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How is a Brevet different from a Double Century?(36 posts)

How is a Brevet different from a Double Century?Dog
Mar 20, 2001 6:04 AM
Other than distances, how is a Brevet run differently from a double century? I see they have checkpoints, etc., but is support the same? Here are the rules I've been looking at: and , but they don't explain much about what really goes on.

Are the people who do these rides generally different from the double century groups -- faster, slower, more serious, etc?

Thanks for any input.

Doug Sloan
Fresno, CA
Brevet infoBipedZed
Mar 20, 2001 6:12 AM
Oh, thanksDog
Mar 20, 2001 6:16 AM
BTW, have you done some? I'm curious about the kinds of people at these things.

Mar 20, 2001 6:22 AM
No, I'm just very proficient at searching the web. ;-) From what I've read I gather randonneurs range from grizzly bearded touring types (Sheldon Brown) to ultra-endurance fast RAAM type riders. Probably a lot more Sheldon Brown types. Paris-Brest-Paris appears to be the holy grail.
Let's just say ...Humma Hah
Mar 20, 2001 8:38 AM
... I'm seriously thinking about entering the cruiser in 200 and 300 kilometer brevets next spring (I suspect that's about its limit). The allowed times are adequate for me to finish those, on flatter routes.

The sites I've seen say typical brevets are "self-supporting", with the checkpoints typically in stores. You buy your own supplies at these points. This keeps the entry fees down on these runs.

They have a curious rule requiring the riders to wear a high-visibility vest. It should be easy to spot brevet riders!
That may be toughDog
Mar 20, 2001 9:11 AM
The brevets appear to have maximum time limits, and I doubt anyone could meet them on a single speed cruiser. Remember that the time limits are total time, not just riding time (part of the reason I always think in terms of total time, as that's the reality of these types of events). Nonetheless, it would be fun to try.

I'm now thinking seriously of doing the Furnace Creek 508 (, if I can line up the support. Looking at the results, I think I could at least be in the top half.

Those time limits are VERY old!HH
Mar 20, 2001 10:12 AM
Brevets are evidently slaves to tradition, and that tradition goes back to their being run on dirt roads. Maybe even fixed-gear. They have not changed the time limits to reflect pavement. I've checked the available time on the two shorter formats. I can definitely do the 200k (at least, I can if it is not mountainous). I'll need lights to finish a 300k, but I intend to do a 160-mile solo run in either May or June, so its not that much further that my present target -- a serious challenge, to be sure, but not impossible.

I might, however, come into the finish to find a severely bored and annoyed timekeeper, who could have gone home hours earlier but for me.

Any further would be a problem. The bike is too slow to allow time to eat and sleep. If I push past 300k, it'll be new bike time for sure.

If I'm back in Virginia next spring, there's a series that start in Warrenton, practically my back yard, and the terrain there is not too bad.
Oops, I was thinking of miles, not kilometersDog
Mar 20, 2001 10:53 AM
One of the time limits for 200k is 13.5 hours; I was thinking 200 miles, and I'd be hard pressed to think anyone could do 200 miles that fast on a single speed cruiser. So, that's only what, 124 miles in 13.5 hours? You're right, that should be easy.

Go for it!


P.S. All this has had me thinking, despite a thousand reasons not to because other things going on in my life, of attempting RAAM. I've wanted to for years, and I'm not getting any younger, you know? No way I'd be competitive, but just to finish...
Yeah, about 9.4 mph overall will do it ...Humma Hah
Mar 20, 2001 11:18 AM
... I just double-checked the times and distances on the Randoneers USA website and the fastest required time is about 9.32 mph. I've done 130 and 140 mile rides, the slowest of which, overall time, was quick enough to finish a 200 km with some to spare, and I was woefully untrained for that one. Even my pathetic blown-knee pace at Solvang would have been fast enough.

At my church, when I was but a teen, we had an old fellow in a wheelchair, may have been in his 90's, who found out I rode a bicycle and told me proudly that he rode in his youth, as well. I recall being unimpressed when he told me he could average 10 mph on some long cross-country event (probably a century or brevet), but I was woefully unaware at the time of how hard that was back then.

My hat is off to him now. One day I'm going to try to do a dirt century on a singlespeed or fixie, just to get an idea of what it was like when you had to be a Real Man to ride these things.
Actually we avg 14-16Ixiz
Mar 20, 2001 11:48 AM
We try to ride a 6-7 hour century pace on flats and have plenty of time to spare. There are people of course that believe if you have more than 30 min after finishing before the actual cutoff time then you went too fast.

Dont forget stops - food and drinks, pee breaks and repairing old clunkers.

There are a few riders in our group that ride a fix gear bike and they finish a 200k in less than 9 hours
Our 200k has 8000ft of climbing
and our 600k has 22000 ft of climbing so the 9.3 mph pace seems like a challenge, especially the last 100-150k after not sleeping for 20 hours and on powerbars and pb&j and gatorade....
seems like fun huh
Oh, I have no doubt ...Humma Hah
Mar 20, 2001 12:15 PM
... that the typical rider will be MUCH faster. On a sufficiently flat East Coast run I could possibly hold about 13-14 mph for 200 km. I've done so, in fact, over 140 miles with about 2000 ft of altitude gain. If 22,000 ft of gain is required, the run's WAY too tough for me. I'm good for maybe 5000-6000 feet in a day, and I'm done.

I know I can do reasonably flat 200 km (by experience ... I've done it solo in less than the allowed time). I think I can do 300, but I'll need lights to finish. I have serious doubts I can do 400 without a faster bike. I'm quite confident the longer rides are absolutely beyond my capabilities on the cruiser -- no time to eat or sleep with my bike being so slow.

As for reliability -- I've done three centuries since last September, several other rides, many training rides. The bike was in dreadful condition a couple of years ago, but is now stone-axe reliable, and finishes runs with no problems, not even flats.
Have you seen Hah
Mar 20, 2001 11:35 AM
That's Randoneers USA's website. I was able to find the Warrenton series thru their links. They list some series which are otherwise hard to find, and also have the official rules.
Yup, I'm getting psychedDog
Mar 20, 2001 12:21 PM
Let's see, I just need to get my mileage up to 800 miles per week, save $6,000, and talk 4 or 5 friends into giving 2 weeks of their lives to crew. Hmm, that's not too hard, is it? ;-)

Crew? Check the rules ...Humma Hah
Mar 20, 2001 1:14 PM
... I don't think you're supposed to have a support crew. You can ride in a paceline, but I believe the idea is you get support only at the designated stops (I'd guess its OK to buy tubes from LBS's along the way).
Mar 20, 2001 1:16 PM
Oh, I was talking about RAAM and Furnace Creek 508. I'm dreaming...

Doug "Yes, I'm obsessed" Sloan
Under 6 days!?? I'd be happy to finish under 30!Humma Hah
Mar 20, 2001 4:48 PM
Durn, 5 days, 16 hours??? I drove my truck out here a couple of years ago, Va to SoCal, took me about a day less than that time.

I'm not sure their distance, say its 3000 miles. 25 mph gives 120 hours, or 5 days exactly. Them boys was haulin' arse to come anywhere close to that figure. I trust they take turns riding? This smacks of an old velodrome race format called the "Six-day", originally ridden by single riders, whose health was often shattered by the effort. Later, it became a tag-team sport.

I have this fantasy about taking the hard way back to Virginia in a year or so. Call it 3000 miles at 100 miles a day, and that would be a pipe dream. Really, 5 days a week would be good, and I'd have to be in your kind of shape to average 100 a day.
That was the teamDog
Mar 20, 2001 5:14 PM
The team competition came in under 6 days; I believe the solo (no drafting) record is around 8 days. I'm thinking 11.

No kidding!!!!!JBergland
Mar 21, 2001 7:50 AM
A high school classmate and I are planning to do the Minnesota Boarder-to-Boarder in Fall 2002.
Day 1 100 mile bike
Day 2 100 mile bike
Day 3 50 mile run
Day 4 50 mile canoe

Teams can consist of 2, 3 & 4 person teams. The course is marked and teams are given maps. One meal is provided per day and lodging is reserved each night. Everything else is self supported. My friend and I are having a tough time coming up with ANYONE that would be willing to take time off from work, be away from family, etc. and put up with the two of us for a week. Not an easy request. 'Support' like that is not easy to come by!!
Just got 2 guys committedDog
Mar 21, 2001 7:59 AM
My Brother and his friend are in for the 508 in October and RAAM next June, if I qualify.

Now, just need a motorhome, another bike (timetrial type bike), and about 40,000 miles of saddle time.

Lease the motorhome ...Humma Hah
Mar 21, 2001 10:12 AM
Most motorhomes just sit parked for years being run a few weeks a year, depreciating. Consider leasing one for just the time you need, then you don't ugly-up the neighborhood with one, and save your capital for bikes. In my motorcycling days, some of the guys had them with "garages" on the rear.
I am one of these weird ridersIXIZ
Mar 20, 2001 10:48 AM
My website
under journey / brevet
Those are the GA brevet series course profile
and I will try to qualify for the second time this year for a 1200km ride from Davis to goose lake and back (total climbing 26000ft) in 90 hrs

There is also another 1200km this year in Boston (BMB) which i completed last year (my first 1200km) which has 35000 ft of climbing.
Mar 20, 2001 10:55 AM
You ever thought about RAAM?

Mar 20, 2001 10:57 AM
Doug you are a trouble maker
I hate to start thinking competition because i know that if i start i hate to be in the last few. I like to enjoy my saddle time not the other way around
race vs. finishDog
Mar 20, 2001 1:10 PM
I'd think maybe a quarter to half the field is in it to win, but there must be many (the other half?) who know darn well they can't win, and are doing it merely to finish, but finish respectably. That's the vast majority of us for most of these events, isn't it?

Doug "OK to be an also ran" Sloan
I'm planning on doing that series this yearCartman
Mar 20, 2001 11:02 AM
well, at least starting it. I don't think I'll do the BMB, but I'm going to do the 200K, 300K, 400K, and possibly rhe 600K. I should be ready for the first one in May, as I will have just completed a 5 day charity ride from Boston to Washington D.C.
time on vs. off bike?Dog
Mar 22, 2001 2:07 PM
When you've done the longer than 24 hour rides, typically how long do you spend off the bike each day? 4 hours sounds reasonable to me, but of course, the more you are riding, the faster you get there...

re: How is a Brevet different from a Double Century?IXIZ
Mar 20, 2001 10:55 AM
It greaty depends ont he group of riders
We normally enjoy the scenery and ride a 6-7 hour century speed but sometimes the terrain makes it challenging. We eat talk and chat all the way sometimes but there are always a few that causes trouble and start pushing the pace and like all other events there is a little competition in all of us that wont let a challenge go by without partaking.

The harder of the 200 , 300 , 400 and 600 series is the 400k
Because you dont have time to really sleep in order to complete it in the time limit. The 600 you can actually sleep for 4 hours if you are efficient in getting to sleep and back on the bike (which I did last two years) in fact we had breakfast, lunch and snacks at waffle house.
How do you train??Craig
Mar 20, 2001 6:52 PM
How do you go about training for something like this? Sustained high mile rides, sprints, or what? I'm going to be doing a north to south ride across the US in about a year and I'm just beginning my training. I'm looking for any advice that anybody has! Thanks.
Info hereDog
Mar 20, 2001 7:03 PM
Basically, ride lots. You need some speedwork and hill work, but most, lots of miles just below anaerobic threshold.

Hey, you made it! Welcome aboard!Humma Hah
Mar 20, 2001 7:07 PM
I'll let the experts give the good stuff -- the 1500-miler you're planning is over my head for now. Tell them your present training base.

I ride centuries (100-mile rides) and the occasional longer solo effort. There's nothing wrong with trying those on your MTB for now -- lots of people do centuries on MTB's, they're perfectly capable, just somewhat slower and draggier to ride than a roadbike. I do my centuries on a cruiser. If you can do 50 miles, you can probably do a hundred. If you want to do a hundred at a race pace, you may need to train several hundred miles a week, but you can do your first century at a more modest pace with remarkably little training, and that would certainly be a good start.

One key to distance riding is learning what kind of nutrition you can absorb on a long ride. Gels? Powerbars? Pastries? Cookies? Fruit? Energy drinks? You'll probably burn somewhere above 600 calories per hour, you've got maybe 3000 or so in your system with a fresh, carb-loaded start (that't won't be true on day 2), so you really need to keep the calories coming in if you're going to do long endurance rides.
Hey, you made it! Welcome aboard!Craig
Mar 21, 2001 4:21 AM
My next question was going to be about the nutrition. I browsed through a couple of cycling stores and there a seemingly hundereds of different types of things. How do I decide what to use? To me probably the easiest way to start would be to get an energy drink and put it in the waterbottle instead of H2O. Anybody have any specific recommendations? Thanks!
try lots of thingsDog
Mar 21, 2001 8:05 AM
The secret to endurance nutrition is to try several things under similar conditions. What works during a 60 mile ride isn't at all necessarily what works at 190 miles, or well behyond that. You get tired, hot, dehydrated, fatigued, etc., you can't hold down the same types of things. Keep track of what worked and what didn't.

For me, I like things not too sweet, a little protein and fat, no fiber (GI distress), and plenty of salts. Liquids stay down better than solids. Take your mix with you, and supplement with what you can get on the way. Bananas are almost the universal primary food of choice -- carbs, plus potassium, easy to eat, biodegradeable wrapper...

Try several things and see what you think. This is very individualized, so that's really about all you can do.

Peanut M&M's ...Humma Hah
Mar 21, 2001 12:35 PM
Candy is readily available, normally not on my diet, but a valid source of dense calories, in a pinch, especially if you've gotten bonked. Kerry Irons has a bar he recommends.

On the Tour de Palm Springs, they had large bowls full of Peanut M&M's, being refilled from -- bags doesn't do 'em justice, these were more like sacks. We downed these by the handful. They're largely protein and fat, very satisfying eaten with a banana and the other usual goodies.
Mar 21, 2001 9:07 AM
Check out There are also a couple of good articles on the UltraCycling web site --
Ensure, huh?Humma Hah
Mar 21, 2001 10:59 AM
The UltraCycling site seems to like Ensure, which looks like its probably a better performance drink than an old-people's suppliment (due to the high fat content).

It should be really easy to pick that up at any major grocery store, great for self-supported rides like brevets or solos. But I wonder ... should I use "Just For Men Beards" to cover the white in my beard? Will people think I'm drinking it because I'm old? Will they card me to see if I'm old enough?

I think maybe I need to give that a try ... I never would have considered it otherwise.
Boost, tooDog
Mar 21, 2001 11:35 AM
I use Boost; just seems to taste better; extremely concentrated source of carbs, fat (4g), protein, plus vitamins and minerals.