Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

Your Tips For Riding a 600K Randonnee

Old 10-18-16, 10:57 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
I am disappointed we weren't able to get our SR series, but there is always next season. The disjointed nature of our local Audax calendar meant we had to hunt down rides in other states to ride, and I am sure that imposed some additional pressure.

And an interesting observation from Machka on doing SRs in other places. She is used to doing the rides in a three or four month window in Canada; once the rando season is finished, it's time to do other cycling stuff such as tris, racing or touring, or simply other stuff off the bike. The local (Tasmanian) season was somewhat limited this past year, and there is an increasing reliance on permanents (which don't qualify for BRM brevets), so we have spent basically eight or nine months doing our series (as well as doing it over the aforementionted winter). I have to admit that my very first season of randos was to qualify for PBP; we started the process in December, including a 200 and 300 over one weekend) and we had the qualifiers finished by February... and that was a very compact and efficient way of doing it, which I would like to emulate again at some point.

To assist in the process, Machka and I are organising a series next season so we know exactly what to expect when we ride them, too. And that will include a weekend of a 200 and 300 together!
There is definitely something to be said for doing your qualifiers relatively close to each other, so that the fitness and conditioning builds for each subsequent ride. I know some riders who do a brevet of some kind every weekend so they're always in good shape, but I certainly can't do a 600k without working up to it first!

There are even clubs around me that do a "brevet week" -- 200k, 300k, 400k, 600k within a week's time. It would sound crazy if we didn't regularly discuss rides totalling most of that distance in much less time.
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Old 10-24-16, 11:57 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
No, probably not the afternoon ...

Strangely enough a 4 am start has a certain appeal. Ride for a couple hours before dawn, ride through the whole day, ride through the night, and wrap things up by about 8 pm rather than going into another night.

I think my best 600K, the one I designed and rode solo, had a 5 am start which wasn't too bad either. That sounds really odd for someone who is so incredibly NOT a morning person but there is something about starting in the darkness and getting some distance in before dawn breaks.

On our local rides, the preferred start is right around sunrise, so you don't have to start with night gear, then stop after a while to take it all off. The other consideration is that we're using stores for controls, and they're not necessarily 24 hour stores- so if you want to make that store late in the ride before 11:00 PM, you need to start earlier.
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Old 10-27-16, 08:03 AM
  #28  
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Isn't the ride speed for Brevets constant? Maybe you should try to think of a 600k as two 300's...... (and actually ride it that way)

Most likely you have approached 600s in a "get it done" mind set and never taken to the idea of completely resting in the middle of ride - being too worried about making the last controls unless you have a big time cushion. This probably happens to nervous 400k riders as well........
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Old 05-17-18, 10:44 AM
  #29  
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I'm bumping this thread, not because I have anything useful to add, but because I hope someone else might.

For what it's worth, on the one coming up this weekend, I'm optimistic that I can reach the 400k mark in 22 hours or less. At that point, I am undecided how long I want to stop; but I guess I'll figure it out then.
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Old 05-17-18, 03:13 PM
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I wish I was confident about 22 hours. I finished a 400k in 22 hours 2 weekends ago, but then I got sick and dnf'ed a 600 last weekend. I think I feel okay. It's going to rain though.

I plan in sleeping in 90 minute intervals, which is the basic sleep cycle. There are shorter sleep cycles. On a 600k, 3 hours is ideal for me. Then it probably takes an hour to eat and go at a minimum. So 4 hours stopped. This time, I expect I might only have 90 minutes of sleep, so maybe just 2 1/2 hours total stopping time.

About the sleep time. If I'm in a hurry and someone is going to wake me, I add 10 minutes so the sleep cycle isn't interrupted. Sometimes, I might add a little more because I like to doze for another 10-20 minutes.
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Old 05-17-18, 08:25 PM
  #31  
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I'm riding my first 600K this weekend. My plan is to ride the 400, sleep for 3 hours and then ride the 200. Had a good 400 (also my first) a couple weeks ago. Finished in 20 hours, at least good time for me. We will see how it goes. I've put in the work, lost the weight and upped the fitness. Packing some pain managers like Ibo, Tylan, lidocaine, Deep Blue,zip locks to hold ice for my "Farmers Back. Hoping the left knee holds out. I've done the planning, but I know at some point in time, it will be gut-check time. I'll give it my best shot.
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Old 05-17-18, 10:09 PM
  #32  
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I'll have my first 600k near the end of next month. Based on the route, my group plans to book a hostel or homestay somewhere around the 300+ km mark, because that's where the civilization is (and very likely where the overnight checkpoint will be located) but we're still waiting for the official cue sheet (and the exact locations of the checkpoints) to be out before we can confirm bookings. Anyways, if that doesn't pan out then my backup plan is, worse come to worse sleep on the floor at the checkpoint for 3-4 hours but hopefully it doesn't come to that. We've been pretty slow on our past 300k (regroups, waiting for and helping/encouraging the slow members, etc) so we may not really have much time for rest anyway -- if that's the case I hope I can still get at least 1-2 hours quick naps along the way as I doubt I can go through an entire 40 hours brevet without sleep.
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Old 05-18-18, 06:29 AM
  #33  
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I think there are basically two strategies. sleep somewhere between 3-400k or ride straight through. I've done it both ways and have a slight preference for riding straight through. I'm able to go one night without sleep with no problem so it's nice to be home a few hours earlier so I can put away my stuff and get ready for work on Monday. Downside is that nobody else does that so I spend a lot of time riding by myself.
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Old 05-18-18, 07:01 AM
  #34  
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for me, the second day is always tough. So the closer you can get to 400k, the better.
Rudy doesn't have that problem, there is an overnight stop with beds at the 400k control.

I didn't sleep on my first 600k. Stupid thing was, I waited for people to ride with, so I could have slept. I have to say I almost crashed once doing that, and I remember feeling as miserable as I have ever felt on a ride at the 500k mark. Having said that, if I get back in after dawn on Sunday, I'm going to eat, change clothes and continue. Once the sun comes up, riding is not a problem.
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Old 05-18-18, 08:18 AM
  #35  
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MACHKA wrote: I've done four 1200s and one 1000 .... and didn't experience nearly the struggle I do with a 600K.

JLIPPINBIKE's response: Sounds like a pacing issue for you. I heard last year (my first year doing rando events) that rando riders ride their speedy speed on day 1 of an event, and thereafter most will settle into pretty much the same pace (much slower) thereafter. I suspect you hold back more on day 1 for the 1000s and 1200s than the 600s because you KNOW there are a few more days of riding coming up. When you do the 600 you figure after day 1 that there is only another 200k of riding to do and you can handle it after going pretty fast your first day – at least fast compared to what you do for the really long events.

With regard to my track record doing rando events I have only DNF'd the very first one I entered. Snow cancelled the ride halfway through the 200k. I did a 600k last year in July and finished it in 36 hours. I finished a 600k “pre-ride” two weeks ago in 38 hours with an IT Band issue. That is the extent of 600k events I have participated in. I've completed one 1000k and one 1200k event, both last year.
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Old 05-18-18, 10:03 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by jlippinbike View Post
... Sounds like a pacing issue....
I tend to agree with that diagnosis, though obviously I don't presume to offer @Machka any advice (only best wishes for you and Rowan).

Pacing is important, especially early in the ride. I have a tendency to ride too fast. If I see another cyclist in the distance, I will unconsciously increase my speed. This is a mistake; if the cyclist in the distance is doing the same ride as I, then s/he is riding faster than I, and to catch him/her, I will happily let my legs can propel me at a speed that the rest of my system can't sustain. On a 200k or maybe a 300k, I may finish the ride before I realize my mistake; but on a longer ride, that's not likely. Tomorrow I will be making a conscious effort to ignore the riders who pass me.

Jeff, on last year's 600k, did you sleep or nap at the 400k point, or thereabouts? For how long? I know you told me how long you rested at the 400k point on this year's 600k pre-ride, but I've forgotten. Just a couple hours, I think?

When we ride a fleche, we ride as a team and ideally the captain will control the pace so that 20 hours into the ride, there's only 25 km to go. This gives the team two hours to rest just as the cold and dark become oppressive. I don't usually pace my rides to that degree, but I've seen from the fleche that it's an excellent strategy; I've felt fine at the end of every fleche I've done, and after the end of the NJ Arrow a couple years ago, I rode home, feeling fine. Of course, that's still only 400 km; but the important thing is, if you feel fine at the end of 400 km, you can probably ride another 200 without difficulty.
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Old 05-18-18, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by jlippinbike View Post
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With regard to my track record doing rando events I have only DNF'd the very first one I entered. Snow cancelled the ride halfway through the 200k. I did a 600k last year in July and finished it in 36 hours. I finished a 600k “pre-ride” two weeks ago in 38 hours with an IT Band issue. That is the extent of 600k events I have participated in. I've completed one 1000k and one 1200k event, both last year.
I finished my first 600k in 32 hours, seems impossible now, 8 years later. I didn't dnf a ride until my 12th 200k, which featured really high winds. If you keep at it, you probably have a lot of slower rides to look forward to.

Actually, if I keep losing weight I'll probably do some much faster rides. That's my goal anyway.

Some people really don't have a faster speed. I have been experimenting with a power meter, I basically go as fast as sustainable all the time on a brevet. Which is generally a much higher power level percentage-wise than faster riders. I'm a little old to be gaining significant power, thus the emphasis on losing weight
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Old 05-18-18, 10:25 AM
  #38  
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RHM wrote: Jeff, on last year's 600k, did you sleep or nap at the 400k point, or thereabouts? For how long? I know you told me how long you rested at the 400k point on this year's 600k pre-ride, but I've forgotten. Just a couple hours, I think?

JLIPPINBIKE's response: Last year I rode the New England Rando in July and took about a 4.5 hour break at the sleepover. I spent the first 45 minutes of that eating and showering before getting 3.5 hours of sleep. I fell asleep quickly. Then 15 minutes to get up, eat, and get back on the bike. I prefer to take 3.5 hours of sleep between rides on multi-day events. Less, and I don't get rested. More, and my body starts to heal and it's a hassle to get riding again.

Two weeks ago when I did the 600k with Bill O it was a slow ride since Bill is slower than me and we agreed to ride the pre-ride together from start to finish. My left knee was bothering me after 70 miles into the ride so I had no intentions of sleeping even a wink. I didn't want the knee to start healing. I took an hour off between the first day and starting the final 200k. I was eating and resting, but I did not get any sleep. I was fine without the sleep. If I'd been pushing during the prior day I wouldn't have been. But then I wouldn't have been time crunched either.
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Old 05-18-18, 10:45 AM
  #39  
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UNTERHAUSEN wrote: Some people really don't have a faster speed. I have been experimenting with a power meter, I basically go as fast as sustainable all the time on a brevet. Which is generally a much higher power level percentage-wise than faster riders. I'm a little old to be gaining significant power, thus the emphasis on losing weight.

JLIPPINBIKE's response: Let me clarify what I mean by a faster speed. When a ride starts out there is the fast group comprised of riders who know how to ride in packs. They are good at spinning and drafting. Many are usually former competitive cyclists like myself. I can sit in this group quite easily going quite fast with minimal effort. Much faster than I'd ride on my own power all alone. As the day proceeds things shake out and the strongest riders are still moving forward, and the weaker riders have fallen out of the group. Anybody in that lead group is probably going to have moved along much faster than they would have without being in the group. But when Day 2 comes along, everybody is feeling the pain. We all slow down. Me included.

The other issue when it comes to riding too fast on Day 1 is when you are not in that lead group, but you are riding too close to your threshold level or above. Kind of the way a newbie entering a 26.2 mile running marathon who goes out too fast and cannot sustain that speed and blows up or quits at mile 10. Either way, it takes some experience to tame yourself so you don't ride too fast on Day 1.

I think you are wrong Eric saying you are a little old to be gaining significant power. You could if you wanted to do so. You just have to learn how it's done. Guys over 55 like you and me can only gain power by doing some serious high intensity workouts. That's the only way we can stimulate the production of testosterone which is the magic goop for muscle building. That means you cannot do rando rides 12 months out of the year. If you were to devote 8 months of the year to building muscle and treat yourself to 4 months out of the year to dabble in rando riding, then you could most certainly get very strong. Of course, you'd need to lose weight and that gut, before you can start doing serious high intensity workouts. But it can be done. There are so MANY reasons to lose weight when you are beyond an ideal weight for bike riding.
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Old 05-18-18, 12:06 PM
  #40  
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at my age, it's easy to lose power. I feel like my bike training has been okay, with a few lapses. I might have to lift weights. I started last year as fast as I have been in over 20 years, including my first year of rando. But I overtrained during rando season and things didn't go well from there. So I ended up losing 10 percent off of my ftp.

Even when my power has been up, I still weighed too much, so I got dropped on hills. The start of PA randonneur rides is like a race, and the middle of the pack is very thin. Not sure about tomorrow, it has always been difficult for me to keep up over the hill into Bethlehem. And the course is uphill until that point.
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Old 07-26-18, 01:13 PM
  #41  
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I've entered and completed 7 600km brevets.
The first one I booked a hotel room ( like everyone else) ,wasted a whole lot of time, and got 45 mins. of sleep.
For the others I didn't book a room, but pulled up a piece of asphalt or a tree trunk or something, and caught a hour or
so of sleep... usually at about 4 am. Sometimes I'll catch another nap later on if I'm really hurting.
I ride all my brevets fixed so my pacing is a bit different that everyone else. Consequently, I ride alone.
My best time on a 600 was a bit under 32hrs. My longest was a bit over 39.
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Old 07-29-18, 07:13 PM
  #42  
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On the matter of riding straight through- that idea appeals to me as I sit in my easy chair, and think "Gosh, I'll just go ride 34 hours straight and be done!". BUT, I've never gotten to the overnight point and felt like riding one more mile. And when I've seen other people ride straight through, it seemed like they missed 4 hours of sleep, but finished 1 hour sooner. In other words, missing the sleep also slowed them down, or maybe they had to stop for naps, I don't know. Anyway, it doesn't always seem to accomplish a whole lot. Now, if that first 350-400k is abnormally slow, you may not have a choice, and that's a different issue.
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Old 07-30-18, 07:22 AM
  #43  
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I agree, I'm pretty sure riding straight through cost me time in the end. The time I did it, I rode with some other people. One of them stopped to take a nap, and about an hour later he passed us and we didn't catch him for a long time. That's about the most miserable I have been on a ride. Just before sunrise seems to be the low point when I'm really tired. I remember sitting at the 500k control, looking at one of my riding companions. He looked like I felt, and it made me laugh. Turns out people don't appreciate that for some reason

Just an hour and a half is all you need, much better to do that than ride straight through. I'm confident that had I slept that much, I would have finished in the same time with fewer sleep-related issues
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Old 08-04-18, 11:44 AM
  #44  
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Anything over a 300 is a stomach game for me. Rain, wind, heat, climbing haven't ruined rides, my stomach has. Stability is key. I used to think there was a magic answer for this, I'm less sure now. Eat something large and dependably digestable the night before. Eat a big, early, breakfast. Digest, get to the start early, snack, digest more.

I was cleaning up notes on my phone and found the list of things I'd consumed during my first 600km brevet. This includes only what I ate the morning of and during the ride, in no particular order. Sort of group by food type:

1 Banana
1 Orange
1 Pint strawberries
1 Bagel + 4oz of cream cheese
2 Waffles + syrup + butter
3 Eggs

8oz Chex mix
1 Bag of Lays (small)

1 Turkey/bacon/avocado sandwich (x-large)
2 Burger King chicken sandwiches
3 Rolled tacos w/ cheese
1/3rd of a meat pizza (x-large)

Lots of water
1 Iced tea (12oz)
1 Iced coffee (12oz)
2 Starbucks bottled sugary milky coffee drinks.
1 gallon of Gatorade

1 Grandma’s cookie
1 Brownie (large)
1 Ice cream sandwich
2 Clif bars
2 Fig bars (large)
2 Frosted donuts
Many peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets
Unequivocally, this was insufficient. By the end I was mostly on liquid calories, namely gatorade. I should've kept eating, but everything looked terrible. I wanted real food, but I wanted to be done even more than that.

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Old 08-05-18, 10:25 AM
  #45  
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My problem with 600k's has always been stomach issues related to hydration and electrolyte balance. The problem is that we usually do the 600k at a time it's likely to be hot, but early enough in the spring that I'm not yet acclimated to heat. It seems like later in the season I don't have any problems with that. I haven't had a strategy that kept me far enough away from hyponatrimea, and I end up taking electrolyte pills as an afterthought. I am getting better at dealing with it though.

I not really confident that I can always manage this problem on every ride, so I purposefully get into a fat adapted state if I can. That makes me slow sometimes, but I finish. I have been riding my trainer for 30 minutes before I eat breakfast a couple of times a week, that's supposed to help. On my first 200k this year I barely ate anything, that was fun, but it did help on later rides.
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Old 08-06-18, 10:07 AM
  #46  
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Stomach issues caused me to DNF a 400 km ride a few years ago, and have ruined a few other rides that I managed to finish anyway.

Looking back on these rides, they have several things in common, and it is hard to know what was the actual cause of the problem, what secondary issues followed from the initial mistake, and what other issues merely accompanied my discomfort but are not related in any causal way.

My current thinking is that the primary mistake I've made is riding too hard in the first 100 miles. It's hard to know, because there's a significant time delay between the mistake and its consequences -- a few hours, anyway. It's an easy mistake to make, because there's always a group of riders that peels off the front of the pack and my legs can keep up with them for a pretty long time. By the time I realize they're too fast for me, the damage has been done. Now I try to make a point of eating early in the ride; if I can't take a bite of my sandwich and close my mouth and chew and swallow, I'm going too fast.
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Old 08-06-18, 08:34 PM
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you can't go hard and digest at the same time, that's true. I assume a 400k wouldn't have been hot? Don't think we have been that lucky for the last few years
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Old 04-19-19, 10:28 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by skiffrun View Post
^

Now then, the first piece of advice is "don't come over ill during the ride"
(However, I did finish that ride.)
Irregular Velo Adventures: May-11: Mud Pit + Possum 400-km Brevet

Second piece of advice is "don't hit a fox in the middle of the road"
(However, when we encountered the fox, we did finish.)
Irregular Velo Adventures: Jun-01/02: Heat, Headwinds + Gray Fox 600-km Brevet

1. slow down,
2. keep pedaling,
3. don't waste time at controls or other stops,
4. eat before you are hungry, but not too much,
5. drink before you are thirsty, but not too much,
6. and this should be first, be "in shape"
7. decide to do it, not this "I'm going to try to do it"
8. re-apply lubrication to self before needed, and too much is better than not enough,
9. do NOT cross rail-road tracks at the wrong angle.

I've only started five 600's.
Three finishes; two DNF's.
Reasons for the DNF's?
- See #8 above, which occurred on my first 600 in 2010.
- See also #9 above, which occurred in 2015. (Without checking, I recall it was last year.)

Things to do to help finish:
1. Agree to ride with someone (who has "no legs" from a previous failed brevet), and drag, push, cajole them through the ride. (My friend wanted to get to Paris in 2011, so ...)
2. When someone else is faltering badly, ride to get them to the finish / to keep them safe.


Maybe next year I'll do a 600 for me -- my three finishes have each turned into rides for someone else. I think it does take less energy to ride for someone else -- in each of the above two cases (2011 & 2012), I felt I could have done another 600. I admit that I don't really know as I have NOT ridden a 1200.
Well, it is my turn to dig out an old thread and potentially rejuvenate it.

I'm planning to do the local SR this year.
I don't plan / intend to do it every year.

Did the 200 two weeks ago -- in my fastest elapsed time for a 200 brevet or for a "200" perm since October-2015.
Solo after the first 30 miles.
I may get around to writing a blog report about the ride -- maybe in a couple weeks -- maybe in a couple months.

I'm doing a pre-ride of the 300 in 29 1/2 hours from now. I.e., the pre-ride will be on April 21st, 2019.

I'll do the 400 in four weeks, on the day of the event-proper.

I'll have to do the 600 two weeks after that, as a pre-ride, almost certainly solo.
I know the course. I've done it successfully three times. 2 DNF's.
I make the RWGPS maps for the Raleigh Region.
I don't use a gps-device; I just make the RWGPS maps for the Region / for the RBA.
I'll carry the cue sheet with me, but I may not need to look at it.
I don't know if I can ride a 600 solo.
I have ridden a 400 essentially solo.
I know one rider, that is usually slower than me, that, a few years ago, did an entire Highpoint Region SR solo.
And he subsequently did a Carolina Spring 1200 solo.
So, if he can do it, I can do it.

But I'm confident that it would be easier if someone needing support / reassurance was along for the ride.
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Old 04-21-19, 08:39 PM
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atwl77
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Originally Posted by skiffrun View Post
I don't know if I can ride a 600 solo.
I have ridden a 400 essentially solo.
Think of it this way: a 600 is essentially a 400 on the first day, then 200 on the second day.

You can do 400 solo, so the first day should be doable.

On the second day, you've only got half that distance to cover, so it should be a wrap.
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