A few weeks ago when I first tried my hand (or my legs, really) at randonneuring–long distance, self-supported, non-competitive cycling–it was so awesome that I decided I had to come back for more. Yesterday was my chance!
The morning was not exactly screaming “great day for a bike ride.” The 7am start in Canby meant that it was quite dark when I left, and if the darkness wasn’t disheartening enough, the ensuing downpour by itself would have been. Of course, I knew I’d enjoy it once I started–it’s just the initial transition from dry to wet that’s hard, and the anticipation (always worse than the actual experience) of being soggy and cold.
So away we went, soaked through within the first 15 minutes.
What a route, though. We made our way up and then back down the Molalla River, super angry looking from all the rain. We wended our way through back roads to Silverton, through Silver Falls State Park, back through Silverton, and more lovely roads to Canby for the finish. I was worried that 200k might feel really, really long, but it was surprisingly chill. In the retrospect wrought of talking to other riders at the end, I guess there were a lot of hills, but at the time I didn’t particularly notice–at least, not enough to be annoyed by them. Then again, I like hills:)
I did a better job this time of talking to other people on the ride. Maybe it was being a little more comfortable now that I (sort of) knew what to expect; maybe it was starting at the front with a big old group of speedsters; maybe I was just more exuberant this time around.
It was really nice though, not only because it kept me from wandering around aimlessly when I didn’t realize that “open control” means that you can get any business to sign your card (and thus you don’t have to find an official ride person, who I was all set to track down until Sam told me what was up), but also because it meant that I’m not the only one who totally missed another control when in real life it wasn’t labeled the same way it was on the cue sheet. heh. Theo and I kept each other company and signed each others’ cards when we knew for sure we’d gone completely past it without seeing it. Thanks, Sam and Theo!:)
The sun even came out maybe 4 hours into the ride. Yay! If there’s anything better than a long ride on awesome roads, it’s a long ride on awesome roads with the sun shining! Enough to (mostly:) dry out everything but my socks and shoes by the time we finished at the Canby Pub and Grill for some post-ride chomp-and-chat.
It was a pretty amazing day, all told. I was a little disappointed because I expected this ride to be a super crazy test of endurance or something, that I’d have to dig deep and focus to finish, but it turns out it actually was rather pleasant. I guess 200k isn’t actually as far out of the realm of what I can do as I thought it might be. So now I’m gunning for a 300k coming up later this month–perhaps that will be more of the soul-crushing challenge I was hoping for:)