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  1. #1
    I Can Quit Any Time kokorozashi's Avatar
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    Thinking About Doing My First 200k Brevet in June

    I've tooled back through the threads, but admittedly I haven't made it all the way back to year 0 yet, so please forgive me if this redundant

    I'm hoping to ride my first 200k in June.

    Right now, I ride daily, and I've been stepping the mileage up a bit at a time (I put in about 70 miles last week, and I'm sitting at around 35 from Sunday through now).

    However, the longest continuous ride I've done recently was only about 30 miles (approximately 48k -- wow, that sounds pathetic, LOL). It might've been longer if I'd remembered to bring something to eat, but I naiveley expected to be able to locate food in part of town theretofore completely unknown to me (oops). I felt fine afterwards, so I'm planning a longer trip for this weekend (probably 40-50 miles: I'll bring some food this time ).

    I live in a hilly area, and I'm pretty accustomed both to climbing (slower than some, faster than others) and descending. I'm assuming this is probably a good thing, because most of Kentucky is either rolling, hilly, or downright mountainous (and there don't seem to be any RUSA brevets in our flat neighboring state of Indiana ). I'm also in decent shape, physically, and improving steadily after a long lay-off last year due to health complications. I do have asthma, but it seems to be under pretty good control at this point (finally).

    My question is this: is it reasonable to think that I could ride a 200k in June if I start training now? And, if so, do you have any training suggestions? I plan to consult my friendly local bicycle club (Louisville Bicycle Club), as well, of course, but I'm very much a proponent of the 'ask everyone and read everything you can think of' approach to knowledge-garnering.

    I am horrible at coming up with 'reasonable' goals and training plans -- my usual approach is to jump into the deep end and hope I don't drown , so reality checks are entirely welcome.

    Also: I'm planning on biting the bullet and dropping the whole $20 to join RUSA (even I can afford that! ); if I don't get to do the June 200k, I'm sure there will be others later in the year, so I plan to get my butt in gear either way.
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  2. #2
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    Sounds reasonable, as long as your bike fits and you train. Look for old threads (in this and other sub-forums) about "century training plans" since there are a gazillion people who ask about those. Then just add a few weeks to the plan and extrapolate out the distance.
    ...

  3. #3
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kokorozashi View Post
    ...Right now, I ride daily, and I've been stepping the mileage up a bit at a time (I put in about 70 miles last week, and I'm sitting at around 35 from Sunday through now)...

    My question is this: is it reasonable to think that I could ride a 200k in June if I start training now? And, if so, do you have any training suggestions?...

    Also: I'm planning on biting the bullet and dropping the whole $20 to join RUSA...
    You have enough time to train up properly, and you have a good starting point. You want to add about 10% to both your total miles, and your longest ride each week. By ride time, you should be getting about 200 miles a week, with a weekly long ride of 75 or so, and you'll be well prepared.

    For another $20, you can pick up "The Complete Book of Long Distance Cycling" at Barnes and Noble, and it will give you all the basics.

    Nutrition becomes a big factor after the first few hours. If you learn to give yourself the right fuel in the right amounts, you can go all day.

    Here's a site with some good nutrition info, in case you want to hold back that $20 to bet on the Derby:

    www.ultracycling.com/nutrition/centurynutrition.html

    Good luck and have fun.
    Last edited by chewybrian; 03-09-10 at 02:46 PM.
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  4. #4
    Randomhead
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    I rode my first 200k 7 days after discovering randonneuring. While I rode many miles in my youth, the year before I did that 200k I had not ridden over 60 miles in a day. My experience is that if you can happily ride 60 miles in good form you can finish a 200k.

    One thing I've learned is that i always keep food with me now. I have 4 Cliff bars in my seat bag. I don't know why I didn't think of that earlier, I've bonked hard a couple of times in my life and having reserve food would have made my life a lot better. I've bonked after a 35 mile ride to the extent that I could barely move the pedals. Imagine having to ride another 50+ miles while bonked.

  5. #5
    I Can Quit Any Time kokorozashi's Avatar
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    Thanks very much, both of you!

    I'm fortunate to have a pretty decent bike that fits me very well. I'm thinking about putting some drops on it (came with flat bars); it should be a fair machine for doing just about anything but road racing or serious off-road downhillery

    I'll check out the century training threads, and also "The Complete Book of Long Distance Cycling." I also like the suggestions on Ultracycle's century nutrition page -- both sounds kind of like what I'm eating already, and sounds like good science.

    Thanks again!
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  6. #6
    I Can Quit Any Time kokorozashi's Avatar
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    Unterhausen, the 60 miles point is encouraging! I may have to try that some time soon

    I hear you about the food thing. Keeping a handful of edible bars in the seat bag sounds like a good idea ... yeah, riding 50+ miles while bonked does not sound fun at all!
    "There is no bad weather, only bad clothing."
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  7. #7
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kokorozashi View Post
    My question is this: is it reasonable to think that I could ride a 200k in June if I start training now?
    Sure. In theory, you should be able to complete a single day ride TWICE the length of your normal training rides without crash and burn, terrain being equal. I would train with as many miles as you have time, take the last week off. Let all of your parts get a rest, but don't gain weight by eating too much.

    Stay hydrated on your 200k, bring some Tylenol/Acetaminophen, (avoid Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Aleve, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs before or during the ride), and expect some suffering.

    Rock On!
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  8. #8
    I Can Quit Any Time kokorozashi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    Stay hydrated on your 200k, bring some Tylenol/Acetaminophen, (avoid Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Aleve, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs before or during the ride), and expect some suffering.

    Rock On!
    Thanks -- and, especially, thanks for the specific info about NSAIDs! I probably wouldn't have thought to check on that kind of thing, and since naproxen (Aleve) is what I usually keep around for the occasional toothache or headache, I probably would've automatically just brought what I already had. I'd rather not add any serious health risks, all things considered, so this is definitely welcome advice!

    Suffering, I'm game for -- I think I probably have a deeply-seated masochistic streak somewhere. There is no other possible explanation for pursuing both Muay Thai and long-distance cycling
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  9. #9
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Around here, the randonneuring people like to make the rides hillier rather than less so. So don't be surprised if the ride in question is hillier than the average local ride.

    Try some longer rides and see how you do. By the time I did my first 200k, I had done 3 or 4 100-mile rides, so it wasn't that much more of a stretch to do it. Check if there are some 100k+ permanents in the area that you can try in the meantime.

    You may discover that it's more a matter of how long it takes than of completing it or not, but allotted times tend to be generous.

    On the RUSA membership- generally, a brevet is organized by a regional club and MAY require membership in that club, but does not require RUSA membership. Whereas, in riding a permanent (a solo ride), RUSA membership will be required, but membership in the local club will not be. I think RUSA membership is well worth it, so I'd advise to sign up anyway, whether you need it for the 200k or not.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  10. #10
    I Can Quit Any Time kokorozashi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    Around here, the randonneuring people like to make the rides hillier rather than less so. So don't be surprised if the ride in question is hillier than the average local ride.

    Try some longer rides and see how you do. By the time I did my first 200k, I had done 3 or 4 100-mile rides, so it wasn't that much more of a stretch to do it. Check if there are some 100k+ permanents in the area that you can try in the meantime.

    You may discover that it's more a matter of how long it takes than of completing it or not, but allotted times tend to be generous.

    On the RUSA membership- generally, a brevet is organized by a regional club and MAY require membership in that club, but does not require RUSA membership. Whereas, in riding a permanent (a solo ride), RUSA membership will be required, but membership in the local club will not be. I think RUSA membership is well worth it, so I'd advise to sign up anyway, whether you need it for the 200k or not.
    Thanks for the info! It's heartening to have so much good input.

    I don't believe the club organizing this brevet requires membership to ride its brevet series, but since it's my local cycling club, Louisville Bicycle Club, I'm planning to join anyway. I think LBC's dues are about $15 a year, and it's a pretty large organization, so I'm hoping it will be a good way to meet other people who enjoy cycling (if I'm not too shy to speak to them -- I am horribly shy in person). The $35 total for both that an RUSA membership seems very reasonable (indeed, coming from a horsemanship background, I'm used to much-pricier dues -- basic US Equestrian Federation membership is $55/year!).

    I've noticed that randonneurs seem to like hills! Some of the brevets out there are impressively hilly (I've been looking at the route profiles for various rides online). I know the area where the brevet I'll be riding takes place -- it's actually pretty close to where I live -- and it is, indeed, quite hilly, though not obscenely so for a first brevet.

    There's a route map and cue sheet out for the 200K they did this month, and I'm guessing that it will be comparable to the June ride, so I plan to incorporate parts of the route (and equivalent hills in the immediate vicinity, which is pretty hilly) into my training plan. I may give that actual route a go as my equivalent-distance training ride (especially if I can find someone to ride it with me).

    All the 100K permanents I know of are at least 3 hours away by car (which is a shame, since they look like great rides!), so I probably won't be doing those prior to the 200K. However, LBC has frequent organized long rides around here, many of which take place in challenging terrain. I plan to get in on at least a couple of those, as well (possibly one in late April; definitely at least one in May).

    I'm glad to hear that the times tend to be generous. I'm not the slowest cyclist on earth, but I'm not particularly fast, either. My goal is basically just to pace myself reasonably (not my strong suit, LOL!), get through this first brevet (preferably within the allotted time!), have fun, and see how I do. I'm guessing I'll enjoy it, and if I do, I plan to keep riding brevets, with the hope of eventually doing an entire series and possibly even a 1200K.

    My non-cyclist friends, of course, think I've finally gound 'round the bend. Guess I'll just have to make friends with some other crazy people
    Last edited by kokorozashi; 03-18-10 at 07:58 AM.
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  11. #11
    Randomhead
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    I'm not positive about the reason why brevets include so many hills. However, RUSA encourages routes that involve more climbing because the U.S. had a bad year at PBP and it was blamed on the hills. Of course, 3 days straight of rain had nothing to do with it.

  12. #12
    I Can Quit Any Time kokorozashi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I'm not positive about the reason why brevets include so many hills. However, RUSA encourages routes that involve more climbing because the U.S. had a bad year at PBP and it was blamed on the hills. Of course, 3 days straight of rain had nothing to do with it.
    Heh, of course those 3 straight days of rain were totally without impact Everyone knows that rain is excellent for cyclists -- it helps keep us cool, for example, and washes the road grit off our glasses!

    Ever since I discovered randonneuring and started reading about it, I just figured the hilliness inherent in brevets had to do with the history of randonneuring and the pre-eminence of PBP in randonneuring circles -- since PBP is hilly, it seems reasonable to ride tons of hilly brevets in preparation if you hope to ride PBP someday. Well, that and the climb factor seems to fit with the spirit of hardy self-reliance that's supposed to underpin the whole sport.

    Then, to be fair, I should say I never really wondered why so many rides were hill-tastic until you mentioned it, Unterhausen (I am a sadly incurious individual about some things). Come to think of it, hilliness is a common factor in a number of endurance sports -- endurance riding (on horses) seems to generally take place in hilly locales, as well, and a lot of the ultramarathons out there seem to be held in the mountains. I guess just running 100 miles isn't hard enough, maybe?
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  13. #13
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    It seems to me that as a general rule, good riders like hills and the rest of us don't, and the randonneuring circles tend to be populated by good riders, so that's the routes they make. But if you'll look in the roadie forum, there's lots of hill-loving folks there, too.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  14. #14
    I Can Quit Any Time kokorozashi's Avatar
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    "It seems to me that as a general rule, good riders like hills and the rest of us don't."

    The more I ride and read cycling forums and so forth, the more I notice this very thing! The more hills I ride, the more I enjoy the challenge of climbing. It makes a very good progress guage, I think.

    There's a hill near my house that I used as a kind of testing-tree. It's a longish climb that I make a point of hitting at the end of my rides, and I'm guaging my progress both in fitness and in climbing by how I feel at the top. I've been steadily improving, which makes me quite happy, and since a lot of other cyclists with way more experience and cycling wisdom than I have ride that same hill, it gives me an opportunity to learn from them.

    I haven't posted in a while, but I wanted to say thanks to all of you for the excellent input. I put together an incremental training program that's been going very well based largely on advice from this board and from sites and books you guys suggested. It's working so well that I've passed it along to a friend of mine who enjoys riding in hopes that he will be able to join me on a 2-day ride (~50 miles/day) in the fall.

    I'm hoping to ride my first century on the 4th of May (originally planned for a long ride of 68 miles that week, so the extra 38 seems like a reasonable stretch), since my local bike club posted an announcement for a ride that week called 'A Good First Century.' The timing seems good, so I'm planning to go for it. It falls at the beginning of Week 10 of my training plan, so it should also give me some time to resolve any difficulties I might encounter.
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  15. #15
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    I learned to climb because I'm a "spinner" and was pushing a high low-gear. Only thing left was technique. Only dumb thing is that as I race up hills (because that's just the speed I have to go to be successful), I'm sure other people pushing granny gears look at me and think I'm some kind of newbie racer wannabe. Oh well.

    Of course, having said that, the climbing around here in Wichita, KS is nothing like CA or MI, so I'm sure to be in for a rude awakening at some point.
    "The automobile became a hypnosis, the opium of the American people..." -James Agee, Fortune, September 1934

  16. #16
    I Can Quit Any Time kokorozashi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerB View Post
    I learned to climb because I'm a "spinner" and was pushing a high low-gear. Only thing left was technique. Only dumb thing is that as I race up hills (because that's just the speed I have to go to be successful), I'm sure other people pushing granny gears look at me and think I'm some kind of newbie racer wannabe. Oh well.

    Of course, having said that, the climbing around here in Wichita, KS is nothing like CA or MI, so I'm sure to be in for a rude awakening at some point.
    Though I have seen the light of the Way of Spinning and I'm officiall no longer an adherent of the High (Geared) Church of Mashing, I do the 'racing up hills' thing sometimes, too -- especially this one climb that follows right off the bottom of one of those 'Woohoo!' descents with nice sweeping curves -- and I'm pretty sure people probably think the same thing Glad to know I'm not alone.

    I'm pretty sure that with the exception of those who live in the mountains, most of us have it coming I've been pedaling my butt all over my home territory, and I feel pretty confident about riding in Kentucky's hills at this point, but there are definitely some climbs out there -- I can think of a few I've driven (but not ridden) on the Blue Ridge Parkway -- that I still find pretty darned intimidating!

    I rode 51.93 fairly-hilly miles on Saturday. I'm going to have to figure out where to cram in this week's long ride (Sunday? Thursday night?) since I'll be away at Purdue Fri-Sat visiting their vet school. I don't think I'll have time to get a ride in while I'm up there.
    "There is no bad weather, only bad clothing."
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