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  1. #1
    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    Encouragement Email to a Newbie Rando After They DNF'd Their First Brevet

    Some of the following is likely too location specific to be of use everywhere, but maybe the idea(s) behind the email can translate to other locales [it appears that none of the links within the text of the email copied through to BikeForums -- at this time, I'm not going to re-make the links here -- those links are, after all, part of the local stuff that doesn't translate very well to other locations]:

    MikeB,

    FYI, Alan J__ (the RBA) provided your email address to me so that I might send you an encouraging note following your DNF on the brevet last week.

    We met and briefly chatted before the 200k brevet last Saturday. (You asked whom you should tell not to worry about you; I essentially responded "volunteers, or anyone that asks." I also pointed out Mike D__ to you, but I don't know who introduced you to MikeD.)

    From Alan (& from the results published on the RUSA website), I understand that you DNF'd on the brevet; I don't know where or why.

    Do NOT let that DNF dissuade you from having another go at a 200k event. Also, do not be put off because you had to ride whatever-distance-you-did-ride solo; I have had many enjoyable solo 200+ kms rides as they are usually very peaceful journeys. If you learned something from the ride, then the ride was a success, even though you had to DNF. (As an aside, last year a young non-RUSA-member rode the Spring 200 brevet, mostly solo -- his last 50-miles was certainly solo. He was not worried, and he did finish. At the finish, he noted that it seemed to him that the last 25-miles equated to being half the ride -- the first 100-miles had been relatively easy, but he had to work both his legs and his MIND to get through the "second half" of the ride, that is, the last 25-miles.)

    When you told me that your long ride prior to the brevet was 50-miles (back-to-back 50-milers, if I recall correctly), I did think you may have been asking your body and MIND to make a rather large leap, but you were confident and the most important part of this sport is usually found between the ears -- the determination, the calm when things are going badly, the joy when things are going well or even just so-so -- those are often more important than how your legs or hands or feet or butt feel.

    Some people have shown up for their first successful brevet with prior career long rides of 70-miles, and even 50-miles, but most have done at least one century previously. I am going to assume that you will try another 200k brevet, or perhaps a 200+ km Permanent in the next few months. More than assuming that, I'm encouraging you to plan for that.

    As part of your plan to successfully complete a 200k ride, I suggest that you (and your girlfriend) do some of the local Permanent-Populaires. I assume that you've checked out the Permanents page on the RUSA website -- if not, I encourage you to do so (& I won't describe Permanents here, except to note that Brevets are EVENTS that occur on designated dates on designated courses whereas Permanents are designated courses that may be ridden on any date agreed to by the rider and the "route-owner"). As you may know from perusing the RUSA website, RUSA populaires are 100-199 kms in length. Most permanent-populaires are slightly over 100k in length, and make good training courses if one is interested in doing a 200k brevet; populaires are also excellent rides in-and-of themselves.

    Populaires typically take only half-a-day to ride and often other RUSA members will also be doing the route on the same day. There may be a better chance for camaraderie on half-day populaires than may occur on brevets (or Permanents of 200+ kms).

    I recall that you indicated that you lived in the Garner / Clayton area, but that you and your girlfriend also do rides from the Durham and/or Chapel Hill area. With that in mind, let me suggest three permanent-populaires ("pops" for short) that start near Garner (and are not as hilly as Alan's brevet course):

    Get 'er Dunn, 102k, for contact information (click here), for a map (click here);
    Benson Mule Pull, 105k, for contact information (click here), no map at this time;
    Lillington Lilliput, 123k, for contact information (click here), for a map (click here).

    There are quite a few other populaires in the Triangle are. I leave the search for them to you. Some of them are about 85-miles in length -- that distance may be a good thing to do before having another go at 200+ km ride. An informal 100-miler, or an organized charity century, may also interest you as part of a plan to tackle 200 kms again.

    Before having another go at Alan's 200k brevet course (in August), you might like to do a 200k ride on a course that is not as hilly as the brevet course. I'll not include contact information for likely suggestions of that distance; however, if you do the pops near Garner, you'll figure out how to make contact for two flatter 200k routes that start near Garner.

    Lastly, most randonneurs have learned, and will tell you, that "things" happen on 200k rides that don't happen on 50-milers or even 100-milers. If you find that you like riding 200 kms, we would all assure you that "things" will happen on 300's, etc. that do not happen on 200's. Most of the "things" have to do with your body and MIND and comfort on the bike; some of the "things" have to do with mechanical failures, but mechanicals can be minimized with good maintenance prior to the ride; the body and mind things -- well, those have to be personally experienced -- luckily, some of the "things" are good things.

    Good luck, and I hope to see you again on a future rando ride.

    Above all, be sure to
    Enjoy the ride,
    ...Martin
    Enjoy the ride.

  2. #2
    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    MikeB's response:
    Martin --

    Thank you!
    There's a lot in this note so I'll have to read it a few times and refer back to it once in a while.

    What a great group of people! Everyone was friendly. People were welcoming and gave gentle suggestions.

    I like the idea of the permanents and will look into them.

    Thanks again,
    Mike B__,
    Last edited by CbadRider; 04-21-14 at 10:30 AM. Reason: Removed identifying personal information
    Enjoy the ride.

  3. #3
    Senior Member EdgewaterDude's Avatar
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    Good idea. I DNF'd in my first attempt at randonneuring - a 200K permanent. Luckily, I was able to muster some intestinal fortitude and complete my first 200K brevet about 4 weeks later. Sometimes, it happens to the best of us.

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    This is really great. And good on you for putting forth the effort to contact this guy. My experience was somewhat different. I was successful on the first 200k I ever rode last summer, went on to do a 300k, and then DNF'd on my attempt to repeat the same 300k. Go figure. It's a funny, funny game.

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    I like this idea; but just to be a bit critical, it might be better to keep this kind of letter short and more to the point. Somehow it doesn't seem to me that an unsolicited "consolation/ cheer up" letter ought to be so long.

  6. #6
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    Experienced riders could encourage and offer tips to receptive newbie Randonneurs during the ride. Ride with them. Maybe an idea for RBA's is to have one K honcho or those who do a dozen of more randos a year.....see if one rider could hang back and chat and encourage the riders on the road. Think of it as a slow training ride. A rider like this could say stuff like this is a good time to eat and drink....we have a serious climb coming up in a while.....then, try eating and drinking on the backside, whatever advice would help.....not the best example but I find bad eating, drinking, and electrolytes are mistakes newbies make all the time becuase it is hard to make a serious mistake on a 60-70 mile ride but pretty easy to get all hosed up on a long ride.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weatherby View Post
    Experienced riders could encourage and offer tips to receptive newbie Randonneurs during the ride. Ride with them. Maybe an idea for RBA's is to have one K honcho or those who do a dozen of more randos a year.....see if one rider could hang back and chat and encourage the riders on the road. Think of it as a slow training ride. A rider like this could say stuff like this is a good time to eat and drink....we have a serious climb coming up in a while.....then, try eating and drinking on the backside, whatever advice would help.....not the best example but I find bad eating, drinking, and electrolytes are mistakes newbies make all the time becuase it is hard to make a serious mistake on a 60-70 mile ride but pretty easy to get all hosed up on a long ride.

    Wow,
    didn't see his entry in my log, nor this thread.

    If I had known the this would have gone public I would have taken much more time in crafting my response.

    The first and foremost, it is hard to truly convey the welcoming friendliness and helpfulness of this group. There was a good crowd at the start. People obviously knew each other well but each made an effort to be inclusive.

    People were very gentle with their suggestions. I say this in case other people may be a bit reticent.

    I was fairly sure that I wouldn't make the time even when I first thought of signing up. My attempt was as much a reconnaissance for an attempt at the end of the season when I'll expect my self to finish within the controls. A number of "reasons" I'm far too slow, but it all boils down to being far too slow. Oh and I found myself making every newbie mistake, even though I knew they were mistakes even when I was making them. It really is hard not to go out faster than your target pace, in the excitement of being in the company of so many strong riders.

    Well, I let people know I was unlikely to make the time and that I was used to being entirely self supported. They gently checked in with me as they closed up.

    The route was marvelous! Very pretty, best traffic I have seen over a distance. Directions were spot on (didn't check mileage).

    Again, can't say enough about how welcoming the people are, and all the really cool bikes! People enthusiastically discuss their bikes, what they like, what works for them or what they intend to dial in...

    I'm really glad I did this. I will do them again.

    It taught me a good bit about myself, my preparations, equipment. But best of all, I miss having the goal of a next event...



    So next up:
    Tomorrow a century (still have to plan the route)... I need a long ride for my sanity's sake.

    then:
    Schedule of Events | Velo4Yellow a Livestrong Grassroots Fundraising Event

    Quite a different crowd.
    Did the 100km last year, will do the 100km this year. A good bit of climb, was quite warm. Goal is to do it faster and with less discomfort.
    And this year bring the Wine and cheese.
    Well, Porter and Pretzels...

    Will look into the Garner area and Chapel Hill / Durham populaire's, might do one or a modified one as we usually start out from the house. with SO this weekend...

    But will be at either ride on August 16th.. Won't decide which distance until later, If I ride with SO or daughter, then the 110km, else I'll do the 200.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Oh and on a couple of the longest, climbs...

    An experienced riders did several of the climbs
    1 rider who started late and had some early bonus miles on a cool bent, hung with me and talked about riding, bikes, life and such for miles and miles.

    1 rider had a very late start on a longer route, hung back with me and we talked all the way up the biggest climb. He was so interesting, I failed to notice which hill we were on and that it was such a challenging climb until like the last couple hundred yards.


    Like I said, the people are wonderful.

    Mike
    #9648
    Last edited by Null66; 06-03-14 at 09:07 AM.

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