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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 03-25-13, 01:10 PM   #1
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Next Steps?

This is my first post to this subforum, so please bear with me if I'm asking questions that have been asked before or that seem self-evident. I know that each subforum seems to have a different flavor and tolerance level for things that may have already been asked previously. Admittedly, I lurk in this subforum periodically.

For the first time, this past Saturday I participated in a 117km Populaire with the DC Randonneurs. I had a great time and managed to finish the course an hour before the final control closed. Because it was pretty cold (28F) my friend and I took slightly longer than we might have otherwise, though realistically I don't think we'd have cut down on the time by much more than 1/2 hour. The bike I rode is a 1950 Norman Rapide with a 4-speed internal gear hub with platform pedals (no clips) and geared pretty low so I could climb up the steep hills that were at the start and end of the ride. I will likely continue to ride that bicycle in the future, unless I find a good stoker to help me propel my Bilenky 650B tandem. So here are my questions:
  1. The most mileage I've ridden up to now is around 72-73 miles (~120km) and I don't think it wise to go straight to a 200km brevet from here. What might I do to get some intermediate rides, other than create my own routes and ride them as if I was riding a populaire?
  2. As I live near Frederick, Maryland and want to limit the amount of driving I do, does anyone have any suggestions for other populaires nearby?
  3. I read somewhere that a good rule of thumb is that you should only up your mileage by about 10% at a time. I'd be interested in other folks experiences to see if they used this approach or if a big jump was OK and didn't result in a setback for their riding goals.
Now I've done my first ride with a randonneuring group, I'm eager to do more so you'll likely see me hanging around here a bit more in the future.
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Old 03-25-13, 01:49 PM   #2
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There are lots of rides in that area. The RUSA permanent coordinator Crista Borras has mapped out quite a few rides in your area. Here is her website, I'm sure she could give you some pointers if you were to contact her
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Old 03-25-13, 03:11 PM   #3
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Go ride a bunch. If there's 100 mile century rides in your area, ride some of them.

One bit of advice I got early on was to select the bike to make finishing the course as easy as possible. Leave it to people that are very accomplished cyclists to use oddball bikes that make it more challenging. If you do so many 200k's that they lack challenge, then go with the vintage bike or the fixed gear or whatever.
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Old 03-25-13, 04:01 PM   #4
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Welcome, Photogravity! If you're doing 120-130Km, the next logical step is to complete a 100 Mi. century ride. Those tend to be popular with charities, but many cycling clubs run those a several times a year. Many rando clubs have their own forums. Members usually get together casually to do a permanent between 100-200 Km. They post sometimes with short notice (8 days or less.) This might be a good place to find a stoker for your Bilenky tandem (beautiful bike, btw!) You'll be surprised about how many might get a kick out of that. It might not be a bad idea to sign up for a 200 Km. brevet for some time in late summer, so you have time to feel comfortable with the distance and enjoy it. In randonneuring, it has always been safe to assume that if you are comfortable with a certain distance, you should be able to double it as long as you know how to manage correctly your hydration, nutrition and rest. The issue is that unseasoned rando riders don't know how to manage all these things so they bonk. Experienced randonneurs, for example, only complete 600 Km for the BIG 1200 Km brevets (PBP, LEL, Cascade 1200, etc.)
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Old 03-25-13, 05:17 PM   #5
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also, you could look for permanents on the RUSA site. Of course, most of the permanents in your area are owned by Crista, so you are back to contacting the same person I recommended in my previous post. She is probably the nicest person I've ever met.
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Old 03-25-13, 08:19 PM   #6
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Go ride a bunch. If there's 100 mile century rides in your area, ride some of them.

One bit of advice I got early on was to select the bike to make finishing the course as easy as possible. Leave it to people that are very accomplished cyclists to use oddball bikes that make it more challenging. If you do so many 200k's that they lack challenge, then go with the vintage bike or the fixed gear or whatever.
I know the local club will usually have some century rides they plan as the days get longer and the temperatures get warmer. I'll see what I can do to get hooked up on some of those rides, for sure.

As far as the bike to ride, I have a mid- to late-80's Alpine but it's not as comfortable as the Norman and is only marginally lighter. The Alpine offers a little more gear range, but is geared higher overall. For this particular ride, I thought it would be geared too high for the hills. I have an early-80's Mike Appel I keep promising to build that might work for some century rides. Another concern I have with both the Alpine and Appel are that with their more aggressive geometry, they might actually be more challenging to ride over longer distances. I know the Alpine feels downright twitchy compared to the Norman.

Thanks for the great advice.
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Old 03-25-13, 08:27 PM   #7
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Congrats on your entry to randonneuring! I think the suggestion to move to the imperial century and then 200k is fine. To be a realistic you will probably want to find a little more speed. Just so you're not bumping into time limits as you progress to longer distances.
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Old 03-25-13, 08:28 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
Welcome, Photogravity! If you're doing 120-130Km, the next logical step is to complete a 100 Mi. century ride. Those tend to be popular with charities, but many cycling clubs run those a several times a year. Many rando clubs have their own forums. Members usually get together casually to do a permanent between 100-200 Km. They post sometimes with short notice (8 days or less.) This might be a good place to find a stoker for your Bilenky tandem (beautiful bike, btw!) You'll be surprised about how many might get a kick out of that. It might not be a bad idea to sign up for a 200 Km. brevet for some time in late summer, so you have time to feel comfortable with the distance and enjoy it. In randonneuring, it has always been safe to assume that if you are comfortable with a certain distance, you should be able to double it as long as you know how to manage correctly your hydration, nutrition and rest. The issue is that unseasoned rando riders don't know how to manage all these things so they bonk. Experienced randonneurs, for example, only complete 600 Km for the BIG 1200 Km brevets (PBP, LEL, Cascade 1200, etc.)
Chris, thanks for the ideas. As I'm just dipping my toes into the rando world, I'm just now starting to find out some of the possiblities for rides. I have spoken with the president of the DCR in the past about him stoking my tandem for me, but our schedules just haven't synched yet. Now I'm a member, I'm sure there will be added impetus to doing a ride with him this year. Now that some of my personal circumstances have changed, I think my wife will be able to participate in some shorter rides on the tandem too. I'm guessing that the first full-blown 200km will be done on a single and then later do a 200km on one of my tandems.
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Old 03-25-13, 08:34 PM   #9
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There are lots of rides in that area. The RUSA permanent coordinator Crista Borras has mapped out quite a few rides in your area. Here is her website, I'm sure she could give you some pointers if you were to contact her
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also, you could look for permanents on the RUSA site. Of course, most of the permanents in your area are owned by Crista, so you are back to contacting the same person I recommended in my previous post. She is probably the nicest person I've ever met.
unterhausen, thanks for the tip! I dug around on the RUSA site and there are indeed a lot of routes pretty close to where I live and, as you mentioned, most have been posted by Crista. I'm going to look more closely at some of the routes and see if I can rope some of my riding buddies into going along on some of the permanents.
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Old 03-25-13, 08:35 PM   #10
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...Another concern I have with both the Alpine and Appel are that with their more aggressive geometry, they might actually be more challenging to ride over longer distances. I know the Alpine feels downright twitchy compared to the Norman.

Thanks for the great advice.
It shouldn't if they are fitted properly. Racing geometry should steer quicker but not be twitchy. If it's "downright twitchy" something may be wrong with it or you are just not used to the faster steering. The key though is to ride what you are most comfortable on.
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Old 03-25-13, 08:49 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
Congrats on your entry to randonneuring! I think the suggestion to move to the imperial century and then 200k is fine. To be a realistic you will probably want to find a little more speed. Just so you're not bumping into time limits as you progress to longer distances.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
It shouldn't if they are fitted properly. Racing geometry should steer quicker but not be twitchy. If it's "downright twitchy" something may be wrong with it or you are just not used to the faster steering. The key though is to ride what you are most comfortable on.
Thanks much, Homeyba. I agree about getting a little more speed for the longer rides. As I mentioned in the first post, the cold had me and my friend lingering a bit more than we would have liked.

About the twitchiness, perhaps I'm overstating it a bit. I can definitely say that the Alpine has considerably more trail and a steeper headtube angle than the Norman. Also, I'm still working out the fit on the Alpine so once I get the bar and stem swapped out, I'll probably think differently about it. Hopefully later this week I can get that done and try it out over the weekend.
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