Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014 Randonneuring Schedule

I have the details for my first brevet of 2014 up on my Montana Populaire and Brevets Website along with the dates and locations of the rest of our 2014 rides.  Click on over and take a look.

I've still got a lot of work to do, as most of the routes need to be mapped and submitted by me, and approved by RUSA before I can post them.  I'll be working on this in the next weeks and months.  It's a lot of work to get these routes approved, but it's also fun.

I've also got some new permanents I need to post.

Finally, I've taken the plunge and signed up for the Seattle International Randonneurs' Cascade 1200.  It starts on June 21, so that means I've got to do a lot of training in the not-so-nice weather months of year.  It's going to be a real challenge to be in peak fitness that early.

Stay tuned, and let me know if you have any questions about the upcoming seasons rides, or randonneuring in general.

Monday, January 6, 2014

End of the year-Beginning of the year randonneuring in Oregon

Since daughter Stephanie moved to Portland, Oregon in 2009, I've been coming up with creative reasons why I need to go there. Randonneuring is the perfect excuse.

Randonneurs USA offers awards for accomplishing various feats of randonneuring including the popular P-12 and R-12 awards. The P-12 award is for riding an approved 100-199 kilometer event in 12 consecutive months, and the R-12 award is for riding an approved 200 kilometer or longer event in 12 consecutive months.

Getting the December and January events done in Montana is very difficult given our wintery weather. Last year I went for the P-12 and got my December and January events done by riding two different 100+ kilometer rides out of Portland. For this season, I've decided to go for both the P-12 and the R-12. I got my December P-12 ride done on the 1st of December here at home one day before a big blizzard hit that has left the local roads icy for the duration. So my son Jackson and I, (wife Brenda had to stay home for work) loaded up the bike again and headed for Portland.

The goal this time was to at least get my December 200K done. I contacted fellow Randonneur extraordinaire Lynne Fitzsimmons about doing one of her rides on the last weekend of 2013. Lynne was available so we planned to meet up in Beaverton to ride the Beaverton-Hagg Lake-Carlton 200K Permanent. Lynne wrote a nice detailed report on her blog so please go there and check it out. The following is a photo story of my Oregon riding:
It was gray and gloomy at Hagg Lake. We did a lap around the lake on a hilly tree covered road. It was beautiful. The bad weather did have one advantage-we had the place almost all to ourselves which I understand wouldn't be the case when it's nice out.
Lynne and I were joined by Jeff Arasmith of Portland. We stayed together the whole ride (more or less) and rode, chatted, and froze together in peace and harmony. It was an entirely satisfying day. I got my December R-12 out of the way, I felt pretty good on the bike despite not riding outdoors since the first day of December, and I got to see some absolutely beautiful Oregon countryside.
The ride went right past the Roloff Farm, from the TV show Little People, Big World. Jackson is a big fan of the show, so the next day we drove out to get this picture.
New Year's Day afternoon turned bright and sunny in Portland. Stephanie and I took advantage by riding around downtown with very light traffic, crossing the river on the famous Steel Bridge one of the most multi-modal bridges in the world. After Stephanie and I did a nice 11 miles, I was feeling so good I went and rode another 20 or so on the Springwater Corridor and I-205 bike path. 
Jackson and I planned to drive home on Saturday, January 4. It's a long ride and we thought we'd need Sunday to rest up and recover before going back to school and work. But the Oregon Randonneurs facebook page was alight with the organization of a 200K permanent on that day. I quickly calculated that I could survive the Monday work day after a travel day, and Jackson was up for getting his homework done and getting to spend an extra day with his sister-so I decided to go for it and ride the Mill City Coffee Run 202K with 8 Oregon Randonneurs, including Lynne and Jeff. It was just too great an opportunity to pass up.
The ride started out a lot like the Hagg Lake ride-cold, dreary, foggy, damp. We shivered out of the first control at Stayton as frost covered the shady spots on the roads and decorated the adjacent fauna. But as we approached Mill City, which was our lunch stop, the clouds ran away and a brilliant sunny blue sky appeared. On the way back, we had a clear view of Mt. Hood, and even caught glimpses of Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens. When the Cascade volcanoes are out-you know it's a nice day! (you can see Mt Hood just above the little building in the above photo) 
I regret not taking more pictures on these rides, but my hands were constantly glove covered and handling a cell phone camera in that condition just isn't conducive to great photography. Despite the lack of photographic evidence, I loved both these 200K routes. Though they were very different, they were equally wonderful. Despite being a little chilly at times, I had an absolute ball. And the weather was really terrific compared to what it could have been.  We had fog, but no rain!  The first Monday back at work was tough, but it was so worth staying the extra day to get that January 200K done. I'm very grateful to the Oregon Randonnuers-especially Lynne Fitzsimmons and Ken Mattina, the ride organizers-for making this a truly special vacation.

And riding around Portland with Stephanie on New Years Day...well that was just a whole 'nother level of special.