Author Topic: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP  (Read 6396 times)

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #75 on: September 30, 2018, 08:02:52 pm »
I've taken Sleepeze during multi-day rides! It did backfire briefly on one occasion, so my advice is TAKE AT OWN RISK.

But overall it's been very helpful - I'm at the opposite end of the "deals with sleep dep" curve from Mr Greenbank, and it's a definite handicap on long rides.
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #76 on: September 30, 2018, 08:25:22 pm »
One thing really struck a chord, the advice to give up on caffeine for 2 - 4 weeks before an ultra event, which is something I have used before overnight rides to try to avoid the dozies.  I didn't directly consider safety, it was more a response to failing to finish a hard event due to struggling to stay awake.  However, from now on I think I'll adhere to the caffeine abstention more rigorously.

I gave it up completely[1] years ago. Best thing I've ever done. Sleep far better now and probably helps my "deal with sleep dep" abilities.

1. Well, I still drink decaff and that's usually about 10% of the caffeine of normal coffee not zero caffeine. I can get away with one caffeinated coffee in a day (no later than 4pm) if somewhere doesn't have decaff, otherwise I'll just have water (or another beer).
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #77 on: September 30, 2018, 09:41:56 pm »
I think 'sleep banking' is unlikely to be more than simply ensuring you're not already sleep-deprived before an event.

I have seen the erratic behaviour and riding of randonneurs on Pro-Plus or similar caffeine supplements (on one of my 600s, since you ask).  I didn't get the impression it was particularly helpful — wide awake but no-one at home.

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #78 on: September 30, 2018, 10:00:26 pm »
Indeed, I don't think you can bank sleep, all you can do is not be in sleep debt.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #79 on: September 30, 2018, 10:04:35 pm »
Some sleep-deprived riders on very long rides have become so confused they ended up in hospital...

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #80 on: October 01, 2018, 10:35:05 am »
There's obviously a duty of care on organisers to avoid roads that are hazardous.

All roads are hazardous.  The acceptable degree is a a matter of judgement. 

But I do time-trial on roads I wouldn't route an AUK event along.
2 things:
- our risk perception is crap. (There have been many analyseses showing that the "scary" A-roads used on some TTs are actually much safer than the B-road courses in the same area.)
- how much more hazardous are the worst roads? I'd like to see some real numbers - as Ian says, all roads are hazardous (as are cycle-paths, and driving home with one's bike). Show me evidence of how much worse one road is than another - I think the answers will often be down in the statistical noise, especially given how safe cycling on roads actually is.

I was interested to read Jasmijn Muller's thoughts on how her perceptions of safety had affected her on the End to End. That's one end of a continuum of observation and time pressure, and takes in the safety measures in place on TTs.
Obviously that's her story, Michael Broadwith's would be different. Looking at LEJOG, the 24 and Audax events has got me wondering where perceptions of risk fit within the overall mix.

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As I wrote in my blog at the time, I started out on this journey with a mixture of optimism and foolishness. The optimist in me quickly learned that these busy A-roads were not for the faint-hearted. Riding on them with a massive yellow number on your back during an organised time trial, riding with the benefit of formal warning signs, marshals and car drivers already having been alerted by seeing other cyclists on the road, is one thing. Doing so on your own on A-roads that are, in part, treated like motorways is quite another. No wonder nobody tried to break these records after Lynne Biddulph’s successes in 2001 and 2002.

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I knew that there were risks attached to this record attempt. I knew you had to have big balls to even start. This record has stood for so long for a number of reasons, but one that cannot be ignored is the fact that no other woman has even tried since Lynne broke her own record in 2002. I have time trialled on a lot of busy A-roads. I have ridden the whole record attempt route twice, all on my own without a follow car. But each time I wasn’t sleep deprived or chasing this record. I had the luxury to pause in laybys to find back my courage when needed and I wasn’t under real time pressure.

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After some ambiguity/uncertainty during my first record attempt about what was to be considered as too much use of radios, we decided to do away with them all together for my second record attempt. After all, Lynne didn’t have a radio so why should I? It was Mike Hall’s death in Australia and the realisation of the roads I would be on and the risk involved that made me adamant on using radios the first time. But why put in all this effort at the risk of retrospectively being disqualified if you broke the record but the observers deemed the use of the radios too often or not for the correct purposes? The Road Record Association (RRA) rules state that “Excessive use of either radio or mobile phone contact between the rider/s and any following vehicle will not be tolerated. The use of radio or phone contact should be restricted to emergency purposes only, and not for giving encouragement, or for general dialogue”. Fair. But what is excessive and when is something an emergency and when is using a radio valid to avoid an emergency?
In the Race Across America (RAAM) radios are permitted and riders have frequent contact with their crew. Following a few very unfortunate deaths in the past, cars now have to follow at no less than 15 meters at night. At night the rider may not proceed unescorted either. Circumstances change over time. Roads get busier. These days many A-roads and even some motorways in the UK are full of holes. Safety is important, but so is adhering to the rules of the organisation that administers the record and ensuring a level playing field with previous record holders. There is no easy answer and I am very grateful to the RRA for all the guidance and support I have received (involving official observers in each of the follow cars as well as an army of official checkers along the route) during both my record attempts.

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For the moment (once I can sit on a saddle again), I want to ride with others again. I want to eat cake. I want to chat and not look at the numbers for a while. I want to ride nice Audax routes along the small B-roads. I want to ride for sheer joy, freedom and relaxation.

https://duracellbunnyonabike.com/2018/09/14/and-in-the-end/

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

  • Miles eaten don't satisfy hunger
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Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #81 on: October 01, 2018, 11:37:38 am »
One thing really struck a chord, the advice to give up on caffeine for 2 - 4 weeks before an ultra event, which is something I have used before overnight rides to try to avoid the dozies.  I didn't directly consider safety, it was more a response to failing to finish a hard event due to struggling to stay awake.  However, from now on I think I'll adhere to the caffeine abstention more rigorously.

I gave it up completely[1] years ago. Best thing I've ever done. Sleep far better now and probably helps my "deal with sleep dep" abilities.

1. Well, I still drink decaff and that's usually about 10% of the caffeine of normal coffee not zero caffeine. I can get away with one caffeinated coffee in a day (no later than 4pm) if somewhere doesn't have decaff, otherwise I'll just have water (or another beer).

I wish...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kymGYuMa_k0

..but also caffeine as a stimulant can help overcome periods of natural physical/mental lows.  For me that does help with safely / staying awake.  The problem is that when it's habit forming, it's effects are reduced.  Hence, I think why a period of abstention works, by sharpening the effects.
Eddington Numbers 125 (imperial), 168 (metric) 518 (furlongs)  111 (nautical miles)

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #82 on: October 01, 2018, 03:37:32 pm »
Not everyone is the same and not all sleepiness is the same.
I've just got home from weight training, eaten, then fallen asleep. I wanted to sleep when I was at the gym but just rode home slowly, then fell asleep. I'm good now I've had my nap.
It's not the same as when I rode the 600km permanent last thursday and Friday. I was tired from lack of sleep. It was easier to stay awake but I knew I needed to finish before around midnight when staying awake would get much harder.
I think that all AUK can do is raise awareness. It's not the same as being sleepy driving a car, but still well worth avoiding if possible. Once you get so bad, you'll be too slow for Audax time limits anyway. I've been there, or very close enough times to know that once you get too sleepy, you know the game is up. If you're far enough ahead of the time limit to sleep, it often turns out that you'll finish at about the same time you would have done, had you pressed on through sleepiness, so you may as well grab some sleep and make it more enjoyable.

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #83 on: October 01, 2018, 03:57:52 pm »
We just don't hear of people falling asleep and falling off their bikes into the road from tiredness.

I've experience of one. Few years back. Quiet road in the middle of the night on a 400. No other traffic involved. He said he woke up as he fell, but too late. DNF broken collarbone.

Planet X Paul

  • The Green Machine
Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #84 on: October 01, 2018, 10:34:28 pm »
Nearly fallen asleep a few times myself.  It's not pleasant when you realise how much you could hurt yourself.  First time I experienced it was when I ECE'ed the National 400 a couple of years ago.  I had been up since 7am on Friday, done a very busy day in work and set off just before midnight to ride to the start of the event.  By the time the event started, I had already been up 24 hours and ridden 125 Km through the night.  During my second night I nearly crashed a few times but just managed to wake up when I felt myself swerve.  It could have been so different.  It is not something I have experienced before on multi-day/night runs without sleep.  Maybe the motion of cycling is more soporific than running.

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #85 on: October 02, 2018, 08:11:25 am »
Actually falling asleep is the sharp end of the problem. Before that though there are plenty of other equally dangerous symptoms that can cause a crash, such as lack of concentration, poor depth perception, seeing things that aren't there and wandering all over the road. You gradually start losing your mind if you keep pressing on and these are early indicators in my experience.

If I start to experience anything like that now, I stop for a rest. As TG said upthread, you only go slower if you try and press on anyway. A quick nap can usually reset you and you'll go quicker anyway. Although, if you really have a big sleep deficit, you'll need more than a quick nap.

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #86 on: October 02, 2018, 09:29:44 am »
One item not discussed yet regarding sleep is the moment you sleep. Everyone has his own prefered moment, the time of the night when an hour or two of sleep has the best possible effect. For some people that's at the start of the night, for others at the end of the night. My most effective sleeping time is between 4 and 6 in the morning. Sometimes the control spacing forces me to sleep earlier. If I do that, I will inevitably be sleepy between 4 and 6 and hardly gain any ground. Despite having slept a few hours. Sometimes I can't even fall asleep at the time/place I have to sleep because I don't need to sleep yet.
So if possible I prefere to press on and sleep in the wild between the controls since that gives me a better quality sleep.
This effect is often forgotten by those who advocate enforced sleep breaks.

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #87 on: October 02, 2018, 09:37:30 am »
It might be better if the minimum speed varied with each step-up in distance. There are rules of thumb as to how much leeway you should have in a 400 to ride a 600, and what time you should do a 600 in to have a comfortable PBP.

With riders new to Audax doing PBP after only a pre-qualifier and then an SR in 2019, there might be a lot of people hitting their limits having organised their travel and accommodation. I'd say that self-imposed pressure can lead to bad decisions.

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #88 on: October 02, 2018, 10:07:07 am »
A essential ingredient of randonnée riding is being competent at looking after yourself on the road. 

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #89 on: October 02, 2018, 11:11:17 am »
What Ian just said.
You're only as successful as your last 1200...

Pete Mas

  • Don't Worry 'bout a thing...
Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #90 on: October 02, 2018, 12:39:05 pm »
Yes sleep deprivation is an unavoidable element of the longer multi-day rides, and we all have to learn to deal with it - particularly the slower rider who, for example, will find more crowded controls on PBP and less time and opportunity to sleep properly. It's also a truism that the longer the ride the more likely it is that a rider will not finish within the time limits for whatever reason. Would be interesting if there were stats for longer rides for 'reason for DNF' eg Mechanical problems, sleep deprivation, other physical problems (Schermer's neck, knee problems,gut problems etc).
''It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive."

R.L.Stevenson

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small just Far Away at the back
Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #91 on: October 02, 2018, 01:11:06 pm »
One item not discussed yet regarding sleep is the moment you sleep. Everyone has his own prefered moment, the time of the night when an hour or two of sleep has the best possible effect. For some people that's at the start of the night, for others at the end of the night. My most effective sleeping time is between 4 and 6 in the morning. Sometimes the control spacing forces me to sleep earlier. If I do that, I will inevitably be sleepy between 4 and 6 and hardly gain any ground. Despite having slept a few hours. Sometimes I can't even fall asleep at the time/place I have to sleep because I don't need to sleep yet.
So if possible I prefere to press on and sleep in the wild between the controls since that gives me a better quality sleep.
This effect is often forgotten by those who advocate enforced sleep breaks.

I had that problem on BGB; was tired enough to sleep for 50m when I got back to Gretna, I had set and hour on the alarm but I woke up before it went off; that was 2am, carried on and started to get sleepy as my speed dropped on the climb up Shap but my HR didn't really rise with the climb, that was around 5am, wasted 15m at Lowther eating sweets then remembered there was a decent bus shelter I had spotted at Shap and got 10m sleep there despite setting the alarm for 15m.
Daylight breaking as I summited was the best thing ever and for me one of the best sleep inhibitors too.

My natural sleep period of needing sleep seems to be between 3am and 6am so this didn't surprise me.

I spent years working in an inside office in a large hospital, going through the shortest days of the year without daylight is, interesting.

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #92 on: October 02, 2018, 02:11:30 pm »
Yes sleep deprivation is an unavoidable element of the longer multi-day rides, and we all have to learn to deal with it - particularly the slower rider who, for example, will find more crowded controls on PBP and less time and opportunity to sleep properly. It's also a truism that the longer the ride the more likely it is that a rider will not finish within the time limits for whatever reason. Would be interesting if there were stats for longer rides for 'reason for DNF' eg Mechanical problems, sleep deprivation, other physical problems (Schermer's neck, knee problems,gut problems etc).
Is it? True, that is? Do you not think that a higher proportion of riders on longer rides are better prepared (and more experienced, maybe) and therefore the DNF rate is lower.
Tiredness kicks in at the end of 300s but sleep deprivation (current topic in this thread) will not be a factor till 400. And for many riders (except ones whose pace means they cannot afford to stop and sleep and still be in time) a 600 can be completed without sleep deprivation as maintaining 18kph by day allows a 6+ hour stop 'overnight'. And on a 1000, 18kph during the days allows 3 x 6+ hour stops. Riders taking advantage of this and sleeping for 5 hours a night will be tired (they're riding a long, long way (and hills eg Mille Pennines or Mille Cymru make a significant difference to pace and tiredness (now there's a "truism"))) but they should not be suffering from sleep deprivation provided (as Ian said upthread) they didn't (willfully eg ECE) start sleep deprived. However lots of riders deliberately choose to experience (and cope with in safety terms) sleep deprivation by not planning to take / taking decent sleep so they can finish earlier.

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #93 on: October 02, 2018, 02:23:20 pm »
For any given average speed, doesn’t the amount of sleep time available on a 600 depend upon the spacing of controls?  Wherever in the ride you place that sleep stop (unless it’s at the finish) you still need to arrive at the subsequent control on time.
R10000 x 2   RRtY x 7    SR x 7    E = 128

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #94 on: October 02, 2018, 02:37:21 pm »
DNF rate for a good PBP is 1 in 7 starters and around 2 in 7 for a tough PBP.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #95 on: October 02, 2018, 03:01:28 pm »
Yes sleep deprivation is an unavoidable element of the longer multi-day rides,

Not necessarily. I slept every night on the 2013 LEL. Late start at 10:30am. Rode 250km and had time for about 7 hours sleep. The earlier start meant I rode further and built a bigger time buffer for sleep.
400s could be the toughest, probably because they're mostly ridden straight through without sleep and start later in the day. Maybe riding them as 300/100km would be a lot easier?

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #96 on: October 02, 2018, 03:27:08 pm »
A 400k can be started at 6am and finished by midnight*. Sleep deprivation not required.

* By faster riders than me. I've done 400km in about 20h at best.


Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #97 on: October 02, 2018, 03:41:06 pm »
Starting anything at 6am means sleep deprivation.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small just Far Away at the back
Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #98 on: October 02, 2018, 04:00:43 pm »
Starting anything at 6am means sleep deprivation.

Entirely dependent on the person;
A lark should have no problem with a 6am start, it could easily be well into their normal day; but may suffer later on depending on how far their sleep cycle allows them to push it past their normal sleep time.
An owl on the other hand may struggle with the early start, but since the world is set up for early starts we're possibly more used to it and handling having to get up when we should be asleep; the up shot of that is riding into the night is easy as you're not trying to go to sleep when your body's awake. 

I've so far had no problems with lack of sleep towards the end of a 24hr ride. (which the one 400km I did last year turned out to be); but I can reasonably comfortably allow for staying up past 3am even if all I'm doing is reading or mashing a keyboard. Longer than 30hrs though...

You've got to learn your own sleep needs and work that into your game plan;
I remember a few years ago Jason Miles got a bit of a shock as Keith Forsyth absolutely hammered it off the front at the Puffer and as he had no idea if Keith was going to sleep or not, all he could do was batter on and try and keep up.  Keith slept, Jason didn't and Jason won by quite a decent margin.

Some riders would sleep a few minutes, some a few hours; it gets surprisingly quiet out in the forest in the wee small hours for those that just keep plodding on (me).

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #99 on: October 02, 2018, 09:43:19 pm »
For any given average speed, doesn’t the amount of sleep time available on a 600 depend upon the spacing of controls?  Wherever in the ride you place that sleep stop (unless it’s at the finish) you still need to arrive at the subsequent control on time.
On a 600 someone riding an 18kph average including stops can get around 4 hours sleep at the 350km mark and still make the next control with a little time to spare. If that's four hours quality sleep in a proper bed rather than a noisy church hall or shivering in a bivi, you'll probably finish the ride faster than the people who were near you in time when you crashed, and enjoy the last 250Km.
Events I am running: 6th Apr 2019 3Down London - New Forest 300K; 22nd Jun 2019 Willesden's Last Gasp 600K; 30th Jun 2019 2 Audaxes from Maidenhead;