Making the jump from 200k to 300k advice

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Bill Bryant

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Feb 28, 2022, 10:52:08 PMFeb 28
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I always find making the jump from a 200k brevet to 300k to be difficult, especially early in the season before I have many long rides in my legs. Any suggestions to make it easier?

Thanks,
Bill Bryant
Santa Cruz Randonneurs

Greg Merritt

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Mar 4, 2022, 11:15:55 AMMar 4
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Bill, this made me think of my first 300k. I was unsure about the jump in distance.

A brevet appeared on the calendar with a start about 25km from where I live. I rode to the start, did the event, and then rode home. I was very tired when I got home, but figured I probably could mange 50km more in the time allowed for a 300k. This gave me the confidence to take the start of my first 300k.

I know that you’re not talking about your first 300k, but your question brought this experience to mind.

-Greg

Eric Nichols

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Mar 4, 2022, 11:22:47 AMMar 4
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Bill, my only suggestion is to build a base of multiple ~200k rides, including some in which you lift the pace out of your normal comfort zone. In general I find that a steady diet of 200k rides, including some faster rides, seems to make all the longer distances more enjoyable. However, I don't always follow my own advice, especially for the early-season brevets!

Eric

Lois Springsteen

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Mar 4, 2022, 11:34:55 AMMar 4
to Eric Nichols, Randonneurs USA
While my experience is ancient history at this point, I concur with Eric. A steady diet of 200k rides at a brisk pace as fitness grows is the ticket. Working on speed gives vital sleep time on the long rides, so riding 200k briskly with little stopping is great preparation for 300k.

Lois

Lois Springsteen (she/her)
Sent from my iPad


On Mar 4, 2022, at 8:22 AM, Eric Nichols <ericni...@gmail.com> wrote:

Bill, my only suggestion is to build a base of multiple ~200k rides, including some in which you lift the pace out of your normal comfort zone. In general I find that a steady diet of 200k rides, including some faster rides, seems to make all the longer distances more enjoyable. However, I don't always follow my own advice, especially for the early-season brevets!
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Greg Merritt

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Mar 4, 2022, 11:54:24 AMMar 4
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I am also a big fan of training up my “not stopping” tolerance, and I try to make a point of it.

I think I set a “PR” in this department for a 200k a couple of weeks ago: event time minus Strava “moving” time reported a grand total of 15 minutes not moving for my 200k brevet.

I do some training rides on an uninterrupted (e.g., no traffic controls) flat-ish circuit where I aim to never stop pedaling for 3 to 5 hours. Even at a modest effort the whole time, I find it super-tiring in the legs, but I feel like my tolerance improves as I build up a recent history of such rides.

Even a brief interruption gives a massive refresh to the legs, so try to avoid pauses. Recovery is relatively quick after the ride, but I REALLY feel it on the bike toward the end of the ride. I feel like that’s where the gains are made.

Most event courses will have combinations of descents, red lights and controls that provide micro-recoveries during the event. By having practiced/trained with bouts of hours of truly incesssnt pedaling, event day can feel gentler on the legs and help me go the distance.

YMMV!

-Greg

James Logan

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Mar 4, 2022, 12:16:01 PMMar 4
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A decade ago a made a set of blogs for my riders on "Your first ..." going through all the distances.  Here is the 300 km blog.  https://pittsburghrandonneurs.blogspot.com/2015/03/tip-5-first-300-km-tips.html

Jim Logan
Pittsburgh, PA

Justin Castillo

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Mar 4, 2022, 1:31:55 PMMar 4
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I think a lot of this is mental and that the less you think about it, the better. 

My first 300 was the easiest because I had no basis for comparison. Once you know what you've gotten into, that's when it gets harder. Ironically, I wonder if my recent R-12 has made things worse for me in the sense that it normalized the 200k now to the point where anything past that seems like a heavy lift.

In the end, I think the time-honored advice of taking it one control at a time and not overthinking things is the soundest advice for this and many other rando challenges. Break the ride into chunks, eat when hungry, drink when thirsty, and rest when tired.

Justin

Robert Sexton

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Mar 4, 2022, 1:51:35 PMMar 4
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I've got my garmin set up so that its easy to see 'Elapsed Time' and Moving time simultaneously.    For this to work you have to turn on the auto-pause features.  

I've found that the total amount of time spent not riding is a good metric of efficiency for single-day rides, and for me it correlates with overall ride effort.     

Dan Driscoll

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Mar 4, 2022, 1:55:43 PMMar 4
to Robert Sexton, Randonneurs USA
Nice idea Robert. 

I tend to focus on total average speed including stops, keeping that above 12.5 mph usually buys me sleep adequate at the overnights. 

DanD 
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Raphaël

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Mar 4, 2022, 2:28:45 PMMar 4
to Robert Sexton, Randonneurs USA
Hi all,

Yes, same for me. I am trying to stay under 5% of pause time for 1 day ride; and less than 10% for multiple days. I count night stops separately to avoid polluting my « day » metrics. 

Cheers, Raphaël 

On Mar 4, 2022, at 10:51, Robert Sexton <rob...@kudra.com> wrote:

I've got my garmin set up so that its easy to see 'Elapsed Time' and Moving time simultaneously.    For this to work you have to turn on the auto-pause features.  

Michelle Grainger

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Mar 6, 2022, 1:45:43 PMMar 6
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Great ideas from the whole group.
In my experiences, as a long time (over 40 years) ultra distance rider and a Coach of over 30 years in this kind of riding, these comments are much of what leads to success. On average, doing multiple 200kms with a mix of speed work (because ultra distance riding makes for slow riders) works well for most riders attempting jumps from 200 to 300 to 400 to 600 and then 1000km+. Stacking days  can work for time crunched riders. Building up the distances can be hard on a weekend warrior, so camps work well. like doing near home training camp or PACTour weeks. Mental training is a must for riders worried about these jumps in training. If you allow yourself to worry obsessively about failure, you will fail. If you focus on  the components that are in your control, understanding there will be some out of your control, and then decide you will finish "no matter what", you will likely succeed. I've seen many riders sabotage their goals by worrying too much. Are we worried about failure? Are we worried about the unknown? Are we worried about what others might think? Some times a "junk" event is the best thing to get past this. Try it... what do we have to lose? Learn from it, don't quit, finish it, no matter what. If you are out of a time cut off, look for ways to improve. Pick it apart and do better next time. When the things in your control are worked on, then work on the mental part. Coaches and athletes know from science and experience that mental affirmations work. Focus on "I will" and "I can". 

Good luck,MichelleG

Ronald Long

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Mar 6, 2022, 2:18:44 PMMar 6
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I second Robert Sexton's advice of having an easy way keep to track "non-moving time". On my Wahoo, the simplest solution I've found is to enable auto-pause, and display both moving time and clock time. Since Brevet's typically start on the hour, It's a trivial bit of subtraction to see how much time I've spent not-moving (which often isn't "time wasted".).
The one disadvantage is avg speed is then avg moving speed, not avg speed against total elapsed time.

ronald

Dave Thompson

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Mar 6, 2022, 4:52:53 PMMar 6
to Ronald Long, Randonneurs USA
I display moving time and moving average.  I do the mental math to come up with elapsed time and subtract to get stopped time. 

I have one speed that I refer to as "steady" and in a recent exchange, Mark T has referred to as "relentless".  That speed is pretty much the same on a 200k as it is at the end of a 1200k, give or take some wind and hills. 

For me, making the jump from 200k to 300k or higher is mostly mental plus nutrition/hydration.  Maintaining that steady speed of mine, minimizing stopped time, mentally accepting that "it's going to be a long day", gets me through the ride.  My nutrition/hydration is very sloppy.  I don't hydrate enough which causes discomfort and wears away at the mental part :).

Dave T

Lparker_0254

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Mar 7, 2022, 7:57:58 AMMar 7
to Ronald Long, Randonneurs USA
I have not done near as much of this as many of you have but I just hit the "lap" button on my Garmin whenever I stop, and again just as I restart. A little note pops up and tells you how long you were stopped.  For long brevets it might be a challenge to add those up and keep track of the total, but there is a notepad on your phone or, gasp, pen & paper?  After the ride it is easy to check  the lap times after uploading. I have also used my "track coach's Timex"  wristwatch and started and stopped the stopwatch function for my breaks. That will give you the total break time, no remembering times or mental adding required. A Timex "Ironman"  is not very expensive. Cheap, even!



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ed bernasky

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Mar 14, 2022, 11:00:46 AMMar 14
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If you're young, just do two 200K brevets before the 300K and make sure the second one is really hilly.  Two or three weeks apart.   It is really that simple, GTG.  Or don't get old like me.    There seems like there is something very different from being 35, 45, or 55 years old than being in one's mid 60's or maybe 70's.  

I guess they say randonneuring is 90% mental, 90% physical, and the remaining 10% is the bike.  Talking bikes is more fun. 

I've read a lot on training and endurance over the decades.  Distilling the most important training principles down from my perspective?   Weekly, monthly and yearly consistency.  Year round and year to year consistency is the most important ingredient in preparing for longer brevets, especially for older riders.  Consistency and staying healthy.  And it does not have to be cycling.    The second important thing is having some intensity or hard riding every once in a while.  Not too much.  Lon Haldeman has been quoted as saying to collect up an hour of riding at 90% of your max HR per week and that it does not need to be all in one ride.  This is a really hard effort and pretty simple to manage, I would add some of that level of intensity once in a while.    Keeping some level of hard efforts year round seems more important now for me because fitness seems to fade quicker and is harder to regain.  It could just be me.

Long story short, I absolutely personally would not use brisk 200km brevets to train for the jump to 300km.  Brevets take a lot out of you and it is possible for an older rider like me to actually have a net negative training effect that way.  I can't speak for others, this is just my view at my age/fitness.  I would do one ride per week or every 10 days actually at faster than brevet speed, increasing the time week by week until I got to about 6 hours at what generally referred to as Tempo.  This feels easy at the start of the ride but keeping that pace is challenging towards the end of the ride. I am currently at about 2.5 hours on those rides and have one 200k under my belt.  A speed you can talk briefly but not hog the conversation is about right.  I would also do some higher intervals but not very often at my age.  I do either Ronnstad or VO2 max intervals about once every 10 days.   I also will do 2 x 20 working to 6 x 20 interval at what I would call panting dog pace (95% of FTP).   Recovery is especially critical for me at this point in life and it is my feeling that some riders burn themselves out doing lots of slow brevets or Perms.   The rest of the rides are just fun.  Recovery and rest are critical.  I never to a Tempo or interval ride unless recovered, same for a brevet.  This is really a complex topic and my comments are probably trivial but maybe helpful to someone.  What I find following an approach something like the above is my speed increases and it actually feels easier.  

A coach like Michelle would have much more relevant and helpful information but I would really be careful not to add too much load too quickly and also to be especially careful to recover properly.  I am planning the jump from 200k to 300k right now, so, the topic is on my mind.  Going from a hilly 300K to most 400K presents different challenges for me but a normal 200k to a hilly 300K is a big jump.  



On Monday, February 28, 2022 at 10:52:08 PM UTC-5 Bill Bryant wrote:

Brady Smith

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Mar 17, 2022, 3:41:52 PMMar 17
to Randonneurs USA
Ed, can you say more about what you mean when you say "it does not have to be cycling"?

I'm a shade under 40, but I got into randonneuring while living on the East Coast and commuting to work by bike every day--I'd average 100 miles a week with no additional weekend riding thrown in. After a cross country move, I don't ride nearly as much as I used to, mostly because I can't bike commute anymore, though the intensity and volume of exercise has increased quite a bit--trail running, sometimes in snowshoes, xc skiing, along with occasional weekend rides and once or twice a week on the Peloton. I aspire to a 300k this year, I'm lighter and fitter overall than I've been in quite a while, but I have no idea how it will translate to long rides when I'm only been averaging 20-30 miles a week on the bike throughout the winter. 

Thanks,

Brady

ed bernasky

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Mar 18, 2022, 6:35:59 AMMar 18
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Brady.......I was referring to being active on a year round basis and having consistency in exercise.  I have met many randonneurs over the years who mix it up with running, XC skiing, backpacking, snowshoeing, etc.  In the off season when it is cold and dark in many areas, these activities can really maintain aerobic capacity.   These activities can also be supportive thru the Rando season, too.

I guess more to the point and to use myself as an example.  I did one Brevet last year, it was a 300k.  I do not believe my longest ride was more than 32 miles leading into it.  BUT, I had done a lot of long distance backpacking and I already had exposure to the logistical and mental side of riding long distance.  I knew to take it easy on the 300k and since my walking skills were sharp, I walked the very steep hills on the brevet.  So, if a rider was a distance runner and was only doing 1-2 hour bike rides several times per, they might be able to do a 300k without much fanfare whereas a 1-2 hour rider would probably be asking for it by entering a 300K with such low bike miles.

Of course there are specific muscles that we use when cycling and they have to have sufficient endurance built up but they do not take as much time to maintain compared to building up the heart, lungs, vascular networks, and mitochondrial "health" that comes with endurance activities like randonneuring or commuting by bicycle.  How long it takes to lose or gain various elements of fitness is debatable, but in my experience age certainly adds a degree of challenge.  Not doing anything for 3 months takes a lot of effort and time to restore the same level of fitness pre-couch or in my case, pre-injury.  That is what I was trying to say in my original post, not a recipe or anything, just a thought to share.  Hope that makes sense.

Brady Smith

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Apr 18, 2022, 2:45:55 PMApr 18
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Just following up on my response to Ed: 

I finished my first 200k of the season last weekend after spending most of the winter running, snowshoeing, xc skiing and doing the occasional peloton workout on my spin bike. I was a little worried about how it would go, since I got into randonneuring at a time when I was commuting around 100 miles a week, only to move across the country and lose my ability to ride to work. The longest ride I'd completed over the last few months was 51 miles with about 4500 feet of climbing. I finished the brevet in 9 hours and 31 minutes, which is right on pace with the other 200k rides I've done over the last few years. If anything, I think trading lots of cycling miles for lots of running has made me a stronger randonneur--I'm lighter, I recover from harder efforts much faster than I used to, and I managed to get up the next morning and ride 10 miles with my daughter in her trailer with no trouble at all. 

On to the 300k!
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