Living On In Memories

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

11 thoughts on “Living On In Memories

  1. I didn’t know Lynn, but this makes me wish I had know her. I agree that the view is worth the ride (or the hills). What a lovely tribute, in photos and words, and especially in the ride.

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  2. Thanks Mary “Mailboxes” for sharing your memories of Lynn. She was much rarer than the pink unicorn of a double tailwind and left the world a better place for being here. She lives on in the ridge crest vistas you enjoyed on her rando routes, in the shoots and flowers of the gardens she planted and tended at the Arlington Central Library and Thomas Jefferson Community Center, in the books she recommended at the help desk of the library and whose covers sometimes greeted our eyes in the display of recommended reading at the top of the center staircase, in the inter-library loan program she led and greatly improved that local writers relied on for their research, in the relationships she fostered knowingly and unknowingly through flèche team events and ride suggestions, in the dogs and exotic birds she cared for, and in many other ways I’m sure others were privileged to know. I’m sending a link to your post to Gordon in case he doesn’t see it.

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  3. I was sorry to hear about Lynn. I didn’t know her well, but I do appreciate her and all the other women DC Randonneurs, and I am happy that you hold such good memories of her.

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    1. So touching. I rode with her for a bit on my first brevet in US 4 years ago. She helped me on a missed turn. Can’t forget the smile and positive attitude that makes randonneuring great. And her road designing! This was my third 600 last weekend. By far the best brevet I have done . She created a beauty.

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  4. I have a reading list that Lynn gave me on one of our more frustrating days. We faced two days of pounding headwinds. One out and one back. Three tandems just blowing into the wind. Her love for books was likely greater or equal too her love for bikes. I will dig into my email and try to find that list and then my tribute will be to read as many of the books that I can. Mary thanks for writing this.

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