Sounds tough but not impossible! I have to agree with you, weight is a big factor. I gained weight over the winter and it feels like I'm riding with flat tires all the time (lol).
Having ridden mountain passes, I would train where there are passes or some long climbs. I just don't feel like there is anything that could be more exact than the real thing. The way you shift on the bike, the relentless pedal turns, how to position your body, it all has an impact. Not to say you couldn't just do it once or twice a month. Long rides on a trainer with high resistance (prop up the front wheel of your bike to simulate climbing), hill repeats (if you have a big hill near you) and then the same with downhill. Do you have disc brakes? I don't think you will want them on a mtn descent. Plus the weight alone will weigh you down. The reason I say to mimic is it because things you took for granted like your seat, cargo, etc, may all not be up for the ride. Things change on long climbs.
The weigh loss factor while training has always been a hot topic. People I ride with try to maintain or lose weight over the winter, and then work on performance during the season. It's hard to do both but it doesn't mean it can't be done. I think you will naturally lose weight through training and just being careful with calories. Strength training (high reps, low weight as you are in season) will help and definately won't hurt! There are some great body weight exercises out there that I like better than weight training during the season (push ups, side plank, etc). And don't forget your core. That's what helps keep it together when it's allllll falling apart...
Lastly, it's in August (read: ugh). Be sure to hit those hills on the hottest, stinkiest, humid fill days of the summer to prepare you for the long climbs. I am partial to Nuun tablets in my water bottle, not sure if you have found a good hydration combo yet, but those are the days you want to figure it out. And you will also want to work out what to refuel with on the bike and after. As you said you have to go back the way you came! I use baby food pouches (fruit, not meat ugh) and it works really well for me. One guy I have ridden with likes cold, salted potato slices. It's whatever you can stomach...
And if they are like the rides here in MA they don't cancel them if it rains or for heat. Also see if they have bag drops available. If you can do that, it will take some weight off of your bike. Less to haul up the hill....
VIrginia has two sets of sanctioned events this year. The first 200k was March 17th with the 300k on April 14th, 400k on May 5th, and the 600k on May 28th. That works out to about 3-4 weeks between rides. All of the rides are in the mountains to get riders ready for the Paris-Brest-Paris which happens every four years. The next one will be in 2015.
The 200k is used to train for the 300k and so forth. By finishing a 200, 300, 400, and 600 in the same calendar year you become a Grand Randonneur. To ride in this year's Shenandoah 1200, which is on June 7th, you have to be a Grand Randonneur from 2009, 2010, 2011, or this year. Imagine riding the 600k on May 28th to finish qualifying for the June 7th 1200k ride.
Since they recommend doing the rides in order, the next 200k will be on August 4th. This ride is named the Gappity Gap 200k. It consists of 5 mountain passes riding the first half, and then do it again on the return trip. 10 passes climbed, 200k, and 12000' of climbing in total. I already have the right bike with the Long Haul Trucker. I have full racks, panniers, trunk bags, and handlebar bag. I can carry three water bottles on the frame and can add more to the front rack if needed.
The big line in the sand for me will be the weight loss. I started this year at 305 and weighed in at 279 this morning. I really would want to be down around 240 before tackling the mountains. So, with August 4th is in my sights, does anybody have any training advice? I have been absolutely religious about doing my intervals and my speed/power has improved quite a bit. I live in a very flat part of the state, but there are organized rides in the hills 20-25 miles from where I live. I guess that would be a good place to start.
If you did the 100K that's only 62 miles. This topic came up during our ride last night and someone did one this month. Said it was awesome the only difference is there is no support. He said you are only racing against yourself and alot of the riders are racers and ex racers that don't want to deal with the hammerheads. No groups or drafting...my kind of ride.
I always thought of these as roadies versions of 24 hr endurance rides...or in the same genre...
I ride with a couple of people that have done them. Definately something to shoot for, but some, if not most of the big ones have cut off times, so you got to pick up the pace. I always hate cut off times. Sure, you know you can go x miles an hour, but then you realize the course has big hills, etc, and then you stress about the cut off time. And then I get lost in trying to figure out if I will miss it, did I time it right, etc. I know in the times they don't factor in stop time, some are pretty ample, like if you did 10 mph you would make it, but that's not including stop time.
This would be the one I would do that is near me. Some events make you do the shorter rides before the longer one. Radonneuring is being self sufficient so you are your own mechanic and you carry your own food. There is no support. But this one sounds laid back rather than a race, so I wouldn't depend on help from others but I bet if you went to one like this, people would help you:
Let me know if you are doing one~! That sounds awesome!
"What is a brevet? Again, this is a French word for which we have no direct translation for its cycling usage. In general, it means a "patent", "certificate", or "diploma". For the randonneur, the randonnée, they have entered is often called a "brevet". This is typically a challenging 200-, 300-, 400-, 600-, 1000- or 1200- kilometer ride, each with a specific time limit. The randonneur carries a brevet card, which is signed and stamped at each checkpoint along the way to prove they have covered the distance successfully. (Losing the card, or missing a required checkpoint is a very bad thing to do!) Also, pronounce the word correctly: "brevet" rhymes with "say" or "Chevrolet", not "get" or "let"." www.rusa.org/faq1.html
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