Saturday, June 22, 2013

DIY - Spare tube wrap.

A quick and easy way to use an old inner tube to wrap a spare tube into a compact package that also protects the valve:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Catskill 600K - Meditations in the mountains

A good Randonneuring course showcases its region. On the ride, you get an intimate appreciation of the terrain, a feel of the place's history, immersed in the geography. Going to the controls to get receipts and brevet cards signed (which seemed odd when I first started) forces you to interact with the locals beyond the basics of buying and selling, you hear their accents and exchange greetings - you talk to people. You get a sense of the soul of the area in a fingers in the cool earthy dirt kind of way. Randonneurs not only ride through a place, we participate in it, we live in it, if only for a moment. Such was the case on this ride.

The Catskill 600K starts near the majestic Hudson River. The scenic course is a visual treat. From the Palisades cliffs along the river, it weaves  through mountain towns which run the gamut of mountain town possibilities; from standard middle America to art enclaves, exclusive schools, monasteries, many places of exotic worship or meditation and working farms. Sets of pictures from this year's ride can be found here and here.

The NJ Randonneurs have a detailed description of the Catskill 600K course on their website. They also gave fair warning that finishing would mean lots of climbing - over 22,000 feet of elevation gain. 

This would be the climbiest 600k course I had ever attempted. But somehow, despite the fact that I make a much better descender than I will ever make as a climber, I decided that I would keep to a schedule for a personal best 600K. In fact, I would eat and sleep well and finish the second day strong. Yup, that was going to happen, for sure. All I had to do was follow the plan.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Images from the Catskill 600K

Grand Bois Lierre tire after a sidewall blowout that was field repaired with a patch, a dollar bill and duct tape wrap.  It lasted for over 100 miles.

A collection of images from the Catskill 600K: I recommend Full Screen

Friday, June 7, 2013

First Friday Writings for Randos - The Rider

{First Friday Writings for Randos - A monthly post that features pieces from other writers that touch some facet of the Randonneuring experience, even if that was not the author's intent. It's stuff that's best read out loud - slowly.} This month it's . . .

The Rider

by Naomi Shihab Nye

A boy told me
if he roller-skated fast enough
his loneliness couldn’t catch up to him,

the best reason I ever heard
for trying to be a champion.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

New Holland 200k - Skipping rocks across time

Sometimes a brevet fools me into thinking that it is one event, one story to be told. Maybe because the rides have a start, a finish and lots of stuff happens in between. Maybe because my mind wants to follow the path of time, connect the experiences along the way and have them make sense. That is a trait of the human mind after all, to try to find some order in the chaos. 

But then something reminds me that just because things happen sequentially doesn't necessarily mean they connect in any other way. Real human stories have a way of skipping through time, like rocks bouncing on the surface of a pond leaving intersecting ripples as they pass. Sunday was one of those reminders . . . .