I was inspired by my friend, Jefferson Rogers, to pursue an R-12, a Randonneuring challenge of riding a Randonneuring-sanctioned event of no less than 200k (125 miles) and no more than 1200k (750 miles) every month for 12 consecutive months. He started his R-12 in January 2014, I started my 12 month run seven months later.
My Randonneuring goals are quite modest: I would do only 200k's and I would do them only out of Tucson since I was unable to drive to remote starts due to my epilepsy that was still not managed with medication. Starting my R-12 in August was a bit challenging given that I live in the Sonoran Desert. All R-12 randonneurs will face weather perils, it's just a matter of which ones: heat, sleet, wind, tornadoes, monsoons, darkness, or.....
Randonneurs can ride with other Randonneurs and achieve RUSA credit for their event, but riding with a non-RUSA member during a qualifying event would be disallowed, as would be any crew support along the way, and repair of any mechanical issue by a "professional". The heart of Randonneuring is to be self-supporting/self-sufficient.
Since there were only 3 sanctioned routes that started and finished in Tucson, I decided I would expand my own route options by designing several new routes and seeking RUSA (Randonneuring USA) approval. Today there are six 200k's and one 300k and two point-to-point 200k's, one that starts in Tucson and finishes in Phoenix, and the second starts in Phoenix and finishes in Tucson.
Since my seizures were still not well controlled, I had concerns about being in remote parts of the desert alone. One of the many gifts of living in a cycle-centric region is the ready availability of cyclists who love the longer rides and who are Randonneurs. With a bit of advance planning I had the company of at least one Randonneur on all but my 12th R-12 qualifying ride in July, 2015.
I took August and September off after completing my R-12 in July. It felt very much like something was truly missing from my life. I started my second R-12 October, 2015. I like the discipline, the challenge, and the belief that it keeps me physically sharp. There's a sense of a one-more-in-the-books accomplishment after each month's completion. There is no guarantee that just because I have a goal for the year that the events of the year will make it possible for me to achieve the goal. Miss a month and I must start the count of 12 all over.
With the completion of this month's Rndo event, my 70th Birthday 300k, the planning for next month's event begins: what date will work for other already calendered events? What route? Who might want to join me for this next one?
I have now done 4 Rando events on Hiello, my ICE trike. He definitely adds an element of difficulty to the mix: the third wheel adds significantly to the rolling resistance; he doesn't climb as well; and being that much lower I am more conscious of my vulnerability, especially after dark.
All that said, the call of the challenge rings in my spirit. My second R-12 is underway.