Monday, July 28, 2008

Bike Events

By now you probably know that the Tour Day Frantz is in the books. What a great race! I won't say I was glued to the tube but I kept pretty current. Mrs C would ask "Who won the stage?" and with only the briefest pause I'd say; "the Spaniard", or "the Belgian", or "the Aussie" with a reasonable probablility of accuracy. Often she would follow this with "who's ahead?" bespeaking a level of tour sophistication exceeding that of the rank amatuer. I could then give a 9 second account of the days goings on and then answer the inevitable questions about any Americans, and George Hincapie in particular. As with most casual observers she has an interest in making it local. She recognizes big George and knows his history to some degree. By the way, you gottta love Christian Vande Velde, no?

A tour sans Patrone is refreshing, and though you can never prove a negative, I feel the results and the way the race progressed are pretty strong circumstantial evidence that it was a fairly drug free affair. What do I mean? Well, circumstantially speaking, there were not too many huge, breakaway moves by individiuals that essentially defied belief. When Ricco pulled a rabbit out of his hat, the gendarmerie were essentially able to pull back the curtain and expose not magic, but trickery. As I watched the racers go into the dark room that was the high mountain stages of both the Pyrenees and the Alps I got the impression that the very best climbers were riding on the rivet and any tiny bit of effort more would have surely cracked them. Sastre's heroic ride on Stage 19 was nothing short of amazing, immediatly causing my radar to go up. But I will put my faith in the testers and their tests and assume that he was clean. I hope that this trend continues.

Closer to home Randonneurs completed an EOEP (Event of Epic Propotions) last week. Hats off to all who completed BC Randonneur's Rocky Mountain 1200. I can't wait to hear the stories and read the ride reports. This randonnee, put on every four years, in the year following PBP has been on my list for some time now. Once again circumstances have conspired to cause me to sit this one out. Oh well, something to look forward to in 2012, (2012? SHEESH how time slips by!)

beyond that, the club put on the Kitsap Peninsula 200K, a new route that I suspect will become a staple. It's secinic, rural, great views, decent roads, and offers a fair amount of climbing (8,475 ft by my Garmin as I recall) as befits the "Back to the Mountains" theme for this year.

Next up, a 300K ramble to Mt St Hellens. My good friend James volunteerd last fall to put on the Three Volcanos, one of my favorite routes. Upon hearing this I offered to help, (a great event requires great support). Unfortunately, the severe weather we had last winter has made a portion of the route unavailable, so an alternate route was needed. We considered a couple old standards and then friend Dave suggested an idea for a ride out of the Tumwater area. James followed up and put something together that I think covers most of the bases quite well. This route is fairly simple to navigate, requires very few volunteers, and still offers a challenging and scenic route to the flanks of Mt St Helens.

This route is exemplary in that it combines some things that make it easy to put on (simple navigation and ample unmanned controle locations) while at the same time offering something that is interesting and scenic to riders. The simplest route would of couse be a 300K out and back on I-5 or I-90, but then not particulalry scenic or interesting for riders. A fantastically scenic and interstiong route often requires a controle about every 5 miles (shortest route between controles), and more navigation than most weary randos are interested in during the latter stages of a long brevet.

I mention this for those who have not yet delved into the nether world that is brevet route creation. The requirements as articulated by RUSA, and ACP are enough to make this a very challenging endeavor. Throw in the nuances of minimizing (or optimizing) controls, reducing the demand for volunteers, simplifying navigation, and at the same time giving riders something that is not too easy and not too hard but juuust right (and scenic to boot) and route making becomes art, with a beauraucratic overlay. So again, hats off to Dave and James for producing what I hope will be a great event.

I am planing to help out on this event, but there is a slight hitch. Through the mavels of technology, I am tapping this missive on a keybard high in the mountains of West Virginia. We'll fly home on Friday (Aug 1) and the preride is scheduled for Sunday, August 3rd. I handle jet lag about as well as Homer Simpson does in avoiding doughnuts. I'm not sure I'll be in peak form by Sunday, but that's my goal. If so then you'll see me somewhere along the route staffing a controle or working the start/finish. If not, then I'll toe the line with 'y'all' at the official start. I'm looking forward to rolling out with you once again.

Bonne Route ... y'all!

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