Friday, December 2, 2011

We have no life!

In my last post (which admittedly is as stale as that mumified turkey wing lurking in greasy tinfoil at the back of your fridge) I wrote of the glories of introducing new riders to the rando way; the thrill of victory (over frosty roads) and the agony of defeat (when a torn tire strikes). 

I waxed poetic over the simple joys of mingling with old friends and new, the bright promise of a new tradition, born in the cold depths of winter, and the anguish of making command decisions that could change people’s lives forever (should we or should we not postpone the start for an hour?)  
Did I get any love for the incredible sacrifice of volunteering?  Did crowds rush forward shouting “Me, me, pick me to organize the next populaire!”?  Did anyone compliment me on my flowery prose, or near perfect punctuation?   
Here’s what I got:  no less than five (5!) comments correcting the definition of a populaire!  If you don’t know, or didn’t pick up the glaring error, well, at least there is hope for you. 

We are addicted!  Addicted to rules, to cue sheets, to Km’s vs miles, to hair splitting definitions, and brevet cards.  Think about this:  bureaucracy is a word with a French root.  Randonneuring, … abandon hope all ye who enter here.
Actually,…. I think it might be the weather.  I’m a native so I don’t constantly complain about the weather.  But now and again, like everyone here my gyro gets bumped off it’s axis.  Take today for example.  Today was another perfect day, not spent on the bike.  But let me describe a ‘perfect day’ in the first week of December here in our world:

I woke to 27 degrees and hard ice, (not frost) on the windshield.  I went out to the truck in the middle of a pitch black night, (6:15am) in thick freezing fog, to hack away at the frozen windshield.  Pitch dark night still when I arrived at the office at 6:45 am.  By 10:30, the thick fog was just burning off enough to expose the soggy gray banket above.  There were moments when a significantly brighter spot almost glowed in the overcast.  Not bright enough to cast a shadow mind you, but bright enough to cause suspicion that something strange and wonderous was going on behind the damp gray earth cozy.  At 2:00 there were actually moments of what we call ‘sun breaks’.  The thermometer was already going limp after it’s brief high of 47 degrees.  The best of the day had come and gone, and by 3:30 the gloam had once again descended.  Not even a bright spot, just a gray flannel blanket 3,000 feet above.  And then of course an hour later the street lights came on, and within 20 minutes we were once again plunged into inky black, cloud covered night.  This friends, is a good day for riding in my world.
Now I realize that my world my look positively yummy to those who live further from the sun than us mossbacks.  But frankly, I do not subscribe to the notion that misery loves company.  So if you are more miserable than me, well, could you please keep it to youself, or ragale me with tales of your travels to the tropics (real or imagined) while I whine my song, please?
As I was saying: 
So, is it any wonder that a gaggle of geeks could find nothing better to quibble over than the difference between 200 hundred kilometers and zero to 199?   Actually, that at least two or three of these poor neurotic soles didn’t go postal is I think the greater surprise.
I may not have mentioned here that Mrs. C and I are planning a sojourn, a voyage to the planet of the Sun.  As I correspond with friends in the south I get lots of encouragement and also at least a little gentle buffering of expectations.  They suggest that it may be unneccessary to pack a Costco size container of sunblock, that walks on the beach may require a long sleeve Tee or a sweatshirt.  That an average day would be sunny and 65 degrees, 67 maybe.   
Sounds glorious to me.

PS:  I stand corrected:
populaire (pope u lair) - A shorter "randonneuring" event usually run under the regulations and pace of a standard brevet, but being less than 200 kilometers in length, they lack the official sanction of the Audax Club Parisien. Populaires are often 100 or 150 kilometers in length and frequently used by experienced randonneurs for training and/or socializing, as well as introducing new riders to the ways of "randonneuring".


  1. Me Me Pick Me - oh, I guess I already volunteered. Thanks Paul for getting this rolling and for all you volunteering! Sometimes it is hard to feel the love but you got it!

  2. "neurotic soles" you say. Yea verily the neuroses run from the top of their heads to the bottom of their soles, perhaps even through the soul of their being. Randonneuring is bicycling mixed with bookkeeping and woe unto the writer who misplaces a word, number or controle card.

    But offer them chocolate pastries and they will make smooth the path to your door.

  3. "zero to 199"?

    Send me some of those pastries, and I won't comment on the first third of that quote. ;-)

    Since I was awarded the booby prize of actually being the one of the five that got published, I wouldn't want to let the side down by failing to follow-up.

    If you've ever been so foolish as to read the drek on my blog, particularly about the non-rando rides, you might've noticed I prefer riding with fewer rules about. E.g., I'll change the Irregulars route in mid-ride on a whim, or a request, or ... . But I wouldn't bother reading my drek, and after all, most of the "Irregulars" avoid reading it if they can.

    Write on, Dr. C,