Monday, April 27, 2009

200K Brevet

The Great Lake Randonneurs ride out of Delavan, WI hosting a 200, 300, 400, and 600 km brevet(long distance bicycle ride) each year. One must ride each of those to qualify to ride a 1200 km ride (750 miles). The brevets must be completed in the year the rider desires to do the 1200, and all rides must be completed in a designated time frame--not a race, but they are timed. The times seem generous, e/.g. 13.5 hours for the 200k (about 9 mph) but that is elapsed mph, not riding mph. Riders are totally self-supporting, so all rest stops, repairing of mechanical, getting back on course when lost, and huddling in a barn until the lightning stops all must be fit into the allotted time frame.

I have no aspirations to ride a 400, 600, or 1200k--just not a fan of riding all night and the assoicated sleep dep. But the 200's and 300's are useful distances for me as training for transcontinental rides and honing my spiritual practices for dealing with what the day offers in terms of gifts and challenges.

This 200 offered both--challenges and gifts.

There was a huge turnout—about 55 riders—3 women (including me)and 4 recumbents. The first 30 miles were warm with few sprinkles, but by the time we got to the first control the temperature had dropped 20 degrees and we were in rather continuous rain from steady pour to mist for the rest of the day. Thomas said there were a number of DNF’s weather dependent. Mark’s and Jeff’s and my PAC Desert Camp friend, Rob, from the Twin Cities, came over for our 200. He is the RBA for the new Twin Cities Rando Club. I’m doing his 300 in a couple of weeks.

Rob had a strong day—came in about 10th over all averaging 18 mph. Paul was there—having arrived from Yuma the Friday night before the 200 on Saturday. He’s already accrued 10,000 miles this year and is doing weekly long rides of 350 miles readying for his solo RAAM (Race Across America) at age 60. He plans to now switch to riding 300 sleeping for 3 hours and riding 300 more miles. RAAM rolls out June 16th.

Mark had a Vision Quest ride out of Verona, WI so didn’t ride the 200. Jeff and I were riding together; he had a flat at about mile 50 and then a rear wheel blow out (wall of the tire) about 20 miles later right after the lunch stop. Fortunately Mark was in Verona, his ride having been cancelled due to the inclement weather. So, Mark picked up Jeff and I rode back to Delavan without incident other than being good and wet and cold. Got in about 5:30 p.m.

The Randonneuring spirit was alive and well. I was surprised how many non-Rando-type riders were there totally under dressed for the conditions—short pants, short fingered gloves, short sleeves, no rain gear, and only the little under the seat bag big enough to hold a tube and tire irons. Hmmm.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Spring Eternal, Eternal Spring

So if this doesn't look like much to get excited about, in terms of a harbinger of Spring, it is a confirmation you have not lived in the northern climes in 2009.

There were other Spring sightings today on my 56 mile ride:

  • Despite the 45 degree temperature, there were runners along the Lake Front in short pants and short sleeve shirts
  • There were actually people lying on the sand at Oak Street Beach
  • The Chicago River Taxi was up and running and the Tour Boats were being washed down for service
  • The piers and buoys were in--no boats yet, but I bet the early birds will be in this weekend
  • Millennium Bike Parking is open, but most all of the bike stands are full of the city's bikes-for-rent. Wonder when they'll be moved out to their rental venues?
  • I actually shed some of my layers en route home, a first I think

I think all of these are signs worth of a Woo Hoo!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Arizona Reveries

Today, in Chicago, we may get snow again. For sure Palm Sunday will wear temps in the low 30's (real feel) accessorized with rain, wind, and thunder. Why for I return again and again to glimpses of Arizona, hoping my reveries will speed the for real entrance of spring in the Midwest that clings so tenaciously to winter.

My roommate who lived at the foot of my bed in Tucson.

My roommate, Marlene, from Fredericton, New Brunswick (click on the pix to zoom in) This was the only place coffee was available early in the morning in Tombstone.


A sink visitor

A scene climbing Mule Pass out of Bisbee. Click on the Pix to see who hangs out the window.

My Motel in Tombstone where I stayed in Wyatt Earp's room.

Farewell dinner at the El Paso in Tucson.