The great Korea 1200

On June 5th 2014 at 4 a.m., riders will mount their bikes in Gwangju to tackle the third edition of “The great Korea 1200”. This will be an epic journey of 1200 km in 90 hours (four days and 3 nights), a true endurance test for “legs and mind” in the "land of the morning calm".

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The "Great Korean Triangle"

“Team checkout”, consisting of Lothar Hennighausen, Ulrich Schoenemann and Kim Sung Hak (KoRa #1, #2 and #304) rode the “Great Korean Triangle” and each side of the triangle was unique and yielded a different experience. We passed through six provinces (Jeollanam-do, Jeollabuk-do, Gyeongsangnam-do, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Gangwon-do and Chungcheongbuk-do), each of them unique. It was Buddha’s birthday and the weather turned out to be perfect (although we had to battle some headwinds going north into Yangyan). Here, are some of the highlights (GPX waypoints to interesting restaurants, Jimjilbangs, Yeogwans and bike repair shops).


DAY 1: We left Gwangju at the crack of dawn heading east on quiet country roads to our first control in Namwon (km 68). Our legs were still fresh and, with the exception of one moderate climb, this was an easy stage. The second stage to Hapcheon (km 169) skirted the majestic Jiri-san, which was in full view for most of the morning. The long climb towards the end of this stage was rewarded by a thrilling descend and lunch in Hapcheon. This stage was the most challenging on day 1. Stage 3 to Yangsan was very pleasant and we enjoyed the long stretch on the bike trail along the Nakdong. At sunset we arrived in Yangsan, the 

Heading east from Gwangju
end of the first side of the triangle. After a good meal of 돈가스 (Donkkaseu) we embarkedonto the first night stage. 
 Around midnight we passed through Gyeongju, capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla. As the night progressed temperatures dropped and the bubble wrap we found in the trash at a CVS turned out to be a great insulator.

DAY 2: As the sun rose over the East Sea we arrived in the port city of Gangguhuang (강구항), the world’s capital for Yeongdeok Daegae crabs, also known as King crabs (아름
) and big sculptures everywhere are a vivid reminder. However, when we arrived none of the restaurants serving crabs were open and we had tosettle with breakfast at the CVS. We continued riding north and followed the coastal road, passing through small fishing villages and resort towns. The tourists had come out in full force to take advantage of the 4-day holiday weekend, with perfect weather. Just in time for lunch we found a restaurant (gpx link) that served the world’s best “cold Sashimi soup” and the owner offered a room for a short post-lunch nap.


Next, our control in Uljin, home of one of the four nuclear power plants of Korea. Sung Hak had lived here and worked at the power plant 25 years ago and it was like a home coming for him. As the afternoon progressed, the headwind grew stronger and we worked well as a team to minimize its impact. Soon we entered Gangwon-do, the most northern province of South Korea, and approached Donghae. Typically for a Sunday afternoon, weekend tourists returned to theirhome and traffic was quite heavy. The many signs in Cyrillic (Russian) and Japanese were a clear reminder of the ferry connections to Russia and Japan and the many tourists enjoying this part of Korea. For us the enjoyment was arriving at the Mukho control well ahead of schedule.

With daylight fading we continued north along the coastline,
passing scores of resort towns with even more restaurants, all of them packed with tourists enjoying the great seafood of Korea. Gangneung (
강릉시) is the last larger city before the turnaround in Yangyang, and with its scores of Yeogwans and 24 hour saunas (Jimjilbang -찜질방) a perfect place for a short sleep stop.The Jimjilbang in Gangneung provided an amazing experience, not only because of its sheer size (three floors of sleeping rooms) but also because it was completely packed and people sleeping like sardines. Of note for those fond of winter sports, indoor events in the 2018 Olympics will be held in Gangneung. Yangyang: by the end of day 2 we had finished the second arm of the triangle
Cold Sashimi soup
and we headed south-west, heading home. NOTE: we had shipped a Taekbae package with spare clothes to the control in Yangyang and this worked out just fine. The owner of the 7-Eleven was very friendly and he suggested we change our clothes in the corner with the microwave. Korea is just a very practical andaccommodating country. After purchasing sufficient food to keep the owner happy and our stomachs full we mailed the packages with the old clothes back and started the third side of the triangle.

DAY 3:  This was a long day with many climbs (and
After the soup ...
descends) and even more beautiful vistas. A highlight was visiting Pyeongchang, host of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Extensive road construction is a harbinger of the big event and riders need to be cautious on the long downhill stretches between Jangpyeong and Pyeongchang, the road is in rather poor conditions and traffic is heavy. We stopped in Pyeongchang for lunch andthought about including Randonneuring as sport for the Winter Olympics. On this stage mountain ranges to the left and right accompanied us all day. The list climb befor Danyang was quite spectacular as the road meandered along the mountain side overlooking vast valleys. We arrived in Danyang at the end of a big festival and the military
police directing traffic were a reminder of the event.

Leaving Danyang in the still warm afternoon sun, we continued to head southwest through, yet, another mountain range and reached our nextcontrol in Sangju long after the sun had set. As night fell on the way to Sangju, the temperatures dropped again and a coffee machine outside a country restaurant drew us into its ban, but it was broken. Instaed the restaurant owner invited us to come in and served coffee and rice crackers to the hungry and cold randonneurs. Suddenly his daughter
Before Danyang
started speaking almost impeccable English. How can this be in the middle of nowhere? Well, she had been a missionary for two years in Los Angeles. Sangju: again, the Jimjilbang was the place to rest for a few hours. Unlike the mega Jimjilbang in Gangneum, the one in Sangju was provincial, but served its purpose and the 7,000 won was just the right price.

DAY 4: Buddha’s birthday – perfect weather and even better company. As the ride progressed through day 3 and 4, some of roads became familiar, as they overlapped with other Brevets out of Cheonan,
Our control in Danyang
Gwangju, SBS and likely several Fleche routes. The area around Geumsan must be hub for a number of Brevets. As the day progressed traffic became very light as the 4-day weekend had come to an end. While the beginning of a 1200K is always filled with the excitement of new experiences and great lunch and dinner stops, legs and minds are getting tired as the event draws to an end. In sum, this is not an easy 1200k, probably a little more difficult than last year’s out of Gwangju. But this might be just a psychological trickas the “Great Korean triangle” is just such an impressive image covering a large part of the country. I have covered many roads in Jeolla-do and Chungcheong-do and tremendously
Bubble wrap against the cold
enjoyed the Brevets out of Gwangju and Cheonan. But this GR1200, the Korean triangle, gives you an even better perspective of this great country. Cycling for a full day along the East Sea and cherishing the great seafood was unforgettable, as was crossing the peninsula from the northeastern province of Gangwon-do to the southwestern province of Jeollanam-do.

The “Great Korean Triangle” is a showcase of South Korea

Saturday, October 26, 2013

대한민국 대기행 1200k - The great Korea 1200k

  2014년 6월 5일 새벽 4시에 라이더들은 광주에서 각자의 자전거에 올라타고 세 번째 “대한민국 대기행 1200”에 도전합니다. 90시간(3박 4일)의 이 장거리 여행은 “고요한 아침의 나라”에서 “다리와 정신”의 진정한 한계를 시험하는 기회가 될 것입니다. 광주에서 출발한 란도너들은 동쪽으로 달려서 부산 근방까지 간 다음 북쪽으로 돌아서 신라의 수도였던 경주로 향합니다. 경주 기준점 근처에는 여관과 찜질방들이 있어서 하룻밤을 보내기에 아주 좋습니다. 두 번째 날에 라이더들은 길고 긴 해안 도로를 따라 북쪽으로 달려서 (영덕 대게로 유명한) 강구를 지나 오징어로 유명한 주문진까지 닿게 됩니다. 쉬지 않고 달린다면 시간에 맞게 주문진에 도착해서 저녁 식사를 하고 두 번째 밤을 보낼 수도 있을 것 같습니다. 삼각형 경로의 최북단에 도착했으므로 세 번째 날에는 남쪽으로 방향을 돌려서 평창을 거쳐 세 번째 휴식처인 (곶감의 고장) 상주까지 가게 됩니다. 네 번째 날에 라이더들은 남서쪽으로 방향을 돌려서 금산을 거쳐 광주로 돌아가게 됩니다. 완주점인 한순권 님의 자전거샵에서는 완주를 축하하는 멋진 저녁과 막걸리가 기다리고 있습니다. 누적 고도 11,000미터,  제한 시간 90시간의 이 도전적인 경로를 달려낸 분들은 두고두고 기념할 수 있는 완주 저지와 메달을 받게 됩니다.

출발: 광주, 2013년 6월 5일
대략적인 거리: 약 1200km
제한 시간: 90시간
총 고도 상승: 많음
참가 자격: 2014년 브레베 시리즈 전체 또는 2013년 1200K
참가자 제한: 50명 (registered riders)

draft of jersey
On June 5th 2014 at 4 a.m., riders will mount their bikes in Gwangju to tackle the third edition of “The great Korea 1200”. This will be an epic journey of 90 hours (four days and 3 nights), a true endurance test for “legs and mind” in the "land of the morning calm". From Gwangju Randonneurs will head east towards Busan and then head north to Gyeongju, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla. Yeogwans and a Jimjibang (짐질방) can be found close to the Gyeongju control, making it a perfect sleep stop. On day two riders will ride north on small coastal roads past Ganggu (Korea's no. 1 town for kingsize crab) to finally reach Jumunjin, a fishing village famous for its squid. If riders push hard, they could arrive in Jumunjin just in time for dinner and the second sleep stop. Having reached the most northern part of the triangular route, we will head south on day three and cycle past Pyeonchang to the third sleep stop in Sangju (enjoy dried persimmons). On day four riders will head southwest Geumsan back to Gwangju, and return to Han’s bike shop in time for a well-deserved celebratory dinner and plenty of Magkoli. Those who complete this challenging route, with 11,000 meters of climbing, within the 90-hour time limit will receive the finisher jersey and a medal – prizes to be cherished.

Start: Gwangju, June 5, 2014
Estimated distance: ~1210 km
Time limit: 90 hours
Total elevation gain: ~ 11,000 m
Qualification: Full Brevet series in 2014 or a 1200K in 2012
Rider limit: 50 (registered riders)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The great Jeolla ride

전라도 대기행
이번 '그랜드 란도니'는 1200km에 걸쳐 전라도의 놀라운 아름다움과 굉장한 먹거리들을 보여줍니다. 4일 낮과 4일 밤 동안 란도너들은 한반도 남서편의 이 지역에 푹 빠지게 될 겁니다. 참가자들은 지리산을 통과하고, 끝없는 시골 도로를 따라 유람하고, 멀리 떨이진 섬으로 연결된 다리들을 건너고, 그림 같은 항구가 있는 해안을 굽이돌다가 한국 조선 산업의 심장부에도 들르게 됩니다. 참가자들은 6월 6일 새벽이 밝아올 때 광주를 떠나서 동쪽의 지리산으로 향하게 됩니다. 구례의 기준점에서 잠시 쉰 다음 우리는 섬진강을 따라 남동쪽으로 향하다가 아름다운 다리들을 건너 남해군으로 가게 되는데, 동쪽 해안을 굽이돌아 미조면의 두 번째 기준점에 도착하게 됩니다. 그리고는 북쪽으로 방향을 돌려서 광양을 끼고 돈 다음 다시 남쪽으로 돌아서 여수 최남단까지 갑니다. 그 다음에는 고흥과 거기 딸린 섬들을 즐겁게 둘러보고 육지로 돌아온 다음 남서쪽의 마량항으로 달립니다. 그리고 다시 해안 도로를 따라 완도로 갔다가 진돗개의 고향인 반도 남서단의 섬 진도로 갑니다. 진도 남쪽 끝에 들른 다음 우리는 북쪽으로 방향을 돌려 목포로 가서 거대한 조선소 옆을 지나갑니다. 거기서 '섬 건너기'를 좀 더 하다가 함평에 닿게 됩니다. 그리고는 해안 도로를 타고 북쪽으로 계속 가다가 내륙으로 방향을 돌리고, 다시 남쪽으로 돌아서 4일만에 광주로 돌아오게 됩니다.

출발: 광주, 2013년 6월 6일
대략적인 거리: 약 1200km
제한 시간: 90시간
총 고도 상승: 많음
참가 자격: 2013년 브레베 시리즈 전체 또는 2012년 1200K
참가자 제한: 50명

The great Jeolla ride
This new ‘Grand Randonnee’ showcases for 1280 km the stunning beauty and spectacular cuisine of Jeolla-do. For four days and four nights Randonneurs will be immersed in this southwestern province of the Korean peninsula. Riders will pass the Jiri-san, cruise along endless country roads, cross architectonic bridges leading to remote islands, meander along the seashore with its picturesque harbors and visit the iron heart of Korea’s mighty shipbuilding industry. Riders will depart Gwangju at the crack of dawn on June 6th and head east towards the Jiri-san. After a quick stop at the control in GURYE we will head southeast along the Somjin River and cross over an several beautiful bridges to Namhae-do where we will meander along the east coast before reaching our second control in MI-JO. We then turn north, loop past Gwangyang and turn south to reach the southern tip of Yeosu. Next, riders will enjoy an excursion of Goheung and its associated islands before returning to the mainland and riding southwest to the harbor of MARYANG. Again, we will follow coastal roads to WAN-DO and from there to the southwestern island of JIN-DO, home of the famous Jindo dog breed. Having visited the southern tip of Jin-do we will head north to Mokpo, passing massive shipyards. From Mokpo we will do some more ‘island hopping’ before reaching Hampyeong. We will continue north on coastal roads before heading inland and then south to return to Gwangju four days later.

Start: Gwangju, June 6, 2013
Estimated distance: ~1200 km
Time limit: 90 hours
Total elevation gain: a lot
Qualification: Full Brevet series in 2013 or 1200K in 2012
Rider limit: 50

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

21 riders pulled off Korea's first 1200K

On May 26 twenty-three riders mounted their bikes to answer the call of Korea's first 1200K 'Grand Randonnee'.  After 90 hours of cycling along the ocean and through the mountains, accompanied by scorching heat and hail storms, twenty-one riders are now KR1200 finishers (with a distance of 1213 km the official time limit was 91h 11min).

Pictures  -  Russell  -  Jason  -  Jan  - 
Stories  -  Kim Sung Hak  -  Kim Young Sam  -  

Gary B: "Harder than PBP or Rocky ... believe me, we are both (Gary and Jeff M) beat up"
Lee Kyu Won: "2012 Korea Grand Randonnee was greater than my expectation"
Mark T: "Thanks for putting on the ride; it was a grand adventure"  

Two cultures, one goal: finish the 1200K

Saturday, April 21, 2012

1200K news update

한국 최초의 1200K 그랜드 란도니가 (등록) 5 26 05:00 천안에서 ( 발점 지도) 시작됩니다. 참고로 28일은 석가탄신일입니다. 체크인은 5 25 18:00에서 19:00까지 ( 곳에서), 그리고 5 26 04:15에서 04:45까지 진행합니다. 대회에 참가하려면 2012 대회 시리즈를 완주해서 수퍼 란도너가 되거나 2011년에 1000K/1200K 완주했어야 합니다. 참가하실 분들은 야간 주행 규칙 충분히 읽어주세요.

Overview maps
cue sheets
준점 /
gpx 경로 파일

짐 배송 (619km 지점 율포)
이용자가 15 이상이 되면 율포의 24시간 찜질방으로 짐을 보내는 서비스를 준비하려고 합니다. 비용은 4만원 정도가 같은데, (4kg 넘는) 작은 가방을 율포로 운송하고 다시 천안으로 되가져오는 것까지 포함입니다. 배송에 관심 있는 참가자는 로타 헤닉하우즌 에게 연락 주세요.

The first Korea 1200K Grand Randonnee (REGISTRATION) will start in Cheonan on May 26 at 05:00 (map of ride start). May 28 is Buddah's birthday. Check-in will be on May 25 from 18:00 to 19:00 (same location) and from 04:15 to 04:45 on May 26. To qualify for this event riders need to complete the Super Randonneur series in 2012 or have completed a 1200K in 2011. Riders: be aware of night riding rules.

Bag drop in Yulpo (619km)
A bag drop could be arranged at the 24h sauna in Yulpo if more than 15 riders sign up. The costs would be approximately $40, which would include transport of a small bag (no more than 4kg) to Yulpo and its return transport to Cheonan. Riders interested in a bag drop should contact Lothar Hennighausen.

1200K jerseys

Monday, April 2, 2012

GPS and Garmin Korea maps

Riders will receive a gps file of the route in early May.  Check the link below for Korea Garmin maps.  I have used them successfully since 2009.