Thread: 2019 Randonnees
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Old 03-18-19, 10:00 AM
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Completed my 600km over the weekend and, with that done, Super Randonneur 2019. Like last month's 400k, we're still in the middle of a heat wave and what seemed like a pretty straightforward ride turned into another tough and physically taxing brevet. Refilling and nutrition planning and strategy was also very important because there are several long 50-70km stretches of empty countryside roads with no stops for food and drink. What I did was basically study the route and mark down all the potential stops (petrol stations, 24-hour convenience stores, etc) as course points in RideWithGPS to be loaded onto and displayed on my Garmin, so I always knew how far I was from the next food or refill stop.

The good thing is that we started at 1am in the morning, so we had plenty of time to gain some good ground on relatively flat roads until the first checkpoint at the 150km mark. After that, it was mostly rolling roads all the way, with heat, plus additional headwinds once we reached the east coast. At the second checkpoint at 318km, most people planned their overnight stop here but for me, it was still too early to rest and my ride strategy involved me pushing onward to the 390km mark where there is a small town for my overnight stay. Soloed all the way on long stretches of dark, unlit roads and reached my destination just before 11pm. Discovered the hotel there to be a pretty posh one, they even had a bathtub so first thing I did was to jump into a tub of hot water for 30mins before going to bed. Slept less than 3 hours total because the third checkpoint closes at 8:30am with lots of narrow, broken and rolling roads in between - so I had to wake up early to ensure I reach in time (plus additional buffer time for safety).

Third checkpoint reached in good time, took another hour or so of nap before the final push back. Not many climbs now, so the only obstacle was the heat, and it was pretty bad. Worse than the previous day. Still, kept pushing at it, made plenty of stops for water, cold drinks and ice cream. Eventually made it with just over 1+ hour remaining on the clock. Didn't bother with much celebration afterwards, just got myself a hotel room, showered and slept for a couple of hours before driving back.

Besides the heat and other route conditions, I had some saddle troubles of my own doing. Firstly it was a relatively new, week-old saddle... so yeah, I had committed one major randonnee sin by trying something new before a ride. But actually, that wasn't the real issue, it was practically the same saddle as my old one, just with additional centre relief channel. The actual problem was that I think I under-torqued my saddle bolts. Everything was flat, as I like it, at the beginning of the ride but I already started experiencing discomfort before 200km. Didn't think much of it then. By 500km, the pain was already unbearable but I still didn't really think much about it and just endured as much as I could. It was only during one water refill stop that I noticed my saddle angle was pointing up. Whipped out my phone and measured 5 degrees tilt!!! Not exactly sure when or how that happened, but I believe due to under-torqueing the bolts, my heavy saddle bag was constantly pulling down on the saddle until it began tilting upwards. Anyways, I fixed the tilt, got everything nice and flat again, and I could ride properly once more. Didn't do anything to alleviate the pain, but at least it was now a whole lot more bearable and I could apply power to the pedals much more efficiently.

On a side note, there were a couple of riders on Brompton foldies as well as one guy on a time trial bike. I believe they all (or at least most of them) completed successfully also. Big kudos to them.

Also as usual, I made a ride video.

Last edited by atwl77; 03-18-19 at 10:19 AM.
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