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  1. #1
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    Spartanburg, SC 300K Brevet Ride Report

    Spartanburg, SC 300K Brevet Ride Report

    After completing the Spartanburg--Caesar's Head--Spartanburg 200K brevet
    on March 25th on my Rivendell Quickbeam, I decided to try the 300K event
    three weeks later. The weather, however, could not have been more
    different. Three weeks earlier we started with the temperature around
    30 F, a mixture of clouds and sun (with snow flurries at the top of the
    Greenville Watershed climb) and a high of around 48 F. On Saturday we
    started with temperature in the low 70's F and a predicted high of
    around 90 F, with lots of sun and wind.

    The alarm clock went off way too early, as I had over an hour drive to
    reach the starting point just north of Spartanburg. Then, eight miles
    from home I realized that I had left the water bottles in the
    fridge--not good! So, I turned around and went home, got the bottles,
    and then hustled to the start site. I arrived five minutes before the
    scheduled start time of 6:30 am, which meant that I finally got off
    about fifteen minutes late after preparing the bike and slathering on
    some sunscreen.

    Turnout for the 300K was considerably less than for the 200K, despite
    (or maybe because of) the much warmer weather. Around 50 participated
    in the 200K, while only around 15 showed up for the 300.

    It was still dark enough that lights were needed for the first few
    miles. The course started fairly flat but quickly got "lumpy," as the
    English say, once I crossed into Greenville County. The remainder of
    the course to the turnaround in Pendleton, SC was the rolling terrain
    typical of this portion of the state. Advertised climbing was almost
    14,000 feet (actual was probably a bit less due to a last minute change
    in route), and the changes in elevation definitely took their toll as
    the day rolled on.

    Because I had started late, most of the other riders were well ahead of
    me. I met up with a few along the way but our preferred paces and need
    to stop for fuel did not coincide, so most of the ride was solo. The
    turnaround was at Nettles Park in Pendleton, where the brevet organizers
    had food and drinks waiting for us. I arrived there around 1:35 PM, and
    stayed for about 30 minutes. The can of V8 juice provided was a real
    boon, as it helped replace lost electrolytes.

    On the way back, I started to notice that I was laboring on hills that
    previously had posed no problem, and nausea was starting to become an
    issue as well. Clearly the heat and sun were taking their toll, despite
    my efforts to drink enough liquid. Finally, at mile 120 I stopped and
    flipped the rear wheel on my Rivendell Quickbeam single-speed bike from
    a 17t cog to an 18t cog. With the single 42t front chainring this
    reduced the "gear inches" from 67 to 63 and it made a big difference.
    While I could not go as fast on the flats, the hills were no longer a
    problem. If the weather had been more moderate I probably could have
    completed the ride on the 17t cog with no problem, but on a ride of this
    length you do what you have to do to complete it. The Quickbeam bicycle
    itself performed flawlessly. The Pasela TG 28mm tires resisted road
    hazards, and I'm also quite happy with the Crank Brothers Candy
    pedals--easy in, easy out and no hot spots. Now if we can just do
    something about the crummy motor . . .

    As the sun and temperature went down, my energy returned and I began to
    pick up the pace once again. By the time I got to the climb on Dividing
    Waters Road near Camp Old Indian it was getting dark and descending on
    the other side was an "interesting" experience. There was just enough
    ambient light left for it to be reasonably safe with the Cateye EL500
    LED headlamp I used, but I realized that it would soon be pitch dark. I
    quickly discovered that the one headlight really doesn't illuminate well
    enough to enable one to avoid potholes and rough sections of pavement,
    so the remaining portion of the ride was jarring at times. The Cateye
    EL500 LED light is a remarkably clever piece of equipment, but two of
    them would have been much better. I now know why serious randonneurs
    often use Schmidt Dynohub generators with multiple headlamps.

    I finally arrived back in Spartanburg at the final control at around
    10:25 PM. I turned in my brevet card and sat down to drink a bit of
    Coke to fuel the drive back to Due West. Another rider there told me
    about his experience doing the Paris-Brest-Paris 1200K event in 2003,
    but I think 300K is plenty long for me. The statistics (some approximate):

    Mileage: 192.57 miles on OD
    Ride Time: 12:42
    Avg Speed for ride time: 15.26 mph
    Total elapsed time (including late start): 15:55

    Special thanks are due to Regional Brevet Administrator Bethany Davison
    and her helpers who provided yet another very well-run brevet event.

    Dr. Bill

  2. #2
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    Sorry about the double post.

    Dr. Bill

  3. #3
    Senior Member kesroberts's Avatar
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    Good job! What was the route (approx) for the 200K? I drove up to Brevard last week via 276 last week and have been daydreaming abou heading back that way to ride sometime soon.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by kesroberts
    Good job! What was the route (approx) for the 200K? I drove up to Brevard last week via 276 last week and have been daydreaming abou heading back that way to ride sometime soon.
    The 200K went west from Spartanburg into Greenville County. The first big climb was up Callahan Mt. (Camp Old Indian). Then we did the Watershed climb up into NC. After the Watershed we went down Hwy 25 to Gap Creek Road and used part of Rich Hincapie's River Falls Road Race course to start cutting over to the Caesar's Head area. The turnaround was at the top of Caesar's Head. It would be tough to concoct a more difficult 200K route in the area unless you somehow included Sasaphras Mountain and Green River Cove Road.

    Dr. Bill

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