BRM914 Yatsugatake 400

Rob

Cruising
Mar 29, 2014
20
6
13
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#1
So is anyone else joining this event? I have never done one of these events so I was wondering if anyone had any advice or past experience words of wisdom. I am guessing the cue sheet will all be in Japanese so I'll have to get it translated. I'll also try to drive the route before I do it.

Entry closes: Aug 31st
http://www.aj-kanagawa.org/2014brm/brm914ba-ke-yue400

Cheers,

Rob
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
914
294
83
Tokyo
#2
Maybe I'm unduly cautious, but I wouldn't attempt this unless I'd successfully completed the 300km version, and I wouldn't attempt that unless I'd successfully completed the 200km version. Meanwhile, the regulations you're expected to read, digest and follow are here (in Japanese only).

Actually I, personally, wouldn't attempt the 400km even if I thought my muscles etc were up to it: I'm sure I wouldn't be able to sleep in any suitable way, so I'd oversleep on some bench if lucky and fall asleep in the saddle if not.

There's a lot of planning to be done.
 

Wozza

Speeding Up
Aug 31, 2013
37
10
28
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#4
I would love to try one of these, unfortunately I'm working every Sunday from now until December. Roll on next year.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,443
916
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#5
Technically this is posted in the wrong section, because brevets are not races - there is no official ranking. For each participant there is only "finished" or "did not finish" (DNF) as a result. If this will be your first brevet: Normally, participation (but not necessarily successful completion) in the next lower category is a precondition for signing up for a category other than 200 km, though not all organizers will be strict on that.

I would recommend starting with a 200 km event if you haven't done a brevet before. There is a certain amount of learning involved, for example what and how much to eat on a long ride, what pace to maintain, how to follow a cue sheet, how to handle riding through the night, etc. which is worth practicing before the longer brevets. Also, mentally it's easier to try something big if you have already done 70% of it before.

The longest brevet I successfully completed is 300 km, though I've attempted 400 and 600 km events. Before my first 300 my longest test ride was 235 km. Before my 600 my longest ride was 360 km.

While the challenge of 200 km (13 1/2 hour time limit) is a combination of fitness, not getting lost and your equipment not breaking down, the longer events add different levels of sleep deprivation into the mix, which can be a real challenge.

A friend of mine who is much more experienced and who has participated in events including the Hokkaido 1200 actually tells me that 400 km is more of a challenge than 600 km. The reason according to him is that in a 600 km, if you ride sufficiently fast you can build up a time buffer ahead of the 15 km/h cut-off at all check points to sleep a couple of hours between the two days of the 40h event and treat it as two 300 km rides. Same for the 1200, which is like 4 events of 300. The 400 being shorter (27h limit), one can not build up that much of a buffer between the first and second 200 km parts.

In any case, I would advise getting as much sleep as possible before going into the event.

I don't see the exact route on the site yet, but last year's course seems to be have been this:

http://latlonglab.yahoo.co.jp/route/watch?id=d5916bf81fef05c5fb5fa380ee9a7894
http://latlonglab.yahoo.co.jp/route/watch?id=04e02fe5fe02f7e6849ab9c6fc23d3f2

As you can see it climbs to over 2100m, where it could be fairly chilly in September.

The course has about 6000 m of elevation gain, which is a lot for that distance. It's about triple the elevation gain of typical 200 km brevets and double the gain of the 300 that I've done. That's an awful lot of climbing, which can depress your average and makes it much harder to maintain the minimum average speed required to complete.
 
Likes: jdd

Rob

Cruising
Mar 29, 2014
20
6
13
42
#6
Hey all, thanks for all the good advice! Yea, I'll have to see if there's a 300km event that works with my schedule and give that a try. The 200km event doesn't really interest me since I occasional ride that distance up through Okutama. Athough it would be a good learning experience as you said. For me, the part that appeals to me the most is the planning aspect for the longer events (300km+). Not sure when they put up the cue sheet, but I was thinking of driving the route with my GPS before the event just to make sure I have a good idea of what I'm getting into. As for riding at night, I do almost half my riding at night after work 11pm to 2am due to my work schedule. Actually I think this is one of the best times to ride.

So what happens if you DNF? Do you take the train back or organize your own transportation?

Cheers,

Rob
 
Dec 21, 2013
459
154
73
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France - moving to Shizuoka
#7
When I used to do Audax events in the UK they would give you the route sheet at sign in. As for DNF its up to you to get back home, train etc but reading Joe's blogs its polite to tell them you are pulling out.
As an aside - I did about 10 - 200kms events and then did a 330, the difference was more than I expected. After about 240kms I was spent but luckily found a pizza van in a small village in mid Wales and re fuelled.
 

rommelgc

Maximum Pace
Sep 3, 2009
362
101
73
Setagaya
#8
but reading Joe's blogs its polite to tell them you are pulling out.
FWIW, it seems AJ _requires_ a DNF/retire to be reported to the organizers.

DNF(リタイア)、事故発生時の対応
  • DNFは必ず本部に連絡して下さい。事故発生の場合または見かけた場合は、救護・警察等の必要な処置ののち、本部またはAJ神奈川スタッフへ電話連絡してください。
    • (本部電話番号はブルベカードに印刷してあります。)
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,443
916
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#9
Hey all, thanks for all the good advice! Yea, I'll have to see if there's a 300km event that works with my schedule and give that a try. The 200km event doesn't really interest me since I occasional ride that distance up through Okutama. Athough it would be a good learning experience as you said.
It does make a difference whether you do it with a time limit or without one. When I do 180+ km rides on my own, I tend to take 1-2 hours longer than for the equivalent distance in a brevet. Also, it depends a lot on how much climbing the course has.

If you've done 200 km courses with 2000 m of climbing in under 13.5 hours, then 200 km brevets wouldn't be an issue.

For me, the part that appeals to me the most is the planning aspect for the longer events (300km+). Not sure when they put up the cue sheet, but I was thinking of driving the route with my GPS before the event just to make sure I have a good idea of what I'm getting into.
On several courses I have tried part of the route on the bicycle weeks or months earlier to make it less intimidating.

With AJ NishiTokyo the cue sheet is made available online only, it's up to you to print it out, same for the consent form. All you get at the start is your brevet card.

AJ NishiTokyo tend to put up cue sheets 1-2 months before the event, but there may be late revisions based on road conditions (roadworks, landslides, snow, etc). Therefore you need to check again a few days before the event to make sure what you have is the final one.

I only use the cue sheet as a backup and navigate primarily by downloaded GPS track using my phone and GPS. With my eye sight reading a cue sheet on the handlebar is too difficult when wearing driving glasses.

As for riding at night, I do almost half my riding at night after work 11pm to 2am due to my work schedule. Actually I think this is one of the best times to ride.
Still, riding with street lights in Tokyo or out on a mountain side places different demands on your lighting, both in terms of brightness and battery life. Also, riding home before going to bed is not quite the same as riding until you see the sun come up and beyond :) I started one test ride at 01:00 specifically for that, picking the location based on where I expected to be at that time in the real event.

So what happens if you DNF? Do you take the train back or organize your own transportation?
First you call the event coordinator's ketai (or email, whichever they ask for) to let them know. They will get rather worried if someone doesn't show up at a checkpoint or finish line by closing time without any word, as it could mean an accident.

After that it's up to you how to get home. Everyone is considered to be on a self-sufficient private training ride for the duration of the event. Some people take their rinko if they foresee a chance of not being able to ride back. Personally, I have only rinko'd back once after a DNF.

I hope you have a great experience! :)
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,865
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#10
If you want to be smart about this, don't plan on minimum times ala Wien style. Joe does that because he is so slow he cannot keep up with anyone else.

Your best bet is to plan on riding in whatever group you can make or attach too. Riding behind someone uses about 30-40% less power depending on wind and the number in the group, So if you can gather a group of 4 people you will only be leading 25% of the time and you will, over the 8hours it should take to complete 200km, save substantial power and energy over someone who is forced to ride solo even at a substantially reduced pace.

Add to that the motivational effect of riding with a group, and the bonds you will form over a grueling event like a 400km event and there really is no question how you should approach it.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,443
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Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#11
So how many brevets have you actually successfully completed using this brilliant strategy, @theBlob? ;)

Historically, there are two styles of randonneuring: What is known as the Audax style, where people ride together throughout the event, and Allure Libre, which has become far more popular where everybody goes at their own pace. Confusingly, the latter style is also known as Audax in the UK and a few other countries, where the other style has never existed.

If you were to join a brevet ride, you would find that a lot of people ride together as larger groups early on in the event, but as time goes by and people stop for food, for toilet breaks, for removing or adding layers, etc. at different times, those early groups break up.

At a 200 km with 60 participants you may find yourself riding with another person or two for longer, but in a 400 or 600 km event with less than 30 people of different abilities, the field tends to spread out quite a bit.

Unlike triathletes, randonneurs do not frown on drafting, but it is nowhere near as important or even beneficial as in racing. Personally, I find drafting someone significantly faster than me far worse than not having anyone to draft because it burns me out quickly. Most brevets here tend to include lots of climbing, where drafting does not offer much of a benefit. So either the faster people would have to waste time or the slower people would have to go for unsustainable climb rates. That's when people drift apart naturally according to their abilities.

You may have a couple of people with similar power output, but would they get sleepy or hungry at the same rate? Would they need to go to the toilet after the same distance? Of course not. So we end up riding with different people at different times, and by ourselves a lot of them time and that's OK because it's not the Tour de France: It's a brevet.

In practice you will see relatively few people ride together for most or all of the event. When they do stick together it tends to be pairs such as a weaker rider who signed up with a stronger, more experienced friend who provides moral support and advice, or a couple that rides together.
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,865
1,451
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#13
How many 400km Brevets have you completed Joe? Maybe you should be looking for a like minded buddy to try the next one with.

It is just science, Relevant to all cycling. Starting with a group, or even a single friend, or attempting to find people that you can enjoy the ride with, would put you in a substantially stronger position mentally and physically as the km start to clock up.

Your last paragraph refers entirely to people who understand this science fact of cycling. Others might enjoy completing it by themselves because they have the strength to do so, but if they can't finish then they would have been better off, stopping when their new friend did, or whatever to stay as a collective.


So how many brevets have you actually successfully completed using this brilliant strategy, @theBlob? ;)

Historically, there are two styles of randonneuring: What is known as the Audax style, where people ride together throughout the event, and Allure Libre, which has become far more popular where everybody goes at their own pace. Confusingly, the latter style is also known as Audax in the UK and a few other countries, where the other style has never existed.

If you were to join a brevet ride, you would find that a lot of people ride together as larger groups early on in the event, but as time goes by and people stop for food, for toilet breaks, for removing or adding layers, etc. at different times, those early groups break up.

At a 200 km with 60 participants you may find yourself riding with another person or two for longer, but in a 400 or 600 km event with less than 30 people of different abilities, the field tends to spread out quite a bit.

Unlike triathletes, randonneurs do not frown on drafting, but it is nowhere near as important or even beneficial as in racing. Personally, I find drafting someone significantly faster than me far worse than not having anyone to draft because it burns me out quickly. Most brevets here tend to include lots of climbing, where drafting does not offer much of a benefit. So either the faster people would have to waste time or the slower people would have to go for unsustainable climb rates. That's when people drift apart naturally according to their abilities.

You may have a couple of people with similar power output, but would they get sleepy or hungry at the same rate? Would they need to go to the toilet after the same distance? Of course not. So we end up riding with different people at different times, and by ourselves a lot of them time and that's OK because it's not the Tour de France: It's a brevet.

In practice you will see relatively few people ride together for most or all of the event. When they do stick together it tends to be pairs such as a weaker rider who signed up with a stronger, more experienced friend who provides moral support and advice, or a couple that rides together.
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
914
294
83
Tokyo
#15
. . . Joe does that because he is so slow he cannot keep up with anyone else.
Uh huh.

How many 400km Brevets have you completed Joe? Maybe you should be looking for a like minded buddy to try the next one with.
I'm confused. He's physically incapable of doing XYZ; he should do XYZ. Which is it, Blob?

Meanwhile, hazy memory tells me that he didn't complete his 400km run because of lack of sleep. Does drafting help with this?
 

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
2,562
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Asakadai, Saitama
#16
Meanwhile, hazy memory tells me that he didn't complete his 400km run because of lack of sleep. Does drafting help with this?
I would say he didn't complete his last 400km ride due to lack of training, not a lack of sleep. If I remember rightly Joe had been swanning off half way around the world on business trips which meant he was unable to put the miles in, in the weeks before the event.
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,865
1,451
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#17
Wow! What a genius.

Uh huh.

I'm confused. He's physically incapable of doing XYZ; he should do XYZ. Which is it, Blob?

Meanwhile, hazy memory tells me that he didn't complete his 400km run because of lack of sleep. Does drafting help with this?
 

Rob

Cruising
Mar 29, 2014
20
6
13
42
#19
As for me I haven't completed any brevets yet. I do most of my riding alone or with my cycling club on Sunday morning. I would like to start with a 300km event but due to my schedule the only one that works is the 400km event. So I figure I will sign up for this one and see what happens. Either way it will be a good learning experience. I definitely like the idea of working in a team so hopefully I can find a good group that is going at a reasonable pace. As for my training, I've been putting in 13+ hours a week, with a lot of climbing, since that's my weak area. So we'll see how this translates to an event like this.
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
914
294
83
Tokyo
#20
. . . So I figure I will sign up for this one and see what happens. . . .
I hope it all goes well. Here's an account of a 300km brevet that didn't. Maybe there are one or two lessons to be learned from the account; but even if there aren't, it's a great (longish) read.