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St. Louis 600k brevet ride report: DNF (nm)(60 posts)

St. Louis 600k brevet ride report: DNF (nm)JS Haiku Shop
May 27, 2003 4:48 AM
If it was easy it wouldn't be any fun at all.MB1
May 27, 2003 5:03 AM
Dude, you have stretched your limits so far in such a short time that it amazes me. You have done more in a couple of years than I did in my first 10 years of cycling.

So the point of the Saint Louis 600k for you is not the DNF but the fact that you started.

Now, relax and have some fun.

^^ wisdom ^^ (nm)JS Haiku Shop
May 27, 2003 6:48 AM
re: could you be more specific?cyclopathic
May 27, 2003 5:15 AM
your report even shorter then my 400k, what happened?
specificityJS Haiku Shop
May 27, 2003 5:54 AM
you asked for it.

around 15 lined up at 4 am start. took me 100 mostly flat miles to get warmed up (6 hr 40 min total time to 101 mile controle).

rode with my bud from the 300k, and four others, as a group of six. shared work first 100 miles, each taking 5-10 min pulls for the group. i'm the only one out of the group planning to ride straight through.

we sit down at diner around 100 mi and they talk me out of riding through the night alone (prom night, southern IL, bars closing, memorial weekend, etc.). we all recite ages and i'm youngest by 12 years (J=31). mistake, as i end up pulling most of next 100 miles.

from swarthy diner to overnight hotel/controle at mile 203 it's all up or down, and progressively taller and longer hills, developing into a few good climbs at the end. it rains a little.

mile 203 hotel/controle: strap on feedbag at golden arches, have a foster's lager, go to sleep. friend from 300k has roomie at hotel, but lets me sleep on floor in corner. go to sleep in wet lycra on carpet in tepid room 8:30 PM. wake up midnight shivering in meat locker. put on all clothes from carradice; they are all wet (wool socks, 2x jersey, 2x shorts, knee warmers, arm warmers, windvest, windjacket, long gloves). sleep/wake/sleep until 2:30 AM, wake up shivering & still wet, pack and rollout.

day 2 course, 170 more miles: 70 miles of hill, progressively difficult picking up where we left off last night (culminating with "Alto Pass"), then 100 miles north & east into wind. weatherman (and all last week said 50*-70* and overcast, very low chance of precip (<20%). start off early am groveling triple ring and 32 up nasty moster hills in cold rain, low 50*F and 10-12 mph winds. was there a sunrise? overheat uphills, freeze downhills, and never recovered from cold hotel room floor in wet superhero costume.

day 2 mile 50 controle (250 mile point overall) at mcdonald's in murfreesboro IL with 3 others--arrived 5 min outside of controle time window. gas station next dr, near horiz rain in sheets flooding parking lot, flags stiff in wind, teeth chattering, dripping rain on booth puddling black on floor. partner quits. other guy's partner goes on. other guy (i think orig founder of IL brevet series) calls wifey for extraction. wifey 90 min away in minivan. J on fence. J consider 120 more miles of character building, instead DNF & 2 hr ride back to car in warm van with other wussies.

day 1

202.58 miles
16.3 mph on bike avg
13.7 mph rando avg
14 h 50 min total time
12 h 22 min on bike
2 h 12 min off bike until overnight controle


4 AM day 1 to 7 AM day 2 = 27 hr
251.96 miles
16 h 9 min on bike
6 hr off bike "sleep"
5 hr off bike awake (most at overnight controle)

here's the upside:

got a good workout on heavy rig (43 lb with gear). ~5 hr more dark riding experience, including climbing/descending in rain. finished 400k within 27 hours (the 400k time limit)--but this was a 600k. finished another double with respectable pace. learned to trust instinct and compulsion rather than

would likely have finished if i'd brought fenders, rain jacket, weatherproof booties, helmet cover, drop bag for overnight controle, and better attitude.

-J (F@#$ IL)
good ride; rain sucks nmDougSloan
May 27, 2003 6:14 AM
May 27, 2003 6:27 AM
Like MB1 said, you started, which is more than many of us can say. You've done more than I could imagine right now, and surpassed my endeavors 10 fold since your "pre-Haiku" days. You're one of those people on this board that gets me out the door when it's been crappy outside. Which on the East Coast has been frequently, lately.

There are other 600K coming up, as evidenced by the report last Thursday. Maybe you can try one of those. You've been putting in a ton of miles. Maybe you need to "slow down" a little and come back stronger.

Like you said, at least you learned something from all this. Now you're ready to move on to the next endeavor with a better attitude.

Happy riding.

John L.
Great effort!dzrider
May 27, 2003 6:40 AM
Until you've tried riding for hours in the cold, wet and windy it's impossible to believe how difficult it is. If the physical demands aren't enough of a problem, the demoralization factor becomes immense. I had a dnf at a 300k last May. It was < 40 degrees and raining hard. I quit, feeling like a wimp, at the first controle. Two weeks later, on a beautiful day, I finished one with a tail wind. By my figuring you got a good one coming.
don't give upcyclopathic
May 27, 2003 9:07 AM
you can make PBP still.

A few survival tips:

plastic bags /available at any stop/ make good rain gear. Grossery bags make good booties and 50gal trashbags vest with a hood. Cut hole on side for head and 2 for arms and here you go. I always carry shower hat to cover helmet. And last tip you can dry jersey and arm/leg warmers in restroom using hand dryer: plug holes and blow hot air in. Been there, done it.

see you in Paris
NOT a small feat...and I'm sure you'll be back! (nm)jtferraro
May 27, 2003 9:27 AM
What did you learn? nmLen J
May 27, 2003 5:40 AM
What did you learn? nmJS Haiku Shop
May 27, 2003 5:55 AM
JS Haiku Shop 5/27/03 6:54am
May 27, 2003 6:27 AM
While you sort of implied this, I think on longer rides it's better to ignore your friends and do your own thing. They can drag you down, or conversely, get you going faster than you should.

Going to try again?

agreedJS Haiku Shop
May 27, 2003 6:42 AM
this year i've been gradually learning the ways of "riding my own ride" regardless of company. it works on all rides, too--not just long ones. i didn't quit because they quit, though--i quit because i was unprepared, and had a cramp between my ears.

i'll probably shoot for a ~400 mile score on the MV24 or Iowa 24 this year. that will suffice for a 370 mile brevet. unfortunately my ride tickets are all currently used, and i will not be returning to f#$%ing IL in 2 weeks for another 600k.

next year i hope to hold my own brevet series in memphis, as a regional brevet admin. we'll see if the powers that be will approve my bid in october. i'm afraid a failed series will be a black mark on my palmares. however, i do lead alot of rides, and am somewhat involved in the local cycling community.

planning on riding your own events?DougSloan
May 27, 2003 6:47 AM
usually not suggested -- btw

yes--half of them, if...JS Haiku Shop
May 27, 2003 6:53 AM
if i can swing 2x each brevet (8 events), i'd ride the first of each. the STL RBA rides his own, and only has one support person on one of the rides--a baggage shuttle driver on the 600k. otherwise, these are totally unsupported, follow-the-cue, on your honor rides. final checkpoint is a plastic box in a 24-hr public area in a police station.

i'd carry a cellphone and publish the # on route sheets. otherwise, riders are on their own. my plans do include a handful of secret controles spread across the rides, though, and there are a couple riders locally who've already indicated interest in helping put on a series.

I was amazed to read (here) and hear of many brevets that are run more like organized events, with support en route, food at controles, and rider tracking. the RUSA rulebook says no support between controles, and riders are expected to be fully self-sufficient. i'm all for the old skool way.

planning on riding your own events?Scot_Gore
May 27, 2003 1:20 PM
I rode with the organizer of my one Brevet. He rides his own rides. He said his main motivation is so he can qualify in his own backyard without having to travel 4+ hours. He's in rural Minnesota, so maybe he gets a little more slack than others with more qualifying options.

same here nmJS Haiku Shop
May 28, 2003 5:17 AM
IL sucks in the springKristin
May 27, 2003 7:08 AM
After June 1, IL is usually golden, though it can get kinda humid hot. Anything before June 1 will likely suck. We got lucky up in Chicago this weekend and had none of the bad weather that was forecast--my point being, that the weather we got was not the weather that was forecast. You'll get it, so hang in. Just be wise. There is a fine line between pursuing a goal and having a goal pursue you. Listen to your body and let it guide you. As long as you're looking at your computer, your brain can't be trusted with the decision making.
IL is glorius in the spring.Alex-in-Evanston
May 27, 2003 7:15 AM
Days in the 60's, cool nights. Bulbs come up, trees leaf out, jackets come off. Migratory birds start trickling in around April 1. Perennials start coming up, annuals go in. Spring rains - dog's feet get muddy, stay muddy all spring, but who cares. You spend all your free time outside.

IL sucks in August, IL sucks Nov-March. IL in the spring is awesome.

re: ILJS Haiku Shop
May 27, 2003 7:17 AM


A typical case of repressionKristin
May 27, 2003 7:39 AM
This is the brains way of protecting itself from trauma and its quite natural--especially among Chicagoans in May. Alexx has repressed most of April and May, because on those days it was sub-50F and often raining with winds gusting 50-60 MPH. (At least those were the days I was free to ride.) The temps sore to 70F in early March and them plumbet into the 50's for another 2 months. (One of mother natures cruelest tricks.) On April 27th, we needed 10 inches of rain to catch up and end our draught. The draught ended on April 30th. And I won't mention how many Robin's committed suicide this "spring".
dude... I was thinking of you. I was in your neck of the woods.funknuggets
May 27, 2003 6:43 AM
I was in your neck of the woods and while riding in St. Louis on Saturday, and seeing the rain all Saturday night into Sunday morning... was definitely thinking of you man.

I will say something else as well. I thought I was in heaven when I pulled into St. Louis and started seeing the "Share the Road" signs with a bike on it. I thought to myself... this is the town to be in. Then I pulled the bike out to ride and found nothing but some of the worst roads I have ridden in my life. It was like Paris-Roubaix on asphalt. Those signs are posted it seems every 50 feet, but I couldn't imagine another cyclist riding these roads. Sheeshe. Plus, another thing... I got way lost. It seems every other road in South County includes the word, "Ferry"... LeMay Ferry, Lin Ferry, Tesson Ferry... what the heck is that?

I did, however do a ride from Fenton to Washington which was pretty cool. Then I rode from Kingdom City to Columbia... which was pretty fun. Nonetheless, I appreciate your tenacity and dedication to the bike. I have no doubt the 600k is yours next time. Keep up the miles. Any word about Dale?

actually,JS Haiku Shop
May 27, 2003 6:46 AM
nothin' from Dale yet, but i'm hoping for a good report.

actually i've never ridden in MO. the STL series starts across the river in IL, and traverses sometimes acceptable and mostly chip-n-seal roads in southern IL. i've driven up from memphis for each ride (~650 miles RT).

i'd like to work with Spoke Wrench to put together a saturday gathering of RBR posters in STL. sounds like--if you know the area--there are some good rides to be had, and a few steeps, as well.

May 27, 2003 6:53 AM
I was under the impression you were from St. Louis from the discussions with Dale about the last brevet you rode. Sorry about that. Still, South County sucks...

Sorry about the DNF but fantastic mileage! I got just over that for the entire WEEK. You rock man. How about putting a haiku or two together about your weekend!!!

My condolences, JDale Brigham
May 27, 2003 8:17 AM

I think you had even worse weather than we had on MO's west coast. It's been awhile since I rode so much in the rain. It was the first time I ever had to ride in the rain in the dark past the 200 mile mark. Hope to never do it again.

We missed you, J. You would have made it if you had ridden with us. Arj pulled like a champ on day one (445 km), and I awoke on day 2 to help out into a persistent headwind. Dan-O sang songs and made friends among the convenience store locals ("We rode 275 mile yesterday, and we are doing 100 miles today" in a Gomer Pyle voice), Jennifer wore her famous Paola Pezzo gold shorts on day 2 (you have to see Jen to know what a morale booster that is for the group!), and I was my usual grumpy, hate-the-whole-f'ing-world, self.

We survived (35 hours, in total, with a 8 hour overnight stop), but not by much. We also had fabulous support at the latter controls (past 400K) by my wife, and we had beds to sleep in overnight. Next time, stick with us, and we will all make it together.

I'll post the whole story later, when I get time.


May 27, 2003 8:39 AM
gold shorts would have negated the extra driving.

why didn't you tell me?
The gold shorts -- You could even say they glow.Dale Brigham
May 27, 2003 8:53 AM

I had no idea she would bust out the heavy artillery on Sunday. Here we are gathered for the breakfast buffet at the Flaming Lantern in Butler, MO, and there are The Shorts, dazzling in color and shape.

They will be next worn by Jen in PBP on the last day. Arj is going to have to get a big stick to beat off the Jeans and Pierres who will swarm around her, like moths to a flame.

Seriously, we missed you and hope you will join us again.

I'll be looking for them too at finish linecyclopathic
May 27, 2003 9:17 AM
and I'll carry wine from last check in water bottles, is it a good starter? ;)
They are hard to miss!Dale Brigham
May 27, 2003 11:18 AM
We will be easy to spot on Friday afternoon, when we (hopefully), swing around the last traffic circle into the Gymnasium de Droites des Hommes (sp?). Arj, Jen, and Dan will be in Columbia Bike Club neon yellow jerseys, and I'll have on a USAC Development Camp jersey (red-white-blue). Jen will also have on The Gold Shorts.

I'll be emptying oil can-sized Kronenbergs (bought at the BP station across the circle) as fast as my wife can open and hand them to me. Bring your wine, and we will have a party!


sounds more like those gold shorts are hard to see. nmJS Haiku Shop
May 27, 2003 11:19 AM
speaking of winecyclopathic
May 28, 2003 4:14 AM
finish is dry, so I'd have to carry it from last check point. Unfortunately I have only 2 bottle mounts, and I'd need some water to finish off ride ;)
Camelback? nmKristin
May 28, 2003 5:45 AM
no, and thanks nocyclopathic
May 28, 2003 8:52 AM
that would mean I'd need to carry that thing on my shoulders for 750mi. I've done it on BMB, and that was the last time I did it. 8-)
Congrats Dale...Lon Norder
May 27, 2003 12:22 PM
35 hours is pretty damn fast considering the 8 hour sleep break.

Speaking of Paola Pezzo, we've met you know.
Thanks, Lon! Please tell your good friend Paola...Dale Brigham
May 27, 2003 1:04 PM
...that the 600K brevet route actually went through Paola, KS, which is about 40 miles SW of our start/finish, Grandview, MO (a south Kansas City suburb). The natives pronounce it "Pay-Ola," as in the record industry scandal. It was our first (and last) controle on the route.

Coincidence? I think not!

dude... I was thinking of you. I was in your neck of the woods.FTMD
May 27, 2003 8:09 AM
I hear ya on the Share the Road signs. They are usually on roads I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. Just venturing a guess here, but it sounds like you didn't have a guide to show you some of the good routes. The STL has some good riding, if you know the roads. Sorry to hear you didn't have a good experience. I am not, however, a south county hoosier, so I would have been just as lost as you were down there. Your comment on the all the Ferrys is hilarious b/c I make that same damn comment everytime I drive in the area. Heck, I get lost in my car down there much less on a bike. Check for the message board next time you visit and ask for some general routes in the area.
May 27, 2003 8:16 AM
Rock on, I appreciate that. I will check it out next time I come into St. Louis... which is about 3-4 times a year. Most of the time I do an out and back so that I dont get lost, but somehow ended up getting all turned around. I finally figured it out... but man... the roads were pretty harsh. Coming from Kansas City, that is a mouthful as our roads aren't the best either. I remember last time I was in St. Louis, I rode down to the Arch and Stadium and downtown, just to look around and got beat to death then too.

Thanks for the info. I don't want to steal JS's thunder on his post here... but thanks again.

I rarely learn anything from easy success.........Len J
May 27, 2003 7:53 AM
but I learn the most when I both commit myself & fall short.

You clearly have committed yourself, and reached farther than most people can visualize. As MB1 says....You tried. I'm sure it feels like failure (it would to me) but you have much to be proud of. As the pain receedes, you will be left with many gifts that come from the effort. Cherish each one as you've earned them all.

You are truly inspiring.

I feel like such a slacker!Mel Erickson
May 27, 2003 6:10 AM
My measly century turned into only 60 mi. because of the 20mph headwind I encountered riding through mostly open farmland. I felt whooped and decided not to continue, and I was on a 21# rig! Your's is not a small accomplishment. On a bell curve you'd be way to the right.
Glad your back safelySpecialTater
May 27, 2003 6:12 AM
one way or another you made the right choice. Now get ready to pull me again Thurs night (hopefully I'll make it).

I know you are disappointed, but like MB1 said, the most impressive thing is you started....
YOU'RE (nm)SpecialTater
May 27, 2003 6:13 AM
I was thinking of you Sundaytarwheel
May 27, 2003 6:51 AM
I got caught in a downpour at mile 28 on a solo 50-miler on Sunday. I thought about you riding that 600K, and figured what I was going through was a piece of cake. Thanks for the inspiration! You've already ridden about 125 miles longer than I ever plan to go in a single ride.
Isn't that why riders try these rides in the first place?bigrider
May 27, 2003 7:09 AM
You got nothing to be ashamed of and a whole bunch to be proud of by proof of the report. First, there are not many riders willing to stretch themselves to the limits of a 600k ride. Also, there is a learning curve on those rides from everything I have been told.

The reason you tried the ride was because you weren't sure you could make it. That is the motivation and excitement of the adventure.

I have a friend who is very experienced at long rides and he did Boston Montreal Boston and only finished it his third try. Believe me when I did my 177 mile ride(Nightmare Tour) last year he was the guy I took advice from. I followed his instructions to the letter and it worked out for me.

Sometimes Mother Nature is just pissed off and you have to suffer. If there are high temps and high humidity my chances of finishing a long ride greatly diminish. That is just the way it is with weather.

Great job.
According to RUSA only 839 riders completed 600ks in 2002.dzrider
May 27, 2003 7:26 AM
There will be more this year as folks try to qualify for PBP, but still not a big number when you consider all the riders in the world! 600k is a long freakin ride!
839? it is far less then thatcyclopathic
May 27, 2003 9:25 AM
RUSA site lists 253 600km rides by RUSA members, and some of them did more then one ride. Granted, there were non-RUSA members doing brevets, but you don't get many of those on 600k. Mostly on 200 and sometimes 300.
They had a "medals report" in the last newsletter.dzrider
May 27, 2003 9:35 AM
It showed the number of finishers, worldwide, at each of the brevet distances and gave points for each in a kind of international competition. The total 600k finishers for the world was 839, you may well be right about the USA.
My heroRJF
May 27, 2003 7:18 AM

253 miles in 27 horus on a 43lb bike in the rain? Hold your head up, cause you are my hero. That's brutal and amazing.

Ummm, I rode a total of about 85 miles on a 19lb bike in the sun this weekend, and I complained about how bad I felt.
just read some resultsJS Haiku Shop
May 27, 2003 7:58 AM
a guy over on the distance forum did this ride in 23:30 (16 mph rando avg), the last 150 solo. he says the attrition rate was 50% (14 starters, 7 finishers).

also, i was told you could see indiana from the top of Alto Pass (the star in the map below), the biggest hill we crossed on day 2. so, there are a few hills in IL.

for your entertainment.
another thought -- why not just do it alone?DougSloan
May 27, 2003 8:06 AM
Why not just take off some Saturday morning and ride 600k yourself? Since you would be self-supported either way, there's not a whole lot of difference, except a little drafting. That probably would be more rewarding, anyway. I have done lots of doubles, even up to 250 mi., all alone, and I really enjoy it, if I have the time.

Like brevets, sort of, collect receipts from stores along the way to prove your route/times.

Just a thought.

i'm considering thatJS Haiku Shop
May 27, 2003 8:17 AM
another goal this year is my first solo 200-miler. that could easily turn into a solo 600k.


another thoughtcyclopathic
May 27, 2003 9:37 AM
I'm putting a 1000km ride (route of now defuncted Blue Ridge brevet) as a training ride.
It's part of getting the most out of yourselfTNSquared
May 27, 2003 10:36 AM
I dare say everyone on this board has had a few DNF's or the equivalent. I know I have in the marathon (and nearly did this weekend on a 48 mile group ride!) As someone else said above, we try these feats precisely because they are difficult.

BTW - I rode with J2 twice this weekend, and your name came up a few times, prompting everyone to shake their head in amazement and admiration. Because you were attempting the 600K, yes, but even more so because you COMMITTED AND PREPARED to attempt the 600K. (And we all wondered - when do you ever sleep? :-)

Your hard work over the past months represents a huge accomplishment and clearly earned you a ton of respect from eveyone that rides with you and/or posts here.

The 600K will happen - you've got more than what it takes.
thanks. btw, re: J2JS Haiku Shop
May 27, 2003 10:48 AM
don't believe anything J2 tells you--100% lies.

btw, i'm guessing you've clued him into the board. he's lurking, i think. once he figures out the alphabet and how it relates to the keyboard, we're in trouble.

i've only been committed once, but they'll never catch me again.

anyhow, now that i have a decent base, this season should be a good one.

Good Season? Great season - no doubt. (nm)TNSquared
May 27, 2003 11:03 AM
Sounds like miserable conditions...Lon Norder
May 27, 2003 10:42 AM
My hat's off to you for even attempting a 600K seeing as how you're not doing PBP. I wouldn't.

One thing I've learned in the last few years: you can never have too much rain/cold weather gear.

Hey, why not shoot for PBP in 2007?
maybe BMB next yearJS Haiku Shop
May 27, 2003 10:44 AM
i've heard it's harder than PBP.

of course, there's still the language barrier in Mass.
or London-Edinburgh-London in 2005.Lon Norder
May 27, 2003 11:36 AM
I've never been to England or Scotland.
I have a friend who did itcyclopathic
May 28, 2003 3:45 AM
and it is a hard ride. It's 200km longer then PBP or BMB, but it took him 102hr to finish. For comparison his PBP time was ~72. Now, '05: Gold Rush or LEL, tough choice!
I can interpret for you.dzrider
May 27, 2003 11:58 AM
The mountains in Vermont are real, especially Middlebury Gap. I hope to be able to make the schedule work to do it next year. Last year I couldn't get the 400 done and settled for the quad-centuries which was great fun. This year has offered even less time, but hope springs eternal.