Originally Posted by becnal
Thats really good to know. The 200, 300 and 400 can (should?) be done without having to sleep during the ride.
Right ... I know a lot of Randonneurs from around the world, and I don't know any of them who sleeps on the 200K and 300K. Occasionally someone will take a short 10-15 minute nap on the 400K, but that's about it.
The thing is, the time limit on the 200K is 13.5 hours, and the time limit on the 300K is 20 hours ... but most people do those two in less time unless they encounter some particularly bad weather. Well, I'm definitely awake 13.5 hours a day just normally with school and work, and I'm often awake 20 hours a day, especially now that I've returned to university. So staying awake for that time isn't at all unusual for me.
The time limit on the 400K is 27 hours. I've done quite a few 400K distances (brevets, a fleche, a 24-hour TT, etc.), but I've never taken more than 24 hours to cover it. I figure with a 24 hour event, if you get as good a night's sleep before as you can ... ride for 24 hours ... then plan to get a really good long sleep after, and you'll be fine.
In fact, on my 1000K, all my 1200Ks, and most of my 600K events, I didn't take my first sleep stop in less than 400K (24+ hours). I'm just not tired enough before that to sleep well. Too much adreniline I guess.
The 600K could go either way with sleep. I've done it straight through with no sleep (36 hours) and I've also done it with varying amounts of sleep. I'm still not sure which was better. Probably if I had to pick, I'd say that the 600K with 1.5 hours of sleep was the best ... and I think that was because of our human sleep patterns.
You see, most adult humans have a REM cycle of 90 minutes. If you can sleep multiples of 90 minutes (1.5 hours, 3 hours, 4.5 hours, etc.) you can go through complete REM cycles and can wake up at the end of them feeling relatively refreshed. If, for example, you were to wake up after 60 minutes, however, you'd likely wake up feeling all tired and groggy (and in my case, slightly nauseated for some reason). The second best choice to sleeping in multiples of 90 minutes is to not let yourself get into the deep sleep section of the REM cycle, and instead to sleep less than 30 minutes - short naps.
So when I do the longer rides, I make use of those short 10-15 minute naps, and I aim to sleep either 1.5 or 3 hours at the sleep controls. (But usually I'm actually lying down slightly longer than that to allow for dozing off and waking up time.)
That's way more information than you asked for, but maybe you'll find some of it useful.