A while back, I wrote a post called Randonneur- and Real-Life Spouse, which attempted to articulate my frustration about feelings of exclusion from a particular brevet experience (the #randbro adventure). This piece also discussed some of the demeaning comments we have received over the years from men who think that my willingness to stoke a tandem was my partner’s way of motivating me to ride.
I probably shouldn’t even summarize it for you, because as I re-read this post I realized it was a misfire. Both ideas dealt with exclusion in some way, but it didn’t work well to combine them. The result was a muddled message, a jumble of emotional outburst. Not saying some of it wasn’t warranted, but it should have been more fleshed out, and this should have been its own piece.
Second, and more importantly, I forgot that randonneuring is an activity where we all create unique experiences under the umbrella of a group event.
The fact that randonneuring is noncompetitive opens it to personal interpretation in a way that few sports do. You can really decide for yourself what you want to do with it.
Some people ride to elevate their personal best, some for companionship, some for the open air, some just to take pictures along the way.
For a time this year, I lacked the good humor and perspective to appreciate these differing approaches that almost always coexist during a brevet. I only had room for my own ideas of what a ride should be.
This did not allow me to be open to the other rides taking place around me, and I found myself quick to judge my ride on light of what others were or weren’t doing. My apologies for my short-sightedness, rando-friends.
Nothing positive results from framing one’s randonneuring approach as better or worse, or somehow more or less correct, than someone else’s. It’s also not meaningful.
In randonneuring, there are many ways to have a successful ride. The rules of randonneuring are flexible enough to allow a variety of individual approaches. Just be sure to maintain a minimum overall speed above 10 miles per hour. And don’t lose that brevet card. And make sure you have reliable lights. And a pencil in case of an info control. And those other rules… Oh dear, I have digressed.
Beyond the basic framework, though, we make our brevet experiences our own. After falling into a well of negative about my own misplaced ideas and sentiments, I came to my senses.
I deeply appreciate what randonneuring rides have come to be for me. How much I like the fact that I can approach them as weekend sport touring events with Felkerino on our tandem. And that’s what I should have written more clearly about in my initial post.
I hope others around me are able to unlock whatever desired experience and fulfillment from randonneuring that they seek. In the end, that is what matters.