Author Topic: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar  (Read 796 times)

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
I want to get into long distance bike racing (unsupported races of >400km), but it looks like I've missed the boat for 2019. So I'm planning my 2020 calendar instead.

Right now I am committed (though haven't paid for) Race Across the Netherlands, but I'm also interested in 'gravel' racing, with my beloved chonkster being suitable for moderate off-roading, particularly if I put stumpy wheels and wider tyres on it, though I don't think much wider than 35mm. However I can borrow a 26"er hardtail with room for much fatter tyres if things are looking dramatic. I could also potentially get a wider fork, with 650b or 26" wheels there would be lots of clearance front and back.

I do not fly so everywhere would need to be within convenient riding, train or ferry distance from London.

Some other races I'm interested in, maybe they'll be of interest to you too:


Gravel Tro Greizh (early May), a 1400 km gravel race in France http://graveltrobreizh.fr/

Across the 3 (early May), a 500 km gravel race across Belgium, Luxemburg and Germany https://www.act5.be/copy-of-about-act3-2 - I think this may be a better pick than GTG for training purposes.

All points North (late May), the well known road race in England.

Transatlantic Way (early June) in Ireland - this one interests me but it's seemingly very soon after APN so unsure if it would be a wise move https://www.transatlanticway.com/the-route/

Tannus bikepacking race (late June) in Germany - more an off road MTB race, 800 km long, with 14,000m climbing. https://taunus-bikepacking.com/

GBduro (late June), 2000 km gravel across the UK so obviously that's a clash with the German one. https://www.theracingcollective.com/gbduro.html

The transcontinental race (early July), >3000 km, start/finish unknown. I am unsure if I would want to do it next year, might rather do GBduro and the panceltic instead and aim for TCR in 2021.

Pan celtic race (early July), 2400 km across Scotland/Ireland/Wales https://www.pancelticrace.com/route/

Across the 5 (late July), 1200 km, 19,000 of climbing, off-road across Belgium, France, Luxemburg, Germany and the Netherlands https://www.act5.be/copy-of-about-act3

Transiberica race (early September), which goes right the way around Spain and Portugal, free route https://www.transiberica.cc/transiberica-2019/

The Trans Pyrenean (unconfirmed, probably early October), 1500 km across the Pyrenees and back https://transpyrenees.cc/ I am supporting the 2019 one as a volunteer so hopefully would get a place if I felt up for it.

Preparation

I aspire to do the best I can, so in the time between now and the 2020 race season, will use a mixed calendar of Cyclocross, road criterium and XC MTB racing and audax rides to get quicker and stronger. Ideally I'd resume twice/thrice weekly barbell strength training to resist injury. I will be adopting a training place from Ridefar https://ridefar.info/rider/training/training-plan/

And of course I'll have to save up cash in order to compete in the races  :facepalm:
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2019, 07:41:23 pm »
Why not do the Mersey Roads? It's only £35 to enter.  AUK membership makes you eligible, and you've got up to midnight today.

They're useful as a calibration for participants and observers. I never did more than 396 miles, so I don't take myself seriously.

Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2019, 08:23:10 am »
This is kind of where I am heading next year and I've already entered RaTN.   My time in time trialling is coming to an end by the end of this season so it is time for something else.

My tentative plans for next year include a sabbatical of at least 6 months but my employers don't now this yet.   The official reason is that we are relocating, only about 50 miles but it's still a sizeable project.

I'll be on the lookout for longer rides across the Summer, but I quite like the look of the lower key events.   Also I need a new bike as none of mine are remotely suitable.

Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2019, 10:14:09 am »
OP, there is still some interesting stuff with places available for this year, eg:
Trans Iberica in September
Morocco off-road in (I think) November
Two Volcanoes (Julian Buhring) in Italy November

Rob, exciting - look forward to seeing what you go for!  One big advantage you will have is that not that many ultra racers have a TT background so appreciation of potentail aero gains is limited. 

If either of you have not seen it (it may be where the OP list came from) a useful resource is the comprehensive list of races compiled on the Blue Dot riders group in Facebook (which is organised by Jack_P)

Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2019, 10:27:58 am »
If you are looking for more of the off-road style events, bikepacking.com is a very useful source for inspiration. They include a list of events at https://bikepacking.com/events/, but also have many other routes across Europe that may be of interest elsewhere on the site.

I'm riding the Bikepacking Trans Germany event starting on 7th July. 1650km of off-road fun in the more remote parts of Germany, traversing from Basel up to the Baltic, along the eastern borders of Germany. It's a turn up and ride style event, with no commercial side. You can use a Spot tracker though, particularly useful if you're participating in the mass start event rather than riding it as a time trial.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2019, 11:24:35 am »
I want to get into long distance bike racing (unsupported races of >400km), but it looks like I've missed the boat for 2019. So I'm planning my 2020 calendar instead.

Is there space on this years Trans Hermen race? That is in September IIRC.

Quote
Right now I am committed (though haven't paid for) Race Across the Netherlands, but I'm also interested in 'gravel' racing, with my beloved chonkster being suitable for moderate off-roading, particularly if I put stumpy wheels and wider tyres on it, though I don't think much wider than 35mm. However I can borrow a 26"er hardtail with room for much fatter tyres if things are looking dramatic. I could also potentially get a wider fork, with 650b or 26" wheels there would be lots of clearance front and back.

I do not fly so everywhere would need to be within convenient riding, train or ferry distance from London.

Some other races I'm interested in, maybe they'll be of interest to you too:


<snip>


Damn, there's a list of temptations... Wonder what I'll do next year.

Quote
Preparation

I aspire to do the best I can, so in the time between now and the 2020 race season, will use a mixed calendar of Cyclocross, road criterium and XC MTB racing and audax rides to get quicker and stronger. Ideally I'd resume twice/thrice weekly barbell strength training to resist injury. I will be adopting a training place from Ridefar https://ridefar.info/rider/training/training-plan/

And of course I'll have to save up cash in order to compete in the races  :facepalm:

The thing I found really helped: RRtY. I rode in all sorts of shit conditions to get my RRtY, and this really helped on RatN. When the hail started falling, the wind picked up, and when my toes went numb, I said to myself "I've done this before, I've even done worst, I can do this"

And for RatN, experience of navigating round gormless students will be really helpful for the Friesland leg of the route... The sheep are like tourists, but with a better sense of direction...

Make sure your position on the bike is really dialled in. My first RatN attempt was a scratch because I screwed up my position on the bike.

Other events to tempt you:

- Round Denmark Bike Race

- Trans Germany Bikepacking Race (I tried riding the route as a tour, decided I didn't like the offroad, so went off on a road adventure instead.)

- Trans herman - MTB race just over the border in Germany, run by the people who do RatN

- Racing collective do a number of UK based races, most are quite short by standards of the others, but still.

- Ht550 ?

Good luck!

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2019, 11:51:16 am »
Why not do the Mersey Roads? It's only £35 to enter.  AUK membership makes you eligible, and you've got up to midnight today.

Looks like a terrific ride but I'm booked out those days!

As for September, my msc dissertation is due right bang in the middle of it so it's pretty much a write off too. I will be par-taying after and might do an audax before riding to Spain on Sep 29. I'm more planning for post-October (as I am touring and supporting the trans pyrenean for much of that month https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=112345.0)

Thanks everyone for your suggestions, they are appreciated. I will also be doing cyclocross racing for intensity and fitness purposes, so I will ideally have a double whammy of long distance endurance grinding and short distance puffing and panting to turn me into a sleep deprived petrol station croissant-munching hardened speed demon ;D

Especially interested in doing RRTY, might as well start next month as I'm doing a 300 (the London Orbital) and can always do perms. A 200 is a fun day out on the bike for me right now, maybe matters will change come December/January though!
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2019, 12:04:16 pm »
sleep deprived petrol station croissant-munching hardened speed demon

Love the description.

As for RRtY, I would agree that is a good way to get the long distance endurance and commitment in whatever the conditions throw at you sorted. I found a double RRtY even better, as with a single one you can go 6 or 7 weeks between long rides, and avoid most of the bad weather. Also the double RRtY built my fitness better through the winter, making the step up in distance in the spring that much easier with a stronger base. Living in the south east of England does help, experiencing less of the weather extremes.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2019, 01:13:17 pm »

Especially interested in doing RRTY, might as well start next month as I'm doing a 300 (the London Orbital) and can always do perms. A 200 is a fun day out on the bike for me right now, maybe matters will change come December/January though!

Start now, Do a DIY over the weekend, and then your 12th ride would be May, which you could do as a DIY of the first 200km of RatN. I started mine in July last year, and after RatN I was very broken and worried that I'd lose the 11 months I had because I wouldn't be fit enough in time to do the 12th. A 200 is pretty simple for you by now, so throwing one together over the weekend shouldn't be too hard, and it starts the counter.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2019, 02:08:08 pm »
Especially interested in doing RRTY, might as well start next month as I'm doing a 300 (the London Orbital) and can always do perms. A 200 is a fun day out on the bike for me right now, maybe matters will change come December/January though!

I think you actually started RRTY in May...

Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2019, 02:42:28 pm »
Rrty can help if people don't have experience of, or confidence to do, long rides but it is not a great way to train for doing well at long distance racing.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2019, 03:27:56 pm »
Rrty can help if people don't have experience of, or confidence to do, long rides but it is not a great way to train for doing well at long distance racing.

How so? I see it as getting the mental space to just keep going what ever the conditions.

But then I tend to race to make it to the finish, rather than to win. Coming 2nd in RatN was totally unexpected

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2019, 03:46:33 pm »
Dirty Reiver might be a useful early-season test of your off-road endurance. Usually around mid-April.

Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2019, 04:08:18 pm »
Rrty can help if people don't have experience of, or confidence to do, long rides but it is not a great way to train for doing well at long distance racing.

How so? I see it as getting the mental space to just keep going what ever the conditions.

But then I tend to race to make it to the finish, rather than to win. Coming 2nd in RatN was totally unexpected

J

I did RRTY once and just couldn't get that bothered about doing it again.   I do commute 24 miles a day every day and it's a rare weekend where I don't do at least one ride outdoors of 3-4hrs.   For me RRTY would make rides a chore for me.   Getting outside in poor conditions is something I do regularly so, personally, I don't feel I need the extra motivation.

Another point, though, is that going for lots of long rides doesn't, necessarily, make you a better/faster long distance rider.

Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2019, 04:19:39 pm »
I want to get into long distance bike racing (unsupported races of >400km), but it looks like I've missed the boat for 2019. So I'm planning my 2020 calendar instead.

Some other races I'm interested in, maybe they'll be of interest to you too:


Transatlantic Way (early June) in Ireland - this one interests me but it's seemingly very soon after APN so unsure if it would be a wise move https://www.transatlanticway.com/the-route/

When it first ran in 2016, it was the same time the Wild Atlantic Way Audax (WAWA) ran. The Audax goes south to north and only covers Kinsale to Derry, the Wild Atlantic Way bit. The second edition of the WAWA is running next year and mooted as 2200km. This was later in June in 2016. So it may work for you. Depends on whether Adrian decides to overlap it with the WAWA etc. It was nice in '16 having riders going the opposite way.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2019, 06:18:43 pm »
Dirty Reiver might be a useful early-season test of your off-road endurance. Usually around mid-April.

Looks ideal, and not bad value for money either! Assuming it doesn't go much further north than its current £60

As for RRTY, yeah since I did a 200 last month and a 600 this month I think I may as well crack on with it, just use DIYs for a month where events are scarce. Should keep me in trim. Might even do some DIY 500s-600s to get that important bivvying practice. I could ECE for my Tour of the Hills grimpeur in August.....
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2019, 08:20:04 am »
Rrty can help if people don't have experience of, or confidence to do, long rides but it is not a great way to train for doing well at long distance racing.

How so? I see it as getting the mental space to just keep going what ever the conditions.

But then I tend to race to make it to the finish, rather than to win. Coming 2nd in RatN was totally unexpected

J

I agree that if you don't have the experience of long rides in all weathers it's a way off getting it. But I don't think it's a good way, mostly what Rob said. People largely use it to practice riding slowly and faffing, the two skills that you really don't want for racing.
Also it ignores the seasons, like supermarket cherries in December, when the most basic thing about training is that, like life, it is seasonal.

Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2019, 08:43:53 am »
Also it ignores the seasons, like supermarket cherries in December, when the most basic thing about training is that, like life, it is seasonal.

Which could also be a positive, since it can act as a motivator through the winter when a lot of base miles are good.

I agree that it's not for everybody though, depending on training needs.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2019, 09:48:24 am »

I agree that if you don't have the experience of long rides in all weathers it's a way off getting it. But I don't think it's a good way, mostly what Rob said. People largely use it to practice riding slowly and faffing, the two skills that you really don't want for racing.
Also it ignores the seasons, like supermarket cherries in December, when the most basic thing about training is that, like life, it is seasonal.

I'm not fast, and I do faff too much. This I admit. I'm working on these.

The reason I suggest RRtY, is that I found it really useful on RatN. This years RatN was unseasonably cold, with atrocious weather. I got frost injuries to my toes. I was able to keep going, and keep most of me warm, because of the skills I learnt doing a -6°C BRM in Belgium in December for my RRtY, as well as my Festive500 attempt, and the rides in Jan and Feb in .NL. I wouldn't have done those rides had I not been trying to do the RRtY, and as such, may not have picked up the knowledge and skills I needed.  Yes it can encourage slow and faff, but it can also encourage stubbornness and determination, which are kinda important too. It's also worth remembering not all ultra events happen in the middle of summer. In May a lot of stuff in .NL wasn't open because tourist season hadn't started yet.

Some people do all their winter training indoors on the turbo, which is fine if that works for you, but it can be a shock when you've got a 30kph headwind, it's 2°C, the hail is falling in Friesland, and you're dodging the bloody sheep! Having the discipline to get on the bike and go ride, when every sane part of you is saying "curl up under this warm duvet, and sleep till spring", can be hard. If you don't have a long commute to get used to going out in all weathers and all mental states, then a RRtY might be useful

As always YMMV.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2019, 10:35:49 am »
RRTY also gives you a monthly reminder through the winter of "fucking hell I'm unfit" while there's still time to do something about it.

It sure beats finding that out in March or April if you've got big events a few weeks later.

Re: Getting in to long distance racing; tentative 2020 calendar
« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2019, 11:26:10 am »
I do not fly so everywhere would need to be within convenient riding, train or ferry distance from London.
No comment on the racing, other than good luck.
But if you're time rich/cash poor you might add the coach to your travel options. Amongst others, Flixbus take unbagged bikes for 9 Euro, or bagged as oversize luggage for the same price.  I've used them and Eurolines a couple of times, though I take a bagged folder rather than a full size bike, just booked London > Bilbao for £28 inc the deliveroo/portify 15% discount!