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Thread: Brevet Training

  1. #1
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    I'd like to ride a Brevet Series this coming season. Not sure if I'll be up for a 1200k, but I've got BMB written on the wall on front of my trainer.

    Looking from some insight. I live in VT, so I'll spend quite a bit of time indoors on the trainer. I try to get out when I can. (did a 28 mile ride at 28 degrees this past Saturday)

    Here's the plan so far:


    Balance of January:
    Base building on the trainer, or when I can get outside.
    1hr long trainer rides 4-5 times / week, primarily at endrurance pace. Mix in form building drills - 1 leg pedalling, high rpm pedalling.
    Mix in XC Skiing, some Telemark lessons, and some snowshoeing as weather / time permits.
    Also working on core strengthening, flexibility.

    February:
    Start mixing in some intensity - perhaps once a week doing Spinervals type workout, or steady state.
    Continue form work.
    Continue core work.
    Field test for benchmarks. (CTS type or other similar on the web)

    March:
    Hopefully get out on the road.
    Long weekend rides on the road, building my road tolerance.
    Shorter midweek rides, with rest included.

    April:
    Hopefully I'll have dropped 20 pounds by now.
    Intensity / Climbing / Climbing / Climbing
    There's lots of it where I live, and from the Brevet series reports I've read (Boston and Berkshire) it seems like climbing is par for the course. Long weekend rides!

    May:
    The Brevet season starts as early as late March / April here - but I think I'll wait until May to get out on a 200k. Ride schedule will determine training from here on in...



    Any comments from endurance riders (and racers) would be helpful.
    I'm into my 3rd full season back on the bike after a long time away, and am continuing to drop weight and gain fitness. Last summer I dabbled with a CTS membership - but couldn't afford stepping up to a live, human coach... so I dropped the base package.
    Last edited by bmike; 01-09-06 at 08:10 AM.

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    I have a friend who does that sort of thing. He's ridden the Paris-Roubaix. Some of his training involves starting to ride from work on Friday afternoon and not getting home until about 9 hours before he has to go to work on Monday.

    Al

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Randonneuring club!! This will be my 6th year of Randonneuring, and if all goes well, the BMB will be my 5th 1200K randonnee.

    Your training plan looks all right, but let me ask you this ... what is the longest distance you've ridden so far since you've been cycling regularly, and what is your current weekly long distance?

    And, here are some links which might interest you:

    http://www.ultracycling.com/

    http://www.randonneurs.bc.ca/links/links.html

    http://www.rusa.org/

    http://www.audax.org.au/index.asp

    http://www.audax.uk.net/index2.htm

    http://www.pactour.com/

    http://www.adventurecorps.com/

    http://www.bikecenturies.com/

    http://www.big-dogs.org/scripts/bdhome.asp

    http://forums.bicycling.com/forum.jspa?forumID=16

    The link to my website is in my signature line below if you're interested in reading about some of the 1200Ks.

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    Senior Member Marcello's Avatar
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    I am going to work on my first brevet series this year, so I don't yet have good suggestions for training. But there are a couple of things I would recommend.

    1) Join RUSA (http://www.rusa.org). Once you join, you will get the Member's Handbook, which is a 140 page goldmine of information on the sport of randonneuring.

    2) Check your local brevet schedule. As far as I can tell, to register for BMB, you need a full brevet series (200k, 300k, 400k & 600k) in 2006, which really means by the end of July. Make sure that there are enough brevets scheduled between May and July in your corner of the world, to be able to qualify for BMB. Here in the Northwest, the brevet series start in late March and end mid June, and starting in May would not be possible.

    Based on my limited experience (three 200k brevets) and what I heard from other randonneurs, each level of brevets requires different physical and mental skills. Make sure to train your mind (and your stomach) as well as your legs.

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    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcello
    I am going to work on my first brevet series this year, so I don't yet have good suggestions for training. But there are a couple of things I would recommend.

    1) Join RUSA (http://www.rusa.org). Once you join, you will get the Member's Handbook, which is a 140 page goldmine of information on the sport of randonneuring.

    2) Check your local brevet schedule. As far as I can tell, to register for BMB, you need a full brevet series (200k, 300k, 400k & 600k) in 2006, which really means by the end of July. Make sure that there are enough brevets scheduled between May and July in your corner of the world, to be able to qualify for BMB. Here in the Northwest, the brevet series start in late March and end mid June, and starting in May would not be possible.

    Based on my limited experience (three 200k brevets) and what I heard from other randonneurs, each level of brevets requires different physical and mental skills. Make sure to train your mind (and your stomach) as well as your legs.

    Check off #1. My membership kit arrived last week.
    Very good info - and I like the bit of history in the members book.

    I've got the schedule plugged into Outlook - and hope to juggle rides from 2 different areas amongst my work schedule.

    The more I look at BMB, the more I think it will be out of reach for me. (this time) I'm going to focus on the 200k - 600k series. I like the idea of BMB, PBP, and the others. Someday...

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    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Welcome to the Randonneuring club!! This will be my 6th year of Randonneuring, and if all goes well, the BMB will be my 5th 1200K randonnee.

    Your training plan looks all right, but let me ask you this ... what is the longest distance you've ridden so far since you've been cycling regularly, and what is your current weekly long distance?

    ...

    The link to my website is in my signature line below if you're interested in reading about some of the 1200Ks.

    Actually, reading through your website was big inspriation. I've been looking at randonneuring websites since the day I got back on the bike. The BMB rolls through my town here in VT, and uses part of a route that is on my weekly ride schedule.

    Longest ride in one sitting has been a century.
    Longest day of riding has been about 200k. I did a long ride in the morning, then went back out after a late lunch for another 40 more miles.

    The height of last summer I was averaging 150-200 miles a week. (slightly longer rides on the weekend... but often 3-4 50 mile rides during the week. I'm on the trainer now - but sneak out when I can. Overcoming the dark and the cold is something I've been working on.

    I know I've got alot of work to do - and may be dreaming a bit - but I'm setting some goals now so I have something to focus on. I think I had a poor year last year as I didn't really set any goals or goal rides. I fizzled out in the middle of summer (work, travel) then picked up again in the fall. I want to try a different approach this year - and I'm intrigued with the self supported / directed / long / endurance aspects of randonneuring.

    BMB is written on my wall for inspiration, more than anything. I don't expect to be able to take on that ride... but am keeping it as a long term goal. (If it is still around in the coming years!)

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike
    Actually, reading through your website was big inspriation. I've been looking at randonneuring websites since the day I got back on the bike. The BMB rolls through my town here in VT, and uses part of a route that is on my weekly ride schedule.

    Longest ride in one sitting has been a century.
    Longest day of riding has been about 200k. I did a long ride in the morning, then went back out after a late lunch for another 40 more miles.

    The height of last summer I was averaging 150-200 miles a week. (slightly longer rides on the weekend... but often 3-4 50 mile rides during the week. I'm on the trainer now - but sneak out when I can. Overcoming the dark and the cold is something I've been working on.

    I know I've got alot of work to do - and may be dreaming a bit - but I'm setting some goals now so I have something to focus on. I think I had a poor year last year as I didn't really set any goals or goal rides. I fizzled out in the middle of summer (work, travel) then picked up again in the fall. I want to try a different approach this year - and I'm intrigued with the self supported / directed / long / endurance aspects of randonneuring.

    BMB is written on my wall for inspiration, more than anything. I don't expect to be able to take on that ride... but am keeping it as a long term goal. (If it is still around in the coming years!)
    Thanks!

    It's good that you've done the amount of cycling that you have before you attempt randonneuring ... not saying it can't be done with less experience, but I think it is so much more enjoyable if you're not struggling to cover the distance.

    One thing you might consider adding to your training program is one long ride each month. I do a century a month throughout the year for a couple reasons: 1) motivation to keep riding and training throughout the year; and 2) to help maintain my endurance.

    Doing those centuries each month in the summer is no problem. Most months, I do several! But in the winter it is a whole different story here in Canada ... and that's where I get some of my practice dealing with adverse weather conditions and night riding.

    I wouldn't advise going out and riding a century next week if you haven't done that distance in a while, and especially if you aren't used to cycling in the cold, but you might think about doing a longer ride every 2-3 weeks for now, and more frequently as the weather and light improves ... gradually building up your distance starting now.

    April is only 3 months away!!

  8. #8
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Thanks!

    It's good that you've done the amount of cycling that you have before you attempt randonneuring ... not saying it can't be done with less experience, but I think it is so much more enjoyable if you're not struggling to cover the distance.

    One thing you might consider adding to your training program is one long ride each month. I do a century a month throughout the year for a couple reasons: 1) motivation to keep riding and training throughout the year; and 2) to help maintain my endurance.

    Doing those centuries each month in the summer is no problem. Most months, I do several! But in the winter it is a whole different story here in Canada ... and that's where I get some of my practice dealing with adverse weather conditions and night riding.

    I wouldn't advise going out and riding a century next week if you haven't done that distance in a while, and especially if you aren't used to cycling in the cold, but you might think about doing a longer ride every 2-3 weeks for now, and more frequently as the weather and light improves ... gradually building up your distance starting now.

    April is only 3 months away!!
    I am used to long rides on the bike... its just that I've been away from it for 10 years (save these last 3-4 years). It's funny how your body will start remembering. (the pain and the pleasure!)

    I have a century a month in my sights - I really am intrigued by some of the links I've found through RUSA and other sites. I really need to get my saddle time back up. I've completed 2 shortish rides outside, in December at 30 degrees. I'm going to push for a 50 mile ride this weekend (weather permitting).

    I'll take your advice and start dialing up the distance. I am a bit worried about burning out - but I know if I keep a goal in sight it helps me...!


    I'm confident about the 200k, scared / nervous about the 400k / and will be approaching the 600k as an adventure.


    What kind of pace should I be looking at for the 200k? I've done the math on average speeds and things - but how long does it take to check in, grab some food, etc.? What is your average off bike checkpoint time? Do you also find that you drop off the bike when you need to refuel at conveniece stores, etc? How hard do you push, or do you ride an endurance pace and just try to stay on the bike?

    I certainly don't want to ride "slow" - but what I like about the philosophy of the rides is that you can dial in your own pace - based on how you want to stop / sleep / rest / chat / etc. Any insight into this? I imagine it also relates to checkpoint open / close times, etc.

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike
    I'll take your advice and start dialing up the distance. I am a bit worried about burning out - but I know if I keep a goal in sight it helps me...!
    If you start to feel like you really don't want to get on your bicycle, then take a couple days off. You should include at least one, and occasionally two, days off each week anyway to allow your muscles to rebuild and grow and to allow you to do something different from cycling and exercising ... so that you don't burn out.

    The other thing about burning out when training for Randonnees is this ... you are training to peak quite early in the season. Most people train to peak in August or September when the local organized centuries are run, or the provincial races or whatever are held. But with Randonneuring, you are training to peak on the 600K which is often held in late June or early July. (Then if you do a 1200K too, you end up peaking twice.) So you've got to train for longer distances than most people are doing at this time of year.




    Quote Originally Posted by bmike
    I'm confident about the 200k, scared / nervous about the 400k / and will be approaching the 600k as an adventure.


    What kind of pace should I be looking at for the 200k? I've done the math on average speeds and things - but how long does it take to check in, grab some food, etc.? What is your average off bike checkpoint time? Do you also find that you drop off the bike when you need to refuel at conveniece stores, etc? How hard do you push, or do you ride an endurance pace and just try to stay on the bike?

    I certainly don't want to ride "slow" - but what I like about the philosophy of the rides is that you can dial in your own pace - based on how you want to stop / sleep / rest / chat / etc. Any insight into this? I imagine it also relates to checkpoint open / close times, etc.

    The time at the controls varies a lot. Up here in the Canadian prairies, none of our controls are manned ... they are all convenience stores or restaurants. So a lot of the time depends on how quickly the people in the controls are moving and how much they want to chat. One of the things I hate is when Randonneurs are rude to the people in the stores and restaurants in the small towns we cycle through, so I try to get in and out as quickly as possible without being rude ... which may mean I will have to answer a few questions about what we're doing and how far we're going and so on.

    However, a short control, where I'm just using the toilet and getting something from a convenience store to eat and drink takes me about 10 minutes. A dinner control, where I want to get off the bicycle and sit down in a restaurant to eat a meal takes me about 30 minutes. A sleep control takes me about 2-3 hours (I don't sleep much on these things!!).


    Do you also find that you drop off the bike when you need to refuel at conveniece stores, etc? I'm not sure what you mean by this.

    As for my pace, I have a comfortable pace which I ride fairly consistantly throughout most of my shorter brevets .... 22 km/h. For me that is a pace I can continue to ride for a very long time. I will push it once in a while, especially right toward the end (the last 20 kms or so!), but generally, I settle in and ride comfortably. However, one thing to note about calculating out average speeds and so on is that on the longer rides, EVERYONE's average speed declines throughout the ride.

    When I'm calculating out my estimated time on a 1200K, I will start with 20 km/h for the first couple hundred kms, then drop it to 18 km/h for the next couple hundred kms, then down to 17 km/h, then 16 km/h, then 15 km/h, and finally 14 km/h for the final couple hundred kms. I also allow for 1 hour at each control. And for me ... that gives me a pretty good idea of where I need to be by certain times to make it ... and I usually stick to that pretty closely all the way through.

    Oh, BTW - the 400K is my favorite distance!!

  10. #10
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka

    Do you also find that you drop off the bike when you need to refuel at conveniece stores, etc? I'm not sure what you mean by this.

    My wording was terrible! I think you answered it when you covered bathroom stops, refuels, and even stopping for dinner! I was wondering basically if you get off to rest / eat / etc.


    Your average speeds are about where I theoretically calculated things in order to have some time in the bank and leave time for rests. I'll assume this is your on the bike speed, and your event speed will be less than this? I'm looking for some targets so I can set some training paces - knowing how hard to ride so I get a feel for event pace.

    Thanks for all the good info!

  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike
    My wording was terrible! I think you answered it when you covered bathroom stops, refuels, and even stopping for dinner! I was wondering basically if you get off to rest / eat / etc.
    You have to get off the bicycle at the controls to get your card signed or stamped or whatever, so I take that opportunity to do any off-the-bicycle stuff I need to do.

    However, as much as possible I try to stay on the bicycle, and eat while riding, and stretch while riding, and so on. For eating, I got a Bento bag, which is wonderful because I can put a couple energy bars in it, and they are right there in front of me to remind me to eat, and easily accessible so there's no excuse for not eating.



    Quote Originally Posted by bmike
    Your average speeds are about where I theoretically calculated things in order to have some time in the bank and leave time for rests. I'll assume this is your on the bike speed, and your event speed will be less than this? I'm looking for some targets so I can set some training paces - knowing how hard to ride so I get a feel for event pace.

    Thanks for all the good info!
    Yes, those are my on-bike speeds. As for training, when riding shorter distances, try to ride harder/faster than you think you would for a longer distance. That's something I'm really trying to work on. Also, train on hills as much as possible. There aren't any of the 1200Ks that don't have hills (and the BMB has the most of them all!). In fact, when organizers pick routes for those 1200Ks, they try to choose ones with as many hills as they can cram in ... it's almost like a cruel game for them. I struggle on hills, I prefer to ride on flat ground into a headwind, so I've really been working on the hill climbing over the past couple years.

  12. #12
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    ...

    However, as much as possible I try to stay on the bicycle, and eat while riding, and stretch while riding, and so on. For eating, I got a Bento bag, which is wonderful because I can put a couple energy bars in it, and they are right there in front of me to remind me to eat, and easily accessible so there's no excuse for not eating.

    ...

    There aren't any of the 1200Ks that don't have hills (and the BMB has the most of them all!). In fact, when organizers pick routes for those 1200Ks, they try to choose ones with as many hills as they can cram in ... it's almost like a cruel game for them. I struggle on hills, I prefer to ride on flat ground into a headwind, so I've really been working on the hill climbing over the past couple years.

    Bento box - bag? ... I've seen those online and have been looking at them. I have a handlebar bag on my touring bike - but not sure if I'll move it to the bike I think I'll do the brevet on. (also looking at building a mid 90's steel frame bike as a brevet bike)

    I like climbing - I'm not good at it - but I like the challenge. I'm not keen on the really steep bits - but long steady climbs I like. I can't stand headwinds!

    The BMB rolls right by my house. I'm hoping to get hold of a cue sheet and check out some of the sections on training rides...

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