After being on hiatus for a couple months, and unfortunately breaking the chain of monthly brevet and permanent rides that make the R-12 award(200km ride or longer for 12 consecutive months), I got back out there for a 200km permanent yesterday.
The route was called the Red Bandana and took us south from Alvarado, TX to Lake Whitney. It was a bit windy and apparently spring is over in Texas with summer heat starting to make its appearance. Other than that it was really nice day out with the country side awash in greenery and abundant wild flowers. It wont be long till the summer sun dries everything up, so I was trying to take in as much of it as I could. I even stopped to take a picture of my bike next to a patch of blue bonnets.
The best part of the ride, however, was that I had recently convinced my friend Jeremy Hensley to join RUSA and Lone Star Randonneurs and come do a ride with me. The heat and wind, and the fact that it was his longest ride to date, took a bit of a toll on him from about mile 75 to 100. Things were rough for a little while but I was impressed that at no point did he say anything about wanting to quit. He rebounded after the second to last control and we finished up strong with even a couple sprints to avoid the jaws of some very large and menacing country dogs. We even went through his home town out in the middle of nowhere.
The very nature of long distance cycling is always unpredictable. The possibility of some sort of mechanical, nutritional, or climatic issue arising is nearly unavoidable. Its the Law of Averages, and if you throw that many miles on the bike computer then something is gonna happen. Back in the car I said to Hensley “Well it ain’t Randonneuring if you don’t think you are gonna die at some point, only to come back and finish strong”.
Well, the intention of this post was partially to convince anyone who was sitting on the fence about doing some randonneuring to sign up and get out there. Maybe I am not putting forth the most convincing argument, unless you are like me, all the other randonneurs and ultra distance athletes out there that enjoy a great challenge with, at times, no guarantee of a smooth ride. If so, I’ll see you out there.