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Showing posts from 2011

Back to the start

There is wonder and excitement upon experiencing something for the first time. Memories are laid down, and in later years called back up again in the telling of a tale. Even so, approaching something with the benefit of experience, and a measure of focused preparation can often times make the return seem like a new experience itself. I learned this so well this past August when the four year wait concluded and the 17th edition of Paris, Brest et retour was about to begin. Starting in August of 2007 while still in France, and continuing and building over the next four years I prepared myself in the best way I knew how, and in what ever ways I could for PBP 2011. I left France four years ago struggling a bit to be positive about the experience of PBP 2007, and four years seemed too much like an eternity. In so many ways I had a fantastic experience back then, no doubt about that, but those experiences were also at war with the emotions of having fallen short. True also was the realiza

It didn't look exactly like this from back there

My point of reference is August, 2007. Going into Paris, Brest, Paris in 2007, I had heard many stories about the experience, but I knew nothing first hand. The experience of PBP 2007 for me was many things, but arching over all those things, what it amounted to was something incomplete. Looking back to 2007, while I learned a great many things from the experience both at the time as well as over time, I could only see PBP 2007 and any Grand Randonnée I attempted in one way: only a start. A piece of advice I had been given in 2005 was that one way to prepare for PBP might be to complete a domestic 1000 or 1200km brevet. I acted on that advice and set out to ride the Gold Rush Randonnée that year. Result: I abandoned the ride in Oroville, CA, just barely 100 miles into the 750 mile route. I had a splitting headache and a broken rack held together by a substandard bolt and a few days later I was laid out flat with one of the worst bugs I've ever had. 2006 was a missed opportunity

The journey is more than the road upon which I traveled

Shortly after addressing the more urgent unpacking details upon returning from PBP 2011 , having found an unanticipated moment of quiet I settled in front of the computer and sifted through the early messages from my fellow travelers, and also quite a number of congratulatory postings from friends who had followed the event electronically. I was not the first to upload my photos from the ride and post them so many of these messages had links to albums or even specific single photos. One such post on a social network contained a photo taken by a then unknown to me photographer , of me on the bike at mid day, with much more than a hint of a smile on my face. It took me several viewings before I could place the image within my memories of any of the 1230 kilometers of the course. With some context now supplied, I set to work trying to recall the circumstances surrounding me at the time, such as what I was thinking when the photo was taken. That really wasn't a hard task at all. Thou

Up the slope: the SFR Hopland 400km

Each year, as November becomes December I begin to refine my cycling plans for the coming year. RUSA and ACP brevet calendars are already approved, and the California Triple Crown site has all of the coming year's double centuries listed. Looking back from that point, I could tell why my riding was in fine tune. 2010 had started off slow, but April and May of that year launched me on a run of really enjoyable and successful efforts on the longer brevets in the Super Randonneur series. Riding that wave of good results, I looked out on the coming year and imagined I could complete a double Super Randonneur series in 2011. NorCal brevet clubs listed as many as seven 200km brevets, five 300kms, four 400kms and four more 600kms, all roughly within an hour's drive of my home. Ah, but it is not as simple as showing up, nor even as simple as planning to show up. The day I completed my first 200km of the year, I knew with little doubt I had caught a head cold after I stopped riding. L

A fine and pleasant misery revisited

Water is a chemical substance that is vital to life. Without it, humans and all other terrestrial life forms fail. Applied to seeds planted in the ground it promotes growth. How vital is it though to the sub-species of humans known as randonneurs? Is it really necessary to apply water to a randonneur to promote 'growth'? More to the point, on last week's Santa Rosa 300km Brevet , was it necessary to apply so much of the stuff to all the participants? In 2005, as a freshly minted randonneur, I enjoyed a wonderful run of spring weather when I completed my first SR series . In fact, all those brevets were definitely on the warm side as spring weather goes. Ah, but in 2006, right from the start, things changed. The first brevet of that year was the 200km, and I chose the San Francisco Randonneur's 200km for the first time. To put it mildly, that 200km was wet . Along the way on that ride, I doubted many times that I was doing the right thing by continuing. Each moment of

Getting back to the point of this blog

(Photos courtesy of Masayoshi Kobayashi) In looking back over 'recent' postings to this blog, I noted that while entries became sparse after last summer, on top of that the last entry that had to do with a specific ride was in early October, and the ride it chronicled was a month before that. I began this blog as a way to record and ruminate on my preparation for Paris, Brest, Paris 2011. So before I provide a new entry that recounts my most recent brevet, I might as well at least mention all those brevets I did do but didn't write or comment about. The cycling year 2010 for me was a very good year. There was room left for it to have been great, but very good is still a lot of progress. High points for 2010 were the longest rides of the year: The Flèche Norcal, the Fort Bragg 600km and the Central Coast 1000km. On all those rides I had a great appetite, and energy through out the ride. Those rides only take me through the first half of the year though. I filled out the r
The San Francisco Randonneurs 2011 brevet schedule is online here . Our first event is on January 22nd. If you have interest in riding this event, you might want to hurry. For this ride only, there is a rider limit (due to NPS rules) and while we aren't full yet, we will fill up before the date. Registration can be done online or via paper/mail here . Note too that the calendar below is just the start. We are in the planning stages to add four more events for 2011, two of which will be at the 100km distance (Proposed Populaire dates under discussion are June 25th and October 1st. Check the SFR website soon for exact dates.) 2011 Schedule Event/Distance Date Start Time Time limit Point Reyes 200k Sat, 01/22/2011 7:00 AM 13.5 hours 2 Rock/Valley Ford 200k Sat, 02/12/2011 7:00 AM 13.5 hours Russian River 300k Sat, 02/26/2011 6:00 AM 20 hours Healdsburg/Hopland 400k Sat, 04/09/2011 6:00 AM 27 hours Fleche (360k +) Thu, 04/21/2011 8:00 AM 24 hours Ft. Bragg 600k Sat, 05/07/2

On being an RBA

I'm way behind on the postings I intended to make, and further behind on the ones I should be making to this blog. Still, this one is pretty easy to throw up there and is no less meaningful for it's ease in composing. In late 2007 I applied to become the Regional Brevet Administrator for the San Francisco Randonneurs , replacing Todd Teachout who had served in that role since before 2003. The learning curve, as in most things, was steeper at first, and the 2008 brevet season was a modest success even if it was smaller in comparison to 2007. There often is a big drop off in participation in the year after PBP, and for SFR this was no exception. That plus bad weather for our first two dates kept participation low. Nevertheless, I was glad to be contributing in a more meaningful way to the sport I loved. 2009 was a big step up, with many more rides listed and new routes added. Participation picked up noticeably, and with successful runs of a 400km, 600km and Fleche, I was pleas