Yesterday I did another brevet with the Ohio Randonneurs. Yesterday's brevet was the 300K, the second in the Super Randonneur series I'm attempting this spring.
The high temp was forecast to be 72 F, with partly sunny skies in the afternoon, and I was really looking forward to riding at last in warm weather. The morning temp was 50 F, and that felt great to feel the warmth at 6:00 in the morning, when we started. Here we're receiving the final instructions from Regional Brevet Administrator, Bob Waddell.
We headed out - somewhere around 50 of us - and took over a small part of Springfield, OH. At 6:00 am, there was very little traffic.
We were out of Springfield and into the country after only a mile, pushed along by a decent tailwind that pushed us to the south. Fortunately, it was too dark to see my speedometer, or I probably would have slowed down immediately. We were bookin'!
Not too long after I took the photo above, the speedsters took off at a quick pace, and I was happy to let them go. After all, I've never ridden 300K at one time before, so I wanted to save some fuel for the last 275K.
I also realized that I left both of my water bottles in the hotel room - I had no water! I stopped at the first convenience store - about 20 miles after leaving Springfield.
Not too long after leaving the c store, the sun came up, and momentarily broke out of the fog.
After making several wrong turns and riding extra miles to get back back on course on the 200K brevet two weeks ago, I rigged up this map-holder. It's a medium binder clip secured with two zip strips.
There's Al up ahead. I rode most of the way with Al, who was from Michigan.
The route took us south from Springfield, then west, right between Dayton and Cincinnati. This is I-75.
Docked at the second control - 1/3 of the way done. That's my Trek in the foreground, with SKS fenders I installed last week. Al's Waterford is further away. The temp hadn't really warmed up much, and the clouds hadn't parted, but I was optimistic for sunny, warm weather soon even though it began raining as we left this control.
By the time we got to the United Dairy Farmers control at the halfway point in Oxford, it was raining pretty hard. Several people were inside shivering, and two UDF workers were busy following us around, furiously mopping up our drippings.
We were stopped by a train shortly after the rain let up - about 6 hours after it started. At this point, I was anxiously awaiting the parting of the clouds and the bountiful sunshine which would pour down upon us.
There's Al's front side. A P-B-P veteran, he kept a smile on his face the whole ride.
At 6:00 pm the sun came out! But it went back under at 6:15, and the clouds grew thick and dark.
Some of the trees were blooming.
The country side was beautiful down here, with narrow river valleys, wooded roads, and broad vistas. We traveled this road on the 200K, and I especially enjoyed this section of road. Try as I might with my camera, I can't capture the beauty of actually being there.
Just outside of Sparksville, was Bean Bag City. We passed this place on the 200K brevet. I'm curious what kind of bean bags they sell.
At about 7:30 pm, I got to the Little Miami Scenic Trail. We followed this for about 8 miles. Up ahead is Bill, whom I caught up to and finished the ride with.
By the time we got to the end of the rail-trail, it was dark. Bill and I rode the last 20 miles or so in the dark. Bill had a GPS, which he used to successfully guide us back to the finish. Even with a little flashlight, it's tough following a cue sheet and finding road signs.
Back in Springfield, near the end.
Each brevet is a learning experience. What I learned on this trip was to make a checklist and follow it. I was very happy I brought plenty of clothes, including a rain coat, even with a 10% chance of rain at the start.
What I especially enjoyed about this brevet was that this really was an adventure. Riding in darkness, hours of rain, hills, managing food, fluid, and electrolytes, the trip was great. The upcoming 400K still scares the hell out of me, but getting through the 300K with plenty of time to spare, and feeling good at the finish gives me hope that I'll be able to handle it.