2011 is a PBP [Paris-Brest-Paris] year. Sort of the equivalent of a once every 4 year randonneur super bowl. Exciting stuff!
The word Randonneur is in the name of this blog so it would be reasonable to ask me if I was a randonneur. The answer is – sort of. On one hand I’ve successfully ridden more brevets than 99% of the rest of the cyclists on the planet. I’ve never failed a brevet I started. Sounds good doesn’t it? On the other hand I’ve only ridden a few brevets and only up to 300kms in length. The next distance 400kms is where things start to get interesting. So I think of myself as a randonneur-light. I have and will ride brevets. I’ll do fine, but I don’t eat, breathe and sleep rando-ishness.
Having said that don’t read into this any sub-text suggesting I’ll be lining up in Paris this year. All competent randos headed to PBP can breathe a collective sigh of relief that I won’t be there to run them off the road while I sleepily veer left and right in a near zombie like bike coma. i’ll use the PBP frenzy to get my butt out the door on training rides and to keep me going at low points on local brevets, but given my past rando history it’s not likely I’ll close the gap from 300kms to 1200kms in 7 months.
So what is my rando plan for 2011:
- I’m going to join the BC Randonneurs in 2011
- I’ll get some 100km and 150km training rides in during Feb and Mar
- I’ll ride any 100km populaires the Van Isle club puts on
- I’ll ride a couple 200km brevets on Vancouver Island
- I’ll ride one 300km brevet
- If my experience on the 300km brevet does not kick my ass too bad I’ll try a 400km brevet
That’s it…not anything overly exciting, but taking the next step towards completing a Super Randonneur Series [200k, 300k, 400k and 600k] will be satisfying for me. I’ll get back into shape for longer rides. With the year round cycling season here that will mean 2012 will be a lot easier to start than this year. At this pace who knows I may be ready for PBP in 2015?
Since all my previous brevets have been done on recumbents it will be interesting to see how I fare on upright diamond frame [DF] bikes. I am comfortable on my DFs up to 140kms. Beyond that I have little experience. I suspect I can complete the 300km ride without any radical changes, but I’m not sure and I definitely have no idea what will happen beyond 300kms. It may be that I have no significant issues or it may be that I am unable to complete the ride due to discomfort. Only one way to find out I guess.
I am looking forward to the superior climbing speeds I can achieve on a DF. Some recumbent [bent] riders report very fast climbing speeds. I am not one of them. I’m hopeful that faster more enjoyable climbing increases my overall enjoyment of the ride. Again time will tell.
Although the my choice of bike may seem like the biggest change this year I am hoping that a more vibrant rando scene in BC means bigger rider turnouts and more social interaction on these long rides. My Alberta brevets were largely solo rides and I wished there were more riders so that I could chat it up on the bike to eat up the miles and have a laugh rather than spend 9hrs in a solo time trial.
What really sold me on randonneering in the first place was stories and pictures from the Seattle International Randonneurs’ website of the large turnouts and great camaraderie at these events. They have a particularly vibrant club so I don’t expect exactly that level of participation and I’ll settle for somewhere in the middle.