Shenandoah 600K: Ride With What You Have Inside

While in the midst of final preparations for the weekend’s Shenandoah 600K in Virginia, a friend asked me how I was feeling about the ride. I raised my eyebrows and said, “I’m ready for it to be over.” “You need your face!” she responded. Ah yes, I was so proud of dialing in my 400K face, and had looked forward to showing off my 600K … Continue reading Shenandoah 600K: Ride With What You Have Inside

D.C. Randonneurs 4 States 400K: Bring Your 400K Face

Want a successful 400K ride experience? Bring your 400K face to the ride and no other. After over a decade of randonneuring, some lessons have begun to sink in, and I’m finally figuring out what a good 400K face looks like. My 400K face is one that begins a ride full of a week of good sleep. According to a reliable source – my mom … Continue reading D.C. Randonneurs 4 States 400K: Bring Your 400K Face

Mother of All 300Ks and the Passage of Time

Fourteen years ago I rode my first 300K brevet with the D.C. Randonneurs, and this weekend Felkerino and I were back on that very same course, now fondly titled the Mother of All 300Ks given the gnarly 13,600 feet of climbing in 189 miles. One of the first weekends to give a clear indicator that summer will arrive, I spent the day enjoying the sun … Continue reading Mother of All 300Ks and the Passage of Time

Made-Up Me: D.C. Randonneurs 600K

The uncertain arc of a ride as long as a 600K draws me to it. So many factors define the ultimate experience: fitness, weather, terrain, traffic, and the bike itself. Moments where I wonder why the heck I’m doing this are almost a given over such distance. Frustrating as these times are, it intrigues me to see how I wrestle through them. In Felkerino’s and … Continue reading Made-Up Me: D.C. Randonneurs 600K

Enjoying Every Mile on the D.C. Randonneurs 400K

Stopped at mile 110 of our 252-mile ride, someone asks us where we started.”Frederick, Maryland,” we respond. When asked where we’re going we again say, “Frederick,” and then pepper in a few additional details about our day’s route. “Will you camp along the way?” our dining neighbors inquire. “No,” we answer. “We’re doing the whole thing today.” Mic drop. Our dining neighbors are speechless. I … Continue reading Enjoying Every Mile on the D.C. Randonneurs 400K

Beyond Fun: D.C. Randonneurs Frederick, Maryland 300K

As I set out my gear for Saturday’s 300K, I noticed the 2015 cue sheet for the same ride still in my bag. One year later, back again. For a while Friday evening and into the next day, I wondered yet again why I thought of randonneuring as a worthy pursuit. Early ups, questionable weather forecasts, and all the rushing around to be ready to … Continue reading Beyond Fun: D.C. Randonneurs Frederick, Maryland 300K

Out of My Gordonsville: D.C. Randonneurs 300K

For the second year in a row, Felkerino and I couldn’t get our acts together to fit in a 200K, so we began our brevet season with this weekend’s D.C. Randonneurs 300K out of Warrenton, Virginia. Continue reading “Out of My Gordonsville: D.C. Randonneurs 300K”

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. Continue reading “Living On In Memories”

Randonneuring Beneath the Stars

The sun flares orange and pink, drops behind the mountains, and leaves us. Felkerino and I pause to don night gear, assess our 600K progress, and estimate the hours of night riding ahead. Continue reading “Randonneuring Beneath the Stars”

Randonneuring: Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

Randonneuring events allow ordinary people like me to participate in extraordinary bike rides. Brevets changed my definition of a long day ride, from a century to more than double that– distances I previously could not even conceptualize pedaling.

The randonneuring community helped me feel okay as a rider who does not move particularly fast, but has a body that has proven itself durable over time and distance.

Yes, you must be in some semblance of decent physical shape, own a road-worthy bicycle, and have the free time to take on a brevet. But as long as you maintain an overall speed of 10 miles per hour, an ordinary person will be a successful randonneur. Continue reading “Randonneuring: Making the Ordinary Extraordinary”

The Mind’s Journey

I began this year feeling quite uncertain, almost ambivalent, about the brevets. The past year has included some serious and unexpected health issues in my family. These scrambled up my head, and prompted a reassessment of that big question “What am I doing with my life?” Continue reading “The Mind’s Journey”

Randonnesia Strikes on the Mother of All 300Ks

“We’re too blessed to be depressed,” a church sign at mile 70 read. Our riding group of three shared a chuckle. We had just climbed Wolf Gap, Mill Gap, and were en route to more gaps and roads with words like “church” and “mountain” in their names. The path ahead gave us pause. Continue reading “Randonnesia Strikes on the Mother of All 300Ks”

Experience: a Randonneur’s Frenemy

This weekend, Felkerino and I rode our first official brevet of 2015, the D.C. Randonneurs 300K out of Frederick, Maryland. I was feeling pretty lackluster about the whole thing, but the forecast indicated spectacular conditions, leaving us no excuses to skip out on a ride in the countryside with rando buddies. Continue reading “Experience: a Randonneur’s Frenemy”

A Dose of Reality on a 200K

Felkerino and I met up with bicycling friends Eric, Jerry, Barry, and Joel to ride the classic D.C. Randonneurs “Old Rag 200K” route. Jerry had some weird rattle in his rear wheel that would not go away, Barry was riding a loaner bike since his main rando ride was in the shop for repairs, our Schmidt generator hub failed, and Eric’s shifter broke in the final five miles.

Old Rag 200K

Other than that, the day was spectacular. Continue reading “A Dose of Reality on a 200K”

We Interrupt This Brevet for …

Sometimes when riding my bike, I feel like I’m inside a video game that’s throwing all manner of obstacles my way, and I have to react and deal with them in order to move on to the next level. Last weekend’s 600K had a fair number of these– enough that I began to take notice. We interrupt this brevet to corral a cow. That was … Continue reading We Interrupt This Brevet for …