Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Year Ago

It's amazing how quickly a year of cycling can go by. I have been getting requests about what kind of crazy riding I've been doing, so this blog will be an attempt to document those moments in something more than just a series of milages, speeds and weather. (What would randonneurs talk about other than those things?) My coworker Lizzie calls our sport randonoodling this blog's name is in thanks of her making fun of me. It's funny because it's true, randonoodling perfectly describes winding in loops around and around the state.
A year ago, I decided to see how far I could push myself bicycling. I already had a 300k and a 2,000 mile recreational tour under my belt so I physically, I was ready. Mentally, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. My experience in the extreme stems from other sports in the outdoor arena. I spent the last 8 years learning how to backpack, rock climb, mountaineer, and ice climb. So the idea of waking up at 4 in the morning after no sleep to ride a bicycle on a paved road seemed simple enough.
I learned quickly, that things were much more complicated that it appeared from the outside. I immediately missed the comfort of a large backpack to carry all of my extra clothes, food and water. I just couldn't believe that the little handle bar bag was supposed to carry everything need. Maybe I actually didn't need all of those things. As I expected, navigation and survival skills I learned in the mountains transferred to the bicycle, but applying chamois cream was still a learning experience.

Randonneuring gave me new challenges with every ride and I was ready to ride the world. I finished the spring/early summer series (200k, 300k, 400k and 600k) and even attempted a 1200k in my first year. A little old lady and her car put an end to that ride. (I got hit the day before the ride and had mechanical problems 570 miles into the ride and couldn't finish). But later that summer I rode my own 1200k solo in three sections a few weeks apart across my home turf in the midwest. December 31 marked my 4,000k of events that I rode in my first 9 months of riding. At this point I couldn't stop, not even when a snowstorm almost ended my goal of riding 12 months in a row. No, I just switched to the studded tires and road to Brinnon, WA just to get a 200k ride in for the month. It paid off and in February I finished my longest riding goal to date. The R12, 12 consecutive months of riding 200k rides.

Now, a year later, I begin again with my 13th month of riding. I guess it's continuing rather than beginning. Either way, here I am, still riding my bicycle.

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