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08-05-2024 | Eveline van der Hek

My first BRM 600 in 5 questions

Biking an audax (BRM), and then immediately one of 600 km. Why? Eveline was persuaded and tells how she experienced it through five questions.

Experiences BRM

Sometimes a seed is planted that won't let you go. With me, that happened a week ago when I noticed that a BRM 600 was being organized from my hometown Groningen, offering a return trip to Hannover with the start just 3 km from my home. Having completed a few 300-kilometer rides before, I was enormously curious about where my limits lay, both mentally and physically. So, why not?

Two days before the start, I signed up. Spoiler alert: I made it! Here are my experiences, answered through five questions.

1. Alone or in a group?

I wasn't sure what to expect. Hoping for at least one fellow randonneur to ride with, I found myself pedaling hard to catch up with a group that had already started. Riding with 8 to 12 people proved to be great until Hannover. However, sticking with the group meant adjusting to their pace and rest stops, which may not suit everyone's preferences. Some randonneurs prefer riding alone.

Experiences BRM

2. What pace will you ride?

Your own pace, the one you can maintain for a very long time. Speed isn't the best indicator as it depends on various factors. I focused on maintaining the power I wanted to ride. Riding in a group often means exerting more power at the front than intended, requiring good recovery when you're no longer leading. Luckily, I managed this well. Riding with just two others in the second half made it easier to manage pace.

3. Sleep or ride on?

I planned to check how I felt 12 hours after the start, particularly if I still felt mentally fresh. Some randonneurs take powernaps in bus shelters, but I preferred finding a hotel. With 40 hours for a BRM 600, taking a hotel break is feasible. Arriving in Hanover at 8 p.m. after covering just over 300 km, I decided to find a hotel for some rest, considering work commitments the following day. We resumed at 5 a.m. on Sunday for the return trip, aiming to beat forecasted strong headwinds.

Experiences BRM

4. What do you eat on the road?

Good and sufficient food is crucial for cycling such distances. While organizers provide some tips on available food at controls, it depends on the time you arrive. I carried half of my luggage with food to remain independent. Stops included a supermarket, two restaurants, and two bakeries. It's ideal that in Germany, these establishments are open on Sunday mornings, offering a welcome change from sports food.

Experiences BRM

5. What do you take with you?

Your choices on the above points determine what you carry. Appropriate clothing for all weather conditions throughout the ride is essential, including the evening and night. Lights, safety vest, chargers, power bank, a comprehensive tool kit, quick links, squirt, inner tube, cartridges, pump, lock, and plenty of food are must-haves. As randonneurs say, "Few cyclists have not successfully completed a brevet because they were carrying too much luggage. In contrast, many have failed because they were just not carrying the right clothing for the weather conditions."


It was a fantastic experience. Spending 33 hours on the road, cycling 21.5, I found it mentally challenging only when faced with strong gusts of wind 50 kilometers before the finish. However, I had to maintain focus and pedal slowly through it. Unfortunately, my chronic shoulder injury surfaced toward the end of the first day. While my legs coped well with the 600 kilometers, it was too much for my shoulder. Fortunately, there are plenty of shorter brevets to add to my wish list.

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