Saturday, June 13, 2015

Boston 400K - New Roads in New England.

            A night in Transit 
At 6:00 am on Friday morning I walked on the Gulf Coast beach of Naples, Florida, carrying my sandals in one hand. Tropical warm water swirled around my ankles as sea birds strolled on stick like legs along the raked sand. That afternoon, I flew to Philadelphia, got in my minivan and drove over five hours to a small airfield on the outskirts of Boston.

At 3:00 am on Saturday morning, I arrived in the parking lot of Hanscom airport in Bedford, Massachusetts.

The Boston 400K was scheduled to start at 6:00 am. The ridewithgps description reported 17,000 feet of climbing. The New England Randonneurs page reported that the ride went through three states: Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The latter two would be new States in my randonneuring collection - bringing the total to 18. But first I had to do the ride.

Monday, June 8, 2015

East Creek 600K - a simmering melange of desires

Close to 40 Randonneurs stream out from the Days Inn located off Exit 8 of the New Jersey Turnpike. Our red bicycle taillights stretch out along the roads that lead away from the north south Interstate  highway, away from the destination driven journey that the highway represents, away from that thoroughfare where every mile is made fungible, forgettable, less than a passing thought, less than a minute's consideration. On the small roads we ride, the miles grow large, significant, they take on their full meaning. This morning we set out to ride 600 Kilometers, 377 miles. The travel, the distance that we take on with our legs and our machines, is the destination. Over the course of this brevet, we will test ourselves where the only outcome that matters is pass or fail. For me, completing this ride will qualify me to ride Paris-Brest-Paris. I have been waiting five years for this. I have 40 hours to finish.

 seeking upekkha

In the darkness of 4:00 am, the cool air sits heavy with dew. As I ride through, tiny drops  collect on the tips of the individual hairs on my arm. I begin the ride searching for balance, equanimity, a place between extremes to accomplish the extreme, looking for that pace that will carry me through the uncertain miles before me. In my randonneuring, I have failed enough to know that success is not certain, but I have succeeded enough to know that perseverance and patience, especially now, in the first few hours of a major ride, can overcome almost any distance. I ride on, working on patience and building perseverance, as the world turns beneath my wheels toward the rising sun. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Middletown 200K - Sunday ride

Sunday, May 24, 2015

With the climbfest Boston 400K on the calendar for the next weekend, I thought it would be a good idea to get in a hilly 200K to test my heart monitor controlled pace on a more challenging route and, hopefully get in safety 200K to keep my monthly streak alive.

I found the Middletown 200K route  on the RUSA site and it seemed to fit the bill. It was a new route for me, but I have ridden in the Lancaster area before and I know the route owner, Andrew M. 

Andrew's routes have always been a scenic pleasure to ride but with no shortage of hill repeats. He emailed that he had intended to do this route as a more moderate ride for the winter, but it ended up being just as hilly as other routes and the ice lingered in the shade so it didn't quite work out the way he planned. The elevation profile showed very few flats and lots of short steep climbs - so I signed up to ride it.