organiser.

    What about some of your experiences? Weird, wonderful or woeful...
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  2. #2
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    When I was young I slept in vacant apartments. The worst place was jail. All free BTW!

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazyed27 View Post
    When I was young I slept in vacant apartments. The worst place was jail. All free BTW!
    These experiences were during long distance rides?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    These experiences were during long distance rides?


    Yes.

  5. #5
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    Before I started randonneuring, I did a local tour of eastern Massachusetts that basically involved me riding from one friend's house to another's over the course of the entire weekend as I rode 250km around the length of I-495, an orbital highway that encloses the suburbs just outside Boston metro. That was kind of a nice tour and a good excuse to see old chums.

    During my first 600k, a local member in our group volunteered his vacation home in Vermont as sleep stop, which came with a very nice swimming pool, but required a fairly steep, technical ascent on a gravel road. That's always been 'memorable'.

    When I rode that 600k route again, the vacation home was not on offer, and we had to sleep in a motel further down the way outside Brattleboro, VT. Before getting there, I was suffering from some serious sleep deprivation and opted, instead, for a fifteen minute power nap on a field cot in a gas station parking lot on top of the Green Mountains.

    I DNF'ed a fleche a few years ago due to lingering after effects of the flu. My team left me behind at a gas station near Mt. Monadnock in southern New Hampshire. They had talked me out of the idea of riding home, and instead called one of their wives to pick me up. While I waited for her to arrive, I slept for about thirty minutes on a pair of milk crates just inside the vestibule of that gas station. When I got up, I felt pretty good and had to talk myself out of going out and chasing down my comrades.

    On PBP, I slept in a van that had been rented by a friend as a support vehicle and was available to us if we arrived at the same time that he did. I also slept in the lobby of a church, and standing, braced on my bike by the side of the road just outside Carhaix.

    On the VanIsle 1000k, I slept in a motel in Woss, where I arrived at 2 in the morning and my key was left for me in an envelope outside the manager's door, and I 'checked out' by slipping the key back underneath the door at 6. And as far as I know, the staff were just faceless ghosts on the Internet. I also slept in a motel in Sayward Junction where the owner greeted my friend and as we knocked on her door. She looked at us, dressed head to toe in reflective bike gear, on her doorstep at just past midnight and just straight up said, "oh, I suppose (you're one of those guys who comes by here every year or so and) you've got one of those French cards that I have to sign."

    My friend and I also napped in a series of Tim Horton's shops on the final stretch in Victoria.

    Oh, and I also napped on a beach in Hawaii while doing a 102 mile circumnavigation of Oahu while being stuck out there for work. That was nice.
    Last edited by spokenword; 12-10-09 at 01:12 PM.

  6. #6
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    I obviously haven't been at this long enough, since the only time that I've slept on a ride other than at Controls was on the concrete step of a library with a fellow rider who just couldn't go any further at 3am. I figured that there was no way that I was going to get to sleep but actually managed a power nap.

    My most memorable occurred when I was working. I traveled with a client to a little town south of Halifax NS and since our flight was late, the motel was closed. No problem, he said, and took me home and I slept on his couch in the basement. When I got up in the a.m. and went upstairs his kids took one look at me and ran away screaming ! Whoops -- no one else knew that I was there !
    Dave

  7. #7
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    On BMB, third day, four of us lay down to take a nap next to the road, halfway down a long hill somewhere thirty miles before Middlebury. Before lying down, I took a couple of caffeine pills, figuring they’d me wake up once digested. About a half hour later, I woke up, and woke the others, as we all got up four enormous, loud motorcycles came roaring up the hill and stopped across from us: Two middle-aged gals, looking somewhat concerned, and their middle-aged guys, looking somewhat disgusted. They all did a U-Turn, with some difficulty, and roared back down the hill. What was that all about? We think they had coming roaring down the hill (maybe waking us up, in the first place), and the gals had signaled to the guys to pull over because they were worried about whether we’d been in an accident or something. The guys probably said: “Nah, they’re OK, they’re just crazy bikers.” But the women prevailed, only to ride up the hill and see us all standing up. At which point the guys looked disgusted and said: “Told you so” and they all roared off.

    On the Leesburg 400K last year, we had a very hard time of it with constant rain that was intermittently hard--we had to ford the Shenandoah River at a low-water bridge with rushing water up to mid-calf! All the rain slowed us down so much that we had to take several sleep stops, and we were still riding at dawn. The attached photo shows me sleeping outside the 7-11 about fifteen miles before the end of the ride. We made it in with just a few minutes to spare.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
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    I normally try to find some sort of bed somewhere. I'm a bad sleeper at the best of times. Although during PBP07 on the return leg, at Loudeac the only place I could find to sleep was under a table in the cafeteria on the concrete floor. Maybe catching a sleep in a ditch somewhere (rain permitting) would have been softer.

    A mate of mine who was catching a sleep on the side of the road between Gundagai and Albury (in Australia) was woken by the local police as they had received numerous calls from motorists that a cyclist was lying on the side of the road, dead or injured. Interesting that non of them stopped!

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    On the RM1200 I napped, sitting up with my head on my knees on the sidewalk outside a shop at Roger's Pass. There's a photo of me doing that.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/1430288...7602332361993/

    On the 2003 PBP, I found a lovely spot behind the secret control in the sun and accidentally slept 30 minutes there. It was only supposed to be a 10 minute nap but I was so comfortable and warm. Later I was cycling slowly along looking for a place in the ditch to sleep, but all the likely spots were taken. Then I spotted an empty spot and had to sprint over to claim it because several other cyclists had their eye on it as well. I also slept in the middle of a parking lot on that PBP but only for a little while because cars kept coming in and out. There's a photo of me lying in that parking lot. And I tried to catch a nap sitting on a stone wall. I figured if I fell into a really deep sleep, I'd fall off the wall and wake myself up. But one of the motorcycle "guards" came along to check up on me and wouldn't leave me alone until I got back on my bicycle again.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/1430288...7602327323190/

    I tried to sleep in a corner of a convenience store on the Great Southern, but just couldn't get comfortable. But that has reminded me of my second 600K. I was so sick with about 150 km to go on that 600K and spent probably half an hour curled up in a corner of a convenience store, next to the toilets, before I could continue.

    Rowan mentions the Last Chance ... I tried to nap for about 10 minutes right in the middle of a gravel road. The road looked so inviting, and I'd seen dead snakes periodically in that area on the main road so I didn't want to nap in the ditch. I figured I could catch a quick, quiet snooze there and be ready to go. But wouldn't you know it, the moment I got comfy a couple motorcycles stopped opposite that road to check something on their bikes (I think) and were revving away over there. I felt like getting up and yelling at them to go away ... "Can't you see I'm trying to sleep here?!?!" And when they finally did go away, a school bus came down that gravel road and wanted to be where I was lying to make the turn onto the main road. <<sigh>> They just couldn't leave me in peace there.

    And that night's sleep on the 2007 PBP in the train shelter was quite something!! When the first train went by, I thought I was going to be sucked off the platform!! That train was so loud and fast. Rowan mentions two trains, but in my mind there were a lot more.

    On my randonnees .... I've slept on the front lawns of churches, on the benches in booths of restaurants, on sidewalks, leaning up next to buildings, on gravel roads, in the ditch many times, in convenience stores, at controls, and in a whole variety of motels.

  10. #10
    Senior Member The Octopus's Avatar
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    On randonnees I try to bat 1.000 with sleeping in a bed someplace nice and cozy, preferably after a good meal, a shower, and a fresh change of clothing.

    I can only think of two exceptions. On last year's fleche, we had 80 minutes to kill before we could leave the 22-hour control so we caught a nap in a convenience store. Totally mundane.

    Only slightly more noteworthy was at PBP in '07 I rolled past Loudeac outbound after a meal, shower and change of clothes because the idea of "sleeping" there was just silly -- the place was like a POW camp. So I left figuring that if I was going to be awake anyway or get crappy sleep at best, I might as well keep riding and press on to Carhaix. I started to feel tired just as I got to the secret control somewhere midway in between. The place was well lit with no sleeping accomodations, but still the floor was covered with randonneurs. There was a stage -- the place was some kind of auditorium -- so I went behind the curtain, which totally shut out all the light and sound, and curled up on the floor and had an immediate and very restful sleep.

    Still I strive hard for the other end of the spectrum. My personal best is the 2009 Last Chance: 23.5 hours spent at the overnight controls, 96oz. of beer consumed, and all meals were overly long sit-down affairs.

  11. #11
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    Deep sleep 2 am nap on gas island in Dupree, SD. Hit a rain shower doing the Gutcheck 212 and the canopy over the island offered at least some shelter. Suprised how comfortable cement can be. Worst part was smelling the gas fumes.


  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Might be interesting to see what others have to add here ... since the discussion of sleeping on the PBP has come up recently.

  13. #13
    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    Best dang sleep I've had in years -- lobby floor of the Currie, NC post office:
    Irregular Velo Adventures: May-14/15: Morrisville 600 km Brevet

    But on NC-210, I am dangerously nodding off. 9 miles to Currie.
    9 miles of nodding hell.
    The Currie Post Office looks really good.
    Robert stops with me. We bid adieu to John and Rob. We'll not see them again.

    The Post Office lobby was open, and warm.
    Off with the shoes and helmet.
    Empty the back pockets.
    Use my rain-and-cold-gear filled "shoe-bag" as a pillow.
    Roberts follows a similar regimine.
    He does mention that he is concerned about getting back up off the floor later.
    I'm already laying down, back on the floor, head on "pillow".
    I try to set the count-down alarm on my watch to 17 minutes, but get it stopped on 19 minutes.
    That's what I told Robert.

    According to the only eye-and-ear witness, I was cutting logs within a minute.
    Robert took longer to fall asleep. Claiming my Zzz's kept him awake for a bit.
    Robert woke me at 3:30 a.m.. I guess he called my name, probably repeatedly.
    Neither of us have any idea how long we have been asleep.
    Robert mentions that he heard my watch alarm, and thought, "oh, I need to wake Martin."
    But he thinks he instantly fell back asleep.
    I think it had been a little after 1:00 a.m. when we had left the Hess control.
    It was now 3:30 a.m.. I could look at a map and guestimate how long we slept. But I haven't.

    If you should be so foolish as to follow the link above to the entire 600k report, you'll learn that I did NOT manage to set my alarm for 19 minutes.

    ==================================================

    Three different times at two different locations, I've slept sitting at picnic tables, head on my forearms on the table surface. (I won't bother with the links, but all three episodes are reported on my blog.)


    In 2013, on the same 600k course mentioned above, my friend Bob took a mid-day nap on the stoop of a church "activity" building (not the church-proper). Bob's full ride report.

    At one point, he suggested I sit down on the steps of a church building to cool off. That helped for a few minutes, and then I decided I really needed to try out the porch mat for comfort. After what seemed like at least half an hour, I heard a train whistle and commented "that must be the alarm clock. It's time to go." I sat up and Martin looked at me. "You have only been asleep for a minute. Lay back down." Me: "Are you sure?" Martin: "Yes. You need to rest some more."

    ==================================================

    And, for those "planning" for PBP, this from my friend Robert, regarding his 2011 experience:
    Irregular Velo Adventures: Paris - Brest 2011 Adventure
    The Wolf and the Toilet
    After seeing the Quiet Italian I was shook and figured to avoid his same demise I would stop and take a short nap. It looked like a deserted house in the middle of fields. Stopping and pulling out my bivvy bag as it was cold, I climbed into the bag and laid on the ground. As I started to sleep, I heard this unique sound like a long howl.....not believing my ears, I sat up and heard it again. It was real. I did not want the Wolf to eat me in a field in the middle of France. I got back on the bike, the pain was still there and pedaled to the next village looking for someplace safe. Public toilettes...yes, that might work. Luckily for me it was open and the tile floor was very soft. Before I closed my eyes I put my feet to the door as I noticed it opened both ways. I did not want the Wolf to come in.

    Robert acknowledges that the Wolf was an hallucination.
    (The "DNF" portion of Robert's report made it into the RUSA PBP-2011 special edition of "American Randonneur." I can't locate my copy of that, but Robert's report (linked to above) contains the original version of that text.)
    Last edited by skiffrun; 07-31-14 at 08:33 AM.
    Enjoy the ride.

  14. #14
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    On the third day of pbp, I came upon a group of riders that had been sleeping just off of a side road They had tamped down the grass, it was warm, and I was just about to fall asleep. So I took over the spot they had just left for a couple of hours. I slept by the road 3 times during the last 100 miles. One time was on the steps of some kind of free-standing store, the second was leaned up against the railing of a bridge, and the third was about 2 miles before the controle in Dreuex because I was weaving badly and the morning commuter traffic was passing at high speed. There was a field with a 45 degree banking going down from the road. That was probably the best sleep I got on the ride, tempered by the fact that I thought I had dnf'ed.

    I tried to sleep two other times, once on the first morning and again the next morning, but it didn't work. Both of those were on farm lanes. I also slept on the floor of the cafeteria at Carhaix. Interesting thing was that when I woke up, there was a huge crowd of sleepers surrounding me and I had to pick my way through them very carefully. I sat for a minute to gather my wits and pick the safest route so I wouldn't fall on any of them. I think that was a waste of time, I should have gotten back to Lodiac sooner and slept longer that night.
    I decided to sleep at Carhaix rather than sleep longer the first night in Loudiac because I didn't know when the control closing time was and I had heard the ride out of Loudiac is hard. It's not particularly difficult, there is some climbing, no doubt.

    A couple of people have complained that they were watching my progress and it slowed to a crawl at the end. I think that's pretty funny. Once I got checked through Dreuex, I did pretty well on the bike. I guess I spent more time there than I should have because I figured I had dnf'ed. Someone told me they will forgive at least one controle if you finish on time, and I suppose they do. I see a lot of people that finished in over 90 hours, don't think they were all on mountain bikes.

    Last year on Endless Mountains, I slept 6 hours total in 4 days. 1 1/2 the first night, 3 hours the second night, and 1 1/2 hours the third night. I did waste some times at controls, and I also had a flat an a pump failure in the first few miles of the ride which got me way behind.
    Last edited by unterhausen; 07-31-14 at 09:02 AM.

  15. #15
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I have thankfully avoided some of the "epic" adventures others had, and haven't really had much occasion to sleep in odd places.

    One of my earlier hot rides, I stopped to rest under a shade tree in the middle of nowwhere, laid down, and woke up when someone stopped to check on me.

    On the Cleburne 400k a year or two ago, we made pretty good time on the outbound part, and got slower coming back in. It was already late in the year and getting cold at night. Probably around 10:00 PM, we passed the light house seen below, and stopped for a nap. ("We", being me and my tandem partner Sharon). There is room for two or more adults in the base of the light house, but it has big open windows on all four sides, so it is NOT warm! Anyway, I stretched out and went right to sleep, Sharon started texting, and about the time she finished that, I was getting cold and woke up, so we headed off. We got a few miles up the road and she was getting sleepy, so we stopped at a church. The front porch on one of the buildings there was carpeted and on the down-wind side of the building, and much warmer than the lighthouse, so we slept maybe 45 minutes there, and woke up when we got cold.

    Here's the lighthouse, it's decorative, there's no water nearby.


    On one ride, we stopped at the post office in Lipan. Sharon went inside to sleep, I stayed outside, and was awakened by the local sheriff's deputy about 20 minutes later.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Jacque Lucque's Avatar
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    This is super reading and makes me feel a lot better knowing other people can justify such silliness.
    Compromise breeds adventure.

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    PBO2007 was wet, and for various reasons, Machka and I decided to DNF. We looked around for somewhere to have a sleep before the journey back to the start-finish. We found a small shelter beside a railway line. Great! That was until a freight train went roaring by about 10' from where we were asleep. Then about 30 minutes later, an early morning passenger train.

    Later, we found a church front step and grabbed another nap there.

    The hardest part is when I find I need to sleep, but just cannot find a place in a reasonably remote location. I did one ride as a PBP qualifier in central Victoria, Australia, that was held during early winter. I pulled off to a small area beside the road about one o'clock in the morning, and curled up to sleep.

    Unfortunately, frost had started to form on the grass, and I just could not close my eyes for more than about 30 seconds before I started to shiver almost uncontrollably. When I got to the next town, I had to get off and walk across a wooden bridge that was coated in a white frost... and grabbed a nap at the table of a truck stop to make up for what I had lost out there.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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