03 July 2010 ~ 3 Comments

2010 Cascade 1200K Randonnée (770 miles in 3-1/2 days)

Day 4. Washington Pass, elevation 5477 feet, our high point of the ride.

This randonnee starts and finishes in Monroe, a town at the western base of the Cascades, some 40 miles N.E. of Seattle. The route essentially makes a gigantic counter-clockwise loop around Mount Rainer. This 1200km event is sponsored by one of the largest randonneuring groups in the U.S., the Seattle International Randonneurs or S.I.R. (This randonnee is actually 1240km or 770 miles with about 40 to 43,000 feet of climbing). Some 90+ riders took this challenge from June the 26th through the 30th.

Two years ago I attempted this ride — it was my first 1200K. I had been riding a road bike for less than a year then so I was rather new to the sport of randonneuring.  I dropped out after day three and 600 miles due to saddle sore issues. This event is held every other year, so this year I had a score to settle. We are allowed 93 hours to finish, which is almost four days and three nights. The ride started on 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday and we had to be in by 3:00 a.m. on Wednesday to qualify as a finisher. In the previous two times this event took place, the completion rate was between 68-71%. This time (primarily because of the nicer, not-so-hot weather), the completion rate was closer to 80 or 85% I believe.

Many thanks to the volunteers of S.I.R. for their hours of preparation and tireless service. Oh yeah, thanks also to those unnamed riders who pulled me along during various parts of this ride.

A few stats of the ride:
Day 1, Monroe to Naches: Mileage was 224 with an average moving speed for the day of 16.85 MPH (not taking into account breaks). I left Monroe at 6 a.m. and arrived at 8:35 p.m. Calories consumed during that time was 6365 with a maximum heart rate of 152 BPM (my absolute threshold is 163 on a bike, and 172 on skis). My heart rate during the two hour climb up to White Pass was essentially sustained at 137 BPM (which is the red zone or upper 20% for me) for that period of time.
Day 2, Naches to Quincy: Mileage was 206 with an 2-day accumulated average moving speed of 16.0 MPH. I left the overnight stop at approx. 3:30 a.m. and arrived at 8:49 p.m. I had less climbing that day, but due to the mechanical problem with my bag (as a result of a crash) I lost several hours of time. Calories consumed during that time was 3306 with a maximum heart rate of 132 BPM.
Day 3, Naches to Mazama: Mileage was 180 with an 3-day accumulated average moving speed (to date) of 15.5 MPH. I left the overnight stop at approx. 5:20 a.m. and arrived at 8:13 p.m. Calories consumed during that time was 2703 with a maximum heart rate of 129. My heart rate going up Loup Loup Pass was at a sustained rate of about 115 BPM.
Day 4, Mazama to Monroe: Mileage was 162 with a 4-day accumulated average (final) moving speed of 15.24 MPH. I left the overnight stop at approx. 5:45 a.m. and arrived at the finish at 7:39 p.m. My heart rate monitor watch got switched off as a result of wearing a jacket on the descent so I have no record of that day’s heart stats. I observed that my sustained heart rate while ascending Washington Pass was in the range of 110–115 BPM.
My Total time including riding, resting, sleeping and eating was 85 hours and 39 minutes. My pedaling or moving time (sometimes I coast the downhills which registers as movement with my cyclocomputer) was 51 hours, 17 minutes. My average cadence was 71. My maximum speed was 41.3 MPH. Please note that on the last morning of this brevet, a nice buffet breakfast is provided at Mazama at 5:00 a.m., which is a big deterrent for an early start to grab a good “finishing time.” I choose to stay for the breakfast and use that energy for the long climb that morning.
Notes About Sleep I have found that on 1200k’s I like to set a goal to arrive at each overnight stop by sunset, leaving at whatever time in the morning is needed. Sometimes, that means leaving at 3 or 4 a.m. and perhaps taking a nap along the way. One thing I have learned about 1200k’s…speed = sleep. The faster you can move on the bike, the more sleep you can obtain — this simple fact was a driving force during my spring training. As a solid eight-hour-a-night guy (plus occasional naps…I’m self employed and work at home), sleep was high on my list. The funny thing about this randonneé is that despite arriving at the overnight control by sunset each night, I only slept well one night. The first night, I didn’t have earplugs and it was too hot for me (I finally just got up and started down the road at about 3:30 a.m.). I procured some earplugs for night two (thanks Mike Sturgill) and slept OK in Quincy. Night three in Mazama I was too hot again and slept poorly. Perhaps my heart rate is not dropping down low enough at night and my body remained overheated? (My normal resting rate before climbing out of bed is 42 BPM). I took my heart rate monitor off at night. Next time I think I’ll leave it on and see what it says as I retire. Or next time maybe bring a foam pad and sleep outside where it is cooler?

Do two click-throughs to see the photos enlarged.

The photos are in chronological order, left to right.

All Photos Copyright 2010 Richard Stum

3 Responses to “2010 Cascade 1200K Randonnée (770 miles in 3-1/2 days)”

  1. Susan Plonsky 4 July 2010 at 10:32 am Permalink

    Congratulations, Richard. This is fantastic!

    I want to hear about your accident. What happened?


  2. admin 4 July 2010 at 1:34 pm Permalink

    Hi Susan,
    Click on the photo and it will bring up the same photo again and the “back story.” Click on the 2nd photo again and it will enlarge.
    > Richard

  3. Bob Dean 21 September 2010 at 11:05 am Permalink

    Great post on the 1240K brevet.
    Formally I hiked in the Cascades. Now I will be preparing for the 2012 running of this brevet.


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