Sunday, March 9, 2008

Rando Season Officially Starts

Sheesh, I started this post a week ago, Rando season is now pretty much in full swing.

Last weekend Seattle International Randonneurs held their first official randonneuring event of the 2008 season, the urban populare. Then yesterday my friends down in Oregon had their Snoozeville populaire. I wasn’t at either of these events for a couple reasons. Like crocuses and daffodils, ride reports of brevets all around the country are popping out. I am soaking them up with enthusiasm and not a little envy.

First of all I have made a commitment to try to do much of my bike riding close to home this year. It is a matter of time and money more than usual (mostly money). The house project has really soaked up all of our discretionary income; in fact, we’ve taken on a fair amount of debt to get the place put back together. So driving up to Seattle to ride 60 miles flies in the face of my commitment to be selective about where we’ll put our time and money. Oregon even more so, but only a little bit. I'm also oout of shape, didn't do the best at keeping my svelte figure through the winter.

But I’m no Cinderella and those kitchen floors will just have to wait. Today I rode my own private populaire off the back porch!

It was just a tad cold at the start, I thought about going back for leg warmers, but I’m not really sure where the leg warmers are. I had left the full fingered gloves on the step in the garage. Oh well, ride a little faster and you’ll get warm I always say. I started out coughing, but once I got everything up that was coming up I settled in to a great groove and my legs felt right for the first time on a bike in, well … a long time.

I was out on Hanaford and then up to Tono past the steam plant, then across the freeway and down Littlerock road. Over to Mima-Gate and Moon roads to Rochester. Then down past Swede hall into Centralia and through traffic back to home. I was strong most of the way. The last 20Km I would not say I bonked, but legs of lead comes to mind. 105K in less than 5 hours, I’m happy with that. Shoot I’m just way happy to be out riding a bike without getting rained on!

My Dart pals from last year are planning another event. Though it is local I’m pretty out of shape so I will probably pass, would not want to be the anchor holding everyone back. Plus, it is on the 22nd, a weekend when we may be doing some “moving back into the house” activities, or “prep for moving back into the house” activities. Riding is big in my life, but we definitely are looking to get back home. (more on that a little later).

So, since I have made a decision to scale back my rando event participation it was a poignient moment a few weeks ago when Mrs C realized that I have decided not to ride the Rocky Mtn 1200 in BC this year. This event is now held the year after PBP and is scheduled to run in July this year. I have planned to ride it since 2002 but seems that something has always gotten in the way in the past and now here I am acknowledging something else has gotten in the way.

When we talked about it she expressed concern that if I didn’t ride the Rocky this year, I might never get to ride it. This is an allusion to the fact that I’m not getting any younger and this is a pretty challenging event, (never mind that the entry fee is sky high!)

She’s right; this could be my last realistic chance of riding this great event. I might not be able to muster the strength, the determination, and that little bit of luck required to ride a 1200 in 2012. But then I might get splattered crossing the street tomorrow too.

So, when I got that lumpy envelope in the mail last week, the one with the funny striped paper and the return address in Paris it brought a smile of satisfaction to my face. It was my official PBP finisher’s packet. Inside was my carnet, the official PBP magazine of statistics, and my clunky finisher’s medal, and a CD of the event too.

I’m not planning to get a gold chain and wear that medal Sammy Davis Junior style, but I have to admit if brings out just a little sense of pride to see something substantial that acknowledges that I was there, I faced the challenges and by hook or crook I finished. Note my official (blazing) finish time, engraved on the medal 89:55. (enlarge the photo). Five minutes to spare. That was an adjusted time; I was actually clocked in at 90:13. I stopped to help an injured cyclist along the route, and I know I stood in line waiting to be clocked in for close to half an hour, maybe a little more, and so got a time adjustment.

In the past I’ve complained about the modern era medals being a little tacky or perhaps more accurately I think they exhibit no style. I’d love it if ACP would go back to those classic styles of the early to pre-war years, or perhaps even some retro art nouveau or art deco styles. Tacky or no, I’m keeping my medal. It will go into a shadow box frame with a complete set of the super randonneur medals for the past four years. (the medals are redesigned every four years to coincide with the running of PBP. They will wind up on the wall somewhere in our new house, and probably somewhere down the way stuck in a closet or a box. Mute testimony to the fact that at one time I had some stamina, and some grit, and more fun than a medal could ever suggest.

The next time PBP is offered I’ll be officially old. Funny how as you grow older “middle age” gets drawn farther and farther forward. But in 2011, when PBP once again rolls around I’ll be 62 and I don’t think any one can credibly claim that 62 is middle aged. So, by that time my ‘event’ riding days may well be behind me, and PBP may just be a warm memory, shoot, for all I know I may just be a memory.

But I’ve got plans, and riding PBP in 2011 is part of the big plan. I also plan to ride the Rocky the following year. I mentioned the official book of statistics that came in my finisher packet. It covers lots of information such as Statistics by nation, club, gender and age. It has an interesting graph that shows finishers by age, and I am definitely on the downhill side of that graph. Still, there were plenty of 62 year old finishers this year, there were in 2003 also. So statistically it’s not impossible, just less probable than when I was 54, or 58.
The oldest male finisher was 80 years old and the oldest female finisher was 65.

If I were to become an exceptional old geezer, and ride and finish PBP at 80 years of age It means I could have four more of them in me. On the one hand it is a little depressing to thing k that 4 is a lot when it comes to the number of times I might be able to ride PBP again, on the other hand, it makes a pretty awesome goal.


Oh yes, the house project!
Things are moving along. The interior walls are finished, including painted! The cabinets should arrive this week; the flooring will also start this coming week. And work has begun on the porches.

Within two weeks this place could be awfully close to ready to occupy. We’re dialing our excitement back but still, it is great to go over to the house and see progress being made in big bites.

By the way: I have a link in my "other bottom feeders" section on the front page of this blog, look over there, you'll see "Daily Dose of Image". Click on that and you'll see some pretty nice photos. The one for today shows a hot dog stand in Toronto in the middle of summer doing a brisk business. Then click on the link below that picture that takes you to the "day before". This is a picture of that same hotdog stand in Toronto in March. I am SO glad, we are not trudging around here in slushy, mushy snow.


  1. I'm glad to see you are back on the bike old man. The bug has bitten me hard this year and I'm really looking forward to seeing you out sometime.

  2. I would personally KILL to finish 105km in 5 hours.
    Monster. = )

    It's good to be back on the bike, though, isn't it?
    Cheers --B