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

New To Long Distance - Have Many Questions

Old 12-12-11, 05:46 PM
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DGlenday
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New To Long Distance - Have Many Questions

I started cycling in April 2011.

In that time I've done about half a dozen metrics, 2 centuries, RAGBRAI (which is basically 7 back-to-back metrics), and a bunch of B+ paced club group rides.

Also (non-cycling related) I've done some heavy mountain climbing, and one challenge hike, which was a sort-of hiker's equivalent of a brevet. Collectively, these events have been the result of 4 years of training and preparation.

I'm looking for my next big challenge.

After a lot of reading and many discussions, it seems that randonneuring - with an medium-term goal of Paris-Brest-Paris - will be my next big thing. I like the idea of the combined physical and mental challenge.

So I hope you can help with a few questions.

First - Bike:

What is the conventional wisdom here? I'm torn between using a racing-style bike (faster, therefore less pedaling effort over the long course) or maybe a sportive / plush, or even a touring bike, for the comfort. Right now I have an alloy-framed bike that is incredibly firm with a pure racing geometry. I've had no trouble doing centuries on it, but a century is obviously a far cry from a P-B-P.

Training - off the bike:

I've been a regular in the gym for years. What would be the best training regimen to help build up for randonneuring? I was thinking of lots of basic core and leg exercises, followed by cardio - but I'm hoping someone on the forum will have thoughts on a more purpose-built program..?

Lighting:

What would be a good headlamp for a beginner? I know there are many different styles - LCD, incandescent, rechargeable / replaceable batteries, and so on. Could someone point me at some sort of a starter-kit? I'll build up from there as-needed.

Gearing:

I have a compact crank on the bike right now. Is it a fair assumption that it will suffice for most randonees?

Terminology:

What the heck is the difference between a "randonee" and a "brevet"? Are the terms used interchangeably?

RAAM:

Another longer-term goal for me might be to join (or form) an 8-man team for the RAAM. But it seems, from all I've read, that preparing for that race takes more management of the logistics than actual saddle time! So I'm not sure if that will happen. But ... am I right in saying that a 1,200k randonee/brevet doesn't count as a qualifying race for the RAAM? And if not ... then why the heck not! Seems to me that a 1,200km would be far harder than 1/8th of a RAAM?

Thanks - and I'm sure I'll have many more newbie questions as I get into this new adventure...
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Old 12-12-11, 06:42 PM
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Read these threads and/or websites
- http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...paring-for-PBP
- http://www.blayleys.com/articles/PBPtraining/index.htm
- http://www.rusa.org/ <<<Randonneurs USA

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Old 12-12-11, 06:52 PM
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Bike: There is no consensus at all. Browse the photos on the PBP site and see what people ride. In the US and UK, people tend toward steel frames with more relaxed geometry. Seemed to me that the majority of people from Central Europe and Asia rode racing bikes. You'll find darn near everything out there. If it's got two wheels (or more), someone's ridden it on PBP. Pick something you like, that fits, and that you're comfortable on. Declare victory.

Off-the-bike training: I think most LD cyclists would benefit the most from core-strengthening and flexibility work: Yoga, stretching, and light weight work (low weight, high reps) that conditions the muscles of the neck and abdomen. Back strengthening exercises. Cycling (and all the hiking and climbing you do in the off-season) will put your legs in plenty good enough shape for randonneuring and something like 8-man RAAM. Before I moved to a snowless wasteland, I had 30- 40-day per year backcountry ski seasons (hike up, ski down) that were great cross-training for cycling. We also used to do some pretty epic hiking and backpacking and trail-running trips. I think you'll find the transition from doing the stuff you've done into long-distance cycling is a smooth one!

Lights: As with the bike, there is no "standard" or even "common" approach to light in randonneuring. Go with something relatively inexpensive and battery-powered to start. No reason to spend oodles on fancy or expensive systems until you're certain you like this sport (and until you have your bicycle situation sorted out). Avoid the "more is better" mentality that's infected the sport when it comes to lighting. I did PBP this year with an Ixon IQ AA-powered headlight. It cost a little more than $100. I carried spare (rechargeable) batteries, and I had to change them twice. I've personally never seen the appeal of hub generator lights, but they certainly have their adherents and I'll be flamed and burned at the stake for heresy for saying that....

Gearing: You're hitting all the controversial highlights here, amigo. I think a compact with some kind of reasonable cassette (pretty much anything but a corn-cob) is going to be fine for most riders under most conditions. How good of a climber are you? What do you weigh? Knee issues? Like to race? How much stuff are you carrying on the bike? I don't need the answers to those questions, but you do. On geared bikes, I do brevets with a 53/39 double and either a 11-23 cassette or a 12-25. But I'm young and strong and light and travel light and climb like a billy goat. (And yes, I've used the 53-11 on brevets!) I've seen lots of successful randonneurs who run a triple with big chain ring that's 46 or 48T. And their low gear is a less than 1:1 ratio. I could climb the Lhotse Face in 1:1, but some people love those low gears. YMMV.

Vocabulary: All brevets are randonnees. Not all randonnees are brevets. Things like permanents and populaires (in the U.S.), the fleche, some FFCT rides (in France)... these would be considered randonnees, along with brevets. My understanding is that brevets are rides of 200K or more organized under the auspices of the ACP or according to their rules (non-ACP "brevets" sanctioned by RUSA are generally called "brevets"). "Grand Randonnees" would be 1200Ks (and longer stuff, of which I think there are only two, currently -- LEL and the Miglia). I probably have the finer points of this wrong; someone help me out here!

8-man RAAM: There's a member here at BF with beaucoup RAAM experience who can take most of this area. My understanding is that for other than solo RAAM, you don't need to qualify. Pay your money, show up, and race. 1200Ks used to be a qualifier for solo RAAM. They're not any more, though you can petition the race director and, I imagine, with an impressive set of randonneuring results (and if you satisfy their crew training requirement), they'd probably let you race solo RAAM. I've never done RAAM, but I've done a number of 1200Ks and I'd think that 8-man RAAM would be a walk in the park compared to a 1200K. What would make 8-man RAAM tough would be the logistics and dollars.
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Old 12-12-11, 07:50 PM
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Bike: If you have a decent bike that fits, ride it. When the rides get longer, your body will tell you if you need something else.

Training: What you describe sounds okay in general. Core, cardio, obviously riding. And neck - you don't want to get Shermer's neck. Personally I ran through the winter for cardio and unicycled offroad for core. Since I ride a recumbent, not so much worried about Shermer's neck.

Lighting: is religion. LED these days. I analyzed and analyzed and ended up buying a dynohub system for 2011 qualifiers and PBP, and was happy. I probably would have been happy with one of the better battery powered lights as well. I think the only no-no would be something with an internal rechargable or proprietary rechargable battery. There's not always going to be a place to plug in. I was pretty surprised at the pinpoints of light some people had at PBP. A matter of choice, and perhaps night vision.

Gearing: is up to your knees. 1200k is a long way, and I don't think titanium knees are as good as OEM.

Terminology: what he said. Just don't ask about audax.

RAAM: is a nice lofty goal to have, whether it's 8-man or solo.

I've done exactly one PBP and two seasons of brevets, so I'm a newb myself. Take my suggestions with a grain of salt, as with everything on the internet.
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Old 12-12-11, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by DGlenday View Post
I started cycling in April 2011.
Just for reference after I started riding I my did first century three months latter and first super randonneuring series by the end of that year.

PBP is four years off. You should be able to be prepared to do a 1200k long before then. You might want to think about doing a domestic 1200k first. PBP is really not a very difficult 1200k. The atmosphere is what makes PBP so special.

First - Bike:
Ride what you are comfortable on. You can be just as comfortable on a "racing" geometry bike as you can on a "touring" geometry bike. What makes touring bikes so appealing to many is the ability to easily attach bags and other things for carrying stuff. If I were you, I'd start riding brevets and see how your current bike stand up. You may see where it has some limitations that you'd like to change but you are better off figuring that out for yourself than one of us telling you what we think will work for you (like we would know).
I can tell you that I ride a Colnago C-50 on 1200k's very comfortably. I can't (won't) carry as much stuff as many others but I get there just the same. I'm of the belief that the more space you have to carry stuff the more stuff you will carry. One suggestion with your bike is to keep the fork stem un-cut so that you can raise and lower the bars if you need to. I raise my bars about an inch for long brevets versus normal riding and racing.


Training - off the bike:

Ride your bike, there is no substitute. You don't have to ride lots, just ride/train smart. Working on your core in the gym helps a lot too.

Gearing:

I have a compact crank on the bike right now. Is it a fair assumption that it will suffice for most randonees?
No, it's not. It really depends on how strong of a rider you are. I have a triple, a compact and standard double and will often use the one that best suits the course I'm on. For 1200ks I always use a triple just because it has the widest range of gearing and you never now how you are going to feel throughout the ride. Sometimes it's really nice to have those bailout gears. Again, start with what you got and see how it goes.

RAAM:

I've raced RAAM four times and was a course official once. The Octopus is correct that you don't have to qualify for team RAAM. If you are looking for a challenge you're going to have a hard time out-doing solo RAAM. To qualify for solo RAAM you'll need to finish team RAAM, do a 24hr race like the Texas TT's or Sebring (and do 400+ miles), or one of the 500 mile races like the Furnace Creek 508 or the Hoo Doo. Personally I'm not a fan of 8 man RAAM teams. It's more eat and sleep across America than race across America plus trying to keep the team focused is kind of like herding cats chasing mice. 4 man teams are very hard if you really race it, much more difficult than any 1200k. Think about doing a 30 minute TT every 90 minutes 24hrs a day for 6 days. The 2 man team even more so. No matter whether you are racing solo or an 8 man team the logistics and financing for RAAM are the difficult things.

Last edited by Homeyba; 12-12-11 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 12-12-11, 08:32 PM
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My two cents worth, based on my vast couple of years of experience at this:

Bike:

Use what you have until you see some reason to change. In terms of comfort, you normally start with a 200k (just a bit more than a century), do a bunch of them, then a 300k, a 400k, etc. Anyway, if you start having comfort issues, you'll kind of run into it gradually; it's not like you jump from a 200k to a 1200k. In terms of racing-style vs randoneur-with-big-box style, that's mostly personal preference. Most of the people I know that do the most riding do NOT use a "randoneur" type bike with the big handlebar bag and fenders and all. If that's what you want, great, go for it, but don't feel like that's what is required to get the job done. Here locally, some of the people favor 28 mm tire due to chipseal, but that's not a requirement.

Training - off the bike:

I can't give you a good answer because I'm not in your area. However, I will point out that when I lived in Colorado, most cyclists would put their bikes up for the season at the first dusting of snow, but then other people in that same area just rode on through the winter. The point is, minimize time off the bike as much as possible. There's people out riding in the snow with barmitts and Large Marge tires and all. One of the challenges of randonneuring is having to deal with occasional unpleasant weather, so the more you can ride in the offseason, the better prepared you are for the randonneuring. (From what I've read, the 2007 PBP had a high DNF rate due largely to cold wet weather).

Lighting:
For a 200k, you quite likely won't need lights at all, and if you do, for a limited time, and a lot of battery-powered lights will work. What I ran into, was that for a 400k, the AA-powered lights weren't bright enough, and the rechargeables didn't last long enough. So I got a hub-generator light and haven't regretted it. If you're contemplating a new bike anyway, just budget less for the bike and more for lighting. If you have more or less a conventional front wheel, you can get a hub-generator wheel built up to match, use a skewer mount, and then be able to transfer it directly to a new bike. I have a couple of Planet Bike superflashes for tailights, with a couple of Cateye something-or-others for backup (Superflashes are not noted for wet-weather reliability).

Gearing:

I think I have a triple with 32-tooth rear, and that has gotten me up everything I've come to.
One of the ladies I ride with tried to do the Talimena Scenic Byway (part of a 400k) and was undergeared for it (conventional double, not a compact). So she walked a couple of miles. It wasn't that big of a deal to her, she was walking 3 mph where I was pedaling 4 mph, and she caught back up with me. So the moral is, if you're geared wrong on a "normal" ride, it's not that big of a deal. If you're used to your area, then go someplace much hillier, you may have problems. Anyway, I'd use what you have until you see some reason to change. Oh, one other thing, the hills do seem steeper as you go, so if you're just barely making it up local hills on short rides, that's an indication to change something.


Terminology:

I never hear anyone say "randonee". We ride brevets and perms. People on the internet say "randonee".

RAAM:

I don't think there is a qualification required for team RAAM, just solo. Anyway, if you're so inclined, c'mon down for the Texas Time Trials next fall and qualify for solo RAAM. As to which is harder- the qualifier is 400 miles in a 24-hour race (Sebring, etc), or a 500-mile race in 48 hours or so. You either have to be fast or patient. For me, the 500-mile race was harder in terms of sleep deprivation, the 1200k was just a slow grind. I had more sleep problems on the 500-miler, more knee problems and stuff on the 1200k. And note that the "qualifier" name is misleading. Absence of the achievement is a disqualifier, but I sure don't feel very "qualified" to do solo RAAM, either.

Edit: I photographed the bikes at a 600k back in the spring, peruse here:
http://s192.photobucket.com/albums/z...view=slideshow
I think in other areas, you'll see a lot more of the rando-styling, but this should suffice to show the variety. And FYI, the tandem by the dumpster is one of the bikes ridden by the current RUSA-mileage leader.
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Last edited by StephenH; 12-12-11 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 12-12-11, 09:10 PM
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If you are thinking of doing RAAM read this book. If you have a Kindle you can dowload the first couple of chapters free. I read that much and decided I will never do RAAM. If you aren't done by the first two chapters then read the whole thing.

http://www.amazon.com/Hell-on-Two-Wh...743334&sr=1-12

There is a shorter version of the RAAM that stops in Colorado.

Bike: A touring bike like the Surly LHT will be more comfortable because it absorbs more road bumps. A carbon racing bike is typically going to be faster because it doesn't absorb as well transferring that fun to you. It's also lighter. Are you going for the fastest possible time? Are you trying to win a race? Go with a racing bike.

Training: Lots of miles, sounds like you are on the right track. Hill climbing.

Lighting-One on the helmet, and two on the handlebars. Planet Bike is a great quality light. Don't skimp on this. You want the lights to hold up and last as long on batteries as it can. And you want the light to be bright. Cheaping out will sacrifice these things.

Gearing. Advantage of going with a touring bike is that you get a triple up front. If you don't do that you are going to have a double. Triple sure is nice for climbing up those hills when your legs are done.

I don't have anything else to add to the answers that other posters have provided.
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Old 12-12-11, 10:03 PM
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I'm looking for my next big challenge.
Well - the "challenge" is to determine whether you really value and enjoy riding a bike as far and as "hard or fast" as you can. Most of your questions require that you experience long distance cycling situations to determine your own relative satisfaction and performance levels for each situation.

While your questions suggest a highly motivated individual as well as an organized mind - only riding a bicycle for a very long time and using various strategies and equipment will provide your answers. There is no substitute for experience.
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Old 12-13-11, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by DGlenday View Post
Terminology:

What the heck is the difference between a "randonee" and a "brevet"? Are the terms used interchangeably?
A randonnee is the event.

A brevet is the card you get signed at controls.

In North America, for some reason, they call randonnees brevets. Not sure why. But in other parts of the world (including here in Australia) they are randonnees.
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Old 12-13-11, 08:07 AM
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You apparently live in Frederick, MD ... join the DC Randonneurs ... a high percentage of their rides seem to start from Frederick.

Joining The DC-crew will allow you to see and ask and be involved and get your answers from people that can see you.

If the bike fits, ride it.
I think Cranium hit a nail on the head: only cycling long distances will inform you whether you actually want to cycle long distances, and the pace you want to do it at.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
So, as Homey and others have noted, one can go from nothing to quite-far in not-much-time.
I probably should comment that Robert was and is quite an excellent LD runner -- his last Boston Marathon was only a few weeks before his first adult bicycle ride -- obviously, he came to cycling quite fit.

Last edited by skiffrun; 12-13-11 at 08:09 AM. Reason: improved formatting
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Old 12-13-11, 12:36 PM
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From the RUSA website:

"brevet (bruh vay) - Literally, the word means "certificate", "patent", or "diploma" in French. In "randonneuring", it means two things: certification of having successfully done a randonné, --indicated by a small numbered sticker placed on a completed brevet card --, as well as, by extension the long-distance event itself (at least 200 kilometers in length). Completing a successful brevet means one's ride has been certified and registered in France, and the rider's name is added to the roll of honor, going all the way back to 1921. These challenging rides can also entitle the rider to enter longer events such as Paris-Brest-Paris or Boston-Montréal-Boston. As used in the "randonneuring" world, the terms brevet and randonnée are often interchangeable, but in common cycling usage, a randonnée might be considered to be less structured or formal than a brevet.

"randonnée (rahn doe nay) - A long ramble in the countryside, by foot or bicycle. In common cycling usage, it means a touring ride, often somewhat strenuous, at least compared to commuting or running errands around town. In the United States 100-mile "century" and 200-mile "double century" club rides would be considered somewhat similar to the French events, but compared to an official randonneur event, they lack the strict time controls. To be precise, one could go for a low-key randonnée or ramble, or it could be on a formal randonnée like Paris-Brest-Paris. On the other hand, a brevet would always have time controls."

I was just looking on the Audax UK website to see how they did things. I see there, they generally refer to the card as a "brevet card", less often as a "brevet". However, the rides themselves are always referred to as rides, events, etc., "randonee" seems not to be used so much.

The Randonneurs Mondiaux site has a history here, written by Robert Lepertel, former president of ACP.
http://www.lesrandonneursmondiaux.org/rmhistory2.html
In there, he seems to use "brevet" interchangeably for the event and for the card:
The event:
"hill climb brevets"
"70 years of ACP open-speed brevets"
"by comparison with the 90 hours allowed for 1200 km brevets"
"birth of the 2000-km brevets to welcome the year 2000. While there were only three such events..."

The card:
"44 randonneurs earned the brevet"
"one invoice at year's end for ACP brevets, medals, RM dues"
And less frequently uses randonnee:
"to create and develop the long distance randonnée"
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Last edited by StephenH; 12-13-11 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 12-13-11, 02:22 PM
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ride whatever bike you have. my father bought me a bike when I was 13 and I finished an entire SR series on it. 15 years later, I finally upgraded. My father during PBP wished he wouldn't have borrowed my uncle's rivendell, but rather had his tri bike. I couldn't imagine riding anything else than the bike I was on.

I did my first Brevet in Sept 2010, it was a 300k. And I completed 2 1200k's this year. Ragbrai and randonneuring don't have a lot in common, I have yet to see a beer slip n' slide along a brevet route.
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Old 12-13-11, 03:23 PM
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Just to add to the definition mix ... there are also audax events, permanents, populaires, and fleches.

My website has links to several randonneuring pages all in one place for further information:
http://www.machka.net/links.htm

But I'd recommend turning up for the next 200K randonnee/brevet/event in your area with whatever bicycle you have ... and seeing how it goes. When is the next one in your area?
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Old 12-13-11, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by skiffrun View Post
You apparently live in Frederick, MD ... join the DC Randonneurs ... a high percentage of their rides seem to start from Frederick.

Joining The DC-crew will allow you to see and ask and be involved and get your answers from people that can see you. ...
DGlenday: You just missed the last scheduled DC Randonneurs (DCR) ride for 2011. Our next scheduled ride is in March, but it's conceivable we'll put something in February -- the issue is just that the weather can be so iffy. Lots of people will be riding permanents in January and February. My suggestion: Join RUSA (so that you can ride permanents), join DCR before your first DCR ride (dcrand.org), join the DCR listserve (http://groups.google.com/group/dcrand) and watch for announcements of "Crista" rides (generally, unofficial training rides, but occasionally these are populaires or permanents). Also, you can post on the listserve that you want to ride a permanent and are trying to find fellow riders.

Look forward to seeing you on the road sometime.

Nick Bull
President, DC Randonneurs
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Old 12-13-11, 04:46 PM
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I always wanted to ride with the D.C. randos, but something always comes up.

The Pennsylvania Randonneurs have 200k rides all year. In the winter, they are held on less challenging terrain because of possible bad weather. There should be a ride on Jan. 1, although it's not up on the web page yet
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Old 12-13-11, 05:37 PM
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I too am starting in Randonneur because, as i have been informed by more experienced long distance riders, it is the cheepest per mile of the different diciplins of cycling
Bike: I ride a touring Bike She sits at 39 pounds with lights and two water bottles.
Gearing: a triple with a 28/34 low gear and a 48/11 high but i am at 260 lbs and old(er)
Training off the bike. Yoga http://www.youtube.com/user/yogatic And i use a trainer in front of videos
http://vimeo.com/20452432
http://vimeo.com/20492595

And to see if you are paying attention I like to jump off cliffs http://vimeo.com/18150336 (NOT!)

Lighting http://www.bikemania.biz/FoxFury_PRO...ry_500-001.htm
http://www.ebay.com/itm/SSC-P7-1200-...item27b36b0eb8
Clothing: Safety vest http://www.walls.com/mens/work-wear/...-2-safety-vest

I run thorn resistant tubes

The most difficult part so far was to get a saddle that would allow me to ride 100 miles. The next part was getting cycling cloths that worked. Along with being hit by a pickup truck and some dangerous health problem I am ready get back on the road.
I hope to get to the Texas 600 in March to do a 100 or look into the 200mile out and back.
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Old 12-13-11, 07:27 PM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I always wanted to ride with the D.C. randos, but something always comes up.

The Pennsylvania Randonneurs have 200k rides all year. In the winter, they are held on less challenging terrain because of possible bad weather. There should be a ride on Jan. 1, although it's not up on the web page yet
I think there are plenty of Permanent opportunities in MD, PA and northern VA in the next couple months, but if one really has their heart set on a brevet in January, Tony Goodnight will do brevets out of Salisbury, NC three times in January. (click here for link to Tony's site and schedule)

I had figured he'd being those January brevets from Lumberton again this year. Well, at least starting from Salisbury there will be at least some stuff that is not completely flat (which is what you get with the Lumberton brevets -- the wind can be nasty on those, though).

And I'm confident that some will be travelling from at least as far as Ohio to do a January brevet or two in Florida.
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Old 12-13-11, 10:25 PM
  #18  
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So many helpful answers - many, many thanks! I'm bookmarking this thread for later reference.


Bike:

Originally Posted by The Octopus View Post
Bike: There is no consensus at all.
From the above, and all the other posts, I gather that the consensus seems to be that there is no consensus.

I'll keep riding my current bike and will enjoy the effortless speed it provides, and when it's shaken my bones to dust, I'll think again. And - the budget may have opened up by then.

Put it this way: I saw precious few examples of my bike on RAGBRAI. But if I go to a criterium, I see tons of people riding it.


Training - off the bike:

Sounds like I may be on the right track (basic core and leg exercises, followed by cardio). I understand the Shermer's neck thing - and will ask a trainer at the gym what exercises I can do. I've also asked a cycling buddy who is a chiropractor and holds a senior position at one of the biggest chiropractic schools - and hope he'll come back with suggestions.


Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
Ride your bike, there is no substitute...
I understand this. But there will be many days when I can't ride, but can get to my 24/7 gym - and on those days I think it makes sense to do something rather than nothing.


Lighting:

Again, apparently no consensus. I'll look up the suggestons listed, and meantime, I'll scoot down to my LBS amd see what's in stock.

And BTW - I'm getting an early start: My local club does a weekly night ride, which I will be joining tomorrow. I've always loved riding in the dark, but would not do it alone for fear of traffic. But doing it with a group (tomorrow) will be pretty cool.


Gearing:

Originally Posted by The Octopus View Post
You're hitting all the controversial highlights here, amigo.
That wasn't intentional

Seems a triple is the most popular choice, followed by a compact. I'll stick with my compact for now, but might see if I can get a cassette with different gearing (i.e. both higher and lower gearing than I have at the moment). If that isn't possible, and if my current gearing becomes a problem, I'll think again...

Originally Posted by The Octopus View Post
How good of a climber are you? What do you weigh? Knee issues? Like to race? How much stuff are you carrying on the bike? I don't need the answers to those questions, but you do.
Climber: Not good. It's the area I need to focus on most in my training.
Weight / age: 165 / 54
Knees: Fine. I've had (minor) issues, which plagued me in my mountain climbing. But I overcame that by strengthening them with squats in the gym - which also built up the cartilege and the bone density. Now - I'm careful, but don't have any problems.
Racing: I haven't raced, but wouldn't mind entering races sometime soon. But not a crit. (Truth in advertising: When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I was a serious and mildly successful racer. But I didn't ride more than 50 miles in the subsequent 30 years, and only (re)started cycling last April.)
Carrying: Dunno - I'll only know that when I start randonneuring.


Terminology:

Thanks for the clarifications. I think (still confusing, but I think I'll get it...)


RAAM:

Interesting to see so much RAAM experience here - I am genuinely in awe!

Originally Posted by c3hamby View Post
If you are thinking of doing RAAM read this book.
I bought it, thanks (It's on my Nook, and on my phone - which I use to listen to music, and to read books, while doing cardio at the gym).

Originally Posted by The Octopus View Post
My understanding is that for other than solo RAAM, you don't need to qualify. Pay your money, show up, and race.
Thanks for clearing up my misunderstanding.

Originally Posted by The Octopus View Post
...I've done a number of 1200Ks and I'd think that 8-man RAAM would be a walk in the park compared to a 1200K. What would make 8-man RAAM tough would be the logistics and dollars.
Again - thanks. Both of those statements confirms my suspicions.

Originally Posted by thebulls View Post
DGlenday: You just missed the last scheduled DC Randonneurs (DCR) ride for 2011.
I wouldn't have been ready for it - I'll need a month or two of heavy training to build up to a 200.

Originally Posted by thebulls View Post
join DCR before your first DCR ride (dcrand.org), join the DCR listserve
I'm ahead of you, Nick - I joined DCRAND on Sunday. I look forward to meeting you on a ride early in the new year. (BTW - check your E-Mails.)

I've also joined RUSA (thanks for the link drmweaver2), and will study that site in more detail.



The posts above contain numerous links. I had read several before starting this thread, I've read some of those listed above, and I look forward to reading the rest in the next few days.

Thanks again for your valuable input!
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Old 12-14-11, 01:24 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
My website has links to several randonneuring pages all in one place for further information:
http://www.machka.net/links.htm
BTW - if you're looking for challenges, you've mentioned Randonneuring and the RAAM, but there are lots of others out there too. My Links page above not only has links to Randonneuring and the RAAM, but also to 24-hour races, and a whole bunch of others.
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Old 12-14-11, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
BTW - if you're looking for challenges, you've mentioned Randonneuring and the RAAM, but there are lots of others out there too. My Links page above not only has links to Randonneuring and the RAAM, but also to 24-hour races, and a whole bunch of others.
Charlene, I'd been reading parts of your web site before starting this thread, and thanks to your links, have found a few events that definitely pique my interest.


Many Thanks!
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Old 12-20-11, 12:56 PM
  #21  
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Gearing:

Whatever works for you (which is pretty much the answer to most of your questions, as well as being a non-answer).

What works for me (so far), is a compact double with a wide-range cassette - 50/34 and 12-32. My other bike has a triple 48/38/28 with a 11-28, which also works. I can't move fast enough to stay upright with gearing much lower than a 1-to-1 ratio anyway, so I haven't considered the ultra-low triples that some people love. My philosophy is to figure out your low gear first, and figure out the rest from that. On long rides, I seldom worry that I spin out at 35+mph (or 40, or whatever my top gear is), but I do worry about making it up the other side of the hill that got me going that fast.
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