Friday, April 15, 2011

1200k planning

Today someone showed me a detailed spreadsheet for planning out a 1200km ride, complete with average speeds, control open/close times, sleep stops, and loads of other data. That set me to wonder why a data-hungry nerd like me has never been interested in using that sort of spreadsheet and to think about what I use instead.

Perhaps I fear that with too detailed a plan, I'll get overly concerned (especially when tired) about deviations from the plan and that the concern will do more damage to my ride than a lack of planning. Or maybe I just don't want to see just how slow I ride enshrined in Excel glory.

So for what it's worth (bring your own salt grains), here's my approach to a 1200km event (I'm up to 13 finishes):

  • Try to maintain 20kph (including stops) during the day.
    • This is easy to calculate, even when tired.
  • Keep stops short enough to keep on that schedule.
  • That gives me 6 hours in 24 for rest.
    • 18 hours x 20kph = 360km or 24 hours of brevet time.
    • 5 hours rest instead allows me to start with an hour in the bank.
  • Don't panic if falling behind.
    • I assume a shorter sleep break can fix.
  • Be cognizant of the 10 hours extra time on return.
    • Forgetting this can induce unnecessary panic (as it did on my DNF).
  • Ok to settle for 15kph (including stops) during days 3-4.
  • Anything better than the 20kph/15kph is gravy. Stop for ice cream.
  • Did I mention already? Don't panic.

Looking over this, I can see why I almost always finish in about the same time (83-87 hours). My very few shorter times have generally come when I've only had 2 sleep breaks instead of 3.


Conor said...

Thanks for this. I've got my first 1200k in a couple of days. Even as an engineer, I too have kept my brevet strategy simple--overall average of 12.5 mph or 20 kph. That lands me at 20 hours for a 400k, which is a pretty good time (for me).

I've found, by far, that managing control times has the largest impact on my overall time. If I get in and out, eat my food on the road, I do much better than laying out the picnic blanket and riding as hard as I can to the next control.

Jason said...

Cheers for this, Mark. You're totally right about the "don't panic" part. I look forward to meeting you in Cheonan Saturday. It will be an honor to see you and maybe ride together some in the Korea Grand Randonnee.

Jason said...

Good to know. I will keep that pace in mind--and try not to let too much time get eaten up at the controls. I look forward to meeting you in Cheonan Saturday. Hope the wind is on our side. The route looks breathtaking--Korea is 75% mountains and we'll be in them for a lot of the ride. Bon Route! :-)