First of all, if you haven’t recently told Lynne Fitzsimmons how awesome she is, stop reading right now and scoot over to your phone, email, whatever it is and tell her that she rocks.
Lynne put on a phenomenal ride yesterday. Seriously, everything a randonneurring ride should be:
1. It started somewhere nice. Jim and Patty’s Coffee in Beaverton is a super cute shop that was actually open, where the employees were excited to see a bunch of bikey people bringing in business early on a Saturday, where there were bathrooms and where one could conceivably hang out for a while before the ride started should one show up early to register. So much better than the random-parking-lot starts that some of these rides lately have had.
2. The start was near transit. I know this can’t always be the case, but it was pretty sweet that the start was about a quarter mile from the Beaverton Transit Center, making it super easy to get there without getting up at, say, 4 in the morning. Which I don’t mind doing for a good ride, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to sleep in a little:)
3. Lynne didn’t control this one, but the weather was fan-fricken-tastic.
A little early-morning cold and fog burned off pretty quickly, and the rest of the day was gloriously sunny and bright, perfect fall weather.
4. Did I mention awesome roads?? A ride of 200k that starts in Beaverton will inevitably run into some highways, but whenever we rode on them it was for no more than .3 miles (really, I checked:), and it was always just to get across to another nicer road. This is what I love about randonneuring, the awesome country roads where you can relax and really soak in what you’re biking through.
5. The cue sheet! I have to admit, when Lynne handed me a cue sheet that was almost three pages long–especially given that the ride, in the scheme of things, was not actually that long–I wasn’t too sure what to think. But despite having to switch the cue sheet over a lot, I kind of liked the plethora of turns. I always felt like I was making progress:)
6. Secret controls are awesome. Not super far into the ride, we ran into Kevin Lais on the side of the road with snacks and drinks: a secret control! Though I’m pretty ambivalent about the control aspect of secret controls, they do feel sort of sneaky and fun, plus it’s nice to know that someone cares enough about the people biking to check on their progress, feed them some snacks if they want, and just generally be a friendly presence mid-ride.
7. Good company. Maybe it was the good weather; maybe it was the fact that it’s been a while since the last organized brevet; maybe it was the promise of a feast at the end (more on that later:). Whatever it was, this ride felt friendly and fun, like a homecoming.
8. Finish line festivities!! Did I mention that you should immediately tell Lynne how awesome she is?? While we were all biking, Lynne was busy hustling the farmers markets, buying ingredients, and making enough vegan-friendly split pea soup to feed an army. So when we finished at her house and propped up our little bikies to rest, Lynne invited us in and stuffed us full of as much soup, fresh bread, apple cobbler, vegan pumpkin muffins, cookies, and various beverages as we could handle.
How awesome is it for the finish to be someplace where you want to hang out for a while?? When there’s a real finish like this, it’s so lovely to hang around and cheer for everyone else as they come in. In large part, this friendly finish made the ride feel like the community that I think radonneuring could and should be. You spend so much of the ride on your own that it’s nice to have a finish conducive to chatting with everyone else and celebrating everyone’s individual rides. Thank you, Lynne, for making that happen!
So yeah. It’s been a while since I’ve ridden with the Oregon Randonneurs, but this was a great reminder of how much I like it. Yay for everyone who rode and everyone who made the riding possible!! :)