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  1. #1
    Interested Backpacker
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    Just joined RUSA last night and....

    .....and looking to do my first brevet in March 2015. It is the suffolk / skippers ride in VA. Not a lot of elevation gain, but a little.

    My question is twofold. I have a 2001Trek 520 with a mountain triple that goes down to about 17 gear inches. With 700 x 32c tires. I have a new Surly Disk Trucker that goes down to 21 gear inches, but sports 26 x 1.5 tires. The 520 is slightly lighter, but not by much. I am looking to remove the front racks from both bikes, but leave the fenders on. Any experience on which bike is a better choice for my first 200k brevet? Keep in mind, I have never done a ride this long before, with 100k being my longest to date.

    Second question. Any good training guides out there that will help me prepare? I have four months to get ready and Santa is bringing me a Kurt Kenetic fluid trainer for Christmas. This winter, should I put the bike I plan on riding in the trainer or does it make a difference. I had both bikes set up and fitted for me with identical seat and bar heights. I really do not want to keep changing the training tire for the times I can get out on real,roads this winter and cannot afford to buy a trainer tire and rear cassette specifically for the trainer.

    Maybe some of this is addressed in the RUSA hand book, but still interested in your input as I wait for it to come in the mail. Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    Contact the RBA, Keith Sutton, immediately. You can get Keith's email, etc. from the RUSA website -- look under "Officials" & then Regional Brevet Administrators. I won't provide the links since you're already somewhat familiar with the RUSA website & you need to figure out some stuff for yourself, anyway.

    I'll send you a PM with names of another rando or two that you should contact immediately.

    To heck with the trainer (if you have semi-decent chilly weather gear). Several Tidewater area randonneurs, including Keith and the others I'll mention in the PM, ride year-round, both 200 Permanents and 100+ Perm-Populaires. Checking your bikes and gear (and you) out on the road is more fun and effective that riding on trainers.

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

    FYI, the Tidewater guys and gals used to do almost all their brevets down here in Raleigh. Keith came to our North Carolina Rando Year-End Party last month. We still count Keith, et al, as being part NC rando.
    Enjoy the ride.

  3. #3
    Interested Backpacker
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    Thank you Skiff. I got your PM. Will do.

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    Greetings and Welcome to Randonneuring!
    the RUSA handbook contains good information.
    one of our own is a coach and he has published a book

    Amazon.com: Distance Cycling eBook: John Hughes, Dan Kehlenbach: Books

    If you google 'coach John Hughes' he has a web site with tons of great material specific to long distance riding for free.

    Starting out there's no 'right' bike other than the one that gives you the most joy to ride!

    An IMO... I spin till I'm stupid,weight lift, run and yoga during the winter ... All to assuage the guilt for not getting my lazy butt on the bike during the winter. I'm not sure it makes a difference. There's nothing like real road time to prepare for a brevet.

    best wishes on a successful ride in March!

  5. #5
    Interested Backpacker
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    Actually, I am looking forward to this trainer as I might be more consistent with my work outs and still get some equitable road time in. That was one of the reasons looking for a good guide, so I can get a program developed and not get bored with spinning indoors. I did go to Amazon last night and downloaded the Kindle version so I would have something to read on the plane today. Thanks for the suggestions.

    Sounds like you you and Skiff are familiar with the Suffolk to Skippers to Suffolk ride. Any idea on how many riders may be on this brevet next March? Should I drive the course to ensure I am familiar with it before hand?

  6. #6
    Randomhead
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    I have never driven a course. I would suggest using google maps and street view to look at it though. You might consider getting an account on ridewithgps.com and mapping the route to familiarize yourself with it. I do this if I'm not familiar with a route

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fullcount View Post
    .....and looking to do my first brevet in March 2015. It is the suffolk / skippers ride in VA. Not a lot of elevation gain, but a little.

    My question is twofold. I have a 2001Trek 520 with a mountain triple that goes down to about 17 gear inches. With 700 x 32c tires. I have a new Surly Disk Trucker that goes down to 21 gear inches, but sports 26 x 1.5 tires. The 520 is slightly lighter, but not by much. I am looking to remove the front racks from both bikes, but leave the fenders on. Any experience on which bike is a better choice for my first 200k brevet? Keep in mind, I have never done a ride this long before, with 100k being my longest to date.

    Second question. Any good training guides out there that will help me prepare? I have four months to get ready and Santa is bringing me a Kurt Kenetic fluid trainer for Christmas. This winter, should I put the bike I plan on riding in the trainer or does it make a difference. I had both bikes set up and fitted for me with identical seat and bar heights. I really do not want to keep changing the training tire for the times I can get out on real,roads this winter and cannot afford to buy a trainer tire and rear cassette specifically for the trainer.

    Maybe some of this is addressed in the RUSA hand book, but still interested in your input as I wait for it to come in the mail. Thanks in advance for your help.
    Lots of good advice so far in this thread. The only thing I would add: Tire choice. Riding on tires that are optimized for low rolling resistance (at a little sacrifice of flat resistance) can make a big difference to how enjoyable the ride is over the long distances. There are nice tires in both 700cx32 and in 26", sold by Compass Bicycles: Compass Bicycles: Tires

    Which bike to put them on? From my perspective, you have two essentially identical bikes. Both are touring frames, so they are somewhat overbuilt for randonneuring, where the load you are carrying is typically lighter. That said, either should be fine, lots of people ride touring bikes on rando events. Personally, I think I would go with the bike that can handle 26" tires since then you can put on higher volume tires that will absorb a little more road shock and leave you less beat-up at the end of the ride.

    Build up to the long distance over the winter, there should be plenty of weekends when you can ride. The trainer will still come in handy for weeknights and for bad-weather weekends. The main thing that going for progressively longer rides will do for you is help to identify fit problems. What is endurable on a 100km starts to be painful on a 100-miler. What's endurable on a 100-miler starts to be painful on a 200km. Etc. Deal with the fit issues early on and your first 200km will be a lot more pleasant.

    Nick

    Nick

  8. #8
    Interested Backpacker
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I have never driven a course. I would suggest using google maps and street view to look at it though. You might consider getting an account on ridewithgps.com and mapping the route to familiarize yourself with it. I do this if I'm not familiar with a route
    Thanks for the tip. I have a MapMyRide account, but will check out ridewithgps as I have seen several random routes posted there.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebulls View Post
    Lots of good advice so far in this thread. The only thing I would add: Tire choice. Riding on tires that are optimized for low rolling resistance (at a little sacrifice of flat resistance) can make a big difference to how enjoyable the ride is over the long distances. There are nice tires in both 700cx32 and in 26", sold by Compass Bicycles: Compass Bicycles: Tires

    Which bike to put them on? From my perspective, you have two essentially identical bikes. Both are touring frames, so they are somewhat overbuilt for randonneuring, where the load you are carrying is typically lighter. That said, either should be fine, lots of people ride touring bikes on rando events. Personally, I think I would go with the bike that can handle 26" tires since then you can put on higher volume tires that will absorb a little more road shock and leave you less beat-up at the end of the ride.

    Build up to the long distance over the winter, there should be plenty of weekends when you can ride. The trainer will still come in handy for weeknights and for bad-weather weekends. The main thing that going for progressively longer rides will do for you is help to identify fit problems. What is endurable on a 100km starts to be painful on a 100-miler. What's endurable on a 100-miler starts to be painful on a 200km. Etc. Deal with the fit issues early on and your first 200km will be a lot more pleasant.

    Nick

    Nick
    Thanks Nick, I agree, road time is priceless, especially for a goal like this. Problem I have is time, so I will maximize the options and stress the road time.

    The Surly has the 26" tires and disc brakes, but the older 520 rides nicer. Both have Brooks saddles and saddle soreness has never been an issue for me. Normally, it is the eating proper issue and hip flexor lock up. That is the reasoning for the trainer to see if I can strengthen this area. I also have post ride foot cramps also, but I think this goes back to nutritional program once again.

    Thanks for for all the help from everyone.

  10. #10
    Randomhead
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    people do really well using a trainer. You don't need a lot of hours to be in good shape for randonneuring. I am recovering from a hard fall suffered on a 200k I dnf'ed due to ice, and I have to say that risking your hide just to ride outdoors doesn't appeal to me right now.

  11. #11
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    I would add that you must make sure you are well rested on the day of the event and a little carbo-loading will help. Eating and drinking well before the event itself is huge, too. I have to make an effort to try NOT to keep up with the faster riders. It burns me out prematurely. Above all - relax and have fun with it.

  12. #12
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I don't know how RUSA does it right now, but when I joined several years ago, my information got processed right quick (look for yourself on the "member" search on the website) but the little book took like 6 weeks to get there.
    Personally, I'd go with 700 wheels and 32 mm tires. The low gearing won't matter unless you know you have something terribly steep, and even then, you can walk it about as fast as ride it if it's like that.
    Work your way up on rides. If you've done a 100k, go do an 80-miler and then a 100-miler, organized or perm or whatever works for you. It's not essential, but if you can ride a 100 miles and still feel okay, you won't be worrying about if you can ride 125 or not.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fullcount View Post
    The Surly has the 26" tires and disc brakes, but the older 520 rides nicer.
    To me that is the answer. If I'm going on a long ride and have a bike that rides nicer I'm going to use it. I wouldn't bother taking the front rack off unless you would like it off and plan to leave it off after the ride.

  14. #14
    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fullcount View Post
    ...

    Sounds like you you and Skiff are familiar with the Suffolk to Skippers to Suffolk ride. Any idea on how many riders may be on this brevet next March? Should I drive the course to ensure I am familiar with it before hand?
    Actually, I am NOT familiar with the course, and I would bet any amount of money at any odds you might quote that Sekhem is also NOT familiar with that course. Inside joke? Maybe. LOL!

    One of the Tidewater guys has a Permanent Suffolk to Skippers; it is my understanding that the brevet course and the perm course are the same. If you need to be "sure" of the course before the brevet, do the permanent a month prior.


    Unlike "unter...," I have "driven" a course, actually three of them. This past March (or was it early April), I rode along with Raleigh RBA Alan Johnson as he drove his 400k course (which includes the 300 & the 200 along the way); we were checking to make sure everything was okay with the course(s); we did find only 1 bridge that was being re-destructed (in 2013 there were 2 bridges that were out).
    Enjoy the ride.

  15. #15
    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    ... The low gearing won't matter unless you know you have something terribly steep, and even then, you can walk it about as fast as ride it if it's like that.
    ...
    Although I am not familiar with the Suffolk to Skippers course, I guarantee there ain't no climbing on that Suffolk to Skippers course. For a Texan, imagine a course from the southeast side of Houston toward Galveston and then toward South Padre Island, staying close to the ocean, and possibly add in swamps.

    Now, should the OP come to Raleigh and do Alan's 400, he may well want to bring some low gearing, and might still walk -- I have walked up two different climbs on that 400; I've also ridden up those same climbs a few times; it depends on ... stuff.
    Enjoy the ride.

  16. #16
    Carries Too Much Stuff! Capt Overpacker's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Quote Originally Posted by modelmartin View Post
    I have to make an effort to try NOT to keep up with the faster riders. It burns me out prematurely. Above all - relax and have fun with it.
    Having ridden a full season with Tidewater Rando, I can "+1" the recommendation to avoid the temptation to keep up. The group's core riders are on recumbents and strong as well. I ride a little better once I let them out of my sight. However, once I'm alone and no longer struggling to keep up, then I have to contend with the potential for boredom. I saw a reference to Ride w/GPS above. Nearly all of Tidewater Rando's route are in RwGPS. I use an Android app called "Cue Sheet" which sync's with my RwGPS account to read turn-by-turn directions to me through a Bluetooth device. It's kind of nice... except if I miss a turn or the app crashes. The cue sheets are always top-notch from those guys.

    Also, as stated already, the majority of the routes around here are pretty flat. That makes the terrain easier on the legs. BUT, flat terrain also brings more wind. That's a mental challenge for me. Finally, 2015 will bring Tidewater's first full Super Rando series. I'm considering a shot at it. But I already see a scheduling conflict.

    Good Luck,

    Scott
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  17. #17
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    A lot of the regular randos here are people that are faster than I'll ever be, so I've learned to just ride my own ride. A lot of times, I/we will keep up with a group, other times not, but I can't go killing myself trying to hang with someone faster. And those faster people have been known to intentionally drop people, too, so you can't get too caught up in that.

    I think ALL the perms currently being submitted are in Ride With GPS, that's how they check the routes. Older routes may or may not be. Around here, older routes will still have one or more RWGPS files that people made just for their own use, though.

    Also, be aware that some of us will make RWGPS routes but don't use those files for riding, so you may find file/route errors on the RWGPS files that the route creator isn't aware of.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  18. #18
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    There is some great advice here for your first rando ride. Road riding just isn't possible where I live for a good four or five months, so I spend alot of winter hours on the trainer. I use the Kurt Kinetic with the Inride power meter thingy, and paired with Trainerroad it is great. If you have family and work and other commitments, it is a great way to maximize your training time. You can get a great workout in an hour without spending too much time pondering weather, putting on layers, gearing up, etc. Of course it is not the same as putting in lots of outdoor miles, but it is an excellent real world compromise for those of us weather and time issues. After a winter of two or three high intensity trainer rides per week, I don't have too much trouble getting back into the swing of things when spring time comes. If you can pair weekday trainer rides with a long ride on weekends, you should be ready to go by March.

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