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 on a distance like this. Frustrating as these times are, it intrigues me to see how I wrestle with them. In … Continue reading Made-Up Me: D.C. Randonneurs 600K
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
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
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”
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”
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 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”
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”
“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”
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”
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.
Other than that, the day was spectacular. Continue reading “A Dose of Reality on a 200K”
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 …
After a year away from the 400K and 600K brevets, 2014 has been a year of re-learning the brevet ropes. Unfortunately for me, this process has also had me on the ropes at various times throughout the spring rides.
I’m happy to say it’s all done and behind me. Felkerino and I got out there, did the work, and rode the brevets we needed to once again complete a Super Randonneur series (200K, 300K, 400K, and 600K) with the D.C. Randonneurs. Continue reading “Don’t Look Back, Keep Your Eyes on the Road: 2014 Super Randonneur Series”
In an effort to put all my old ride reports either on this blog or The Daily Randonneur, you’ll notice that I’m sharing a few “vintage” pieces. This one is the story of my first 600K experience from 2005, and is also the first story I ever wrote about randonneuring.
I never intended to become a randonneur. I did not even know what a brevet was, let alone think I would be completing a Super Randonneur in the same year I was introduced to randonneuring. I anticipated completing the fleche and thought maybe I would occasionally participate in a century-plus distance every now and then.
Nine years later I’m still riding with Felkerino and randonneuring with the D.C. Randonneurs. We’ve completed three 1200Ks, including Paris-Brest-Paris and a 1000K together. Life continues to unfold in ways I did not imagine.
After rolling into the finish of the D.C. Randonneurs Northern Exposure 400K, I heard myself enthusiastically discuss our ride and revel in the adventure shared by Felkerino, Matt, and me over the last 20 hours and change of riding.
Incredible valley vistas and invigorating climbs! The cutest dog chasing us! A sublime night ride! Clouds clearing and a glowing crescent moon guiding us home! Roads so quiet you could hear peepers sing to you and creek waters whisper encouragement! A giant shooting star! The best mocha I ever had… at mile 230… from McDonald’s!
Who was this person, another part of my brain wondered. What’s with all the exclamations about this great ride? Doesn’t she know that much of her day was spent with an undercurrent of worry and an almost obsessive urge to press forward?