Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Fun Randonnee

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.

Happy riding!


Anonymous said...

Gosh that sounded like a great ride! It did sound like a real adventure! I like your line at 25K, in which you say you wanted to save your fuel for the final 275k. I also can appreciate how the sun finally came out at 6pm, and disappeared at 6:15pm. That's very familiar to me. This was a really interesting post and I'm looking forward to sitting in my warm, comfortable chair, inside my warm little room, reading more of them as you continue to do these rides! :)

Pondero said...

Fantastic. The calm, positive tone of your description sounds like the voice of a veteran. You must spend a substantial amount of time in the saddle. I glad you had fun, and wish you all the best on the 400k.

Rat Trap Press said...

Very interesting. I bet you'll handle the 400k better than you think.

Trevor Woodford said...

A great report of the ride...I could identify with so much of what you described...wish you well with the 400K.


Big Oak said...

Thanks Paddy! Even though I complain about it not being sunny, I'll soon be complaining that it's not cloudy!

Pondero - thanks! and yes, by Brooks saddle is well broken in.

Myles - thanks!

Trevor - thanks! It's fun to discover first-hand what you and others post about.

Steve A said...

Thanks for sharing. It's appreciated.

jeff said...

That sounds like a hell of a ride! Congratulations and good luck on the 400k. Throw some mountains in and you'd be certifiably insane.

limom said...

Boy, that's some serious miles!
You know what they say: if you can do 300, you can do 400!
At least that's what I think they say.

Jon said...

Man, I am jealous of that ride. I think my longest ride so far this year is 50 miles. I should go back to my 100-miler per month schedule and stop being so lazy.

300k, coming up! Whoo-hoo! Go Bill!

Apertome said...

Way to go! That's a long, long ride. My riding is down this year, but you are really taking off. Great job! And yes, the calm tone of your post almost makes it seem like it's not a big deal. It is. Congrats, and good luck on the 400k!

rlove2bike said...

This is a very interesting write-up with a good explanation of what a long ride is like. I haven't come close to anything like that, but it sounds interesting. That is hardcore. Gooooood Job ! !

Anonymous said...

I just stand and shake my head in awe. You make it sound as easy as falling off a log. It must be true that if you want to do something like this, then you can. Well done!

Big Oak said...

Steve - You're welcome!

Jeff - we had some dandy hills on the 300, but the experienced randonneurs I rode with said this was a very flat course. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to ride in the mountains. That would be insanity! But you would be surrounded by incredible scenery!

limom - well, that's what I think. We'll see when the 400 comes.

Big Oak said...

Jon - yes you should! But only if you want to. Thanks for the support!

Michael - Thanks, you know, all I had to do was sit all day (and pedal). I didn't ride fast and I got to eat as much as I wanted, so it was a good day.

rlove2bike & twofeet - thanks, again, all I did was sit and pedal. It is amazing how far a person can ride, if you give yourself the time to do it. A little training helps, too. I was very fortunate my bike performed flawlessly and I had no flats.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What an impressive accomplishment. I'm not sure I could do that.....

Good job!

Chandra said...

That's a lotta riding, 300K and 400K! Bravo!!
Peace :)

Big Oak said...

Tracy - I'll bet you could!

Chandra - Thanks!

Bruce's Bike Blog said...

Cheers! Bruce

Big Oak said...

Bruce - cheers to you, too! Following your blog got me interested in randonneuring!

fwbikecommuter said...

Congrats. That is huge!