Ok I am on the fence about randonneuring for the rest of this year. I have been feeling ok on the bike but have no motivation when it comes to riding "organized" events, including brevets. One thing that keeps me doing brevets are the friends I have made over these years. I also keep things interesting by proposing my own routes as official randonneuring events. I have contributed 3 rides (four if you count the first mixed terrain back in 2006) and tried to volunteer in more than one way with the San Francisco Randonneurs (SFR). Still there is this burn-out feeling I have been getting for a while.
I like the SFR Hopland 400k route and this year the weather was going to be just right. Clothes ready, bike ready, head... almost there. I left for the start of the brevet at the Golden Gate Bridge Plaza. As usual made it in time to register and barely had time to chat with friends. As we started, I went towards the front of the pack to avoid the randonneuring traffic on the bridge. Once on the other side I could not care less about trying to stay in the front, on the contrary as usual I was motivated to go at my pace.
Rode with a loosely organized group to the edge of civilization at White's Hill where as usual the group broke into smaller pieces with me towards the back. I was in no hurry. By the time I was near the next climb, Wilson Hill, I was riding...
I don't like early (anything before 7:00am!) brevets, I usually don't sleep well the night before the events so every more minute I can sleep is gold to me. After waking up and caffeinating my movements I watched the news to check the weather forecast. Yep, same as yesterday, a big chance of rain in the afternoon around the time I would be hitting Hwy 1 (the coast) Well that is why I installed fenders right?
I crossed the Bridge near the front of the field of riders and avoided the usual traffic of riders. Once at the other side I was in no hurry and settle on my pace. Many riders started passing me and eventually I rode behind Greg M to Camino Alto where 10 or 15 riders started the climb with us. After that we rode the flat miles to Fairfax as smaller groups regrouping every once in a while. Same same. New hill, new group breaking. I maintained my pace but...
Well I was not happy with the way my brevets went last year. I had leg cramp issues and felt I was loosing some fitness so after indulging in food and drinks during the xmas holidays I decided I was gonna keep the wine and beer to a minimum and do some rides of increasing distance to help me have a better 2015 cycling season (not just brevets)
Starting right after new year's I did some longer rides and when it was time for the San Francisco Randonneurs (SFR) Point Reyes (PR) 100k Populaire I was feeling a little better than the year before. During the PR Populaire I still had bad cramps in the last 30 miles or so and felt tired towards the end but managed to finish not too far from the first riders without killing myself.
The two weeks between the Populaire and the Pierce Point 200k gave me more time to do some short but high intensity rides as well as an exploration ride to Nick's Cove, the final turning point of the 200k route. Again it did not kill me but I was tired at the end of that preparation ride.
We have had a very dry January this year so I was prepared for a posible hot day and brought more water than what I would usually carry; the full 100oz of my backpack bladder contained a mix of water and that maltodextrin thing I have been using lately. I was going to add some baking soda to the mix but forgot to do it. The baking soda is something else I have been adding lately to the water to help me deal with muscle fatigue. I does seem to work for me.
After last year's run of the Point Reyes Lighthouse 200k in January, the National Park Service decided we...
I'm experiencing brevet burn out. I'm not really looking forward to do long timed rides these days but this route being an easy one, I said heck I am gonna do it and worse case I just go as slow as last year when we left about 45 minutes late and stop a the controls for very long time.
After signing in I started looking for Lisa and Jason M. They had a saddle they were not using and were passing it on to me, an Avocet O2 Air R the same saddle as what I been using for years now. Chatted just a little bit with them and thank them for their generosity and went on to pass my drop bag, saddle included, to the volunteers; it was nice to say hi to Bruce B who would be driving the bags to Cloverdale.
I had forgotten to start my GPS with the route loaded so quickly did that and hope the route would load before we started riding. Just the day before I had "upgraded" the firmware on the GPS and just tested while driving to dinner that night before and was not sure what to expect.
Right on time at 6:00 we started moving. I saw many familiar faces and managed to get in just behind the leading group across the Golden Gate Bridge. At the Camino Alto climb the group stayed mostly together and we continued like that to Fairfax. I was feeling just ok, not great but not bad...
A few days before the start our RBA (Regional Brevet Administrator) Rob H., told me we had 20 registered riders for the event. That was twice as many as the previous year. By June 14 we had 27 registered riders but after last minute changes to people's plans and new additions to the roster we had 25 starters.
At 5:30 I meet Brad our Start Control volunteer at the parking lot in front of the Beach Hut Cafe in Crissy Field and slowly riders made their way to us to pick up their Brevet Cards. After a few comments on my part we left at 6:00am.
Perfect weather. With such a large turnout, for this event, we split early into smaller groups and by the first descend into the Marin Headlands I was riding with John P. and a few riders I did not recognized. The first dirt part which is a narrow trail created a small congestion as faster off road descenders were blocked by slower riders new to mixed terrain group riding but after a few yards, things cleared out an we all felt onto our comfortable pace. Going up Miwok trail I heard heavy breathing behind me, when I turned around I saw Grant H. who was doing his first La Ruta and remind him this was a looong day with plenty of climbing, "take it easy and steady"
By the time we got to the first control our small group checked the answer to the Informational control and rolled down towards the valley. This segment has plenty of erosion control washboards that form steps on the trail and make it for very interesting riding. At the bottom, we all walked our bikes for a few yards as indicated by the sign at Tennessee Valley Stables and continued on to Coastal Trail, a mean short climb that further broke the group...
That is it! If you ever hear me say I wanna do another Super Volunteer Randonneur Series please hit me in the head with a full carbon fiber saddle! Doing a Super Randonneurs Series (200k, 300k, 400k and 600k) all as Volunteers Workers Rides sounds pretty simple but there is a little more logistics involved than normal. For example on the 600k we don't have the staffed "water stop" nor have food or an actual place to rest at that critical location on Hwy 128 between Cloverdale and Hwy 1. This is not the first time I've pulled a Supper Volunteer Randonneur Series, the first time I also did it with John P. which in itself is a huge accomplishment deserving a big shinny trophy (if you know John I hope you agree with me) Seriously, it is nice to volunteer for the SFR events though and I hope more people read this and decide it is a crazy thing to do and go for it; me? I will continue volunteering in one form or another but A Super Volunteer Randonneur Series... (have that carbon saddle handy please)
I had done the Fleche a couple of weeks ago and when I finally patched the tubes, in the comfort of my living room, seven days before this 600k I've must have gotten poison oak on my chest from residue of the stuff on the tubes. Yes on my chest, don't ask me how but it was there. On top of that I have had a very acute pain on my back that woke me up at night a couple of times. So from my chest to my back I felt like if I had an arrow going thought. Oh well I've been in worse shape, we'll see. By Thursday,...
Not way my tires could stop this nail, probably not any other bicycle tire would have. My Mixed Terrain tires of choice nowadays are this CST Corporal 26x1.5" (40mm) and are pretty good compromise between rolling resistance, traction on gravel and weight (~550gms); plus they are very sturdy, cheap (~$15) and last me at least a good year mixed terrain riding (~2500 miles)
Somewhere in my weird objects drawer I have an even larger nail my tires collected elsewhere but I forgot to preserve in a post like this one...
(First posted June-13-2004 at 03:32 pm)
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