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Riding My First Brevet - Advice from you exp. Randos welcome(22 posts)

Riding My First Brevet - Advice from you exp. Randos welcomeScot_Gore
Apr 15, 2003 6:40 PM
Dale, J, Lon, others, veteran advice for a first time 200K Brevet Rider please.

Ride is May 3rd in rural Minnesota. It's an out and back, but that's about all I know. If goes East it's flat, if it goes West it's hilly, but frankly, I have no idea. Control points will be at conv. stores.

This will be the longest I've ever ridden in one day. That said, I believe I can handle the distance and time in the saddle. No ride buddies, just me and whoever I meet at the event. I'll be a couple of hours drive from home, so I wasn't planning on carrying a phone. Whatever happens, I'll need to find my own way back.

Ride begins at 8:00am, so no night riding involved.

Here's the support gear I plan to carry:
4 CO2 16 gram treaded
1 CO2 Inflator Head
3 700-23/25 Long Stem Presta Valve Tubes
1 Patch Kit
1 Crank Bros Speed Lever
1 700X23 Foldable Spec. Turbo Tire
1 Presta to Schrader Adapter
1 Valve Extender
1 Spoke Wrench
1 My Old 80s Era Multi Tool - Allen Wrenches & Screw Drivers
1 Derailer Cable
1 Brake Cable
4 Shimano Chain Pins
1 Park Chain Breaker Tool
1/4 Roll Electrical Tape
Rain gear (depending on forecast)
Water bottles
Fig Newtons
Digi Cam

Plan is to use the stores for supplemental food.

Thanks in Advance
re: Riding My First Brevet - Advice from you exp. Randos welcomeTrent in WA
Apr 15, 2003 7:35 PM

Your list looks pretty standard, with one exception: I'd really recommend some flavor of pump as well. If you get a clutch of flats, or if you flub an inflation 85 weary miles into the ride, you might have a really exciting last leg in. Also, why not carry a lightweight light, just in case? The last time I did a 200K where I was so sure that I wouldn't do any night riding that I didn't take a spare light (I use a Schmidt / Lumotec dynohub setup), I managed to break the leads on my headlight doing a tire change. It was a slow leak that I couldn't locate and had been going flat for about thirty miles. Into a headwind. Then, it managed to leak flat again. So I was way behind my schedule, lightless, and looking at at least an hour of night riding. I had to call my wife to meet me at the last control with my wussy little commuting headlight. Still, it was enough to get me to the end of the ride.

Just remember that the point of a brevet is, first and foremost, finishing, and that if it doesn't have at least some low-grade epic tendencies, you'll get bored talking about it later. Have fun, and bon route!

consider pumpcyclopathic
Apr 16, 2003 3:15 AM
I usually don't get flats (courtesy of Perf Forte kevlars) but on my last brevet I had 3 consequent flats in ~1mi. Pump may take more time, but it is more practical IMHO.

If you replace cables regularly spare cables are overkill, but what the hack they don't take much space. Bring a few zip ties and use duct tape instead electric (you can boot cut tire with duct tape). And don't forget $20 to buy food/water or bump a ride home good luck.


PS. also I prefer to use shorts and short sleeve jersey with arm/leg warmers. It gives you wider temp range. If it gets too hot you can roll them down or take off and tie around top tube/handlebars.
Why the Presta to Schrader Adapter?nmTower
Apr 16, 2003 4:07 AM
You can pump up at the local gas station (nm)Scot_Gore
Apr 16, 2003 5:55 AM
or with a bike pump from western auto (nm)JS Haiku Shop
Apr 16, 2003 6:04 AM
And risk blowing a tube?Tower
Apr 16, 2003 6:17 AM
I thought it was a no-no to do that. Could blow a tube, etc.

But I guess it's better than nothing, eh?
No risk if done properly.slide13
Apr 16, 2003 6:35 AM
As long as you know that you are using a compressed air source that will put out a lot of air really quickly and you treat it that way it's fine. I've used them many times without a single problem.
Bring a good attitude.MB1
Apr 16, 2003 5:15 AM
Don't leave the cell phone at home. On this weekends 200K a friend of ours got sick and called a cab (a $55 ride).

My feeling about brevets is that there is nothing special about them-it is just another ride. We don't add anything to our load that we don't normally carry anyway on the theory that if we didn't feel the need to bring it on our normal ride we are unlikely to need it on a brevet.

Of course our normal Saturday ride is at least 200k without support.

BTW Scot, totally off subject e-mail me with a mailing address I'll send a photo CD.
I got bouncedScot_Gore
Apr 16, 2003 6:01 AM
MB1, just bounced back as "Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender".

Home e-mail is

This will work.Scot_Gore
Apr 16, 2003 8:58 AM
Available to anyone with iternet access in any event, what am I trying to protect :-)

lots of beerJS Haiku Shop
Apr 16, 2003 5:38 AM
"Dale, J, Lon, others"

wow, i've only done a couple brevets, Scot. that's pretty serious company. having said that, i've picked up a few things on "long" non-brevet rides over the last couple years.

"Ride begins at 8:00am, so no night riding involved."

LOL! bring at least a 4aa headlight and small taillight. never know how long 125 miles will take, plus bad weather always makes me appreciate lights. just because there's a 13:30 time limit doesn't mean you will beat it.

"If goes East it's flat..."

Illinois is "flat", meaning expect gentle breezes or sudden slight climate changes. FWIW.

Re: your list...

I carried a tire on the 200k, didn't carry one on the 300k, and it's a toss-up on the 400k & 600k. As these begin 4 hours from home, and cover roads that don't come any closer to a bike shop than the start town, I prefer to carry everything possibly needed. My list:

* topeak alien (all standard tools, including spoke wrenches, pedal spindle-sized wrench, tire tools, and chain breaker)
* brake & derailleur cable
* space blanket and chemical warmers if weather is an issue
* lights, reflective gear, clear glasses, mini maglite
* medication
* id, credit card, insurance card, cash
* cellphone (some miles between farms in IL)
* 3 tubes, patch kit, 3 tire boots made from old tires
* co2 pump and too many cartridges
* frame pump
* small btl chain lube on longer rides or in "epic" conditions
* extra clothing as needed
* food, water, drink powder, and tums
* plastic grocery bags and ziploc baggies
* zipties, electrical tape, safety pins, small velcro straps
* sunscreen
* an ink pen
* a partridge in a pear tree

there's other stuff i will include when packing if i'm feeling particularly compulsive--can't recall right now. if i'm close enough to home to call for a bail-out, i'll ditch some of that stuff. contary to popular opinion and chiding on this board and on the road, i actually pack minimally on 50-75 milers, and carry almost nothing on <50 milers.

also, i prefer to require only water on the road, and carry the rest. on 125 saturday, i didn't stop for anything but pictures. very seldom do i stop for a ham sandwich and a pack of pink sno-balls, but it's happened.

i'll echo MB1's subject line: have a good attitude. few things are as irritating as someone signing up for and participating in a "challenging" ride, and whining for the last half. in fact, few things on rides irritate me--though whining does, consistently. starting with and keeping a positive attitude is the only way to finish many "character building" rides.

most replies to century and other advice end with, "don't forget to have fun". so far my brevet experiences have not been fun. i don't think that's really the point. they've bene about as enjoyable as marathon dental work. YMMV.

Are you still on for the 27th as well?filtersweep
Apr 16, 2003 6:18 AM
You're nuts! ;)

I hope the weather co-operates with you... Good luck!
I'm going to do the 68 on the Ironman TCBC Ride, It'll be a good warm up (nm)Scot_Gore
Apr 16, 2003 6:49 AM
I'm going to do the 68 on the Ironman TCBC Ride, It'll be a good warm up (nm)filtersweep
Apr 16, 2003 7:18 AM
I was planning the 100- didn't realize they were completely different routes- or that they expect 6000 people ?!!?!

I might end up on the 68- my back hasn't been doing so well- I spent so much time in the gym over the winter that I didn't think it would be any big deal to be riding again. Cardio-wise it hasn't, but taking several months off and my SLR doesn't feel as comfortable as it did last fall, and my aching back (from overdoing it "just a bit" ).
Did not see 'arc welder' on your gear list. Are you sure?Dale Brigham
Apr 16, 2003 6:27 AM
Just kidding, Scot. Your list looks good. If I might, I'll chime in with a few gentle suggestions.

I concur with my more experienced brethren that a pump (a mini-pump that fastens on a bottle cage would be OK) is a good idea. Hey, I had NEVER had a puncture in a randonnee or brevet since I started doing these crazy things in '98, and I had three of 'em last Saturday. You'd hate to run out of CO2. You just never know...

I must admit my bias that I am not a CO2 guy at all, so I'd ditch the cartridges and inflator from my list if I were you (if you found a pump you like), but hey, that's your call. I have a frame-fit Silca on my Steelman (fits under the top tube), and it worked wonderfully last Saturday. Zefal HPX pumps are the gold standard for frame-fits (Blackburn pumps are also good, I'm sure); they just are not as pretty as a chrome Silca.

I like having 3 spare tubes on board, which you note having on your list. The folding tire on your list is also a good item. I'll probably carry one on the 400K and 600K brevets.

Although, last Saturday, I was able to successfully 'boot' my cut tire casing with Park adhesive ("no glue") patches, I have added a 3/4" wide roll of duct tape to my seat pack to use for that purpose. I smashed the roll flat, and it fits nicely in my littel (overstuffed) Jandd bag, along with 3 tubes, 2 tire levers, Topeak Alien tool (in pouch), spoke wrench, Park patches, Presta/Schraeder valve adapter (just in case a gas station air hose is your last resort for filling a tire), and a couple of SRAM chain power links (the removable links, in case I need to replace same or regular links).

One thing I brought along on the 300K and did not use, but should have, is some chamois cream. I had a few little sample packs of some product ("Butt Balm"?) in my "main" ziplock bag that goes in the middle jersey pocket, but forgot to use it at the turnaround controle. Sitting here in my office this morning, I can tell you that I really wish I had done so! I have looked in stores for little tubes of something slippery and soothing for "down there," but have not yet found anything that looks good. I'll keep looking. Anybody out there have a product you can recommend (that's NOT Vaseline!)?

Best of Luck and Smooth Roads Ahead for you, Scot.
Or, as they say in PBP,
Bonne Chance et Bon Route!

re: bag balm etc.JS Haiku Shop
Apr 16, 2003 6:43 AM
you can get a large tin of bag balm from the druggist or in the pet food section of walmart. use one of the following methods:

* scoop out a generous portion and spoon (LOL) into a snack-sized ziploc.

* fill a small prescription pill bottle--use the bottle as the scoop. keep upright in hot weather, and/or store in a ziploc.

* fill a film container, see "pill bottle"

bag balm was my only salavation last year and the year before. however, after riding the brooks saddle (since july), bag balm no more, up to 300k. note that most of this was in cold weather, though i did ride ~8 hours last weekend in 75-87*F without any problems (and no salve). YMMV.
These have come in handy: cleat screws...Lon Norder
Apr 16, 2003 11:27 AM
I've lost cleat screws in the past - usually after changing a cleat. A buddy of mine lost two on the 200k brevet, and the screws I had maybe saved his ride.

I also like to carry a little duct tape (wound around a mini pump) and some superglue. I've used this combo to patch tubes and blown tires. 1001 uses for duct tape. I've never carried extra tires.

As others suggested, I'd carry a small headlight - even if its something like a 3 LED Cateye (my emergency light of choice) - and rear blinky. You never know...

Other than that, it sounds like you're well prepared. Just adopt a never quit attitude and have fun.
THAT's what i forgot to mention!JS Haiku Shop
Apr 16, 2003 11:36 AM
cleats, screws, and a seatpost collar or binder bolt. things that could end a ride. i have both (collar on the surly) in my kit.
End a ride? No way!Lon Norder
Apr 16, 2003 1:24 PM
A real randonneur would ride one-legged while standing and finish the ride.
oh yeah, i forgot--that's what the duct tape is used for, eh? nmJS Haiku Shop
Apr 17, 2003 5:25 AM
Thanks to all for all the great advice, Scot (nm)Scot_Gore
Apr 16, 2003 7:44 PM