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  1. #1
    Randomhead
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    2014 Fleche thread

    I suppose some people have already ridden them. The Eastern PA Fleche is next weekend. Anyone have any Fleche related discussion?
    Randonneuring -- it's touring for people that aren't smart enough to stop for the night.
    It's a wonderful sport when you can make up for a lack of ability with a lack of sleep

  2. #2
    Randomhead
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    the Fleche is starting to seem very real to me since we start on Saturday. As team captain, it stresses me out a little. Last year we had three navigation episodes, all of which were my fault. Since we are following the same route, which also is similar to the Endless mountains route, it shouldn't be as bad the third time. We did manage to put in almost 20 extra miles last year, which wasn't pleasant as it came right at the 21 hour mark.

  3. #3
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Ours is May 9th. I've never done one before, looking forward to it.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  4. #4
    Fresh Garbage hairnet's Avatar
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    PCH Randos Fleche, May 10. Here I come!
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    I'd rather ride a greasy bowling ball than one of those things.
    Bikerowave
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  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Did it last weekend (in South Korea). Was a lot of fun. We had a few issues, one broken spoke, and a flat.
    But the biggest was one of our guys bonking at 300km. We tried to get him there but it left us 3 1/2 hours for 70km with
    the biggest hill left! So after 21 hours I took the two strongest and we sprinted to the end. Arrived just in time (literally minutes to spare!)
    and missed the last cp. Fortunately we found a similar store a bit down the road and it was sufficient. The team captain and our tired member
    got the bus for the last 60km and we all got to the breakfast.

    I was overloaded with stuff, but the team qualified.

    https://plus.google.com/photos/10298...873?banner=pwa

    Few pics. It was a blast...

  6. #6
    Senior Member downtube42's Avatar
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    I rode with the Ohio Randonneurs on Easter weekend. Two teams participated; ours starting in Cincinnati and the other started across the border somewhere in Kentucky. We started at our Captain's house, where we stayed overnight before the 6 AM start. Breakfast was provided by his gracious wife, and we were off. One team member dropped out with 80 miles to go; he finished solo the next day. The remaining four carried on, taking the traditional short sleep break in a 24-hour laundromat, then another later on the floor in a convenience store when McDs was only open at the drive-thru. Our route wound us along the Ohio river for a good chunk of the ride before we turned due north for Columbus. We ended at a team member's house in Columbus OH, where breakfast was served by his spouse. Aside from headwinds virtually the whole way, we had excellent weather if a bit chilly toward the finish.

    On this my second Fleche, I had the honor of riding with RUSA member #14 , who has ridden twice as many Fleches as I have brevets.
    What is bicycle touring?
    "So I kept looking and eventually found that a spark plug had same threads. So I cycled next two days until I got to Jackson, MS with a spark plug instead of right pedal." - mev

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    I rode with the Ohio Randonneurs on Easter weekend. Two teams participated; ours starting in Cincinnati and the other started across the border somewhere in Kentucky. We started at our Captain's house, where we stayed overnight before the 6 AM start. Breakfast was provided by his gracious wife, and we were off. One team member dropped out with 80 miles to go; he finished solo the next day. The remaining four carried on, taking the traditional short sleep break in a 24-hour laundromat, then another later on the floor in a convenience store when McDs was only open at the drive-thru. Our route wound us along the Ohio river for a good chunk of the ride before we turned due north for Columbus. We ended at a team member's house in Columbus OH, where breakfast was served by his spouse. Aside from headwinds virtually the whole way, we had excellent weather if a bit chilly toward the finish.

    On this my second Fleche, I had the honor of riding with RUSA member #14 , who has ridden twice as many Fleches as I have brevets.
    Sleep? Nice. We just had to keep rolling. Too many breaks meant the 22 hour control was a stamp and ride as fast as possible thing. Next year we get there at 21 hours and get a real rest.

  8. #8
    Randomhead
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    Thanks for the reports, it's really interesting to hear what experiences people have. I'm hoping that this year runs a little smoother. I'm not sure I really like the idea of sleeping anywhere, last year there was no such option for us since we stopped for a long time at just about every controle.

    Just sent out the cue sheet, hopefully it's final.

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    Have a plan in place if someone can't hold the pace. Our downfall was being nice to long. One dude just wasn't up to it and we saw it at 150km. If we'd called it then four would have made it not three. Seems a bit brutal but I think you have to be ready to call someone out if they can't hold the necessary pace. Next year I'm taking the team on the nastiest hilliest 200km brevet I can find as fast as they can handle 3-4 weeks before to see if everyone is up to it.

  10. #10
    Randomhead
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    AFAIK, I'm the slow one on our team. I did manage to finish a really tough 200k two weekends ago even with bonus miles and a flat. My team were nice to me last year. Of course, you only have to average less than 10 mph, but my course has 11000' of climbing. So some of those hours are honest 10mph average. Since the course is as linear as I could make it, it's possible that we both lose altitude (600 ft) and have a tailwind. So far the weather looks good for that.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Rwc5830's Avatar
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    A fleche sounds like fun, maybe I can do it next year if there is one in TX again. Good luck to everyone who is scheduled to do one in the near future.
    Cycling is an addiction that is worth having; let's go!! South TX Randos www.rgvrandos.org

  12. #12
    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    AFAIK, I'm the slow one on our team. I did manage to finish a really tough 200k two weekends ago even with bonus miles and a flat. My team were nice to me last year. Of course, you only have to average less than 10 mph, but my course has 11000' of climbing. So some of those hours are honest 10mph average. Since the course is as linear as I could make it, it's possible that we both lose altitude (600 ft) and have a tailwind. So far the weather looks good for that.
    So, how did the ride go? I was following your SPOT, and it seems you guys were on schedule (at least when I looked at your progress...).

  13. #13
    Randomhead
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    the tailwinds were just brutal, horrific. I don't know how anyone could tolerate nearly 230 miles of tailwinds.

    It worked out ok, in fact we had to talk about our time budget so that we didn't stay too long at any controle. However, the only place we could stay for the 22 hour controle was at a wawa, so that wasn't that great. I think I have a route tweak that will fix that.

    There was only one section of the route where there was any confusion. I remember that I suffered some confusion there on Endless Mountains. It is one place where a gps is significantly better than paper. My GPS worked really well, except I need a method to attach the spare battery to the handlebars that is more reliable.

  14. #14
    Senior Member downtube42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    the tailwinds were just brutal, horrific. I don't know how anyone could tolerate nearly 230 miles of tailwinds.

    It worked out ok, in fact we had to talk about our time budget so that we didn't stay too long at any controle. However, the only place we could stay for the 22 hour controle was at a wawa, so that wasn't that great. I think I have a route tweak that will fix that.

    There was only one section of the route where there was any confusion. I remember that I suffered some confusion there on Endless Mountains. It is one place where a gps is significantly better than paper. My GPS worked really well, except I need a method to attach the spare battery to the handlebars that is more reliable.
    Karma's going to get you for that.
    What is bicycle touring?
    "So I kept looking and eventually found that a spark plug had same threads. So I cycled next two days until I got to Jackson, MS with a spark plug instead of right pedal." - mev

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    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
    Karma's going to get you for that.
    The dude walks under ladders, likes to talk about punctures, and says 'that will never happen to me' right and left. He's a dangerous man.

  16. #16
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
    Karma's going to get you for that.
    we actually had this discussion about 160 miles into the ride. My theory was I was going to pay, the rest of the team told me to shut up.

    The tailwind thing was on my mind when I first thought of the route, it's fairly obvious that we will almost always get a tailwind while riding in that direction. Last year we were fighting headwinds for most of the way. On the way back the prevailing winds had resumed with a vengeance

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    we actually had this discussion about 160 miles into the ride. My theory was I was going to pay, the rest of the team told me to shut up.

    The tailwind thing was on my mind when I first thought of the route, it's fairly obvious that we will almost always get a tailwind while riding in that direction. Last year we were fighting headwinds for most of the way. On the way back the prevailing winds had resumed with a vengeance
    Our fleche was brutal headwinds till the sunset on the first day. Got some nice rocket boost tail winds on the last bit though. Highway empty for the am. Talk about easy 25mph.

  18. #18
    Senior Member downtube42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
    The dude walks under ladders, likes to talk about punctures, and says 'that will never happen to me' right and left. He's a dangerous man.
    I don't even talk about approaching hills. Keep quiet, I say, maybe they won't see us coming.
    What is bicycle touring?
    "So I kept looking and eventually found that a spark plug had same threads. So I cycled next two days until I got to Jackson, MS with a spark plug instead of right pedal." - mev

  19. #19
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rwc5830 View Post
    A fleche sounds like fun, maybe I can do it next year if there is one in TX again. Good luck to everyone who is scheduled to do one in the near future.
    Our fleche is coming up 9 days from now, Saturday the 10th. And by coincidence, one of our 5 crewmembers just dropped out. So we've got a spot open if anyone cares to make it to the Dallas area.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  20. #20
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
    I don't even talk about approaching hills. Keep quiet, I say, maybe they won't see us coming.
    sig-worthy
    Randonneuring -- it's touring for people that aren't smart enough to stop for the night.
    It's a wonderful sport when you can make up for a lack of ability with a lack of sleep

  21. #21
    Senior Member Rwc5830's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    Our fleche is coming up 9 days from now, Saturday the 10th. And by coincidence, one of our 5 crewmembers just dropped out. So we've got a spot open if anyone cares to make it to the Dallas area.
    Stephen, wish I could but already booked for a TDC 100 in San Antonio. I'm riding for a good friend so it's something I really don't want to skip. Thanks
    Cycling is an addiction that is worth having; let's go!! South TX Randos www.rgvrandos.org

  22. #22
    Fresh Garbage hairnet's Avatar
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    I just got home from mine, finished at 8am.

    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    the tailwinds were just brutal, horrific.
    Shoot, our ride was all headwinds and HOT! Here is the route 2014 PCH Randos Fleche version II - L.A., CA
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    I'd rather ride a greasy bowling ball than one of those things.
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  23. #23
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    We finished our fleche at 7:00 AM this morning. We had 4 teams, but they weren't on the same schedule- two teams started Friday night, two Saturday morning, and those two Saturday morning were a half-hour apart. Good ride, some plusses and minuses to the route and the concept.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  24. #24
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Our fleche started at 7:00 AM on Saturday. I got out there at 6:00 AM and got to watch the sun rise.

    The route starts off to the east, and we took off. We got maybe 20 miles out and performed a turtle rescue. That's Pam doing the rescuing while Charlie and Dan look on. Afterwards, we passed a bigger snapping turtle on the road, but let him be.

    We rolled into our Canton control and saw this sign. I thought, "That's Texas Sushi!" I also wondered if the chicken hearts were really alive. I think Bill Cosby had a routine on that, come to think of it.

    Here's the gang, minus me, at Canton.

    Next stop was a Whataburger in Athens. This is the "What-A-Fleche" route, so named because it has three Whataburgers on it. Whataburger is a regional hamburger chain, similar to Burger King, not as fast, though. But they are often open late or open 24 hours, and that's the reason for using them. This was my only Whataburger on the ride, though.

    On the way out of Athens, Charlie had a flat, so here's the group effort. While they were working on that tire, I hear what sounded like the loudest pickup tires ever coming up that hill we were on and thought "Wow, that guy's truck sounds like a train coming up that hill!" Turned out, it was a train- the track was in those trees over there, and we hadn't realized we were right close to a train track!

    Fast forward a few hours. We're on our way to the third Whataburger and Charlie says, "You know what sounds good? A Big Breakfast at Whataburger!" I didn't know they had a "Big Breakfast" (that's a McDonald's item), but they did have plenty of good breakfast food, so I got pancakes, sausage, and hash browns. And they WERE good! Yum!

    We had about two hours to kill at that Whataburger, so Dan was trying to get a little sleep, not sure if it worked or not! I was wet with sweat, it wasn't hot but very humid, then when we stopped, it was cold in the air conditioning and breezy and cool outside, and just hard to stay warm.

    We finished our ride back at Joe Pool Lake and took the Group Selfie.

    Another fleche team had started a half hour behind us on a different route, so I waited until they came in. There's a fifth rider hidden behind these four, by the way.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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