... sometimes make it hard to get around.
It’s May 1st and somehow I let April’s R-12 adventure slip from my grasp like that 18 pound King Salmon I once had up on the banks of the Sol Duc River so many years ago. DANG!
I have a million excuses but in April it only takes about 30. That allusion to ‘what goes around’ is a reference to this monumental post from friend JD who, like me had it there in his hands. And as with me, something in the air ‘came around’, passed to the lungs, the sinus, the innards, to the point that the mind said ‘yes we must!’, but the body said, ‘let’s stop here awhile’. There are two big differences between JD’s story and mine:
First, he gave it a go, and a good one by any measure. If the R-12 allowed consideration for stoic, heroic, monumental, ‘Epic’, etc then surely the R-12 academy would have awarded him a check off in the ‘done’ column. But as all rando’s know, close only counts in hand grenades and atom bombs; when it comes to the R-12 all it gets you is a clean slate. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, just roll the dice and get on with it, sometime in the month of May.
Oh, that other difference? Probably about 30 years. Not saying I get a pass or some ‘age adjusted’ consideration, but throw in an additional 30 years worth of muffed tries, memory reboots, and half baked plans, and it’s easier to understand why I didn’t even toe the line Friday morning. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m any smarter than JD, and I am certainly not tougher. I am sure I would not have gotten half as far as JD did. Perhaps 30 years of experience is the major difference. I’ve ridden with the Light Brigade enough times that I recognize which valleys it might be best not to charge into. Charge of the light Brigade? Perhaps tilting at windmills might be a more apt explanation of my shortcomings.
I’ve always said that I think the R-12 is a particularly challenging award to hang on the wall. My hat is off to all those who have gotten it, and for those who have multiple awards, or extended runs, R-24, R-36, etc. you have my respect. On its face a 200K perm or brevet is a decent accomplishment but in the rando world it’s not really front page above the fold news. But for those of us who struggle with consistency, who know about planning, and are planning to do some of it (planning) later, the R-12 is a particularly elusive goal, and especially satisfying once captured.
October to May is the thin ice for this quest. Just about anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, riding is a little more challenging in these months, and for some folks it is really a superhuman feat (geographically speaking) to ride 200K in the darkest part of the year.
So now, I have 31 days to get "R-1" in the books. I’ll be sending my perm app in to the SIR Perm Kings tomorrow. DANG!