Sunday, October 16, 2011

Randonneur Race Korea, SBS 1000, an introduction to ultrasport cycling. // Microadventure in South Korea //

"It's the ultimate bicycle experience I have seen and experienced to date!" 
-Brian's take on randonneuring

From the adventure touring world to conversational English language classrooms here in South Korea - I am proud to share news of a new discovery in adventure cycling, it's called randonneuring. It's an ultrasport form of bicycle touring where participants are riding against the clock to reach "controls," check points on an entirely new route. Self-sufficient between control stations, riders battle the terrain, elevation gain, through personal and team perseverance. Typical Brevets are 200km and up. My first event was an attempted 1000km Brevet. Here's what I learned about it, and a photo journal of the day's events on two-wheels. I hope you enjoy! Peace!

[Photo: Local sponsor in Ponam-dong, Gangneung City, South Korea.] An Dae Gi -owner/operator and bicycle mechanic has generously supported my mission in Cycling with technical, mechanical and equipment provided for several epic journeys of this year - 

HimalayasX2011 expedition of western China

Korea SBS1000 Randonneur Race 2011

Background on Randonneuring: - A great way to train core (link is a resource to getting started*).

Korea Randonneuring:
Korea Randonneurs Blog (Link to Cycling in Korea as an ultra-sport competitor*)

Randonneur Race Korea, an introduction to ultrasport cycling. I met many amazing athletes that choose bicycles to test their limits...I haven't ridden a road race bicycle in 19 years, borrowed/rented a bicycle from my friend Karl Mancini, the 1000km race was staged in 3 days, I rode 375km in 22 consecutive hours in stage one, I slept 45 minutes in between, stage two I went on to ride 102km with one other member Russ Morris (mentor/guide) (40 started the race, 2 were ultra-Randonneurs ahead of the teams, I started the race solo and didn't know anyone, i survived the first stage and teamed up with Russ, an American Randonneur/USFK, and a Korean race team. I ended earlier than anticipated with knees giving out on climbs, exhaustion, but felt the experience was something to build on (not to destroy myself without climbing gears, I rode a Triathlon bike on South Korea's toughest route (photos to come), so (day 1: 22 hours-375km, day 2: 6 hours-102km, I managed 477km 296 miles in 28 hours. day 3: rest and recovery). It was incredible, glad I gave it a shot.and brutally hard to continue once my legs were all rashed and cramped all the way down them.


Randonneuring (also known as Audax in the UK, Australia and Brazil) is a long-distance cycling sport with its origins in audax cycling. In randonneuring, riders attempt courses of 200 km or more, passing through predetermined "controls" (checkpoints) every few tens of kilometers. Riders aim to complete the course within specified time limits, and receive equal recognition regardless of their finishing order. Riders may travel in groups or alone as they wish, and are expected to be self-sufficient between controls. A randonneuring event is called a randonée or brevet, and a rider who has completed a 200 km event is called a randonneur. The international governing body for randonneuring is Audax Club Parisien (ACP), which works with other randonneuring organisations worldwide through Les Randonneurs Mondiaux (RM). Randonneuring is popular in France, and has a following in the Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom, Australia, USA and Canada.
Arrive in Seoul, South Korea the night before the 0600 event registration, bicycle inspection, start at 0700.
 Competitors bikes in the 2011 Korea Randonneur - SBS 1000km Brevet (Seoul-Busan-Seoul)

  Jan Boonstra (Holland) is the English-speaking event organizer in Korea. Makes a brief speech before start. Jan is also a pioneer of blogging about the Cycling in Korea phenomenon that many Expats now call home -while living, working and cycling overseas in a foreign country.
 My ride is a 2007 Cevelo TT bicycle, a rental/loaner compliments of my friend Karl Mancini (Canada)
The Randonneurs waste no time, energy in this event. Three stage event (3 days) to complete 1000km.
 Riders of all ages and ability levels enter the SBS1000. Most bicycles are made of Carbon, Aluminum, or steel (probably only one - Russ Morris's Sport Touring bicycle)
 Here we are at the first Brevet check-point. These "Controls" are used to keep riders on schedule en route.
 Employees of convenience stores across Korea cooperated in helping with this years 1000km event.
 Randonneur events are intensive cycling sessions, all day long, and through the nights on longer Brevets.
 It was cold out there. This years 1000km Brevet started October 1, 0700am. I borrowed this red fleece jacket from a friendly Korean university student I just met the night before the event. He has my drivers licence and I still have his wonderfully warm Descent Fleece Warm-up jacket 
We leave from metropolitan Seoul, South Korea from Akpujeong/ Hangang River area for Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province. The First day (stage 1) will wrap across some of the most spectacular autumn scenes in Korea
 Inspiration travels with me. I laminated photos of Matthew (Min Jae) and my daughter Sierra -along with me!
 I love cycling, I love my family, I love my wife (Mi Sung), and I love taking on new adventure challenges!
 Russ Morris was an incredible Randonneur. He helped guide me on my first ultrasport event and inspired me!
 Other riders came too. Some like this fella overcoming a bicycle-car accident four years ago. 
 While Cycling in Korea, watch out for obstacles on the road wherever you go!!!!
 Russ rides a Rivendell bicycle specifically designed for Randonneuring. He purchased from an Ebay auction.

 Excellent photos of this genre of sport bicycle in Google photos.
 Our second "control" where Jan Boonstra (Organizer of Korea Randonneurs) is checking Brevet cards.
 Bicycle touring in Korea. Making new friends and enjoying long-distances snaking through the countryside.
 Russ Morris is rolling like thunder in the SBS (Seoul-Busan-Seoul) 1000km Randonneur Brevet (Race)
 The Cervelo TT bicycle was perfect for this event. However, the Shimano 105 STi group lacked a triple chain ring in the front (hence, no climbing gear for the many mountains we crossed). It was difficult without!
 This rider was fast but failed to follow route maps essential to successful Randonneuring. The race is about navigation, endurance, perseverance, patience, and true grit bicycle adventure touring! Maps are essential. Russ Morris and I later met up with this rider, when a work truck passed us in the night and he was hanging out the window yelling something to us. Never saw him again (hopefully at the next event!) he was a great cyclist!
 Since the Cercelo came with TT aerobars, I used a large plastic bag to carry my extra Goretex jacket, coffee mix, and other pieces of equipment (charger unit for the Java lights) and a camp towel if I needed to wash. Notice the mounting positions of the bicycle computer and the rear mirror, both essential and the little red horn was a bonus, a throw away at my sponsor's shop - AN DAE GI @Kevin Bicycles, Ponam-dong, Gangneung 
 We crossed an interesting section of road construction areas through some mountains. I prefer this type of terrain for riding on expeditions too. More exciting than the continuous pavement throughout the day.
 I was hammering hard on the first stage of the SBS 1000km - Korea Randonneur event, October 1-3, 2011

 With the colder weather this fall, I wore Mavic booties to keep my feet warmer and dry. Essential kit!
 I wish all the roads in Korea could remain in this natural state of development. Most are entirely well paved.
 We ran through this section for about 10km and it was a highlight of the first stage for me, back on a bike!
Later in the day, I caught up with Russ Morris, Randonneur veteran. We made a good team for 2 stages. 
It's amazing to see all this rice drying along the sides of country roads in rural South Korea in October.
 Full grains of rice with their husks still attached. In Korea, we eat white rice without the husks.
 Rice husks and Cyclists seen here in Korea.
Wooden rake used in the sun drying rice husks in a rural area of South Korea.
South Korea has no extensive plains; its lowlands are the product of mountain erosion. Approximately 30 percent of the area of South Korea consists of lowlands, with the rest consisting of uplands and mountains. The great majority of the lowland area lies along the coasts, particularly the west coast, and along the major rivers. The most important lowlands are the Han River plain around Seoul, the Pyeongtaek coastal plain southwest of Seoul, the Geum River basin, the Nakdong River basin, and the Yeongsan and the Honam plains in the southwest. A narrow littoral plain extends along the east coast.
Cycling in Korea: YES!
Russ and his Rivendell sport touring bicycle used extensively in Randonneur cycling in Korea
 Crossing into new provinces in South Korea using the back road networks that are complex to follow on maps
 Rice in the autumn in Korea, here you can see the golden hues of the stalks and husks, soon to be harvested.
I enjoy endurance sport touring in Korea, which is where this blog originated to share the message with others
South Korea is located in East Asia, on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula jutting out from the far east of the Asian land mass. The only country with a land border to South Korea is North Korea, lying to the north with 238 kilometres (148 mi) of border running along the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone). South Korea is mostly surrounded by water and has 2,413 kilometres (1,499 mi) of coast line along three seas (West Sea of China, Pacific Ocean, East Sea/Sea of Japan).

Mountain ranges have traditionally served as natural boundary markers between regions.  Because these natural boundaries inhibited frequent interactions between people living on either side of the range, subtle, and sometimes substantial, regional differences developed in both the spoken language and customs of the people.  These regional distinctions also correspond to the traditional administrative units devised during the Choson Dynasty (1392-1910).
The climate of Korea is characterized by four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter.  The contrast between winter and summer is striking.  Winter is bitterly cold and is influenced primarily by the Siberian air mass.  Summer is hot and humid due to the maritime pacific high.  The transitional seasons, spring and autumn are sunny and generally dry.  Temperatures of all season are somewhat lower than those at the corresponding latitudes in other continents, such as North America or Western Europe. 
 Bilingual road signs are helpful while bicycle touring in South Korea. But be forewarned, the numbers on different maps do not always conform. Russ explained that when mapping companies competed in Korea, they often changed the stakes posted to designate the road numbers, this happened many years ago. As a result, you can find versions of different road numbers in Korea, still being published by different companies today. It makes the life of a Randonneur trying to navigate through "control" check-points, a big hassle!!!
 Randonneurs rounding through urban areas to find the next check-point, known as "controls" in this sport.

Facts in brief about South Korea
Capital: Seoul.
Official language: Korean.
Official name: Taehan-min’guk (Republic of Korea).
Area: 38,432 mi2 (99,538 km2), including islands and excluding the 487-mi2 (1,262 km2) demilitarized zone. Greatest distances—north-south, 300 mi (480 km); east-west, 185 mi (298 km). Coastline—819 mi (1,318 km).
Elevation: Highest—Halla-san (Halla Mountain) 6,398 ft (1,950 m) above sea level. Lowest—sea level.
Population: Current estimate—48,877,000; density, 1,272 per mi2 (491 per km2); distribution, 81 percent urban, 19 percent rural. 2000 census—46,136,101.
Chief products: Agriculture—apples, barley, cabbage, cattle, chickens, hogs, melons, onions, oranges, potatoes, rice, soybeans, sweet potatoes. Manufacturing—automobiles, chemicals, clothing and textiles, computer equipment, electric appliances, fertilizers, iron and steel, machinery, optical goods, paper, plywood, porcelain, processed foods, rubber tires, ships, telecommunications equipment, television sets. Mining—anthracite (hard coal), gold, graphite, iron ore, lead, limestone, tungsten, zinc. Fishing—filefish, oysters, pollock, squid, tuna.
Flag and coat of arms: South Korea's flag has a white background with a red-and-blue yin-yang symbol in the center. The ancient yin-yang symbol represents the balance in the universe between opposites—such as night and day, and life and death. There are four different I Ching symbols in each corner of the flag. In the coat of arms, yellow flowers encircle the yin-yang symbol.
Money: Basic unit—South Korean won.

Randonneuring is a self-sufficient (between controls) sport version of adventure bicycle touring.

The Korean peninsula has rugged, mountainous terrain, with barely one-fifth of its surface in lowlands or plains. Few of the mountains are high compared to those of some other Asian countries, but they are so extensive that there are few places in South Korea where mountains cannot be seen.
Southward, the mountains continue in the Nangnim range, and then along the east coast of South Korea as the Taebaek Mountains. Another chain, the Sobaek Mountains, stretches across the peninsula to the southwest. The southern mountains are lower than those of the north, reaching about 6,000 feet (1,830 m) at their highest.

Climate in South Korea: There are sharp contrasts between the seasons, with cold winters and warm, humid summers. The climate is strongly affected by seasonal monsoons. In winter, cold dry air flows out of Siberia, dropping average temperatures over most of the peninsula to between 20° and 30° F. (-7° and -1° C.). Only in the extreme south do average temperatures stay above freezing. In summer, warm and moist southerly winds bring frequent rains and temperatures ranging from 70° to 80° F. (21° to 27° C.).

 Navigation is essential on any Randonneur Brevet. Russ is reading maps while Cycling in Korea.

 Randonneuring is definitely an ultra-sport activity for adventure cyclists internationally -check it out yourself!
 Cycling through these large tunnels in Korea is a highlight of rural cycling in Korea. Well lit and relatively safe

Crossing into Gyeongsanbukdo Province from Seoul metropolitan (Akpujeong/Han River) in a single day!

 Russ Morris wears a traditional Randonneur uniform, made of Merino wool -it's comfortable and warm too!
 Randonneurs must wear reflective ankle bracelets, have operating red tail lights and headlights for night riding
 This is 19 hours into the ride and the monster climbing began to finish stage 1 (day 1) at 515am, 375km!
Everyone in the Korea Randonneur SBS1000 was supportive, patient and team-players. 

Local petrol station manager wanted to chat with us. He and many others provided free coffee en route.
My loaned Cervelo TT bicycle, used for the first Randonneur sport tour experience in South Korea
Russ Morris in the next set of photos, his bicycle is a traditional Rivendell design, perfect for sport touring.

Keeping warm in endurance ultrasport activities is essential to completing a single day. It's survival out there!

Bilingual road signs help the Expat cyclists navigate all across South Korea. The country has an extensive network of rural roads, most immaculately paved and ideal for bicycle touring of all types. 

Cervelo was an immaculate bicycle to ride, just needed a third chain ring for climbing mountains on this ride.

Korean farmers ride these utility tractors equipped with trailers in South Korea. 

Randonneur Race Korea, an introduction to ultrasport cycling. I met many amazing athletes that choose bicycles to test their limits...I haven't ridden a road race bicycle in 19 years, borrowed/rented a bicycle from my friend Karl Mancini, the 1000km race was staged in 3 days, I rode 375km in 22 consecutive hours in stage one, I slept 45 minutes in between, stage two I went on to ride 102km with one other member remaining (40 started the race, 2 were ultra-Randonneurs ahead of the teams, I started the race solo and didn't know anyone, i survived the first stage and teamed up with Russ, an American Randonneur/USFK, and a Korean race team. I ended earlier than anticipated with knees giving out on climbs, exhaustion, but felt the experience was something to build on (not to destroy myself without climbing gears, I rode a Triathlon bike on South Korea's toughest route (photos to come), so (day 1: 22 hours-375km, day 2: 8 hours-102km, day 3: rest and recovery). It was incredible, glad I gave it a shot. FACE YOUR FEARS, LIVE YOUR DREAMS 

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About the Korean-World Author

Brian Perich was an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) lecturer for a decade, father, and adventure cyclist based in South Korea.

Previously, Brian has led Canoe adventures in Quetico Provincial Park, Atikokan, Ontario, Canada (1993/1999); led Grand American camping adventures (2000); lived at Paramahansa Yogananda's SRF Ashram for 5 months (see the film "AWAKE"), formerly worked in titanium welding at Agilent Technologies, formerly worked in Winery industry in Marin County with Kendall Jackson in California; Surfing and Meditation continued for several years in California, British Columbia, South Korea, Yoga training in California 1999-2000.

Between 1994-1998 - Brian completed his own adventures with motorcycles. His motorcycling marathons took him across the United States and central/western Canada, while traveling solo over an astounding 24,000km in 60 days! Brian endured 900 mile/1300km average days in the motorcycle saddle and apparently loved every minute of those adventures.

Today, he has given up motorcycle adventures altogether, but finds an outlet for his enthusiasm in outdoor recreation while bicycle touring and micro-blogging about those experiences on his mountain bikes.

While employed as an English teacher in South Korea, Brian has became an advocate for bicycle touring on his mountain bikes. The Korean-World blog originated from those small adventures in Korea, now expanded to cover his recent trek down the TransMongolian highway to the Gobi Desert, cycling 900km east through the Khentii grasslands and in 2012 crossing Mongolia in 45 days, 2500 kilometers 1553 miles. HimalayasX expedition Brian previously cycled across western China, the Taklamakan Desert, the northern Himalayas of East Turkestan Xinjiang/Uyghur Autonomous Region, the corrugated back roads and mountains of Kham Tibet. Brian successfully completed his 2011 mountain bike expedition with 3200 kilometers / 1988 miles unsupported, on/off road MTB adventure cycling.
Brian has completed his second mountain bike journey, MongoliaX expedition - Crossing Mongolia 2012, an unsupported mountain bike MTB expedition across 2500km of Outer Mongolia from Ulanbaatar to Altai Taven-Bogd National Park bordering China, Russia and Mongolia.

In 2013, as a sequel to a trilogy of cycle tours, Brian enjoyed a more leisure bicycle tour onboard his Koga-Miyata World Traveller seeing the northern tier of the United States and western Canada covering 3400 kilometers / 2000 miles in 30 days. This North American cycle tour was called Totherocktour. Enjoying the adventure of bicycle travel and every great conversation started while traveling on the road - has refueled his inspirations to cycle around the Earth. In 2013, while he cycled solo from the Great Lake State of Michigan, United States to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. He weaved through local communities and reconnected with friends, family and community after spending almost a decade in Asia.

Brian is now supporting several non-profit foundations through expeditions: IDEAS Foundation of Canada IDEAS is the acronym for Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society which supports the IBD community, those suffering from IBD-inflammatory bowel disease, also known as Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis.

The second non-profit foundation is ETE.ORG - Education Through Expeditions, UK which supports educational outreach programs inside schools around the world. ETE connects explorers with students in the classroom, through an interactive online program in development (Beta).

Brian is researching support for a 18000 kilometer bicycle expedition across the Americas: North, Central and South America - ONE -Arctic to Argentina
Please contact him if you are interested in helping out.

Twitter: Cycleagain
Location: Gangneung, Gangwon-do, South Korea or southern Ontario, Canada.

Thanks for visiting my Journal from Asia

I hope you enjoy the updates!

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Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

Cycling in Korea, Warning: always wear a helmet! (I gave mine to my friend)

Cycling in Korea, Warning: always wear a helmet! (I gave mine to my friend)

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