Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hills, heat and humidty - Leesburg to Lexington

I did not ride the DC Randonneurs' Appalachian Adventure 1000K. The AA1000K linked three tough permanents to create a tour of the Shenandoah mountains of western Virginia - a randonneur's tour, complete with scenic views and all the climbs it takes to view them.

I was supposed to ride it, but work got in the way. Instead, at the suggestion of a friend, I rode the first and last legs of the course as permanents. My abbreviated course was supposed to cover over 650 kilometers in two days. The first leg was Leesburg to Lexington in 346 Kilometers . . . 

Monday, September 8, 2014

First Friday Writing for Randos - There is a season and a time.

{First Friday Writings for Randos - A monthly post that features pieces from other writers that touch some facet of the Randonneuring experience, even if that was not the author's intent. It's stuff that's best read out loud - slowly.} This month it's

Ecclesiastes 3

For everything 
there is a season, 
and a time 
for every activity
under heaven: 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Filling the cup - New England Populaire

On August 3, 2014, I went to Lexington, MA, (near Boston) to ride a Sunday 100K with the New England Randonneurs. Randos call the scheduled events that are shorter than the 200K (125 mile) minimum distance for a brevet a "Populaire." Although I have done many 100K permanents as training rides, I always thought of Populaires as intro rides for the Rando-curious who want to get a taste of a brevet without going the full distance.
Randos that ride every type of event on a RUSA calender in two years or less plus enough other rides to get to 5000K earn an award called the RUSA Cup. The required events are:
Despite the fact that the Populaire is the shortest event, (or maybe because of that?) the event is actually one of the hardest to complete because most regional calendars offer only one or two a season. In fact, of all the types of events offered in the sport and required for the RUSA Cup, the Populaire was the only type I had not done.

Friday, August 1, 2014

First Friday Writings for Randos: My discipline is audax

{First Friday Writings for Randos - A monthly post that features pieces from other writers that touch some facet of the Randonneuring experience, even if that was not the author's intent. It's stuff that's best read out loud - slowly.} This month it's an excerpt from the Accenssionist blog

My discipline is audax, riding long distances over set courses within certain time limits. The time limits are generous, no need to be an athlete to ride audax (although certainly some do.) Instead the challenge is mental, the willingness to stay on the road for twenty hours or more at a stretch, to press on when you are so exhausted that you would fall asleep in seconds were you seated in a chair. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sometimes a brevet is just a bike ride from then to now to next. Stillwater Retour 200K

Two weeks after riding around Lake Ontario, the recovery is well underway. Now, in between family and work, comes the thinking about, and preparing for, the next big thing, the farthest ride yet, that is now just two months away. One thing about randonneuring, there is always another big thing.

Since the last one, after the three days it takes for my foggy mind to recover, during the two weeks it takes for the body to recover, I've been cross training a little. But, to prepare for a big brevet, you have to ride the bike. Luckily, sometimes, a brevet is just a bike ride.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Crossing boundaries - Lap of Lake Ontario 1000K July 2014

Take a look at a globe, any globe. Look near the eastern side of North America along the US - Canada border and you will see Lake Ontario.  Lake Ontario is 193 miles long and 53 miles wide. Its north shores are in Canada and its south shores are in NY State. The border crossings are bridges at Thousand Islands on the East and Niagara Falls on the West. Lake Ontario is one of the Great Lakes formed by glaciers thousands of years ago. 

The Lap of Lake Ontario is a 1000 Kilometer (622 miles) long randonneuring event that has a simply stated goal; ride a bicycle around Lake Ontario, carry everything you will need with you, and complete the trip in less than 75 hours. The ride had no drop bags or pre-arranged sleep stops. Each rider would be responsible for figuring out when, where and how long they slept, ate and rode.

I was one of the 42 riders who showed up to take on the challenge. Riding across an international border would be a first for me. Also, although I have completed one 1200K, this would be my first attempt at a 1000K. For several of the other riders this would be not only their first 1000k attempt but their longest ride to date. Completing the ride would put many of us in new territory - in more ways than one. Everyone of us would have a different experience taking on this challenge. This is a bit of mine.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

First Friday Writing for Randos: We are such stuff As dreams are made on

{First Friday Writings for Randos - A monthly post that features pieces from other writers that touch some facet of the Randonneuring experience, even if that was not the author's intent. It's stuff that's best read out loud - slowly.} This month it's an excerpt from . . .

 The Tempest 
 Act 4, scene 1, 148–158
by William Shakespeare 

You do look, my son, in a moved sort,
As if you were dismayed. Be cheerful, sir.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

On the day that the sun stands still: East Creek 600K

On the Solstice, the sun pauses in the sky before it transitions to a new season. As long as humanity has looked to the heavens and searched for meaning, we have taken this event as a cause for celebration. Less so now, but there was a time when people danced for rain. A time when we knew the meanings of the shape of clouds and the names of the full moon. We once built structures of stone that aligned with the stars on midsummer's day, the longest day, the Solstice. 

Call it what you will, but a celebration so specific in time yet so global in performance must come from a quality intrinsic to our very nature, one inherent to our humanity. If we, as Carl Sagan said, are made of star stuff, then on the Solstice day we celebrate our origin; our collective journey through the universe. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Englewood 400K - The longest of the short rides.

We couldn't have timed it better. After riding 150 miles of seemingly endless rolling hills and short steep climbs on the route that trended up, we reached Ellenville, NY. Then we started the 4.5 mile climb up the Shawangunk (pronounced SHON-gun) Mountains just as the sun began to set. Our road, Route 52 East, climbs 1400 feet. On our left, the setting sun sets the bare rock aglow in warm light. On our right, a lush green valley of manicured farms and occasional pristine points of church spires unveils itself as we ascend; the buildings shrinking into the expanding scenery. The sun gently illuminates the valley, filling it with a final light, closing the curtain on a beautiful day. Miles away, west of the valley, another mountain range runs parallel to our route. The distant range receives the setting sun as a sleepy child receives a parent's gentle kiss: softly, with stillness, believing in the promise of tomorrow. 

I seem to climb in time with the setting sun, rising as it descends, which pauses it in the sky, slowing time, extending the spectacle. The quiet beauty of the vista magnifies the labored effort it takes for me to make this climb. A young couple, barely teenagers, watches the sunset from an overlook. As I approach, they turn to me and with the eager shyness of two young people on their first date, they smile, clap a little, and congratulate me on my effort. I smile, imagining that they see someone doing an evening fitness ride and think that they have no idea how I got here and how far I have yet to go. I call out "Thank you! But I'm not done yet!" The boy replied, "You're almost there!" I smiled, thinking - yup, just 100 more miles to go.