Five Things Friday: Randonneuring Edition

The D.C. Randonneurs have their annual meeting this Saturday, and they’ve also arranged a pre-meeting 106 KM Populaire out of Glen Echo, Maryland. Are you going? If so, perhaps I’ll see you there.

My first brevet bike, the Rivendell Romulus

The upcoming meeting got me thinking about some of the things I enjoy about randonneuring. I decided to list five of them here. Why five? It makes the perfect number for a blog post!

1. Exploration. Before randonneuring my cycling radius was pretty small, and consisted mostly of the trail networks in and around Washington, D.C. Through randonneuring rides, that radius has grown.

I regularly ride the roads of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia now. I visit and explore places that I would otherwise never see. I follow the cue sheet over mountains, through historic areas, to coffee shops, quaint towns, and windy roads I never knew existed.

Sometimes I see these places in daylight and other times in the dark. I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of both.

2. Time Keeps Moving and Stands Still. When I pick up my cue sheet and brevet card, I know that I have a pre-determined amount of time to complete my journey. If I don’t make it within that timeframe, I am disqualified. Time keeps moving forward so I must keep moving forward, too.

At the same time, time stands still. After a ride starts, I insulate myself from all the other happenings in the world, and reserve my energy and concentration for whatever the ride might bring. World happenings? No idea. Local news? Clueless. Time pauses until I complete the event, and then it’s back to seeing how time marched marched along in my absence.

3. Simplicity. The tandem, my spouse, the bike, the clothes I’m wearing, the road, the elements, the cue sheet, brevet card, and me. The occasional thought about where and when I’ll get to eat next. Periodically making sure I still have my control card. During a ride, we live the simple life.

4. Fellowship. One of the main reasons I like to do an organized ride is to be around other people. During brevets, I share hellos, meet new faces, and catch up with randonneurs I have not seen for a while. Felkerino and I also use the time on rides to share lively chats, quiet moments, and enjoy being together.

5. Accomplishment. Being a randonneur has not brought with it the fame I expected (yes, that is a joke), but completing the distances required of a Super Randonneur series and 1200K brevets with my tandem and life partner fills me with a sense of accomplishment.

Knowing I can get by without eight hours of sleep (thought I do love sleep), ride more than 200 miles in a single day, and get up the next day and ride 200 more is a pretty cool feeling. Granted, it’s not always such a great feeling at the time, but afterward, it’s awesome.

Hope to see some of you at the D.C. Randonneurs annual meeting. Thanks for reading, everybody, and have a great weekend.

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