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STL 400k brevet numbers. Will let Dale provide narrative.(15 posts)

STL 400k brevet numbers. Will let Dale provide narrative.JS Haiku Shop
Apr 28, 2003 6:57 AM
Alternate title:

"16 hours 47 minutes with Dale Brigham!"

depart 5:00 AM
arrive 9:47 PM
distance ridden 250.26 miles
total time 16h 47m
time on bike 14h 02m
time off bike 2h 45m
on bike avg 17.8 mph
overall avg 14.9 mph

cumulative average on the bike speeds noted at each checkpoint:

control 1, 7:35 AM, 51.5 miles, 21 mph
control 2, 9:15 AM, 78.0 miles, 19.9 mph
control 3, 12:20 PM, 123.9 miles, 19.2 mph
control 4, 3:45 PM, 172.1 miles, 18.4 mph
control 5, 7:00 PM, 213.7 miles, 18.4 mph
control 6, 9:47 PM, 249.8 miles, 17.8 mph


* The first 50 miles was tantamount to a club race.

* First 100 miles on-bike time: 5 hours 8 minutes.

* Dale's bike is beautiful beyond words. The pic of his Steelman doesn't come close to doing it justice. It's almost a Molteni orange, but glitters in sunlight. Beee-yootiful!!! 100% rideable art, without a doubt.

* From his posts and e-mails, I expected Dale would be an older guy, middleweight (LOL), soft around the edges--this due to his depth of knowledge and well-spoken air (experience!). Au contraire! Dale is young, Super-GQ, lean and very fit, and a stroooong rider. Friendly as all get-out, and !muy considerate! of his fellow pedalers.

* Dale: no computer, shiny wristwatch.

* My tallest hurdle on these rides has been my own nagging, negative outlook. Dale is very charismatic and highly positive, and his optimism and cheer are contagious. I view being able to share this time with Dale as one of the best gifts I've received in many years. An amazing person! I hope to ride with him again soon.

* Dale was accompanied by four friends from his hometown, and--lucky for us--one of them was a ringer. I think he was a Cat 1/former State Champion, if I remember what Dale's other friend told me in passing. His "ringer" pulled from mile 52 to mile 150, at least. I felt on this ride like it took 150 miles to get my own diesel engine warmed up. Strange, that.

Quotes from the ride:

J: "Wow, I've never seen the sunrise and sunset with the same group of people in the same day."

Dale: "Yeah, without a bong."


Dale to J, at mile 242: "I think we've dropped our comrades."


No snow or ice, a good course with some rollers at the southernmost point, and amazing company. Riding brevets in a group is so much more enjoyable--and efficient--than plugging along alone, out in the wind.

Merci, Dale!

The mind can conquer...........Len J
Apr 28, 2003 7:05 AM
what the body cannot!

Ah overcoming self inflicted doubts........Sounds like you got more than one gift.

Congratulations....give yourself a hearty pat on the back (if you can).

So when is the 600K?


Ps. PBP her comes J!!!
soonJS Haiku Shop
Apr 28, 2003 7:21 AM
600k is in a few weeks. Still on the fence about riding through or sleeping...we'll see. I'm looking foward to not making that drive again.

Surprisingly no ill effects. Slept 8 hours, drove home, did yard work and went out for dinner. I was devastated after the 300k--those gentle breezes. This was a walk in the park in comparison, all due to Dale's group.

PBP? No. Maybe BMB next year. We'll see how the 600k goes. I'm considering the MV24 this year as my "big ride".

I am impressedPaulCL
Apr 28, 2003 8:06 AM
That is one heck of a ride. On the bike average of nearly 18mph for 240 miles!! Whoa. I'm sure the group helped alot - beyond the pulls, more for encouragement.

..and the "bong" comment was classic!

Allez JS Haiku Shop !! Allez!! Allez!!
400 K of fun, fun, fun! Part 1 (caution: long and tedious!)Dale Brigham
Apr 28, 2003 9:19 AM
First, let me say right off the bat that J (of J's Haiku Shop fame) is a BIG FAT LIAR, at least regarding my appearance and riding ability. In direct contrast to what he wrote above, I'm old, fat, slow, and grouchy. "GQ"? -- maybe the GQ in Bizarro world, where old ugly guys get hot chicks.

Just to set the record straight, J is just the nicest guy you could ever meet, fit as all get-out, witty, handsome, considerate, and a very strong randonneur. He reminds me and my comrades of our friend Ed, now of Lacey, WA, who is also a super randonneur. It was a pleasure to ride in J's company.

OK, on to the saga. Disclaimer: Many of the events depicted herein may be far from the truth due to personal biases, misrecollections, and the author's delusional state.

At about 6 p.m. Friday evening, just back at home in Columbia from a meeting in Kansas City, I hop in an old Dodge van headed for the Illinois with my local rando comrades, Arj, Jen, and Danny. We get to our rather shabby motel near Edwardsville, IL, check in, and go into town, searching for sustenance. Finding only two places to dine in "downtown" Ed-ville, we opt for the one with the most noise (sorority reunion?) and smoke. Really, we made a poor choice, but lived to tell. Back to said motel, and in bed by 11.

The alarm chimes Saturday morning at 3 a.m. (the worst part of doing brevets for me), followed by dressing, eating in room, and checking out of motel. We get to the brevet start, which is a nicely-lit courthouse parking lot. I immediately figure out which rando is J after spying the pea-green Surly with the Carradice saddle bag. We meet and greet, and then get back to registering and final prep.

After a brief riders meeting convened by the Regional Brevet Administator, Aaron Rumple (a very strong rando and a great RBA), we happy few (about 18-20, by my count) are off en groupe at 5 a.m. sharp. Needless to say, it's pitch dark, and our taillights blaze and twinkle, a red-eyed dragon slipping through the night. It's pretty nippy, too; about 45 degrees. My arm and knee warmers, reflective wind vest, and undershirt, besides my bib shors and jersey, do little to blunt the cold. Toes and fingers soon numb out.

After clearing town, we are on a road typical of most of the ones we will have all day and night: generally well-paved, 2-lane, rural lanes. The group sorts itself out, and the "club race" J alluded to above begins. What I term "mindless aggression" characterizes the style of the lead riders. The pace varies in fits and starts, hardly ever being smoothly constant. This is pretty standard for brevets, and though I grumble about it, I'd like our quartet from Columbia to stay in this lead bunch, at least until the first controle (checkpoint). The sky lightens within the hour, and the sun rises, a russet disk, about 6 a.m.

As the group settles in, I get a chance to chat with J, and we exchange life stories. His son, a 3-year old, has just graduated toilet training academy, for which J is understandably proud (and grateful). I blather on about anything and nothing, and J is too polite to tell me to shut the *%#@ up.

J's rig, the Surly Cross-Check seen on this forum, is perfectly set up for brevets. It all looks very Euro to me, what with the lovely Carradice Nelson Longflap and the other accoutrements. J rides like a seasoned pro, looking strong and relaxed on a well-fitting machine.

We hit the first controle (83 km) about 7:30, after a city limit sign sprint by the boys in front of the bunch. I defer to their greater enthusiasm, and sit up. We park our bikes beside the convenience store designated as the controle for the town, stock up on food and drink, and get our brevet cards validated.

For those of you who are not dumb enough to ride brevets, a note about the controle procedures. All brevet riders carry, along with a route map and cue (direction) sheet, a brevet card, which
400 K of fun, fun, fun! Part 1 (continued)Dale Brigham
Apr 28, 2003 9:22 AM
Part 1, continued.

For those of you who are not dumb enough to ride brevets, a note about the controle procedures. All brevet riders carry, along with a route map and cue (direction) sheet, a brevet card, which is the official record that the rider submits at the completion of the brevet. The brevet card stipulates the location of the controles, at what times the controles "open" and "close" (i.e., the times when you have to be at that point in the brevet), and has spaces for each controle location to enter the arrival time and initial the card (thereby, validating the rider's completion of the ride to that point). Typically, controles for U.S. brevets are convenience stores, and the cashier/store attendent is requested to "autograph" (that's what I always ask them, which brings a smile from most of them) the card at the appropriate place.

As I knew they would, the "fast guys" in our group rush into the controle/store, get their brevet cards filled out, frantically fill their bottles, scarf down a goo or two, and jump back onto their bikes. Having done that (and hated it), our quintet, now joined by J, take our time, eat some "real food" (I snagged a great little egg n' sausage patty biscuit), and adjust our clothing (clear glasses off; sunglasses on; knee warmers off).

Back on the road, we happy few, we band of brothers (Arj, Dan, J, and me) and sister (Jen) churn along, aided by a friendly tailwind. Conversation and spirits are bright as we speed a mere 43 km to our second controle. We are joined there by our sixth comrade, Matt from St. Louis. Matt rode with my three fellow Columbian randos in the 200 and 300 K brevets (I rode the Kansas City brevets for those distances), so it was like old home week. We eat (good pastries!), visit the restrooms (always a welcome event), fill our bottles (I'm a store-bought Gatorade guy, but my companions seem to like to mix their own drinks from powders they bring along), and get back on the road.

The fields are bright green with winter wheat looking like a giant's astroturf across the lanscape, and the sky is a cloudless robin's-egg blue. Wind is fairly light, and for now, largely at our backs. We have a perfect group, the roads are good, traffic is light, natives seem friendly (nobody has tried to kill us yet), and life is good.

We swing into the mid-point control (200 km) at about half past noon, feeling fat and happy, accompanied by a group of local boys on BMX bikes who tag along and ask lots of questions. After our control duties are done, we encamp at a sandwich shop, beside which J and I find a spot of grassy shade, where we lunch.

All is well. We are half done in less than 8 hours. That's a good pace for me. I'm figuring on a 16 to 17 hour completion time, being one to count the chickens before the hens have laid the eggs. Time will tell.

End of Part 1.
Stay tuned for Part 2, "The Dark Late Afternoon of My Wretched Soul."

Thanks for tuning in. Ya'll drive safely, ya'hear!

re: 400 K of fun, fun, fun!cyclopathic
Apr 28, 2003 10:29 AM
pretty good time, was it mostly flat?
Except for the hills, yes, it was flat. (nm)Dale Brigham
Apr 28, 2003 10:41 AM
^^ universal truth ^^ (nm)JS Haiku Shop
Apr 28, 2003 10:43 AM
DC area brevets=5000' climbing per 100 miles.MB1
Apr 28, 2003 10:51 AM
At least that is what the organizer tries to include. In reality the local brevets are rarely that easy.
"Assassins!"Dale Brigham
Apr 28, 2003 11:48 AM
That is what 1910 Tour de France winner Octave Lapize hissed to Tour organizer Henri Desgranges as he surmounted the summit of the Col de Tourmalet during the first TdF that included the Pyrenees mountains. If I were to to ride the brevets MB1 descibes above, I would say the same to that sadistic RBA (after I caught my breath).

Seriously, after riding the 200 and 300 K brevets near Kansas City, the course profiles of which resembled seismographs recorded near Mt. St. Helens before she blew her top, I was ready for more gentle terrain for the 400K. Be assured that I and my gang of randos will be back in hilly country for the 600 K brevet south of Kansas City on Memorial Day weekend.

re: "Assassins!"cyclopathic
Apr 29, 2003 2:56 AM

you should really try out Quadzilla. Bob Rich whom you probably met at Kansas, was complaining on how hilly it is when we rode together for a short while.
NJ area brevets = more climbingcyclopathic
Apr 29, 2003 2:45 AM
at least for 200 and 300k, they run 7600' and 11,500' according to my Specialized Pro. No major climb, mostly short/steep, steeper then DC but not as bad as Fingerlakes.

DC 400k is hardly doable in 16hr, even in good weather. That 2500'/4.5mi climb out of Shippensburg, new for '02 adds at least 1/2hr.
Is it mostly flat ? Are you the fastest people ?PeterRider
Apr 28, 2003 1:23 PM
Your times look to me VERY fast. 2 weeks ago on the San Luis Obispo brevet, I think the fastest guy did about 18hours ! ok, we had rain and wind, but still, I am really impressed... how much climbing did you have on the 400K ?

OK, I'll confess -- we were riding motorcycles! (nm)Dale Brigham
Apr 28, 2003 4:59 PM

1) It was all downhill and we had a 30 mph tailwind.

2) We had motors deviously hidden in our saddlepacks (RE J's Carradice -- he had a small block Chevy V-8 in there).

3) Mario Cipollini lent us his lead out guys for the day.

4) We are all on EPO and crystal meth.

5) The 5 guys ahead of us finished in 14:07, more than one and a half hours before we did.

6) It was mainly flat, with some moderate rollers here and there, and the wind was not too bad.

7) One of our crew is a current Cat. I on the road, and he did the lion's share at the front.

8) We made it all up; none of us actually rides a bike (explains why there are no photos).

Choose any 3 of the above.