This Post first appeared on the Randonneuring Blog, Iron Rider
Finish the Damn Ride
Finish the Damn Ride is an "unwritten" ethos of Randonneurring. Sure there are caveats, safety comes first but, if you can safely continue, that ethos can lead to some inspirational results.
A crash occurred early in the 186 mile brevet, before the sun was up, among the group of riders leading the field. I didn't see it, so I don't know for sure what happened, but apparently a pot hole was involved and more than one person hit the ground.
I went around the large group that stopped around the crash. Given the number of people, adding myself to the mix would serve no useful purpose.
A few miles later, under the newly risen sun, two riders approach from behind, steadily gaining ground. When they catch up, we talk and I find out that one of the riders went down in the crash. Riding on her left, I see a a trickle of blood from a knee and maybe an elbow. She insists she is OK and she is riding well. When I am on the right, I see that the crash ripped her short from just above the knee to the left hip. Nothing too revealing, but the left side of the thigh was exposed and showed a light bruise. When I mentioned the obvious, she again seemed unfazed and continued on.
We leapfrogged during the ride, I sped through controls and she would pass me on the course. A former racer, now a proud mom, this ride was part of her mother's day "gift," and her upbeat attitude seemed to reflect that. Despite the setback at the start, she rode on, rode strong, and finished the damn ride.
The Pinelands 300k is a mostly flat tour of central jersey through the time-trial worthy roads that travel through the sandy Pinelands. The weather was kind today. A cool morning with no underlying sense of cold, warmed to a moderate mid to upper 60's. With surprisingly few stop lights or signs, this was a day and a course to find your pace and hold steady.
Persistence hunting is an evolutionary theory that says that human beings developed an extraordinary endurance as an adaptation to their profound lack of other physical traits when compared to the animal kingdom. Lacking claws, fangs, great strength or speed, humans found that if they worked together they could run a larger animal down by pursuing it to the point where it was too exhausted to continue to evade them.
That kind of endurance is more than physical, it requires a mentality that allows a person to work at the edge of, but still within, their limits for hours on end. I think I've witnessed the mindset that comes with that ability to push oneself at a pace that is hard, but sustainable, for hours. I also think I've experienced it too, for a bit at least, but it's a skill that while perhaps innate, must be nurtured, brought forth, and developed.
PBP, the quadrennial gathering in France of worldwide Randonneurs is 100 days away. Today was a day to work on that persistence mindset, that zen of being in the zone, to mentally keep pushing at the edge.
This Post first appeared on Iron Rider
Reflections on the Cranbury 200K
Jared Skolnick writes:
Technically, this was my second event with NJ Randonneurs. But I did my first 200k three years ago and before I considered actually training for longer, endurance events. I completed that ride in over 11.5 hours and the weather was practically perfect. So when I signed up for the Cranbury 200 this year, I had three goals in mind:
Adam McAnaeny writes:
This was my first 200k -- in fact, it was my first ride over 60 miles. And the only reason I managed to finish was because of the unique culture of randonneuring, where fellow riders aren't competitors and instead help eachother out. Here is a brief summary of my ride:
I started out feeling OK (better than expected, in fact). I had gone on a short ride the day before and had felt weak, so I wasn't optimistic that I would be able to complete this ride -- my first 200k, twice the length of my longest previous ride. Three weeks of travel had also thrown my training out the window, so I wasn't anywhere close to the place I wanted to be physically.
My good start was undoubtedly assisted by the tail winds we had at the start. Unfortunately, all too soon they turned into stiff head and side-winds. As you well know, that quickly made the going tough.
Around mile 55, I started to bonk. Hard. I had eaten at the first two checkpoints, but not enough, apparently. At mile 55 I noticed I was hungry, which was a clear sign I was too late getting more fuel into my body. I thought I could hang in until lunch at the checkpoint at mile 65, but I barely made it and my performance was already dropping like a rock.
I quickly ate lunch, then pushed on with two newfound friends I had ridden with most of the morning: Steven Castellano and Joseph Daly. At mile 75, however, I was ready to throw in the towel. I felt like I couldn't ride another 500 yards. I was completely weak and having mild stomach cramps. I pulled over and told Steve and Joe (both much stronger and more experienced riders than I am) to go on without me.
Surprisingly, they didn't. Steve suggested we stop and talk it through to figure out what the problem was. Both Steve and Joe were super-supportive and concluded I hadn't had enough time to digest my lunch and replenish my blood sugar. They suggested I push on to the next checkpoint (at mile 96) at a slower pace and then re-evaluate. They both continued to stay with me, encouraging me along the way. I made it to the checkpoint, had two bananas and a Gatorade, and by the time I left the checkpoint, I was -- if not a new man -- at least a "lightly used man". I had clearly caught my second wind and was dumbfounded at the change in my body. Without Steve and Joe, I never would have managed to hang in there.
The winds continued to be brutal on the way back, but we finally made it to the end. This was astonishing to me, given that at mile 75 I could hardly talk I was so tired. At that moment, I never would have thought I could go another 50+ miles. I'm glad everything worked out!
Chris Wey writes:
The route was a real pleasure and defied my expectations of this heretofor-unfamiliar area. I won't soon forget the view of New York City from the Mt. Mitchell overlook, one of many beautiful sights along the way.
George Swain writes: