LSR = Love Seat with Recliner? American Randonneur occasionally features a "What We Ride" column (see page 28), focusing on the bikes members use during brevets. But one Lone Star Randonneur is poised to take the column in an entirely new direction. As the brevet season wound down, LSR rider Todd Kalchbrenner posted this notice on the local listserv: "I decided to retire the Co-Motion and 'reward' myself with a new ride, check it out. Who needs titanium, carbon fiber, and all that fancy new-fangled stuff. Leather rules!"
The accompanying photo? A plush leather couch.
That drew an immediate response from LSR rider Jim Bronson: "Looks comfortable, but how is that thing on the hills?"
• A new 1200K. BMB may be gone from the 2008 schedule, but there's a new 1200K option on the East Coast. Last year, we reported that the D.C. Randonneurs were contemplating a 1200K event. That is now a reality. D.C. RBA Matt Settle has scheduled the club's inaugural RM randonnée for June 5, 2008.
In an e-mail, here's how Matt described the ride:
"For the initial Shenandoah 1200 we have decided to limit the ride to 100 riders. We do not want to be overwhelmed on our first effort. We expect to hit this limit and have a wait list. Future Shenandoah 1200 Randonnées may have larger fields."
He continues: "The course is a grand tour of the Shenandoah Valley and some of the other areas that we ride in. There will be a historical flavor to the brevet as it passes through many Civil War battlefields and other historical points of interest, especially the 100-plus miles on the mother road of the valley, historic US 11. The brevet will pass thru Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia the first day and then stay in Virginia to the southernmost point at a location on the Blue Ridge Parkway near North Carolina."
Asked about the route profile, Matt said, "The terrain will be mostly rolling the first day until the climbs over the mountains at the end. The second will be very hilly with lots of rollers and climbs. The third day will start hilly and moderate as the route makes its way to Route 11 for the return thru the valley and more moderate terrain. The last day will be more Route 11 before leaving the valley and returning to the start in Leesburg. I think the difficulty for the ride as a whole will not be that hard, but others will certainly find it very difficult especially the middle third."
The club had several motivations for hosting the event, Settle said.
"We wanted to show many randonneurs what a great place the Mid-Atlantic is to ride. Many of us believe that mile for mile this is the best, most scenic area for riding anywhere.... Also, with the absence of BMB on the 2008 calendar we felt that a 1200K on the East Coast was important for the promotion and continued growth of randonneuring in the U.S."
The D.C. event will be one of three U.S. 1200Ks next year.
The Seattle club will hold its third Cascade 1200 on June 28, while John Lee Ellis kicks off the sixth Colorado Last Chance 1200K on Sept. 10. For more information, see page 24.
• Texas Top 10 List. Texas rider Pam Wright had "a nasty head cold" that served as inspiration for a top-10 list titled, "You know you're a Randonneur when…"
#10: You leave work at noon because of your cold and think: "4 hours...I would've been better off to have just done a 100k today instead of trying to work—probably would've felt better."
#9: You go home sick from work the next day believing it will help you feel better faster so you don't miss the ride this weekend!
#8: You're a little chilled in the house and you have to stop yourself from grabbing knee warmers instead of sweat pants.
#7: You stop to pick up your prescriptions at CVS and are panicky for a minute because you can't find your brevet card at the check-out.
#6: Friend asks if you rode this past weekend with your cold and you say "Yes, I couldn't stand being inside, so we rode to Waco and back." Then as they look at you like you're growing a second head, you defend yourself by saying, "But I got to sleep in on Sunday and we didn't go very fast!"
#5: You leave with your boss for an important presentation and he has to repeat questions (twice!) because the wind is SO strong out of the south right now and you're debating which permanents might have the most northbound miles.
#4: You go home sick with this same cold and think, "Okay, since 30 minutes on the trainer didn't make me pass out, maybe an hour will actually make me feel better!"
#3: You feel guilty, like you're being unfaithful, to your brevet bike by riding your trainer instead (cuz you're sick), so you actually debate bringing it inside thinking it might make you feel better.
#2: You spend 20 minutes writing a stupid email list instead of signing the 200 letters in front of you!
#1: The #1 way you know you've really been warped and are truly a randonneur is when..... You have a nasty cold and as you reach up and actually touch your nose to blow a nice ol' "snot rocket" onto the street, you realize.....you're not on a bike in the middle of nowhere....you're in downtown Fort Worth, in a business suit, high heels and people all around as you're walking to a meeting!
• Mileage mania. Edward Robinson, who likes to poke around through RUSA statistics, sent along this e-email: "I think there may be a (friendly) ongoing rivalry for max mileage on the year. Dan Driscoll, Mark Metcalfe, and Mark Thomas are all above 10,000 km (Mark Metcalfe is above 11,000). It's not even November, and there's no sign that they're slowing." Asked about his mileage, Driscoll replied that just before PBP Thomas told him about a personal goal of earning all five RUSA km medals—5,000k, 4,000k, 3,000k, 2,000k and 1,000k (a 15,000K total)—in the same year. Driscoll signed on immediately. "Truth is I am a sucker for lofty goals," he said in an e-mail to American Randonneur. "At that point I had almost 10,000 kms. I just figured that if I was ever going to achieve that goal, I would need to get it done this year, because I already had a good head start on it."
At press time, Thomas indicated that his 15,000km goal would have to wait for another year. In an e-mail, he said, "A bum ankle has me out of the running."
• Survey of the surveys. Post-PBP surveys are under way and your input is being sought on everything from the type of tires you used to your level of experience heading into PBP.
For details on RUSA's very own survey, see the separate article on this page.
Jan Heine conducted a survey on PBP equipment for his newsletter, Bicycle Quarterly. Results will published in his Winter edition and also shared with RUSA.
Joe Keenan, who launched Randonneurs of China after moving there, is surveying riders about pain experienced during brevets. To participate, go to http://rocn.bikealot.org.
"Audax Australia has agreed to send the survey to their members and I'm also sending it some of the larger country organizations such as the UK and France.," he said.
Direct questions to Keenan at email@example.com.