Category Archives: Rando Reflections

Co-Motion tandem in fall

Contemplative Fall

Recollections of the harvest and farmers working fields long past sundown. Walks across campus, heavy book-filled backpacks on our shoulders, feet drifting through drying leaves. The donning of long sleeves to absorb the chill of mornings that advise of even colder times to come.

Buggies and bike in Harrisonburg

It’s odd how this time can feel like a stopping point. The end of one cycle, and the beginning of another. Maybe that’s because I grew up in rural Iowa, lived according to a school calendar for so long, or work in a place with a year that marks time from October through September.

Felkerino and Co-Motion, Harrisonburg

With fall’s arrival, I have an urge to pause accompanied by a yearning to be outdoors basking in autumn’s fleeting colors. A desire to take stock while I keep accumulating memories until the waning daylight and chill truly take hold.

Fall ride outside Harrisonburg, VA

This weekend Felkerino and I fought against the feelings of curling up with a good book, and took to the winding pavement and dirt outside of Harrisonburg, Virginia. Back into the hills after a month of even terrain.

Co-Motion tandem in fall

The George Washington National Forest makes a good backdrop for a ride. They say fall already peaked here, but it still looks good to me.

Felkerino and Co-Motion in the fall

 

The trees lull me into a contemplative state. I reflect on recent rides, mull upcoming possibilities, and gradually drift back into the present.

Felkerino and Co-Motion

Ah yes, where was I? Let’s ride.

 

AA 1000K Felkerino and me

Talking, Planning, Doing

Anything is possible to achieve on the internet. Talk is the only requirement. I’m thinking about riding insert whole lots of miles here this year. I’m planning to do insert impressive event here. Articulated aspirations can make us heroes in our own minds.

Planning also has its place. I’m planning to do insert impressive event here. These are the steps I’ve planned out to get me to the starting line. I’ll be sharing my journey with whoever will read or listen to me over the next few months.

Doing is another matter. Doing is where the talk means little and planning is put to the test. During the doing, aspects that couldn’t be planned for are thrown in, just to make insert impressive event here even more exciting and unforgettable. Continue reading

Mailbox on the 1000K

Chasing Mailboxes: The Pursuit of Something More

Where does your energy go? What do you choose to pursue? Does each day pass in a blur of routine, or do you save a sliver of time to wonder about the existence of something deeper? You don’t know what the something deeper is, exactly, and you are not convinced it is a thing.

You hold onto an optimistic belief that if you go out in the world, if you work out, read more, eat better, if you try and stretch yourself in some way, eventually you will find it. Your personal pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The sense that your something deeper is out there helps you wake up each day.

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AA1000K North River Store

A Post-1000K Conversation With “Future Me”

Immediately after Felkerino’s and my 1000K ride, I was proud of our accomplishment, relieved that we completed what I felt was an extremely challenging course, and happy that we rode within ourselves from beginning to end.

There were several tough parts, but we did not come close to timing out and, and our bodies held strong. We took time to recover and re-hydrate during hot segments, and smartly navigated thunderstorms on the final day.

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Sunrise on Day 3. AA1000K

Enduring the Pain Point

Mile 250 of our 625-mile ride. Fatigue courses through my body. My skin has that beat-up feeling from multi-day endurance riding. The sun is shrouded in fog and the road keeps going up.

Mile 372. Crawling through Douthat State Park. It’s peaceful and wooded, but night is falling. And the road keeps going up. And did I mention? We’re crawling.

I’m sick of it all. Sick of pedaling. Sick of riding so many miles and feeling as though I’m making no progress. Sure, the hills make it pretty, but I’m pretty sure they’re killing me. Why am I out here?

I am swallowed by the pain point. Every endurance event has at least one– that segment in the ride where the mind rejects the physical endeavor, and pesters with distracting questions and frustrations.

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Sunrise cows

Melting Time Under the Moonlight

A self-confessed person of routine, I don’t stay out late and I don’t rise before the sun most days. I eat three meals a day, work Monday through Friday, and try to sleep seven to eight hours a night. I’m a huge fan of sleep.

Randonneuring appeals to my affinity for routine. I select the events I want to ride, put them on the calendar, and map out a loose training plan for the year. Fitness becomes an additional routine and life continues.

This weekend Felkerino and I rode a 1000K (625 miles) checkout ride for the D.C. Randonneurs and, for a brief moment in time, my daylight-driven routine life was thrown out the window.

The ride consumed us– three 200-plus mile rides in three days. Completing the overall distance within the time permitted, rather than starting after sunrise or stopping when darkness fell, became primary.

We had gone into the event with a plan– make the most of the daylight and focus on constant forward progress– but could not avoid riding many miles through the night.

Each evening, the sun set, and I would curse my inability to ride stronger and faster. The challenging terrain, increasing humidity, unexpected heat of the final day, a flat tire, and a rain squall conspired to make our overall pace slower than I wished. I had also set slightly unrealistic expectations for myself.

As if to help me through the night hours, the waxing crescent moon rose into the sky, painted in peach. The temperatures dropped from toasty to perfect.

Car traffic vanished. Everyone but us went home. We saw lights glimmering in farmhouses, but human life was practically invisible on the roads during the wee hours.

The overnight finish was still miles away, but with the sliver of moon by my side and Felkerino steering steadily in front of me and blocking the bugs, everything felt alright.

Night is a different world. Deer came out with their babies to feed and run about. Other small critters were as surprised to see us as we were them.

Little frogs, excited by the rainstorms on the final night, could be seen hopping across the roads. Our headlight lit up their curious, leaping bodies.

Time as I knew it melted away. There was no bedtime and there was no proper time to be indoors. We sliced our sleep hours in half, if not more. Our minds and bodies focused only on the next milestone of the ride.

I thought of the rare pleasure it is to enjoy a night ride on quiet roads with my real-life and randonneur spouse. Him and me, the moon and stars, wildlife, and the peaceful hum of evening.

Regular routine life seemed so far away and unimportant. It feels good to melt time every once in a while.

Quickbeam at Memorial Bridge

Things to Do During Your Taper

Ah, the taper. Time to back away from the long efforts, rest the legs, eat good meals, and ready for the big day.

What’s a person to do with all this new-found spare time? Continue reading

Felkerino and me. Photo by Jerry

Preparing for a 1000K Brevet

After a summer of bicycling, the Appalachain Adventure 1000K is fast approaching, and Felkerino and I will be riding it.

Given that the Appalachian Adventure is a late summer affair, Felkerino and I maintained a pretty big base of mileage since finishing the Super Randonneur series with the D.C. Randonneurs.

Felkerino and cornfield

Despite not tracking my cycling miles, I still have a good sense of our weekend rides throughout the summer. Continue reading