NJ 200K Brevet Ride Report (Longish)



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Jkeenan

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Can you say dichotomous? In the dictionary, right next to the word dichotomous there is a picture of
the 200K Florida brevet I did in January and the 200K New Jersey brevet I just completed in and
around Princeton NJ. How dichotomous? Here are some examples:

Weather FL:Very warm, clear skies NJ: Cool, cloudy, then rainy

Architecture FL: Early 1950's 1960's NJ: Early 1600's to 1800's

Roads FL: Smooth, smooth, smooth NJ: Rough, rougher, roughest. Hey, it's right after winter and
New Joisey.

Clothing FL: Shorts, jersey NJ: Shorts, joisey, windbreaker, arm warmers, tights, rain gear

Xtra Equipment FL: Sun Screen NJ: Snow Shovel, Sump pump

Bike of choice FL: 16" wheel Bike Sat R Day NJ: RANS V-REX

Scenery FL: Glimpses of the bay and ocean NJ: Farmlands, mountain vistas, historic towns

Topography FL: Flat and Flatter NJ: Hilly, Hillier and "For Cryn Out Loud!!

That's how dichotomous. A bit about the brevet and then "..more lessons learned".

The 200K started from Princeton Junction, New Jersey after a few words by Diane Goodin, the RBA,
and all of us praying that the red morning sky would hold throughout the day. We all should have
remembered the Ancient Mariner: "Red sky at night: Sailor's Delight. Red sky in morning: Sailor
take warning".

The first few miles took us through historic downtown Princeton on Saturday morning, giving us the
opportunity to glimpse the prestigious Ivy League university buildings on one side and the varied
Georgian buildings of downtown Princeton. As is typical with my slow riding, at least 60 of the 65
plus riders dropped me in no time. I'm a slow starter besides being a slow rider, and need about an
hour to warm up, which I do by just finding a spinning gear and pedaling along.

Instead of traveling the route, I thought some "glimpses" of the scenery might give you an idea of
how beautiful a ride this was and how even more wonderful it could be on a clear, sunny day:

Coming across houses from the 1600's, 1700's and 1800's of all types of architecture: Georgian,
Federal, Greek Revival, Victorian, Queen Anne, and Italiante to name a few

Gazing at vistas of rolling hilly farmland and horse farms with miles of white fencing contrasting
with the late winter grays and browns of the country side.

Cycling on roads with little traffic and enjoying it even if they were bumpy and still had winter's
gravel in places.

Viewing the wildlife along the road or that ran across the road unexpectantly in front of me: a
gaggle of geese, a flock of about a dozen wild turkeys, at least 8 to 10 deer, a fox (on one really
looking weird cat), and a half dozen rabbits. At dusk seeing 4 deer that looked like cardboard cut
outs in the dim light bound across the road.

Passing the courthouse where the Lindbergh trial was held.

Enjoying traveling through Flemington and French Town: two towns those who did the brevets should
visit on a Saturday or Sunday and just stroll the quaint streets.

Biking for about 6 miles on a one lane road bordered by the canal on one side and the hill banks on
the other.

And finally, cursing Sandiway Fong under my breath for finding a recumbent's dreaded impediment: a
couple of real steep can my nose bleed hills? Later that night I met Sandiway who said that the hill
was about a 16% incline. Sandiway was the primary architect for this ride and I think Sandiway is
like Kent Peterson: They could climb a building.

Enjoying riding in for the past 2 to 4 hours in torrential downpours with Matt Chacerel, Carol
Goodman and Carol and Keith Card on their tandem. In the rain Carol was a lifesaver as she could
read the cue sheet as the stoker. Mine by this time was soaked and part of it was unreadable. She
was a real "lifesaver" in the nautical sense of the word.

How hilly was this ride? Well, the Florida 200K as I said was flat. I did the Florida 400K and that
had something around 7,000 feet of elevation. The New Jersey 200K had 7,900 feet. But with uphills
you get some awesome incredible downhills. One stretch of road included a very long climb up route
519 but then I think there was a 4 to 6 mile downhill that went on and on and on. One problem with
hills and the rain, is that normally on a hilly ride you can let go and have a "yahoooooo"
exhilarating ride on the way down. With rain, some remaining grit on the roads, it was more "safety
first and take it a bit easy" on the downhills. Still, there was one place where I registered my top
speed and I know I feathered the brakes a few times: 46.8 mph was the max on my odometer at the end
of the day.

As a "newbie" to brevets I'm amazed how much has to be done by the RBA's and I wanted to publically
thank Jim Solanick for the Florida brevets and Diane Goodin for my first NJ brevet. She had
wonderful helpers: Dan Finton and Susan Plonsky. Susan had done three Boston-Montreal-Boston brevets
so had a real feel for what the riders needed.

Oh gee, I even didn't finish last and have now lost my "rouge lanterne" designation. Still I hung
around as the last riders came in to help out and when Diane said she was going to have dinner with
Susan and a few other folks, I was invited along. One of the folks was Claus, of Des Peres Travel
and another was Pat Carter who I think lives on her bike. It was a great ending to a great brevet:
What more can you ask for but a good ride and good company at dinner?

And finally: Lessons Learned:

(1) Check The Check List!!! This is the 2nd brevet where I've had a check list. This is the 2nd
brevet where I mentally checked items off and forget something. Lesson: Check the items AS
YOU PUT THEM IN THE CAR!! This time I left my camelbak bladder. Fortunately, Princeton is a
college town and there were plenty of bike shops.

(2) Rain can be good. I started touring 5 years ago and have done about 6 cycling tours. Luckily I
only had one-half day of rain on all those tours. So when the forecast called for rain for
sure, I had no idea what was the proper gear. I find that I heat up quickly and my $16 rain
jacket had me overheating on hills. Off came the jacket. I did four hours in the rain and just
got wet. There was a benefit: the air was warm enough that the rain wasn't cold and it kept me
cooled down.

(3) Liquid refueling works: This is the fourth brevet that I've done on just GU and Gatorade and I
never had a moment of feeling tired or bonkish. I did feel like I was missing a lot of "good
stuff" as Diane had the manned control stocked with some real goodies. Each brevet rider also
got a SWAG bag with some freebies from E-caps. I will be trying Sustained Energy and
endurolytes on some training rides. Overall that would be less expensive and lighter weight.

(4) Bring a GOOD light: I took only a TREK bike light. You know.the kind you can buy for next to
nothing. Well when it rains, it gets cloudy and blocks out the sun meaning there is very
little ambient light around sunset. So new lesson: Always bring GOOD lights. You never know.

(5) I get stronger/longer. WHY?: If there is a sports fitness expert or the like out there, I'm
perplexed: I seem to get stronger after about 80 to 90 miles. I'm going up hills faster,
pedaling faster and there's no "tiredness" in my legs. I'm at a loss: Why? This happened on
the two brevets in Florida (300K and 400K) and this 200K in New Joisey. Nope, I'm not going to
say it's because I'm riding a recumbent. That just means I have no aches and headwinds are a
slight bother.

(6) Sorry Lance. Sometimes it is about the bike: As mentioned, I ride a recumbent. And there
appears to be a big difference in performance between my folder and my regular bent. Over
dinner, Diane said she had this thought when I pulled up with my regular recumbent, a RANS
V-REX: "Oh no, I was hoping he'd bring a real bike". I used a Bike Friday folding recumbent
(model SAT R DAY) for the Florida brevets, because that's what I had. For this brevet, I rode
the <ahem> real bike that I'll use should I make it to PBP. I'll use the V-REX. I now know
that it's much more efficient and faster than the SAT R DAY. For the 200K in Florida on flat
terrain my average on the bike speed was 13mph. For the NJ 200K and it's 7,900 feet of
climbing, I finished in about the same time as the Florida 200K and oddly enough my on bike
speed average was 13 mph. That confirms that for the 600K in Florida, I'm borrowing a V-REX
from a bike friend who lives in Davie.

(7) I totally enjoy riding brevets. A lesson worth repeating
 
A

Alan Weiss

Guest
What a great report, Joe! Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

Alan Weiss NJ Gold Rush, E2 tandem, and Leitra rider
 
A

Avi

Guest
Thanks for the well-written report, Joe. Almost makes me want to try a brevet.

Point of information: The RBA's name is Diane Goodwin.

Avi
 
X

x

Guest
RE/
>brevet

?

Can't find anything bike-related in my Webster's....
-----------------------
PeteCresswell
 
J

Jkeenan

Guest
G'day Pete,

Literally the french word brevet translates to "certificate" or "patent". In randonneeuring it means
the successful completion of a sanctioned ride of at least 200K in length. Articles and background
can be found at www.rusa.org. This year is the year of PBP (Paris-Brest-Paris) a ride held once
every 4 years and requires the rider to complete a 750 mile course in 90 hours or less. To qualify
you have to do a 200K, 300K, 400K, and 600K in succession in time frames of 13 hours, 20hours, 27
hours, and 40 hours respectively. However, brevets are held all across the U.S. and are ridden by
folks who belong to RUSA and riders who just want the challenge and enjoyment of a long distance
ride. The RUSA website has a search tool for locating brevets by state, or month, or length, etc.

To paraphrase Spock: "Ride long and prosper".

Joe "recumbo"

RUSA is the United States sanctioned arm of "(Pete Cresswell)" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> RE/
> >brevet
>
> ?
>
> Can't find anything bike-related in my Webster's....
> -----------------------
> PeteCresswell
 
K

Kent Peterson

Guest
A great ride report mostly snipped

On Mon, 31 Mar 2003, JKeenan wrote:

> And finally, cursing Sandiway Fong under my breath for finding a recumbent's dreaded impediment: a
> couple of real steep can my nose bleed hills? Later that night I met Sandiway who said that the
> hill was about a 16% incline. Sandiway was the primary architect for this ride and I think
> Sandiway is like Kent Peterson: They could climb a building.

Sandiway is one of the best climbers I've ever seen and he climbs fast. I'm just stuborn.

> (5) I get stronger/longer. WHY?: If there is a sports fitness expert or the like out there, I'm
> perplexed: I seem to get stronger after about 80 to 90 miles. I'm going up hills faster,
> pedaling faster and there's no "tiredness" in my legs. I'm at a loss: Why? This happened on
> the two brevets in Florida (300K and 400K) and this 200K in New Joisey. Nope, I'm not going
> to say it's because I'm riding a recumbent. That just means I have no aches and headwinds
> are a slight bother.

You're switching into what I call "road mode". Most cyclist ride events like this running a
deficit, burning more calories than they take in and riding an unsustainable pace. Some of us,
however, switch into an altered steady-state where we can run almost forever as long as we keep up
the right level of fuel intake. Your body switches into a mush more efficient mode. Many of my
companions have accused me of speeding up in the later stages of longer events but I've run the
numbers and it's simply that most of them slow down. In general, I maintain very similar speeds
throughout the longer events.

> (6) Sorry Lance. Sometimes it is about the bike: As mentioned, I ride a recumbent. And there
> appears to be a big difference in performance between my folder and my regular bent. Over
> dinner, Diane said she had this thought when I pulled up with my regular recumbent, a RANS
> V-REX: "Oh no, I was hoping he'd bring a real bike".

I find the best response to comments like this (which I've gotten when I've shown up at brevets with
recumbents, fixed gears, a three-speed or my Bike Friday) is to just smile and say "yeah, it's a
good thing I'm so much tougher than the rest of these guys!" (note, it's very important to be
smiling broadly and have a real self-mocking tone when you say this). Or you can just look down in
mock horror and say "what, I can't believe I forgot my Kestrel? What the hell was I thinking?"

Kent Peterson Issaquah WA USA [email protected] http://www.halcyon.com/peterson/rando.html
 
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