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A failed attempt on the 600km (ride report with pictures)(17 posts)

A failed attempt on the 600km (ride report with pictures)PeterRider
May 6, 2003 4:31 PM
I failed on the 600km Davis brevet this week-end. Did only 400km. During the night, I was like seasick, had to stop every mile and rest, so I dropped, slept in the grass, under the rain and an emergency blanket.

so... I'll give another try to the 600km in San Luis Obispo in 2 weeks.

the full ride report with pictures is on

Below: before a long climb, everybody takes a leak and removes some layers.

re: A failed attempt on the 600km (ride report with pictures)rrjc5488
May 6, 2003 4:48 PM
Hey man, its ok that you didnt make it. 400 KM is incredibly respectable! but will your body be fully recovered in two weeks to do it again? i'd wait a little while longer, but thats just me. good luck on your next journey!
ONLY 400k. That's still a LONG way.Lon Norder
May 6, 2003 5:10 PM
We've all had bad days like that. Those ultra rides can be pure torture if you're not 100% healthy. I probably would have Sagged in rather than sleeping out in the rain and riding back. That showed real strength.

Hey, we might have been riding together. I recognize the calfee tandem and your Caltech buddies (they're fast!) at the start of Silverado Trail. I was putting on my vest and headlamp there.

I think you'll like the SLO Bike Club 600k course. I've ridden it all in pieces. That section of Highway 1 is one of the most dramatic on earth. The inland part should be nice too after all the rain we've been getting. And I like the idea of a morning start with a sleepover in the middle. Just don't do anything silly like ride a Devil Mountain Double the week before. :+)
Are you the person we asked to take our picture ? :-)PeterRider
May 6, 2003 8:50 PM
I remember, we were a bunch of people putting lights and vests on at that intersection... then my friends arrived and started pulling a "train", but it was going too fast and I couldn't stay with it.

DMD was silly for sure, but it was nice ! I've met a few people who were on it. Like Fred on his Mootz with rear suspension. Maybe you've seen him, he has a taillight that is impossible to miss, very visible with blue and red LEDs.

Very visible is an understatement...Lon Norder
May 7, 2003 8:43 AM
Fred's taillight was so bright it was blinding. I kept trying to stay ahead of him, or else it would ruin my night vision. I have to admit it's a very effective antiwheelsucker device.

Nope, it wasn't me who took your picture.
Great report, as always.PseuZQ
May 6, 2003 6:51 PM
That sounds truly epic, and fun in perverse way. Good luck in SLO!
re: A failed attempt on the 600km (ride report with pictures)cyclopathic
May 7, 2003 6:01 AM

try to ride it as 2 rides. Get shared hotel room, warm bath and good sleep ~250mi into ride. I usually ride 600 ~35hr which isn't great but 7hr of sleep well worth it, really.
I totally agree with Cyclopathic: 600K as 2 rides.Dale Brigham
May 7, 2003 8:21 AM

No failure on your part at all. Call it a reconnaissance mission. Getting to the starting line for a brevet is the hardest part. You did that once (for the 600K); you can do it again.

I agree with other posts here that you should try again at the next available brevet in your area (SLO?), but I'd go with Cyclopathic's tactical recommendations: do the 600K as two rides, with the first "day" longer than the second. I have done exactly one 600 K in my lifetime (pre-'99 PBP), so I'm no expert, but it worked (exactly once) for me, and I hope it works again.

On Memorial Day weekend, I'll be doing the Kansas City area 600K brevet, and we will plan on riding about 420K the first day (5 a.m Saturday start), and 180K the second. We will overnight in a motel, get as much sleep as possible, get back on the bikes at a civilized hour (8 a.m. or so), and hope to roll into Grandview (the start/finish) sometime around the 36 hour mark (5 p.m. Sunday).

Just as a point of reference, this is almost exactly what you would have to do in PBP if you (wisely, IMHO) choose the 84-hour group start. That group starts at 5 a.m. Tuesday, and the first day's goal for me (and most other randos) is Loudeac, about 440K of riding. To make the "turnaround" (600K mark) at Brest by the 37 hr:40 min cut-off, I must get back on the bike the next morning and ride the 160K (100 miles) to Brest, arriving before 6:40 p.m. Wednesday. Thus, doing the 600K in two days is good practice for PBP. Of course, in PBP, I will have to head back from Brest to Loudeac that same evening, but that's another story.

Pierre, I know you will have a successful 600K brevet. Best of luck, and I hope to see you at PBP.

hey Dalecyclopathic
May 7, 2003 9:03 AM
when are you planning to get to Loudeac and how long it took you in '99, with good weather?

I as you plan 84hr start. Worry about getting place to sleep at control, it is always crowded and headwinds going into Brest. You can save 1-2hr if you do most of Brest to Loudeac in daylight, I'd rather make back to Loudeac before sunset.
Start to Loudeac in '99 PBP: a long freaking time!Dale Brigham
May 7, 2003 9:53 AM

We trudged into Loudeac about 2 a.m. (21 hours from start) on Wednesday in the '99 PBP. Yes, a whopping 22 kph (13.6 mph) for the roughly 465 km (the '99 course was about 25-30 km "long" each way out and back) from the start (Guyancourt) to Loudeac.

I'm hoping for a less sluggardly pace this year (IF I make it -- don't want to jinx the 600K brevet), for several reasons (riding with a faster bunch, more familiar with controles, support staff [wife] better "trained"), but hey, it could happen again. You correctly point out that we had near perfect weather in '99, although we had a bit of a headwind, and it did get a mite warm mid-day Tuesday (you could almost see the Scandi's melting into the tarmac).

We showered and slept (for about 3 hours a night) at a B&B at a farm just (15-20 km) out of Loudeac both out and back, and we hope to do so again, if available. As you point out, the Loudeac controle is a mess (crowded, no showers, lousy toilets), maybe the worst of the bunch.

If you can ride on to Carhaix before stopping, then more power to you. I'm not up for that. If I'm not correctly understanding your plan, CP, please set me straight. I'm always wanting to hear other strategies for PBP. I got lucky once with PBP, but I might not be that fortunate again. It is truly an adventure into the unknown, even for us anciens.

re: plancyclopathic
May 8, 2003 7:18 AM
it's similar to yours, so we may end up riding together.

Day One: I want to get to Loudeac as early as possible; ideally ~10pm. Get good sleep and take off early to avoid headwinds. If I can do all nighter and get to Brest I'd do that if not I'd crash and sleep at control Carhaix, Loudeac or anywhere in-between.

Day Two: get back to Loudeac before sunset

the rest I am gonna take easy, stop, eat, make pictures, drink wine etc. day 1 will require good pace but it's doable if I catch slower tandems in first 100-150mi.
So, you're planning on sleeping at the controls?Lon Norder
May 8, 2003 9:12 AM
And not reserving lodging on course like Dale? Hmmm, I'm having trouble deciding which way to go on this one.
I am still undesidedcyclopathic
May 8, 2003 1:33 PM
I will have better idea after 600, which I intend to ride through for first time.

From what I've heard Loudeac is a lousy place to sleep. On other hand there're anciens who told me it isn't worth to get hotel, you may and up loosing 1hr+ looking for it in the dark. Plus you get too comfortable, trouble to get out of bed, etc.

On BMB I've slept in Middlebury on first and second night, and 6hr rest in first night wasn't negative I've got back with guys who rode w/o sleep. Now if I can only make to Carhaix..
The problem with a 4 PM start ...Lon Norder
May 7, 2003 8:54 AM
Say you ride the first 250 miles in 18 hours. That puts you at your motel at 10 AM. Even if they let you check in that early, every hour that you sleep means another hour you have to ride in the dark.
Agree 100%, Lon! SLO 600K starts at 4 AM, 05/17Dale Brigham
May 7, 2003 9:14 AM

I could not agree more. BTW, that's one of the main reasons to go with the 84-hour group at PBP -- the 5 a.m. start time, as compared to the 90-hour group's 10 p.m. start time. Minimizing riding in the dark is always my goal. Starting a ride with an all-nighter is not my idea of fun.

From the SLO brevet website:

"Registration opens at 3:30 AM (Saturday, May 17) and the ride begins at 4:00 AM SHARP. You will have 40 hours to finish this ride (midnight on Sunday, May 18)."

Does that math look fishy to you? I calculate 40 hours as ending at 8 p.m. Sunday, NOT midnight. Am I innumerate?

Yeah, ya gotta ride Highway 1 during the day...Lon Norder
May 7, 2003 10:15 AM
or else you'd miss the awesome views.

Nope, your math is correct.
Blame the cats . . .ms
May 7, 2003 7:02 AM
Although I do not want to start a flame war about cats (I don't like them generally, but there are a few I can tolerate), being exposed to something to which you are allergic followed by a night in the van probably did not help your "preparation." In any event, I enjoyed your pictures as always and wish you luck in SLO.