Newsletter - 2007 Archive

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Theo (from Vancouver, now in Denmark) had some concerns about his up-coming 600 km PBP qualifier. Wim, Ken and Susan had some thoughts on the subject that others will find helpful. Here are their messages from the discussion list. [Eric F.]

PBP Qualifying Tips, Strategies, Advice
by Wim Kok, Ken Bonner & Susan Allen

From Wim Kok:


Very brief. If PBP is your goal for 2007, my first piece of advice is to SLOW DOWN and rest for the upcoming 600 km. The 600 km is a long distance and you need to be rested for it. Indeed, leave the bike alone.

Second, your focus should be on qualifying first, which means finishing the 600 km in less than the required 40 hours. Judging by your 200, 300 and 400 km times you should have absolutely no trouble meeting the 40 hour time limit. Qualify first, then spend the time between now and then sharpening your skills and goals in the next two and a half months. In other words the real training for PBP starts :-) after the 600 km, depending on what you goals are. In 2003 my brevet times were 10:47 for 200 km, 14:25 for for 300 km, 20:00 for 300 km and 36:21 for 600 km, not particularly fast but I finished PBP in 79:28.

Third, obey the essential laws of randonneuring: eat before you are hungry, and drink before you are thirsty. The Danes may have their own laws -- good for them -- but I don't know anyone who can drive/drives a car on an empty tank. Keep that tank filled and the ride will be much more pleasurable and memorable.

Fourth, stay relaxed; don't put too much pressure on yourself by (wanting to go) fast . Going out too fast always causes problems. During PBP and other brevets quite a few riders often go out too fast, only later on they become a casualty of speed and end up a DNF statistic. The 1200 km is a long distance, for which one needs to distribute one's energy. This includes both the physical and the mental. The latter is often the toughest and most fickle.

Good luck with you 600 km and hope to see you in Paris at both start and finish line



(Check out Wim's 2003 PBP Strory)

From Ken Bonner:

Hi, Theo!

Follow Wim's advice!

Don't worry about your heart rate == listen to your quads (stay away from the 'burn') when riding, ride at a comfortable speed for at least the 1st half of a brevet, then if you have the energy try pushing a little harder! The best use of your energy is to put out an even effort throughout the ride. If you go too fast at the beginning, you will never re-coup the cost of the extra effort (research comes from marathon running). Avoid getting caught up in 'riding another person's ride' . ride your own ride!! Pushing hard just because other riders are pushing the pace is likely to lead to rubbery legs later.

Interestingly, at PBP, I've noticed that many of the European club cyclists ride very hard between controls, but then have long stops for re-fueling, rest and wine.

Currently, it sounds as if you are over-doing it . stay off the bike until the 600; and use the time to plan how you will ride the 600 - food, clothing, ensuring the bike is in good mechanical condition; when (if) and where you will sleep; avoiding foot, hand, knee and neck pain; avoiding saddle sores. Think about how will you carry what you need (food, clothing, butt creams, and what sacrifices you are prepared to make to travel light.

Only worry about increasing your speed once you have accomplished the distances. Taper the last month by riding less frequently, these rides should be relatively short and fast.

Try to ride a 1000 k brevet before PBP. The jump from 600 to 1200 is a significant increase in mileage and contributes to dnf's. The 1000 experience will prepare you for the logistics of the 1200 . and, psychologically you will only be riding an extra 200k.

Best of luck! . Ken

Ken Bonner

From Susan Allen:

You have already received a number of excellent emails. I agree with what they have said. But in addition over the next 4 days:

Get your body and mind in the best shape it can possible be in. You are going to ask a lot of it during a 600! So gets lots of sleep (even a little bit extra than you think you need), stay hydrated and eat well (good balanced meals and maybe a little bit extra than you think you need). Make sure you get your vitamins (fresh fruit and veggies), a good balance of protein and carbo so that during the ride you only need to remember three food things:
1) enough water
2) enough electrolytes
3) enough calories (that are easy to eat, easy to digest and agree with you: what these foods are is very personal).

Mentally think through the ride and if you know what the route is, where you will be at various times. What parts you are especially looking forward to (great views or great roads or great terrain) and what parts will challenge you. Don't forget to have fun on the ride!



All from June 6, 2007