Author Topic: PBP pace planning  (Read 5717 times)

JamesBradbury

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PBP pace planning
« on: March 17, 2019, 10:03:06 am »
Having got PBP rather wrong in 2015 due partly to not be aware of how much time I had in hand, I've this year made a planning spreadsheet. I think someone did something similar for LEL and published it in Arrivee.

I'm not convinced any such plan will survive contact with the enemy - headwinds, mechanicals, etc. But I've found them helpful for knowing how far off track I am.

Perhaps someone has already produced something like this online somewhere, but I couldn't find anything. So I've put some instructions for modifying my Google Doc for your own start times and speed, so I hope it will be helpful to someone else. You could even copy and adapt it for other events.

PBP pace-planning spreadsheet

Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2019, 02:36:00 pm »
A good idea imho is to make multiple possibilities, i.e. "best case scenario" / "worst case scenario" being the ends of the spectrum. That way, if you're behind your ideal plan but still within acceptable limits, you won't lose heart that you're "behind", because you'll still be in front of the worst case scenario.
It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

JamesBradbury

  • The before-ride picture is even worse
    • James Thinks
Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2019, 05:30:41 pm »
I agree, which is why I've made space for a fast and slow plan.

I think mostly is about having an easy answer to the question "what time do I need to leave this control" when your tired and your brain won't maths.

Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2019, 05:47:34 pm »
I think mostly is about having an easy answer to the question "what time do I need to leave this control"

I printed out some key times, along with a control-leaving checklist (got wallet? filled bidons?) on waterproof paper, and taped it to my top tube for LEL.

Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2019, 05:58:45 pm »
I made a schedule for an event once: the first Crackpot, because it was a condition of entry.

I calculated moving and rest times and came to a total time well over the limit (it was set at 65hrs originally).  So I shaved each section until it fitted, with a little leaway, and posted the resulting work of fiction off.  Afterwards Shawn told me mine was the most accurate one of the lot.

Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2019, 07:07:50 pm »
There was a time when I mocked my old riding partner Mr Thomas for writing schedules, but I have started to use them, especially on long rides.

The trick is to 1) be realistic with your riding speed and 2) allow faff time.

I do have my schedule from 2015 and a comparison with actual times which I will dust off on a quiet afternoon at work.

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2019, 07:25:01 pm »
for me - the schedule would add another thing to worry about. just ride according to your ability and minimise faff/control time.

Bianchi Boy

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Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2019, 07:35:51 pm »
for me - the schedule would add another thing to worry about. just ride according to your ability and minimise faff/control time.
You are a fast rider Mr Zigzag. I had the same opinion at that time. If you are pushed by time limits the view is different.

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Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2019, 08:59:48 pm »
I made a schedule for an event once: the first Crackpot, because it was a condition of entry.

I calculated moving and rest times and came to a total time well over the limit (it was set at 65hrs originally).  So I shaved each section until it fitted, with a little leaway, and posted the resulting work of fiction off.  Afterwards Shawn told me mine was the most accurate one of the lot.
This gave me a giggle. And also shock at the fact that you were required to produce such a thing; did you need to factor in the inevitable extra distance thanks to the legendary character of the Wessex series route sheets?

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Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2019, 11:13:02 pm »
I made a schedule for an event once: the first Crackpot, because it was a condition of entry.
This gave me a giggle. And also shock at the fact that you were required to produce such a thing; did you need to factor in the inevitable extra distance thanks to the legendary character of the Wessex series route sheets
You are failing to take account of @Ian H's legendary ability, honed over decades, to decipher all manner of route sheets, including his own.

Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2019, 09:11:28 am »

I think mostly is about having an easy answer to the question "what time do I need to leave this control" when your tired and your brain won't maths.

This can be somewhat simplified based on the idea that you don't need a spreadsheet or maths to tell you the answer at any control at which you don't sleep - because the answer is simply "as soon as I've done everything I need to do". If that includes a 10 minute powernap then so be it, but you don't want to be either rushing, or conversely, hanging around.
I still think it's easier to plan where to sleep, or at least plan where to have your 'main' sleeps, because the (addled) human brain can do calculations in days much easier than it can in hours. We need to beware of allowing the flexibility of being able to sleep at any control from actually making things more complicated!
It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2019, 09:14:21 am »
for me - the schedule would add another thing to worry about. just ride according to your ability and minimise faff/control time.
You are a fast rider Mr Zigzag. I had the same opinion at that time. If you are pushed by time limits the view is different.

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i was near time limits during lel 2009, same strategy applies. you can't magically start riding at twice the speed you are capable of. if you leave a control when it's closing, just keep riding without stopping to hopefully build a time buffer for some rest or a nap.

JamesBradbury

  • The before-ride picture is even worse
    • James Thinks
Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2019, 09:41:20 am »
Obviously pace plans are not everyone's preferred way to organise a long ride. But I found it really helpful on the mille cymru last year.

If all you're looking to do is ride eat sleep then I can see that makes it very simple.

For me the plan can help me know whether I have time to stop and chat for five minutes or go a little off route looking for a nice bakery, take photos, smell the roses, etc.

Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2019, 09:47:02 am »
My general strategy has changed on this:

To start with I went into the LEL with a complex spreadsheet plan A & plan B.  After the first night unable to sleep when my plans both said I should :facepalm: I decided to ignore it & just look at time in hand according to my brevet  :thumbsup:

Then on WCW I got caught out looking at the control times on my brevet - they were calculated to an over-distance route, but the finish time was strict BRM... I didn't notice until there were only 2-3 controls left and had it not been for a stonking tailwind at the end I'd have been way out of time...  :facepalm:

So now on long rides I simply take a note of the 'real' closing times for my start time & the route (i.e taking into account the total distance and hard time of the last control) - I then strive to make sure I leave any given control within that time limit.   :thumbsup:

I realised on the BoB ride last year that I could even find peace with being over those limits.  I knew that the end of the ride was flat, I went almost 4 hours over the intermediate control closing times but finished with nearly 2 hours to spare :)  Sure, I would have liked not to be so far over time in the middle, but I simply couldn't do any better due to indecent, my legs & those hills (i figured I'd only stop if they told me I was out of time)

So for PBP - I'll check my control closing times, strive to stick with them, but if they start to slip past will just keep the faffing down to as little as possible & try to keep moving as much as possible. 

Edd

Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2019, 09:47:53 am »
I made one to try and work out my likely progress. You can find the file in the DB link https://www.dropbox.com/s/bcstsxvakv2z59n/Timings.xlsx?dl=0
I should caveat that I made various assumptions, not all are likely to be correct

Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2019, 10:32:26 am »
I made a spreadsheet for borders of belgium but then instead of actually taking it with me on the go, basically just remembered the 'main' numbers / a few key times distilled from it. This seemed to work pretty well.
It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

bairn again

Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2019, 11:20:53 am »
Yes, having a plan or three is a good thing [TM] especially on the way back when things start to go a bit twilight zone. 

In 2015 I must have been a bit gubbed at Loudeac on the retour as I

- forgot to get my card stamped (thus incurring a post event 2 hr penalty but still got validated OK as I crossed the line sub 88hrs)
 
- left my helmet there (and didn't realise til I was about 20km down the road as I had a buff covering my head). 

and ended up getting mightily confused over how much time I had in hand for subsequent controls - I was OK at Tinteniac but had it in mind I had bags of time to get to Fougeres and kipped by the roadside, had a sit down lunch, then went via Decathlon in Fougeres before the control to buy a replacement helmet.

I was in time but not by much and had I realised correctly Id have not had the sit down lunch.  Id tried to buy a helmet at Tinteniac but the guy just laughed at me as there were none left, apparently loads of riders do it.  So as long as its not hosing it down, perhaps its a good idea to fix my helmet to the bike on arrival *.  I suspect that for most full value 90 hr riders its these two controls where time might be at its tightest.  The bit to Villaines has been an opportunity to gobble up easier kms (and to buy extra time) in my experience.   

This year i will definitely aim to have a better idea of timings AND will stick an aide memoire on my bike along the lines of "On leaving the control check have you had your card stamped!!! "

* Of course bikes can also be lost on PBP. 
 
     

Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2019, 02:38:27 pm »
Knowing the control closing times is essential - then you have an idea of how much time you have in hand.

I stopped using schedules because they made me feel stressed because I couldn't stick to them !

Minimising faff and knowing the cut-off times is less stressful - for me at least. Everyone's different though, of course ....

SPB

Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2019, 03:06:18 pm »
Knowing the control closing times is essential - then you have an idea of how much time you have in hand.


That's pretty much my thinking too.  Or, rather, knowing the latest I need to leave each control by in order to be reasonably sure of making the next before it closes for my wave. 


Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2019, 03:24:06 pm »
I just work off control closing times.  I look at the control closing time in the brevet card when I arrive and from that note how much time in hand I have and decide how much of that I'd like to use.   I know how much sleep I need to maintain my moving average speed on the road.  I also know how much buffer I like to leave with after a sleep stop.     So I factor that into my stops so I have an extra amount of buffer to use up for sleep each day.   The only time I plan a schedule is for Easter Arrows where you are basically herding cats.

A simple way of looking at it on the road is assume you average 20km/h on the road, and that the min average stays at 15km/h (it drops on way back) all the way round. Then for every three hours of riding you will gain an hour of stop time.  Use 30 mins of that stop time every three hours and after 18 hours that gives you three hours of sleep time. Ride through the first 24 hours or more and you have more sleep time to bank.

If you are not able to get to sleep, then riding slowly is faster than being stopped.

frankly frankie

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Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2019, 04:14:40 pm »
A simple way of looking at it on the road is assume you average 20km/h on the road, and that the min average stays at 15km/h (it drops on way back) all the way round. Then for every three hours of riding you will gain an hour of stop time.  Use 30 mins of that stop time every three hours and after 18 hours that gives you three hours of sleep time. Ride through the first 24 hours or more and you have more sleep time to bank.

I think this is very sensible.  The more so given that your average on the road will almost certainly be higher than that during the first 24h, and the overall min ends up way lower than 15.   The first three hours of riding will very likely put 2 hours in your back pocket.  Once you have that, the rest of the event is simply a matter of riding what's in front of you with no worries.

Everyone's different, but my personal strategy for any cycle ride however short or long (up to 1400km, my longest) has always been "go as hard as I can, for as long as I can".  All this keeping something back 'just in case' does nothing for me - my simple aim is maximum time buffer as quickly as possible, then if 'just in case' does happen I have time to deal with it.  To help achieve this I carbo-load like mad before the event and sugar-load whilst waiting at the start.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

marcusjb

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Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2019, 05:44:47 pm »
I would agree with the above for sure.

You are likely to be able to shave considerable time off your fastest 200 and 300 to date - partly because of the trains and partly because it is a long way to the first control so you are encouraged to get on with it.

I used to use spreadsheets, but experience now tells me what I need to do and where I will be; if figures go southward, then experience has also taught me not to panic and to work out what I need to do about it.

But, yes, rough maths off the brevet card times is enough to tell you what is going on.

And if you arrive at a control you had ear marked to sleep at and you are not yet sleepy - carry on. (If you are sleepy and there is no bed, then sleep wherever you can even for 45 mins).
Right! What's next?

Ooooh. That sounds like a daft idea.  I am in!

Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2019, 05:56:07 pm »
...did you need to factor in the inevitable extra distance thanks to the legendary character of the Wessex series route sheets?

They're only legendary now because they haven't evolved much over the years.  Back in the day they were state-of-the-art. 

Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2019, 06:44:43 pm »
Slightly off topic, but does anyone know how control timings work for PBP? The The ACP RULES OF BREVETS RANDONNEURS MONDIAUX (from 200km to 1000km) state:
Quote
Article 10 :
Opening: 34 km / h (km 1 to 200); 32 km / h (km 201 to 400); 30 km / h (km 401 to 600); 28 km / h (km 601 to 1000); commercial rounded by the minute.
Closing: 1 hour + 20 km / h (km 1 to 60); 15 km / h (km 61 to 600); 11.428 km / h (km 601 to 1000); commercial rounded by the minute.

But applying those rules to the  published times for PBP 11  (so I can confirm my maths) doesn't work, Even simple calculations for closing times for the first few controls at the 15km/h minimum speed quickly fall apart.

For instance, for an 18:00 Sunday start:
   Montagne at 140KM @ 15km/h = 9.33h (9h 20m – closes at Mon 03:20) matches ACP's time, as do the times for next three controls.
   Tinteniac at 364km @15km/h = 24.26h (24h 16m – closes at Tue 18:16) doesn't match – ACP says 18:38, and times are out for the remainder of controls < 600km.

Am I overlooking something here, or does ACP just fudge the control times for some reason?

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: PBP pace planning
« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2019, 06:47:41 pm »
This was answered in another thread. PBP is its own game with its own rules.
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