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I'm thinking I'd like to start doing some brevets or other really long rides next year. In the past I've done up to 150 miles in a day and 4 centuries in a row while touring so I feel like I've got a solid base.

I'm thinking I'd love to work up to a 300K or even 600K next year. What advice would be people have to make the leap? I've got a pretty comfy bike with dynamo lights from commuting and free good about riding at night. What are the little things that you didn't know when you jumped from long rides to really long rides? Thanks!
 

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You're good to go

The nice thing about the brevet series is you can ride into it. I've told the people that I ride with, if you can do a century, you can do 200k. If you can do 200k, you can do 300k, etc. up through the 600k. That's essentially how I completed a series last year. I can't speak for a 1000k or a 1200k, as I haven't tried those distances.

These really long rides are more mental that physical. That, and it pays to make sure you've done everything you can before the ride to avoid a mechanical. Don't ride stupid light parts, make sure the cables, tires, wheels are sound, etc. The time allowances are such that as long as you keep the pedals turning, you're probably going to finish under the limit. When you are on the bike for 20+ hours, you are likely to go through at least one period where you are miserable and want to stop. The key is to keep riding, it will pass.

I'm not a particularly strong rider, and I didn't "train" for the series, but I was able to finish one. I would have felt better at the end of the 400 and 600k rides if I had dropped 15 lbs and done more really long rides, but I still finished, and I really enjoyed the experience.

Good luck.

kg1
 

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If your event requires night riding and support. It will cost you twice what you think it's going to in terms of money and planning to keep them awake, feed and alive. Honestly they are the real athletes. Running support can be more difficult than turning peddles.
 

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Start easy, then taper off?

Scott:

As kg1 says so accurately, the brevet series trains you to work up in distance, by physically, mentally, and logistically (clothing, equipment, feeding, etc.) teaching you how to make the progressively longer distances.

The 200 and 300 km brevets are long day rides. The 400 is pretty much as far as you ever have to ride in 24 hours, even in 1200 km grand randonnees like PBP. It's hard, but when you do one of those puppies, you can do any of them, in my opinion. The 600 is a 400, an overnight in a motel, and then a 200, at least the way I do them (some go straight through; not me). You have ridden 150 miles in a day and had consecutive-day centuries, so these rides won't be anything new to you.

The 1000 and 1200 km events are harder, mostly because of the logistics of either carrying all your clothing and other stuff for 3 or 4 days, or (if you can con someone into doing it) having support at the controles (checkpoints). I did a very well-planned 1000 brevet in Colorado last summer which ended each day's loop (300-400 km) at the same motel, so it was very practical for a non-supported riders. Most of the big 1200 randonnees, like PBP, have sleeping and eating locations built into the route.

As kg1 says, dependability and robustness of equipment is key. Over the past 12 years of brevet riding, I have gravitated more and more towards "retro" and touring type parts, like bar-end shifters, touring-type puncture-resistant tires (e.g., Conti Touring Plus), handlebar bags, fenders, and other stuff that, when I was younger, I swore I would never use. But, that's just me. Lots of folks ride road racing steeds and do fine.

One of the biggest changes that I have made over the years is that I go a bit slower, but then again, I am now in my mid-50s (it's not my bike's fault). I simply don't worry about going fast and having a PR time in each brevet, as I did a dozen years ago. I just stay under the time limit and have fun. I have observed that more good riders get into trouble going too fast than going too slow. Find a pace you like, not necessarily what someone else likes.

Commuting and touring are excellent paths toward randonneuring, in my opinion. You are used to riding in all weather conditions, in light and dark, and even when you really don't at all feel like doing it. You know what clothing to wear, how to carry stuff, how to fix your bike, and how to keep yourself fueled up with food and drink -- you are all set! Let us know about your triumphs "en route" in next spring's brevet series, Scott.

Bonne chance, et bonne route!

Dale
 

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kg1. I've told the people that I ride with said:
the problem with that theory is that body parts that take wear like feet, hands, your bum and even ears don't recover as fast as the body.

skin takes a while to regenerate. longer rides many times wear areas down faster and you don't notice as you are in the numb zone for so long.

i rode with a blister on my foot all day once and didn't know until i stopped riding. got the blister cause my feet got wet and it felt good to kool them down. the hard skin turned soft and came right off.


it takes time to build up certain areas. doing it slow works better. 100k is much different than 1000k. not as much nutritionally, but more from a callous point of view.
 

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I second Dales point on how commuting and touring are excellent preparation for a super rando series.

Based on your current mileage you should have no problem doing a double century. And in my opinion, if you can complete a double century the slower pace requirements of a brevet should allow you to complete up to 600k.

To that point, one of the stronger riders in the SR series I completed last year was a daily single speed commuter. He had an engine that just would not stop.

If you commute every day, I assume that you have your contact points figured out. As you build distance in your SR series you will find that certain changes make sense. For me raising my handlebar height 1 centimeter was critical to comfort at the 600k distance.

The other things that you will have to figure out is nutrition, where to store the myriad of stuff you end up bringing with you etc.

So in short, you should be in a good place to easily complete the distances you listed. And if you choose, you should be able to complete a full SR series (200,300,400,600).

--Colin
 
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