Speaking of the Cascade 1200, the family and friends of participants were able to follow this year's event by blog. The site, http://c1200blog.randonista.com, effectively captured the flavor of the 90- hour ride through pictures and detailed updates by several volunteers, including Michael Rasmussen, William Dussler and the anonymous C1200reporter.
Sweltering heat was the story in the desert areas, and Rasmussen described it under the heading "Not Your 'magination." He wrote: "It's hot. The official high temperature for somewhere on the route was 100 degrees. Like any official number, gas mileage ratings?, the reality is somewhat different. There is no shade, aside from decorative trees in the yards of people living near the roadway. There is a slight wind from the north bringing a convection oven quality to the heat." It's not known whether the blog was the first for a U.S. brevet, but it is certain that RUSA members have been up and running with blogs for some time. Among those worth a look are Kent Peterson's site, http://kentsbike.blogspot.com, and Kris Kjellquist's blog at http://kjellquist.blogspot.com.
The Cascade riders may have suffered from the heat, but Bikin' Bob Waddell of Ohio has figured out how to beat it. His solution: head north —way north. Waddell left in July for a month-long bike adventure to the Arctic Circle. A link on his Web site, http://bikinbob.ohiorand.org, explained what he hoped to accomplish on his "Great Dempster Highway Adven- ture."
Waddell writes: "There is no agenda, just ride, enjoy the journey, take in the scenery, meet the people, learn about their culture, eat, rest in designated camping areas and ride again. The general plan is to start at Whitehorse and head NW to Inuvik via Route 2 (Klondike Highway) and Route 5 in the Yukon Territory & Route 8 in the Northwest Territories (Dempster Highway, all packed gravel). It won't be difficult to find my way since there is only one road that goes north of the Arctic Circle. Then maybe a plane excursion to Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean for a Polar Bear dip."
The Sofia-Varna-Sofia 1200K in Bulgaria is a tough ride but Joan Donohue of Carolina Cyclers was apparently up to the task. In July, she became the first American to successfully complete the demanding course and the first woman to complete the ride solo. As the only entrant from the U.S., she ensured Americans had a 100 percent success rate at the 2006 event.
"Not your 'magination," Part II
This year's East Coast brevet season saw a marked increase in single speed and fixed gear riders. For instance, on the North Carolina series, Bristol, Va. cyclist Glenn Himstedt showed up on his new Rivendell Quickbeam, while Chapel Hill, N.C. rider Jerry Phelps did the 600K on a Specialized Langster single speed. In South Carolina, William "Bill" Evans from Due West, S.C., rode a two-speeder on the 200K and 300K.
Remarked S.C. RBA Bethany Davison: "Pretty amazing considering the wall of a climb up Callahan Mountain."
Then there was the explosion in fixed gear riders on this year's Boston series.
Reported RBA Bruce Ingle, "In past years, we usually would only see one or two on our 200K and none on the longer rides." This year? Seven riders, including Ingle, tackled the 200K on fixed. The others were Charles "Chip" Coldwell, Raymond Coffey, Jake Kassen, Kris Kjellquist, Emily O'Brien and Walter Page. Three of those cyclists—Kassen, Kjellquist and O'Brien—completed the entire series on fixties.
In keeping with the retro approach, steel was the frame material of choice, while Ingle's bike was equipped with a Sturmey-Archer AW hub, modified to make it a fixed two-speed.
"It is especially noteworthy that all of our fixed gear riders finished the rides that they started, in spite of some seemingly insurmountable obstacles in some cases," Ingle said.
Rider Chip Coldwell, who claims to have a "well-deserved reputation for animosity toward fixed gear bicycles," found himself astride a fixed for the first time on the 200K. A full account of his adventure appears on page 34.
Stage 4 of the Tour de France on July 5 ended in the town of St. Quentin, north of Paris. As I watched, I was mentally transported to another St. Quentin — specifically, St. Quentin-En-Yvelines, the city east of Paris that will serve as the launch pad for Paris Brest Paris '07. Hard to believe the grandfather of all 1200Ks is now just 12 short months away, but as RUSA board member Bill Bryant notes on page 10, it's not too early to begin preparing. Or dreaming.