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Lizzie will ride free
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So at 5:00 Saturday morning, about 60 riders rolled out of North Bend, WA and got on I-90 East. Some "rolled" a bit faster than others, as there are some guys took off like I was standing still.

That's OK, my goal wasn't to put in a fast time or anything. I was a little lower on the hierarchy of needs. I was hoping to survive and make the time cutoff of 27 hours. You see, this was to be my longest ride ever, and for good measure we would throw in a few hills. Then we would put in a pinch of record breaking heat.

The route can be found here:

http://www.seattlerandonneur.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=238&Itemid=26

It is basically a counter clockwise circle going over three Mt. passes Snoqualmie, Blewett, and Stevens. Thanks to my Google-fu, I had read a few reports that clued me in to the fact that once the 3 passes are over, the ride is only half done, and the significant steep climbing added on before heading south would be interesting. I can't imagine how much this ride would mess with you if you thought you were "done" after the last pass.

It's funny what you remember, but this scene just cracked me up:

There were about 15 smelly randonneurs sitting in a Subway in Leavenworth in the early afternoon. Leavenworth is pretty remote, and if you are there on a bike, you must be on your way somewhere.

One nice local says, "where are you guys riding?"

Rando guy describes the route

Local guy, "how many days are you guys taking to do that?"

Rando guy,"one."

Me, "and I'm going to use all of it."

Don't forget to tip your waitress.

My only mechanical almost messed me up. I flatted a Gatorskin, and I busted one of my tire levers getting it off. I've changed a few thousand tires in my prior life as a shop rat, but I was out of luck. I really had a sinking feeling of, "well now what?" I got it off eventually, but it made me worry for the next 150 miles. I'll have steel levers next time. You have a lot of time to think about improvisation on a ride this long, and I figured I could try a quick release lever or even my brake lever as a last resort, but fortunately I didn't need to try this.

The weather added to the fun. It has been cold and rainy here in Seattle. In fact, I bought a new pair of gloves Friday because I had not yet used short fingered gloves on the bike this year. We hit the mid '90's for a while, and I struggled to stay hydrated. Fortunately it cooled off late in the day, and I bounced back, but I could tell I was close to being in trouble.

On Steven's pass I got to experience the randonneurs paradox Kent Peterson describes for a few hours. You see I was 12 miles from the top, and going 12 miles an hour. Even I can do the math. An hour later I was 6 miles from the top going 6 miles per hour. Let's just say this went on for a long long time.

The scenery was stunning. We had a full moon all night and not a drop of rain. Everything was snow covered, and the rivers were roaring with all the snow melt. The riders and support were fantastic. I rolled in to the final control in at 3:30 AM. Tired and happy.
 

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Lizzie will ride free
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3,156 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
oarsman said:
Well done. I have done two 400s: hard stuff. Did you use the Waterford?
Thanks. I used the old Raleigh Pro. The Waterford isn't quite together yet. I think I will pull the needed parts over to the Waterford this week, so that I can have a few miles on it before the 600 in three weeks. Wait a minute. Did I just decide I'm doing the next one? ;-)

You guys would not believe how hungry and thirsty I have been for the last 22 hours.
 

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Lizzie will ride free
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Dave Hickey said:
Amazing.....My helmet is off to you...... fantastic job
BTW, Dave, if you glanced at this thinking the title implied a fixed gear report, you will be happy to know there were more than a handful of guys that rode this fixed. Some of the faster guys were fixed and far ahead of me. At the stop before the last pass one guy asks the group, "hey what is this next stretch like? Does it level off before the pass or just climb?" He takes out the old 15mm and flips his wheel.
 

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The web is a MUT
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Very nice. I've driven cars, trucks, and motorcycles over all three of those passes when I used to live out there in that area, but I've never bicycled them. Was never comfortable cycling along I-90, and could never imagine cycling Stevens pass. I might have to put this ride on my "some day" list.
 

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Lizzie will ride free
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
blackhat said:
+1 on what Hickey said. that is amazing. chapeau to you. what width gatorskins were you on?
I was on 23mm gatorskins. That's all I can fit on the current bike, but I'm going to 28s or 32s on the bike in the garage that I'll be switching to.
 

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Lizzie will ride free
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
ispoke said:
What gearing did you use? What seemed common for geared bikes?
I was riding a Sugino 26/36/48 with a 12/25 in the back. Gearing was all over the map. Most of the guys with geared bikes, and I would say that was 90% of the guys, had triples. The only doubles I saw were compact or old school compact. None of the guys riding my speed were doing much other than coasting as you got to the big end of the gearing. I used the full range of gears, yet I never wished I had any lower even though I was carrying a ton of stuff. I did spend a lot of time in my lowest gear.

It's possible that some of the very fast guys had conventional doubles, and there is no doubt they are strong enough, but I didn't see much of them after the on-ramp. The fast guys BTW, finished in just over 14 hours!

A few of the more experienced guys seem to have migrated to doubles with really big freewheels. This seems pretty reasonable.
 

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Congrats!

That's a great ride. SIR do brevets very well. Those passes are quite big. Thanks for the report. I like how you stumbled into thinking about doing the 600k. I think randos are like childbirth, particularly the longer ones. Time from the last one helps the decision to do the next... Looking forward to your next rando report.
 

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Lizzie will ride free
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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
thinkcooper said:
What's your training look like for this?
Well let's see, I've been building up to it. This is my fourth year back on the bike after not really riding since the late '80's. In the '70/'80's I rode a ton, but I was completely off the bike for years.

First year back I built up to a few not too hilly centuries.

Second year back I worked up to a 218 mile flat ride, a few hilly centuries, and RAMROD. (Ride around mt. Ranier one day 150 miles and 10000 feet)

Last year I pretty much trained enough to do RAMROD again, but I added in a fixed 200 mile ride and did a hilly century in November. I DNF'd an attempted 200 mile ride in the end of November.

This year, I've been trying to do increasingly long rides at least once a weekend and add hills or trainer perhaps 3-4 other days a week. There was a pretty hilly winter training series out here, and that made me go all winter. So before this ride, I did a handful of 120 mile rides, a 150, and a 200 mile ride so far this year. In the last couple of months, I've done some longish (60-100mile) rides at night mostly because that's the only time I can get away. I can't often commute to work, but when I can, I can get 40 miles in that way. There are 5-700' climbs out my back door, and I can do repeats (or even just one ride) on them after work.

I've done all my riding this year loaded with everything I would take on an unsupported 600K, so it's a bit different than what I'm used to.

It's quite interesting getting to these distances. You learn a lot about things that don't work well that are fine for shorter rides. I'm really focused on just chugging along right now, so I suppose I'm doing too much long slow distance, and I should be doing more intervals, but that's not what I'm after this year.

I tried to add in a little training on a rowing machine at work in the middle of the winter, but it seems like every time I hit the gym, I got a cold 2 days later, so I gave up on that.

I'm hoping to get back on the bike for a very short ride tomorrow and roll for a few days as easy as possible. As soon as I'm feeling "ready" I want to hit it hard so I can totally rest before the 600.

If I make it through the 600, can I get a personalized flamethrower picture? How about one of those lightweight wallets?
 

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Lizzie will ride free
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
PdxMark said:
I think randos are like childbirth, particularly the longer ones. Time from the last one helps the decision to do the next...
Thanks. I'm going to show this one to my wife...you should come up for one of the rides later in the year. The Mountain Populaire looks like silly fun.
 

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JP said:
If I make it through the 600, can I get a personalized flamethrower picture? How about one of those lightweight wallets?
No, no, no. As I think I mentioned some time ago, you have to do this first :) :

http://www.randonneurs.bc.ca/rocky/rm1200.html

I mean, now that you are about to do a 600, there can't be anything to doubling the distance.

Seriously, kudos on the 400 and plans for the 600. I have never done a 600. The only one I was going to do took place in a monsoon and I wimped out.
 

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In need of sock puppet
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JP said:
If I make it through the 600, can I get a personalized flamethrower picture? How about one of those lightweight wallets?
Duh. No. :D

Roebuck just sent a glorious image to me from the party - it might be a good candidate. I bet he could be talked into a reprint.

As for the wallets, I guess you missed the part about them being made out of space-age plastic, hence they are very valuable. I'll need to see something in the range of 625 to warrant a wallet.

Funny to hear about your path to today. It's not too different from mine, it's just taken me a lot longer to remember that doing distance rides is cool. I've been in a couple of road races that were in the 130 mile range, and back in the late 70's did some ~150 mile days with friends. But just this year, I've been bitten by the big ride bug and am finally sorted out for the Tahoe century on June 1st, followed by the Death Ride in July. I'll need me some hills.

Anyway, I'm digging the long rides like never before. Maybe it comes from bike commuting, maybe from facing mortality with a little dose of cancer - don't know for sure. But it's got me.

Your story's inspiring. Thanks JP!
 

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Lizzie will ride free
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3,156 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
thinkcooper said:
Duh. No. :D

But just this year, I've been bitten by the big ride bug and am finally sorted out for the Tahoe century on June 1st, followed by the Death Ride in July. I'll need me some hills.
Death ride has the best jerseys! Let us know when you earn that. I'm a sucker for a pin or a jersey.
 
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