Like many randonneurs, Felkerino and I have decided to throw our hat in the ring for this year’s edition of Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP). (We plan to be part of the 84-hour starting group.) This great ride, which kicks off in August, requires that riders complete a full brevet series – that is, a 200K, 300K, 400K, and 600K – in order to participate.
I don’t always write about 200Ks anymore, but since I’d like to keep some kind of log about the journey to PBP, this ride gets a blog post.
Felkerino and I had missed our club’s first 200K due to being on a weeklong bike tour, and looked forward to logging our first PBP qualifier on April 8.
Unfortunately, a week before the ride I came down with a fever and chest cold and I was spending every day leading up to the ride just praying that I could make it to the start. Seriously, it’s been a while since I’ve been that sick.
A look at the brevet calendar showed that the 200Ks in the region were winding down so this 200K needed to happen, or we were already going to be one ride behind. Lucky for my PBP hopes and dreams, my hacking cough and congestion abated just enough so that a 200K this past Saturday was possible. Enjoyable at times, even. PBP is like that – it puts a person into make it happen mode, when in other years you might let a ride pass you by.
The Nokesville Nomad 200K is a moderately tuned ride with about 6,000 feet of climbing, none of it very severe. Riders essentially do a figure eight in and around Warrenton, Virginia, and even though the terrain is pleasant the route doesn’t really go anywhere with the exception of hitting Warrenton multiple times so it’s not a very exciting route compared to others the club has run in the past.
Nevermind excitement, though. I was happy to do a moderate route on a day when I was feeling less than stellar. The most cumbersome part of this ride was the number of information controls the route required due to the number of times the 200K crossed over itself. D.C. Randonneurs has made a special investment in brevet pencils WITH ERASERS this year, though, so that added a degree of novelty to our randonneuring paperwork.
Felkerino’s and my five-day ride from Flagstaff, Arizona to Los Angeles, California, gave our early season riding fitness a nice jolt so the miles ticked away pretty steadily. The fact that we were riding our aluminum Co-Motion and not the heavy steel Co-Motion Java we took on tour made it feel like we were carrying decent speed throughout the day.
We didn’t tear through the course, but we rode with purpose and ended up with 45 minutes or so off the bike for the day – a good total for us. In the afternoon, the day warmed up and after my toes warmed up I actually enjoyed being a bike rider. It’s a great feeling to ride in the sunshine. And most exciting, Felkerino and I have one PBP qualifier in the bank.