Monday, June 6, 2016

SFR 600k - Fort Bragg

My second 600k!  All done!

  • The sandwich at the Boonville market, sushi the Safeways, 
  • The return stretch from Indian Creek to Cloverdale in the early morning when millions of stars were out.  Looking at the milky way and the big dipper with 
  • Sunset on HWY 1.
  • Riding in the fog at night between the coast and indian creek.
  • Tree tunnel section on 128
  • Crickets?  That sound like cicadas... 

  • Hwy 128 from cloverdale to boonville... uphill, steep, with no shoulder... and plenty of drunken drivers going from winery to winery with a brewery stop in the middle...
  • passing Russian River Brew Co, Lagunitas Brew Co, Boonville Brewery...

  • Don't crash on your bike the week before the ride...
  • double check your items... I forgot my tool bag (didn't need it, but that was unnerving)
  • Bring ear buds... I listened to "Open" - Andre Agassi's autobiography... a bit long, but a decent read, and kept my mind off the ride during the uncomfortable, long stretches...
Strava LINK

Rob doing his thing before the ride...

what a crappy bike lane...

so many safeways... with so little chicken soup...

nice sunset!
10 min later...

helped this guy out with a broken chain... he went so light, he didn't even carry a cell phone, a tube, etc...

Portuguese day celebration...
finally enjoying a beer...

And the history of the ride courtesy of Rob Hawks, RBA.
(This was last issued in 2013 with an incomplete update in 2014. The history and stats below include history and stats for all finishers through 2016)

The Fort Bragg 600km is not the most frequently run SFR event and it isn't the one with the most participants in a given year, but as there is a notion of progressively longer events within our 'PBP Qualifiers', the Fort Bragg 600km has some luster as a 'signature' brevet.

The route from SF to Fort Bragg and back (speaking generally) is attributed to Daryl Skrabak though it is listed on the RUSA site as submitted by Todd Teachout who was the SFR RBA when route numbers were first assigned to existing and new routes. According to RUSA records, this route was first run in 1999 with Daryl Skrabak as RBA. Much like PBP itself, though not for the same reasons, the Fort Bragg 600km was not run every year. Daryl ran the brevet once in 1999, and after that it was next run in 2004 under 2nd year RBA Todd Teachout. Todd listed the event again in 2005 through 2007. After a gap year in 2008, the event was again run by 2nd year RBA Rob Hawks, with subsequent versions in 2010 through 2016 which was the longest consecutive string for the event.

The FB 600k has been run as early in the year as April 10th (1999) and as late as July 7th (2004). Since 2009 it has always been held in May. 

The start time varied in the early years, with a dual start time in 1999 of midnight or 04:00 depending on the speed of the rider. Though the start time in 2004 is unknown, as of 2005 the start time settled in as a morning start, varying between 07:00 and 09:00 until 2009 when it was changed to 06:00. In 2012, for one year the start time was 05:00. In 2013 returned to the 06:00 start time where it has remained.

The route has been changed little since 1999, but thankfully, many of the miles of highway have been repaved in those years including long portions of CA 128, including the famous "Tree Tunnel" section. Two changes to note are that until 2015 the start and finish were at the Golden Gate Bridge visitor plaza at the south end of the bridge. In 2015 the finish was moved to East Beach at Crissy Field which allowed for a much nicer reception for the riders and much calmer place for those waiting to greet the riders. In 2016, the return from Point Reyes Station to San Geronimo changed from a route through Nicasio to a route through Olema and Sir Francis Drake Blvd. This actually shortened the route enough so that the start was also moved to East Beach at Crissy Field.

Weather is always an issue on this ride if for no other reason than that the riders are out for roughly 25 to 40 hours. Day time vs. Night time temps always range widely even on good weather days. Weather was likely most a factor on the 2007 version when it began raining on the riders around the 50 mile mark in Petaluma and it continued for perhaps 20 more hours. Since 2009 the event has generally been favored by 'good' weather (no rain, moderate winds) but even then the temperatures ranged from ~100F to 45F on the same day. This can happen quite quickly too. In 2012 in the span of less than 35 miles (from the Yorkville Highlands to the junction of CA 128 and CA 1) the temps ran that complete range as riders left temps of 99F at the Sonoma/Mendocino County line and 49F when they reached the coast in wind blown fog as the sun set.

In the early years, there were no staffed controls on the course. Since 2007 there has been a staffed water stop. In 2007 this was so unofficial that it was not listed on the route sheet and was only organized the morning of the start. Since 2009 a staffed water stop has been an official feature of the brevet though it is not a timed stop. Until 2013, that stop was at Paul Dimmick Campground, less than 7 miles from the coast.  Since then the official water stop was 15.5 miles further east, near Philo, CA at the Indian Creek campground.

There have been 393 participants on the event. Bob Buntrock and Richard McCaw, participants again in 2016, co-hold the current highest number of FB 600k's ridden with nine, followed closely by Rob Hawks with 7. Here are the most frequent riders of the FB  600km:

The route is rumored to be the most difficult (paved) 600km route among the four Northern California brevet clubs (Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Davis and San Francisco).  Ridewithgps lists the total climbing at 19,353'. This reputation seems to hold true if one looks at finish times as they are generally longer than those on other local 600km routes. 

The Fort Bragg 600km brevet has been ridden by a wide range of randonneurs. Of the 393 finishers, 50 have been women (12.7%. NB: *membership* in RUSA is 19% women and these 50 women mentioned here are women finishers of a challenging 600km!). The youngest rider to finish was 18 years old and if I recall correctly he had celebrated that milestone event in the weeks just before participating. No data is available for oldest rider but I know several that were in their 60s at the time of finishing.

Max Poletto, Bill Brier and Carl Anderson hold the shortest elapsed time at 23 hours  and 33 minutes. This is the only finish time under 24 hours, and there is only 1 other under 25 hours and a grand total of ten finish times under 27 hours. Tom Haggerty holds the current longest elapsed time and he is unlikely to ever relinquish that time. There is a story behind this time and Tom's record is 40:00.

Geoff Hastings and Peter Burnett used to hold the record for multiple finish times with the largest difference in time. Both have their shortest and longest times over 9 hours apart and that spread is still noteworthy, however Tom Haggerty now holds the record of widest margin between shortest and longest finish times: 28:53 done in 2014 and the above mentioned 40:00 from 2007. Michael Bloomfield is perhaps the most consistent finisher. All three of his finish times are within 7 minutes of any other of his finish times.

Here is a chart showing the break down of finish time ranges for all 393 participants:

Inline image 1

  Route -

Other Blogs from previous years that helped me:

  • No comments:

    Post a Comment