Sunday, August 22, 2010

200 Kilometers - not how they drew it up on the board.

I'm the first one here, so I'll take my own picture. I've been looking forward to this brevet since June when I last rode with John our RBA. Since then, I've been given the opportunity to be the Regional Brevet Administrator (RBA) of a new region that has been created in Southern Illinois.

I want to spend the day talking it over with John, getting his perspective. And I'm really tired of riding alone. Except for one day with Mike, my friend from Sesser, it's been all alone riding. It will be nice to have company today.

All the riders are here (there's only 6 counting me) so we'll soon be on the road. The forecast is for hot humid weather with a 50% chance of thunderstorms. It's been raining all morning, I hope it quits and the day is fair. We'll see.

Look who showed up uninvited. And only 3 miles from the start. Everyone was riding along mostly together when John announced he had flatted his front tire. I stopped to help him while the other riders kept going. John spent a few minutes wrestling a too-tight tire off of the rim, and when he put in the spare tube, he discovered that it was too large. His wheels are 650C and the tube he brought was 700C. I offered him my patch kit, but he decided to abandon and go home.

"Great," I thought, "now I'll have to ride alone all day if I can't catch the others." And I was at least 10 or 15 minutes behind.

I rolled out with the intent of keeping a quick pace and trying to catch back up. Then 500 yards from leaving John I flatted! It was my rear tire. And it is the same brand as John's and just as tight. I wrestled it off, changed the tube, and wrestled it back on as quickly as I could. Looking at my watch, I figured that I was at least 30 - 35 minutes behind the others. Maybe if I hurried, and they stopped at Pocohontas I could still catch them.

I rolled out singing to myself to keep the pace high..."2, 3, 4, 5, John Jacob Jingle-Heimer-Schmitt. That's my name, too. 3, 4, 5 Whenever I go out, the people always shout "Hey! John Jacob Jingle-Heimer-Schmitt!" Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la John Jacob Jingle...

Daylight and no sign of them. John Jacob Jingle-Heimer-Schmitt that's my name, too. 3, 4, 5...

Pocohontas, and still no one. I was thinking of going in and asking if they had stopped and how long ago it might have been, but I decided to keep trying to catch them. Whenever I go out, the people always shout, "Hey, John Jacob Jingle-Heimer-Schmitt!" Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la...

Finally, a rider. This is Brandon. He's doing the 300K today so I won't be seeing him again.

Brandon says that John and Tom are probably 30 minutes out but that George is only 10 or 15 minutes ahead. Maybe if I refill quickly and if George takes a long stop at Okawville, and if I can go a little faster, I'll still ride with someone today! Nothing to do but try. "Hey, John Jacob Jingle-Heimer-Schmitt!" Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la John Jacob Jingle...

C-130 rolling down the strip.
Recon daddy gonna take a little trip.
Stand up, buckle up, shuffle to the door.
Jump right out and count to four.

When I was in the Marines, we often ran in formation, singing to keep up the pace. This cargo plane from Scott Air Force Base reminded me of that. I don't remember singing John Jacob-Jingle-Heimer-Schmitt, though. 2, 3, 4, 5 ...

Well there's Tom and John coming back from the turn-around spot. I'm still 30 minutes from there, so they have an hour on me. Bye, guys! Nice riding with you today.

Oh, George didn't take a long enough stop at Okawville. I'm still 2 miles from the control! As he rolled by he shouted, "See you around, sometime!" I assumed he wasn't going to soft pedal and wait for me. See you, George. Nice riding with you today.

You can't see the flag in front of this house, but there is one. And it's pointing AT me. That's right, the wind has shifted. It was blowing out of the South West all the way to the turn-around, and instead of helping me home, it shifted to the North West. Nothing like a head-wind all day to check your attitude. And trying to catch up has left me spent. Oh well...whenever I go out, the people always shout...

First one here, last one back it seems. After flatting early, riding alone all day against the wind, this is the one thing that discourages me the most. Brevet riding, more so than riding charity rides or, to some extent, even competitive cycling, requires self-discipline, self-motivation, self-encouragement and self-sufficiency. But it shouldn't require self-congratulations. You shouldn't have to look in the side-view mirror of your car and say "Good job!" There should be someone at the finish to hear your stories and say "Good job, Miles!" We have to purchase our own medals if we want one. We have to send our blogs to everyone on our contact list, hoping for a little encouragement. We have to offer leading phrases the next work day (like: boy my legs are a little sore after Saturday...) hoping a co-worker will ask and we'll get a chance to tell our story.

There should be someone here!

John Jacob Jingle-Heimer-Schmitt. That's my name too...