Thursday, May 26, 2011

Important PBP Dates from Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas reminds us of the following important dates for PBP aspirants.  See lots more info like this on the PBP Wiki.

May 29
  • Preregistration for riders who rode a 200km ACP brevet (or longer) in 2010
  • Starts midnight Paris time, so 3PM on 5/29 for west coast, 6PM on 5/28 for east coast
June 11
  • Registration begins (presumably midnight Paris time, so afternoon of 6/10 in US)
  • Preregistered riders start final registration
  • Non-preregistered riders may also register if there are quota spaces available (likely)
June 19
  • Pre-registered riders lose their priority space if not yet registered
  • This may free up national quota to allow more non-preregistered riders to register on June 20
July 17
  • Registration deadline
  • Riders who registered without all of their 2011 brevet homologation numbers must provide them by July 17
More registration info at the ACP PBP Registration page.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Prep for 1200k's + PBP Primer = Food for Thought!

Our good friend Susan Plonsky, Arizona RBA, has published a couple of helpful documents on her website - along with her personal insights training for Boston-Montreal-Boston(s):

How to Peak for Your Randonnee by Jeb Stuart - Ever wonder what to do in the month or two leading up to a 1200k grand randonnĂ©e or other peak event?  Jeb's advice is based on his elite coaching background.  You'll see some common themes with John Hughes, Michelle Grainger, and other knowledgeable coaches.  Even the veterans among us may take some good reminders away.

Paris Brest Paris: What to Know Before You Go by Tom Baker - Lots of pictures and detail about what venues look like, the specific challenges that PBP uniquely offers, and a number of great tips.

Have a read!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Michelle and Steve Check Out the Black Forest 300k!

Michelle Grainger and Steve Le Goff checked out the Black Forest 300k course last Sunday, May 8.  Findings:
  1. The couple hundred feet of Hodgen Road construction was packed dirt and very ridable - see photo.  (There were detour signs as you turn from Walker onto Black Forest Road - but you could bike on down to Hodgen.)
  2. The Elbert Store was friendly and well-stocked.  There is also now a place in "downtown" Elbert to get pizza and other warm food items, which Brent and Beth recommend.
  3. Please take advantage of the warm welcome at the Black Forest Texas Firehouse BBQ place (control store) - they are expecting us, and may be offering specials for the biker crowd.
  4. The new routing leaving that checkpoint - downhill on Shoup Road to digest the BBQ and uphill on Rollercoaster - works out well. 

And now for Michelle's story!

The last qualifier for Paris-Brest-Paris
DONE! Now let the work begin!

And, oooohhhhhhhhh, was it a painful ride for me. I guess I would say it is kind of bittersweet. I had to work hard for my final PBP qualifier. I would love to say I enjoyed myself throughout the day but it was a very difficult day for me. A little humble pie seemed to be served at every control and every hill we rode up. Most of the hills are between 7 and 11 %. (Garmins have great purpose.)

The Black Forest 300KM is one of the most beautiful Brevets. It takes us on rolling roads through horse farms and past huge houses nestled against the foothills west of Denver, and south down to towns with names you only hear about when there are major snowstorms: Larkspur, Palmer Lake, Black Forest and Elbert. This 300 KM is mainly above 7,000 feet and has just under 10,000 feet of elevation gain. You hope for no rain throughout the day, as it will turn to snow (as we found out last year), but this usually means good stiff headwinds for most of your scenic riding.

I am so very lucky to have Steve at my side for all of my rides. Mentally I'm not quite ready to ride all of the Brevets on my own and physically not quite ready to pull my own butt around. So, many thanks for a loving, strong and patient husband and best friend. I could not and maybe would not be willing to chug along to get my butt to Paris if it was not for Steve. Not to mention the many friends, like John Lee, who also help me reach my goal of riding in PBP this year.

A great finish well before dark and a perfect pre-ride ... with a good message for the actual day of the Brevet: the dirt road section on Hodgen is short and ridable. Please buy a lot of food at the control in Black Forest. The BBQ and hospitality are awesome and they are looking forward to seeing all of you on Brevet day. Eat eat eat!

 - Michelle

Monday, May 9, 2011

Michelle and Steve Ride the NW Crank!

Here is a short recap of our wonderful ride with the Seattle International Randonneurs during the NW Crank week of rides.

When Steve and I started looking around for a Brevet week, or at least the option to do a 400KM and a 600KM Brevet in one week, we jumped at the chance to go and ride with the Seattle International Randonneurs at the NW Crank week of rides. It seemed the perfect way to celebrate our 19th anniversary and test out my riding legs after such a long winter off the bike. It helps that the elevation of the start and finish of these rides is about 6,000 feet lower in elevation than where we lay our heads at night.

Our biggest decision was not who to give the pets to for a week or what to pack for different weather conditions, but was whether we should go buy fenders for our bikes. We know some of the RMCC Brevet riders have fenders on their bikes but Steve and I have declined to add them to our bikes (at least for now). We are very aware that it can be very impolite to ride with people in rain and not have fenders... but decided to trust that we would be treated as inexperienced guests and I can say, we were not disappointed.

We were treated like the dry inland riders we are. Lucky for us (or really our new riding friends) we only encountered a handful of rain drops. I now own a brand new pair of quick release Race Blade fenders. I'll be ready for that rain now!

The Brevets during the NW Crank Week featured orchards of apples, cherries, and pears. We saw fields of winter wheat brown and done and the new sprouts of the coming summer wheat. We rode along the Columbia River and saw incredible mountain lakes, like Lake Chelan.

Our new friends at SIR (and, of course the promoters of NW Crank) did not disappoint. We had a wonderful vacation and even more satisfying rides. We made great new lifelong friends and people we hope to see in Paris or Brest, or along the way.

Steve and I would highly recommend going next year and getting in some early season miles, Brevets, or just great scenic rides. P.S. bring fenders-maybe.

Bonne Route!
Michelle and Steve

This year's NW Crank started the week with a 600k brevet and ended with a 400k, with a 200k, 300k, and alternate "fun rides" in between.  This past weekend, Michelle Grainger and Steve Le Goff finished off their Super-Randonneur series and qualification for Paris-Brest-Paris by pre-riding the Black Forest 300k ... a tapering ride, ha, ha.  -jle

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

More on Cripple Creek 300k ...

Vernon has provided more details on stores and lodging which I've added to the original post.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Cripple Creek - Pine Junction 300k - the Inside Story!

The inaugural Cripple Creek - Pine Junction 300k is slated for Saturday, May 7.  Route designer and ride leader Vernon Smith has produced a route profile which highlights:
  • 15,600 ft. of climbing (twice the climbing guideline for a 300k; by comparison, the Black Forest 300k has 9,000 ft.)
  • 10,200 ft. maximum elevation (at Cripple Creek).
Vernon advises riders: "You will be at 76 miles after completing the Cripple Creek loop (max elevation 10,200) and are back in Woodland Park. At this point, consider the weather, your fitness, and how you are feeling before starting off to Pine Junction. At 76 miles you have had less than half of the elevation gain for the day, although you will now generally stay below 8,300 feet. It is here in Woodland Park that you have an option to simply ride down Ute Pass back to the start in Colorado Springs.

"Lights for the morning that will still be working into the night are a must.

"Plan on a long hard ride."

So there you have it.  As you may have gathered, this is a course replete with climbing followed by, well, more climbing, and much of the course is on winding mountain roads with limited shoulders in some areas. 

Thanks, Vernon, for designing and leading this new challenge!  See added details below ...


Marriott Towne Place Suites (as on the route sheet, etc.)
4760 Centennial Blvd.
Colorado Springs CO 80919
  • All rooms have a full kitchen.
  • The single studio is $79
  • The two bedroom unit is $99
  • Reservations at 719-594-4447
  • Pine Junction store closes at 9pm
  • Deckers store closes at 5pm