Sunday, May 9, 2010

...miles to go...promises to keep...

An early morning start today. We'll be glad we started early before this day is done. Even the faster ones will see the sun set. The official finish cutoff time is tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. I don't want to see the sun rise twice on a 400 Brevet. Let's hope nothing goes wrong.

Here we go. Only 250 miles left to ride! Yea. ...miles to go...promises to keep...
(The initiated among you know that besides being my motto, that snippet of a Frost poem was the inspiration for the name I chose for myself.)

Ed Pavelka, the co-author of Long Distance Cycling, and the editor of RoadBikeRider Magazine says that an effective strategy is to ride a negative split - ride the first half conservatively then the second half more quickly. He says it's "like a carpet unrolling". I'll give it a shot. We'll see if it works.

Eschewing lycra and spandex, this randonneur knows that style is everything.

Here comes the sun! Today will be cool and bright. The wind is from the NW and already is blowing 15-18 mph. It is forecasted (George says "advertised") to be 18-20 mph with gusts even higher. We will enjoy a tail wind for the first 120 miles or so, then unless it dies down, it will not be as appreciated.

Most of us have either purchased or created cue sheet holders for our handlebars, or handlebar bags. Tandem riders don't have that problem. A clothes pin and a back pocket work great. I wonder if she is responsible for the navigation when they drive their car?

John is our Regional Brevet Administrator (RBA). John says that one of his duties as RBA is to ride in the last 1/3 of the riders so that if any rider has a problem, he can offer verbal encouragement as he rides by. However, since he has to ride near the rear, he is allowed to have a designated rider (DR). John picks a rider who will carry both his own as well as John's Brevet card, and get it signed along the way. That way, John can have a better time posted, and still ride near the back. I wanna be an RBA, too.

Besides being a fine randonneur, Andrew sports a pretty good Mutton Chops beard.

George and I will ride the 400 together today. We rode the 200 and then the 300 together. Why break the string now?

Dennis is a judge in St. Louis. I wanted to ask him if he wore yellow shoes because he was forced to wear a black robe all week. I decided not to. He was also wearing a Last Chance jersey, and I figured that I should show some respect.

Dan was laid back, and ready for the day. There were several 'bent' riders on the ride today. I looked at their rigs, but decided that unless I tear up my back, my 'wedgie' will do me fine. It, at least, LOOKS like a bike.

Let me try to be delicate about this. I needed to "go". The wind was blowing hard. Some blew onto my bike and lights. But I didn't get any on me. Yea.

I thought that getting junk mail in the box was annoying. I have never gotten garbage hung on the box.

Scott was enjoying his day on the bike. He was blissfully unaware that the cycling gods were going to test him today. Later he would have two flat tires and feel the need to abandon. But for now, it's a good day on the bike.

You'd think that with all the sitting we're going to do today, they'd eat standing up.

100 miles in the books. Still smiling.

"I keep having this dream, over and over, Doc."
"I'm lying on a grass covered hill and the word BONK is written above my head."
"I'm riding a 400 Kilometer Brevet soon; do you think it's a sign?"

Seems an unlikely place for a rest stop, but John was having "hot feet" and as they say, "any port in a storm". Dan and I needed a break anyway, and none of the clients seem to mind.

Finally, a road with gravity as a factor! After all the flat roads near Edwardsville, it's nice to get into Southern Illinois and do some climbing.

Jeff is a Randonneur. Today, however, he is on his motorcycle. He claims that his alarm didn't go off on time. I believe him for two personal experience today,(my main alarm didn't go off and although my backup alarm did, it left me running half an hour late) and his shirt. He's done PBP 3 times, BMB, Last Chance, and Gold Rush. I'm pretty sure that a 400 Kilometer Brevet doesn't frighten him. He wanted to be helpful, so he swept the course late in the day, even offering to motorpace us if we wanted it. I declined. I figured that it would surely be breaking one of the 633 commandments of RUSA. (Those commandments were adapted from the "Law of Hammer Abba", a Swedish cyclist who also sang in a pop band in the 80's.)

I've been on Wine Hill Road for a few miles, and worried. My cue sheet said to turn on to "Campbell Hill Road - Old Brick Plant Road". I saw the sign for the "Old Brick Plant Road" but later on the road signs said "Wine Hill Road". My cue sheet didn't reflect the change. The next cue was a right on Chester Road at the T. I figured that if it was a T, I couldn't miss it, but I was worried that I might have taken the wrong road somehow. I was glad to see this sign at the T.

Crista Borras, the RUSA Permanent Coordinator, has a tattoo on her left ankle of a Rubic Cube and the words "Life has plenty of confusion. A cue sheet shouldn't have any" Right on, Crista!

We've enjoyed having the sun with us today. But it looks like it's time for the day shift to go home, and the night shift to take over.

200 miles in the books today. Only 51 more to go. Still smiling.

I'm going to keep George in front of me as much as possible. Not only are we facing a strong headwind, and I'd rather push than pull, but George has the brightest light I've ever seen. Cars flash their headlights at him thinking he is another vehicle. And when he's behind me, the shadow I cast is so dense, my CatEye headlights will barely illuminate the road surface making for a dangerous ride. Besides, he will want to stay in front in order to keep the pace up. So I'm prepared to let him. Good of me, huh?

Still smiling. Despite my strategy to ride "like a carpet unrolling" I think I rode "like a carpet unraveling". Oh well.

Now that I've completed the 400 Kilometer Brevet, the sky's the limit (or at least that's what I've been told). 19 hours were needed to cover the 251 miles. Now for an hour's sleep to take the edge off, then a 2 1/2 hour drive home, then we'll see how much sleep I can get. It's Mother's Day you know.

Postscript: At the risk of sounding like Rodney Dangerfield, I get no respect. There was no "hail to the conquering hero at my house". After coming home at 4:30 a.m. and getting only 2 1/2 hours sleep, I received my instructions for the day. Since it was Mother's Day, and our kids were coming over for breakfast, the bed making, and vacuuming were up to me. The logic was something like "you had your fun yesterday, now it's time to get busy". As they say, "If mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy!" Especially on Mother's Day.

Still smiling.