Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 54 total)
  • Is it bike packing if you stay in a hotel?
  • tall_martin
    Full Member

    Does winning a bike packing race count if you sleep in hotels? It doesn’t quite sound the same as sleeping in a bin bag, sorry Bivi bag by the side of the road. Almost sounds… Luxury!

    Does it matter? Just to be clear I’ll not be winning any races, ever. And the longest I’ve bike packed for is about a week.

    The man is clearly an Uber fit machine.

    https://www.bikeradar.com/features/pro-bike/laurens-ten-dam-specialized-s-works-epic-world-cup

    Laurens ten Dam sets 1,050km Transcordilleras FKT on drop-bar Specialized S-Works Epic World Cup

    Laurens ten Dam rode 1,050km through the Andes in a record time of 72 hours, 55 minutes and 10 seconds to win the Transcordilleras.

    Averaging 20km/h, Ten Dam rode about 290km a day for the first three days, sleeping for 3.5 hours a night in hotels.

    csb
    Full Member

    Credit-card tourist 🤣

    munrobiker
    Free Member

    It is what bike packing is, which is just touring with a trendy name.

    Aidy
    Free Member

    Generally the rules are must be available to all competitors, and no pre-booked accomodation/services (so you can book on the go, but you can’t book before the race starts). Most of the longer ultra races will involve staying in hotels for at least some nights.

    midlifecrashes
    Full Member

    So long as they publish what can be done up front, I don’t care, but I’m uncomfortable with the idea of no stop multi-day riding. There should be mandatory 8? hours stops in 24 hours so people aren’t riding into traffic or off the hill asleep.

    Aidy
    Free Member

    There should be mandatory 8? hours stops in 24 hours so people aren’t riding into traffic or off the hill asleep.

    Some have rules for how long you have to stop for in a given period.

    I don’t like them, everyone works differently. People should know what their bodies are capable of and ride responsibly.

    trail_rat
    Free Member

    don’t like them, everyone works differently. People should know what their bodies are capable of and ride responsibly.

    High penalty for a mistake in that knowledge though . Especially where public roads are concerned.

    Bruce
    Full Member

    Isn’t this a competitive addax?

    joshvegas
    Free Member

    Is the hotel titanium and dangling on a karibina?

    JoB
    Free Member

    staying in hotels is a common race tactic these days as riders have realised that have a few hours proper sleep rather than being uncomfortable in a bivvy bag means you are better rested and therefore stronger for the next day, you can also travel lighter as you’re not carrying sleeping gear if you solely rely on accommodation

    the of ease of airbnb and booking.com have made this incredibly easy, they’re an option which wasn’t available when bikepacking races first appeared which meant that misery in a ditch was all part of the image, it does make the whole escapade quite expensive though. as mentioned above it has to be a facility that’s available to all so you can’t stay at a mates if they’re on the route, even being invited to stay in someone’s home is a fuzzy area to some

    i think the TransAtlanticWay is the only bikepacking race that has a mandatory stop rule, a continuous 3 hour stop in every 24hrs

    Aidy
    Free Member

    i think the TransAtlanticWay is the only bikepacking race that has a mandatory stop rule

    There are a few others. All Points North and Transiberia off the top of my head.

    ampthill
    Full Member

    I’m an expert on this. OK I lied I watched some YouTube videos.

    In the modern you’ve basically got to spend some time sleeping near a socket to get your lights and navigation kit charged again

    Aidy
    Free Member

    In the modern you’ve basically got to spend some time sleeping near a socket to get your lights and navigation kit charged again

    Dynamos

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    Things certainly seem to have changed. Previously, winning a bikepacking event wasn’t just about raw speed.

    • Preparedness – selecting the right kit, knowing how to use it, judging when and where to stop (not passing up marginal locations in the hope for better) and so on, knowing what other opportunities existed for accommodation and re-stock, etc.
    • Organisation – being able to pitch, eat, sleep (well), decamp and get moving efficiently losing as little time as possible.

    It has now become more about your ability to survive and function(?) on minimal sleep. You only need to read rider accounts of some events to see how hallucinations creep in and mistakes are made through fatigue. If the events are totally off-road then it could be argued that only the participants are at risk (other than maybe the chance of a call out to emergency services perhaps) but take that onto public roads and I think it’s pretty much unacceptable.

    As has already been suggested, this is what might once have been referred to as Audax, though it also has a bit of a “tramp” image 😀

    Aidy
    Free Member

    It has now become more about your ability to survive and function(?) on minimal sleep.

    I think that was a little bit of the case a few years ago (but only a little bit, preparation still won out), but now most people have realised that resting is faster.

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    Yeah, there’s definitely a cut-off point where the equation changes. Probably in the 3 to 5 day range.

    JoB
    Free Member

    bikepacking races are still about preparedness and organisation, what that is has just shifted. the people at the pointy end of the race will know exactly how far they can travel in a day and have their possible accommodation spots already noted down, in exactly the same way that any prepared rider will have their resupply places noted down and anything else of note, there is also organisation in researching places that have remote entry rather than choosing a hotel that might have time sucking reception and a discussion over where you can put your bike

    the dangers of ultra racing through tiredness are massively over dramatised by some, a rider is far more at risk from the actions of another road user than anything they might do through fatigue

    mogrim
    Full Member

    You only need to read rider accounts of some events to see how hallucinations creep in and mistakes are made through fatigue.

    Having done a couple of (v long) multi-day running races, I know just how bad those hallucinations can be. There’s no way I would have been able to ride a bike on a public road – it was hard enough just staying upright and on the track while walking/jogging.

    Aidy
    Free Member

    the dangers of ultra racing through tiredness are massively over dramatised by some,

    Yeah. The thing is, pretty much everyone attempting an ultra race is an experienced rider and knows how much/little sleep they need. Noone just gets on a bike for the first time and tries to race 4000km.

    jameso
    Full Member

    Does winning a bike packing race count if you sleep in hotels?

    Yes? It’s within the long-distance self-supported ethic imo – anything that is commercially and equally available to all racers is ok.

    For what it’s worth I think I was the last person to race a particular long event w/o a GPS, only cue notes and an odometer as the event was raced originally. I also had no mechanical support and stayed outdoors every night. It didn’t count for anything over the guys with GPS who used hotels and I was slower because of my personal race ethics and .. well, that’s it. It’s a just a choice or something that makes the experience ‘right’ for one racer or another.

    Noone just gets on a bike for the first time and tries to race 4000km.

    They do from time to time .. You don’t need that sort of distance to get into real sleep deprivation issues or experiences, a 600km audax can do it? I’m in agreement with anyone saying sleep-deprived riders on public roads are a risk to themselves, I don’t think the pressure of racing (ego etc) mixed with that level of fatigue and traffic is a good thing. A rider who’s at that nodding-head stage of fatigue just needs to power-nap or stop and bivi but conditions can put pressure on a tired rider to continue. JoB’s right, general traffic is the #1 risk at any time – but I think about how much I need my wits about me when riding in traffic and I think of how tired I have been on long rides .. I know in that tired state I’m more likely to make a mistake.

    I don’t know if all that can or should be policed though. Either way it’s good to see a few racers using an alternative to the minimal sleep race style. It’s down to the rider oc, but in recent years there’s been a few top riders who can handle extreme sleep deprivation and it gets celebrated as part of the whole #ultradistance thing and newer competitors might see that as the way to go fast. Yet going back 10-12 years self-supported racers were generally talking more about daily patterns inc sleep rather than the ‘staging’ approach with 36-48hr stints more like a supported RAAM racer’s patterns. Truth is for most of us we’ll be slower at night and we make poor decisions when tired.

    ayjaydoubleyou
    Full Member

    There should be mandatory 8? hours stops in 24 hours so people aren’t riding into traffic or off the hill asleep.
    Some have rules for how long you have to stop for in a given period.

    I don’t like them, everyone works differently. People should know what their bodies are capable of and ride responsibly.

    Also think of the ‘just trying to finish’ competitors.

    If you impose a mandatory break, a lot of people will try to use exactly that rather than stopping as they wish.

    If someone mid pack feels they have to be moving 20 hours a day, that could lead to the same issues (riding unsafely fatigued) we are trying to avoid in those pushing for the win.

    martinhutch
    Full Member

    I think Lachlan Morton’s effort on the TD may change some perspectives among the top guys on the benefits of proper sleep during a longer race. Would be nice to see a slight swing away from these events often being partly a sleep deprivation competition.

    Not sure it would make any difference on a three day effort like the one above though, as he was still only using them to crash for a few hours. So as long as the hotel bookings were done under whatever ‘rules’ are in place, it’s just a way to carry less stuff on the bike.

    poly
    Free Member

    Yeah. The thing is, pretty much everyone attempting an ultra race is an experienced rider and knows how much/little sleep they need. Noone just gets on a bike for the first time and tries to race 4000km.

    Your logic is as flawed as saying “drivers know when they are getting tired and should take a break”.  There perception of risk is influenced by their own tiredness and their desire to get to their destination.

    At some point every rider has to be riding further/longer than they ever have before to find out where the limit is?  Even if thats only in training, pushing yourself into a state where your judgement may be depleted may not be the best way to find out if your judgement is affected dangerously!

    One day an event organiser will find themselves explaining to a judge why they didn’t think it was a reasonable precaution to set mandatory rest periods.

    jameso
    Full Member

    ^ thing is, Lachlan Morton can hold an average speed that’s high enough to allow him to take a rest as well as be faster than almost every past TDR racer, because the TDR and most other self-supported races are still mostly amateur events. The fastest guys in those races are very fit and experienced but Pro Tour roadie fitness is another level. There will be Lachlan Mortons who can or will ride with less sleep who will go faster still at some point if there’s the prestige or profile from doing so.

    I think sleep deprivation will always be a part of these events unless an individual event mandates stop times. If you sleep 1hr less you might ride 10, even 20 miles further. Perhaps more if it’s a pure road event. If you’re riding 20hrs a day average (which is more than most will) that’s equivalent to a daily 0.5 to 1mph average speed increase. Try increasing your speed that much over a genuinely long distance.. It’ll be hard, you’d generally need a step up in fitness to be 1mph faster overall (assuming kit and tactics are the same). So cutting back on sleep seems essential to go fast and the Q is finding your own tipping point where the lack of sleep impacts your average speed. It’ll vary hugely between riders which is why I think mandatory downtime is as much a disadvantage for some rides as it might help others.

    dissonance
    Full Member

    it’s just a way to carry less stuff on the bike.

    Which is a rather significant advantage even without the additional comfort. So long as its in the rules though then I cant see a problem. I assume there are races which ban it for those who feel its a bit too easy to use a hotel.

    The sleep deprivation aspect seems more problematic. Whilst cyclists are less dangerous to others than drivers doing without I feel both should be discouraged on public roads.

    martinhutch
    Full Member

    Lachlan Morton can hold an average speed that’s high enough to allow him to take a rest as well as be faster than almost every past TDR racer, because the TDR and most other self-supported races are still mostly amateur events. The fastest guys in those races are very fit and experienced but Pro Tour roadie fitness is another level. There will be Lachlan Mortons who can or will ride with less sleep who will go faster still at some point if there’s the prestige or profile from doing so.

    It can’t be denied that these kind of ultra races are getting more high profile now and are perfect pickings for pro-tour or ex pro-tour roadies who have that kind of fitness and willingness to suffer.

    Aidy
    Free Member

    If you impose a mandatory break, a lot of people will try to use exactly that rather than stopping as they wish.

    Yeah. From my perspective it means that if I’m tired then rather than stop for a 30 min power nap, which would give me enough alertness to carry on to a safe/sensible place to stop and recover properly, mandatory minimum stops means I’m much more likely to just try to power through.

    jameso
    Full Member

    It can’t be denied that these kind of ultra races are getting more high profile now and are perfect pickings for pro-tour or ex pro-tour roadies who have that kind of fitness and willingness to suffer.

    It’s an exciting time, though I know one day I’ll be complaining that it was ‘better’ when it was an amateur’s world. Perhaps there’ll be Pro/Am classes in future.

    convert
    Full Member

    Not done an ultra unsupported race – it’s been on my to do list for a few years but not found myself fit enough for long enough.

    However – I sure as hell would not trust my judgment when in a race! A background in long distance triathlon at a half reasonable level and spin offs from that in cycle time trials and road races. When the red must takes over I know how deep I can go. IV saline drips at the end of races in the med tent was my default on the big continental races. Adrenaline injection once. But it’s the time trailing – Saturday afternoon on the A1 mixing it with the lorries, yeah, bring it on – it’ll be fast! Or in road races – take this corner 10mph faster than I would on a training ride to keep in a break – well if course. I KNOW my ability to make rational (and by that I mean limiting risk taking behaviour) decisions when in a race was terrible. And that’s why I was damn fast. Towards the pointy end of these races will be people wired like me (or certainly how I was) who will push on ‘because it’s a race and I’m only just ahead of xxx’ who in a normal scenario without the red mist would make different decisions. That’s why they are good and one of the reasons they are at the pointy end. But are they safe? A compulsory minimum number of stationary hours a day in one of these would certainly help save me from myself.

    As to the OP – maybe it’s my terminology – but I’ve never really classed this kind of event as bikepacking.

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    I think in a race then you should really be following the rules.

    https://www.selfsupporteduk.net/

    Do what you want if you’re not racing.

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    It’s like when Mark Beaumont broke the around the world record, he had a support crew (in fact several). This obviously allowed him to go significantly faster than having to carry all his own kit as well setup camp every night and source food and water. He was very open about this though.

    martinhutch
    Full Member

    It’s an exciting time, though I know one day I’ll be complaining that it was ‘better’ when it was an amateur’s world.

    I do wonder it will force these events further away from a self-policing ‘ethical code’ of rules where you’re mainly relying on the honesty of competitors. I suppose there has already been some ugly sniping (the stuff aimed at Lael Wilcox springs to mind), but introducing the pro mentality or more money/sponsorship could make it worse.

    jameso
    Full Member

    Towards the pointy end of these races will be people wired like me (or certainly how I was) who will push on ‘because it’s a race and I’m only just ahead of xxx’ who in a normal scenario without the red mist would make different decisions. That’s why they are good and one of the reasons they are at the pointy end.

    I’m tempted to think riders with that approach may be fast in a day race but they make up a larger % of the DNFs in the longer races. Long distance self supported rewards a different mindset because shorter-term decisions, efforts or errors can be neutralised over a long distance and weather, luck, supplies etc are so variable. Yes a rider might take a risk and gain a benefit but consistency and mindfulness are at least as important if not more so. In the final stages race craft or risk-taking could make the difference between riders but you have to get to those final stages.

    introducing the pro mentality or more money/sponsorship could make it worse.

    Possibly. I expect some races won’t ever go ‘pro’ though, depends on the organisers. eg I couldn’t imagine the Iditarod or HT550 becoming a Lifetime Events business.

    slowoldman
    Full Member

    Lachlan Morton can hold an average speed that’s high enough to allow him to take a rest as well as be faster than almost every past TDR racer, because the TDR and most other self-supported races are still mostly amateur events.

    That may well be but his decision to rest was based on his idea that overall it would be faster that way than to plough on when knackered. That would therefore possibly hold true for those other TDR riders.

    martinhutch
    Full Member

    Sooner or later if this niche of the sport becomes high profile enough, someone will apply some proper sports science to it and come up with tailored solutions for individual athletes, or even training that improves recovery during periods of sleep deprivation, hopefully without the assistance of pharmaceuticals or a frame-bag full of melatonin supplements.

    thisisnotaspoon
    Free Member

    High penalty for a mistake in that knowledge though . Especially where public roads are concerned.

    But then what happens if they fall asleep on the bike at 15hours 59min and crash, you’ve just shifted the responsibility from the rider onto the organizer.

    Personally I think anything 3-days plus tends to balance out, the riders know they’re going to need a good few hours rest each day so plan it ahead. And mandating otherwise feels like a slippery slope, what next, maximum annual training hours/distance allowed for races so that desk jockeys can compete / not end up divorced? Just because some people can’t do something doesn’t mean others should be banned.

    It’s the 600km Audaxes and BB200/300 that scare me. Long enough for some serious sleep deprivation to kick in, short enough that you may well have to do it in one to meet the time limit.

    tall_martin
    Full Member

    But on the third night, with second-placed finisher Rob Britton hot on his heels, ten Dam slept for only 1.5 hours.

    He got up at 2am to ride the remaining 180km in nine hours, to win by 48 minutes.

    Sounds like converts race mentality. The extra hours and a half absolutely looks the difference between winning and losing. I can’t imagine he had tried that sleep pattern much on training.

    Ten Dam retired from the WorldTour in 2019, after 13 years as a road professional. The Dutch climber finished ninth in the general classification of the 2014 Tour de France, riding for Rabobank.

    The Specialized-supported rider tends to ride the brand’s S-Works Diverge STR Expert or Crux in gravel events. But he chose the S-Works Roubaix SL8 at the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships

    So in his 40’s but an ex world tour pro, still supported by specialized. Sponsored? If he was riding at that level I assume he is a competent professional.

    Ten Dam said: “I took more than most of the competitors over here because I really treated it as a test ride for Tour Divide.”

    Sounds like he is gunning for a win on the tour divide. If this sort of race is a test ride, I’d assume he his aiming for a win

    Aidy
    Free Member

    It’s the 600km Audaxes and BB200/300 that scare me. Long enough for some serious sleep deprivation to kick in, short enough that you may well have to do it in one to meet the time limit.

    I don’t know the BB series well, but for audax the risk is somewhat mitigated by having a set route and no rules against helping each other/riding together.

    jameso
    Full Member

    That may well be but his decision to rest was based on his idea that overall it would be faster that way than to plough on when knackered. That would therefore possibly hold true for those other TDR riders.

    That’s kind of my earlier point, each rider has to figure out the rest/effort ratio that has the highest daily average distance for them. Lachlan Morton is highly trained for 4-7 hour efforts of road racing and his endurance pace will be high, and perhaps he’s used to that rest:effort cycle or ratio. There’s amateur riders winning the longer events who seem quite different, they can just keep going at a steady, slower pace on very little sleep and I suspect if you had everyone on a mandatory 6 hour rest period those current winners could be beaten by someone who can hold a higher base pace, but can’t maintain it over 36hr stints. All that counts is cumulative daily mileage and I think keeping that aspect as what decides the winner feels like a purer version of long distance racing?

    I find it fascinating stuff especially when the first 3-5 days of the longer events unfold and these differences begin to show. And on the sleep deprivation risk point, this is why finding out how far you can push that and how you feel about it just seems to be a part of long distance racing.

    MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    Its an FKT for a route, AIUI there are very few rules, like Lachlan time trialling tbe Tour Divide.

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