Saturday, May 24, 2014

Training for a 200K Brevet

After doing 30 Days of Biking during the month of April, I began training to ride a 200K brevet at the end of May run by the Minnesota Randonneurs. The 200K is the first in a series of brevets (200K, 300K, 400K & 600K) that I hope to do this summer in preparation for riding the same distances next year in order to qualify for Paris-Brest-Paris in 2015, (official PBP site) probably the most well-known randonneuring event in the world and one that I have dreamed about doing since living in France for six months in the 1980s.

My training plan for the 200K was to work up to riding at least 100 miles on a single day by the middle of May and then taper off with some shorter rides. After riding over 55 miles on May 4, my next long ride was 77 miles on May 10.
There were still patches of snow on the sides of the road.
I started my ride from home with Ethel, a friend and Ski & Tea buddie. Charlie met us at Mosquito Brook Road where we then continued on back roads to Cable. Mike & Iras met us in Cable, where Ethel turned around and headed back to Seeley. We road Lake Owen Drive to Drummond and then back to Cable via Blue Moon and Cable Lake Roads.
Iras rounds the bend onto Blue Moon Road.

Once we arrived in Cable, it was time for a relaxing break and refueling with food & drink at Rivers Eatery.
After starting the ride at just before 9 a.m. I arrived home at about 6 p.m. with nearly six hours of that being riding time at an average speed of 12.9 miles per hour.

On each of my rides my goal has been to maintain an average speed of at least 12 mph. Each of the brevets has a set time limit in which you must complete the distance in order for the brevet to officially count. For the 200K brevet, the time limit is 13.5 hours. Not counting for stopping time, I calculated that one would have to ride the distance at an average speed of at least 9 mph to finish in 13.5 hours. Thus, my goal of riding at a speed of at least 12 mph average and faster if I was able.

After looking at the weather forecast, I chose May 18 for my 100-mile ride from Hayward to the Delta Diner and back, the "Delta Diner Century." I started the ride at just after 8 a.m. and, once again, Charlie met me for the ride to Cable. Mike, Iras and Phil met us in Cable.

In the week prior to the ride I made a couple of adjustments to my bike, changing the saddle to one that I thought would be more comfortable and flipping the stem in order to raise the handlebars a tad higher for a more comfortable riding position. I also wore a new pair of Bont shoes that were custom made and require a bake in the oven to mold the carbon fiber to one's feet.
Half way through the 100-miler at the Delta Diner
At the 80-mile point, I was feeling better than I did a week earlier. My adjustments to the bike had made an improvement in my comfort. But at about 30+ miles into the ride I began to experience hot spots on my feet and at each stop thereafter I removed my shoes to cool down my feet. Toward the end of the ride, we made a stop at the Namakagon River where I dipped my feet in the cool waters. (Thanks to Charlie for accompanying me the entire way on both the 77- and 100-mile rides!)

I arrived home just before 8 p.m. My riding time was 7 3/4 hours at an average speed, again, of 12.9 mph. Total elapsed time was 11 1/2 hours meaning, if I had been doing the ride officially, I would have had another two hours to ride another 20-25 miles. (I wasn't paying close attention to break times like I will on the official ride. The Minnesota Randonneurs 200K brevet is actually 125 miles.)
Yesterday, I did a 65-mile ride from Hayward to Stone Lake and beyond. Ethel joined me for most of the ride (about 40 miles) and Mike rode to Stone Lake and back. It was another perfect day for a ride with temps reaching the mid 70s and no noticeable humidity.

On shorter rides during the past week we once again enjoyed seeing Painted Turtles warming themselves on logs.
The trees are finally leafing out in all their green splendor. The other day, we noticed a porcupine high in a tree probably dining on fresh green leaves. After a long winter, I imagine the porcupine was quite happy for such a meal. Here are four photos as I zoomed in with my camera more and more.

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