I remember the first time I heard about randonneuring. It was probably 2002 or 3 and there was a story about randonneuring in the now-dead Oregon Cycling newspaper/magazine. The person who wrote it was definitely a hard-core randonneur who did 1000 kilometre rides. She talked about taking quick naps while holding onto a signpost, still in the bike saddle, because they were that exhausted and did not have time to properly sleep. This did not appeal to me.* So “randonneuring” got pushed to the back of my mind.
|Ryan and son on Ed’s Santana tandem|
Saturday morning, November 5. April and I wake up at 5:30am. Damn early. We shovel food and coffee down our throats and get ready. At 7am, James, our ride, picks us up. Normally I don’t care for the idea of “driving to ride”, but the start of this ride is in the far-west suburb of Forest Grove, a 30 mile ride from the house, or two hours by transit. Neither of us relished this idea. The ride to the start was dark and uneventful. A steady rain fell. It figures; the days before (and after) the ride were nice. The only rain all day type of day would be the day of the ride.
The first segment was nice, but had some suburban aspects to it. After Longbottoms the ride changed over to rural. The route crept closer to the Tualatin Mountains and we had a few climbs. Passing through North Plains I had one of our few hiccups of the ride; a group of us got scolded by an Oregon State Trooper over his loudspeaker to “keep it single file unless passing.”*** Dude, you are misinformed.
|My bike against Ed’s CETMA Long-John cargo bike (which he rode from Portland!) at the Snoozeville control.|
From North Plains it was a meandering, gentle upgrade along Dairy Creek Road to the “town” of Snoozeville. This seven miles one-way (14 round-trip) was my favorite. Low traffic, scenic, alpaca farms, other cyclists to keep me company. Snoozeville wasn’t a town anymore, but Ed was there, waiting for us and providing vegan sausage. Yum! The descent was fun, though my hands were cold for the first mile or so.
|Lovely bicycles at the Snoozeville checkpoint|
By this point I was passed the half-way mark. I was feeling a little worn, but not much. I was happy that I managed to keep up the pace. When I started I didn’t know if I would able to finish or not, but now I knew I would, and I was looking forward to finishing the route. More farms and woods were in store. The route passed through Banks so I made another bathroom and food pit stop.
I finally rolled to the endpoint in Verboort, right at 3pm, exactly six hours from when I started (and forty-five minutes before the event ends).
|Can you see how tired I was passed the smile? Photo Theo Elliot.|
|My brevet card at completion.|
|And my cycle computer. 61.3 miles in 4h38? Average speed 13.2 mph? Not too shabby. Photo by Theo.|
I was tired, hungry, happy, and excited. I completed my first randonee! And got a pin to prove it.
I waited for April to show up. She showed up right at 3:45pm with Elly. They were the last riders. April managed to get a flat which slowed her down. We hung out at the stop with Theo and Caroline and then rode another seven miles from Verboort to Hillsboro to catch the MAX into Portland. (We couldn’t get a ride home).
I am happy with the outcome. I managed to overcome my fears and did something new. The completion of my first 100k rando event was a big confidence boost. I’ve been down a lot lately, struggling to get back into the swing of things, stressed and depressed about my financial situation and lack of job. Knowing that I still have it in me to see things through is encouraging.
And you know what? Randonneuring is fun. While I figured that I could probably complete 100km in 6:45, I didn’t know if I’d necessarily enjoy doing it. Now since I’ve done it I can say I do. I will definitely pull a 100km Populaire at some point, and want to be able to do a 200km Brevet at some point too. Maybe even 300km after that. After that? Maybe I will come to enjoy sleeping while holding onto a signpost while still in the saddle.
For more perspective on this Verboort Sausage Populaire, check out April’s writing here.
The fabulous Ms. Elly Blue wrote about it twice (twice!) at Taking the Lane and Grist. (and photos here.)
David Parsons, one of the ride organizers (he rode “sweep” behind Elly and April) has a report here.
Theo Roffe, another organizer, has photos here.
And Ryan “Captain Hairdo” Good, a rider who rode a tandem with his son, has shots here.
**No, I do not like their coffee.
***The only other time I’ve ever had this happen while on bike was by another Oregon State Trooper going up to Mackenzie Pass. Don’t know what it is about them.