This past weekend I had one of the best rides of my life on the D.C. Randonneurs 600K brevet, and that’s not the randonnesia talking. The course layout, weather, and randonneur fellowship combined to set up a practically perfect 375 miles.
Early morning fog lifted out of valleys to reveal the lush terrain in which we would ride for the weekend.
The sun warmed the Shenandoah Valley, but cloud cover conveniently rolled in on many of the exposed afternoon sections of our route on both days. Temperatures were never exceedingly hot, meaning riders could focus their energy on pedaling without worries of overheating.
We were also treated to a double tailwind– the pink unicorn of randonneuring. The only other time I’ve experienced a double tailwind was during the 2011 edition of PBP.
Before ride organizers John and Cindy bid us adieu, our friend Bill Beck spoke about Lynn Kristianson, the designer of this particular 600K route as well as many of the D.C. Randonneurs’ brevet courses. Lynn died this past week, and Bill suggested that we remember her along the way, as we crested ridges and took in the beautiful valley vistas of the route.
Lynn heavily influenced my growth as a randonneur when I was first starting out. She introduced me to the Shenandoah Valley, and the eccentric world of randonneuring.
In 2005, I became part of Lynn’s all-woman fleche team, the Randonnettes. This was my first randonneuring event, and I felt so lucky to be part of it, as though I had somehow gained entry into a secret club. At that time I was just thrilled to be a randonneur, and didn’t realize or understand the rarity of the all-woman team Lynn worked so hard to recruit.
My dad was very sick this year and during his illness, he told my sister that he believed people lived on through the good memories you hold of them. As I rode our 600K, I thought about my good memories of Lynn.
Lynn believed a view was worth the grind of a tough climb. She never feared hills and she liked quiet roads in the country. She wanted to involve more women in randonneuring, and I am a direct beneficiary of that.
The tangible memories Lynn leaves behind include the formation of our club, the D.C. Randonneurs, as well as many intricately thought-out and visually stunning routes like this past weekend’s 600K.
But the best memory I hold of Lynn is that she thought to introduce me to Felkerino, my tandem partner and best friend. Lynn didn’t know it when she did this, but she helped me discover true love. I thought about that a lot as we followed the route she plotted for us this past weekend. For that I will always remember her.