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: