One of the things I love about randonneuring (besides the glamour, the fans, etc.) is that it is a sport that thrives on individuality. While each rider must start, progress, and ultimately finish the ride within required timeframes, the way we get to the start, pass through controls, and reach the finishing point can be diverse. The way randonneurs define a successful ride or a successful brevet series varies.
As the 2009 ACP brevets come to a close, I find myself contemplating my own randonneuring success, both as a tandem team (Felkerino and me, movie coming out soon), and as an individual. I’ve concluded that, overall, Spring 2009 was a randonneuring success!
Maybe you also had a successful spring riding season. Congratulations! And how did you measure it? I measured my Spring 2009 success by evaluating my randonneuring against the criteria below. They are listed somewhat in the order of importance, but all were critical to the success of 2009.
1. Multi-Tasking and Teamwork. This year, my tandem partner and I balanced many exciting activities– new jobs, selling homes, buying a home, wedding planning, it has been a dynamic spring. (I guess that’s life as a grown up!) I am not the best multi-tasker so it feels amazing that we completed an ACP series. By working well together, we had just the right number of base miles (ok, we could have used a few more), did the pre-brevet preparation fairly seamlessly, rode well together, and managed to balance our other life responsibilities.
2. No Vomiting. In the past, the early morning starts combined with physical activity have been a recipe for some pre-dawn “incidents.” Not this year. Everything stayed down and my stomach felt strong for all brevets. Further, I was happy with my food and nutrition selections for all the rides, which was a definite first for me.
3. Great Brevet Outfits. We have enough to think about on our rides without regretting our choice in wardrobe. It makes for a long day, when every time you look at your legs you think, “I hate these shorts,” or “this jersey makes me look fat.” I loved the clothing I selected to wear on the long spring rides. Just the right wool jersey and the perfect cycling shorts for each brevet. I also loved the clothing Ed wore, which might be even better than loving my own wardrobe since I spent the spring looking at Ed’s backside for miles and miles and miles. And miles.
4. Tandem Team Meetings. As we all know, brevets can be intense. And long. Sometimes it’s hard to stay in a good mood and perfectly synchronized with my tandem partner for the length of the ride (although I always try to look like I am having the time of my life whenever there are onlookers). This year, though, Ed and I did pretty well, and our team synchronization kept improving as the season went on. We only required one “tandem team meeting,” which I am happy to report was short, mutually respectful, and did not involve any swearing.
5. Excellent Companionship. While Ed and I rode many miles alone, we also had the pleasure of riding with a lot of different people over the courses of the spring brevets. I thoroughly enjoyed passing the miles with various DC Randonneurs. Thanks to everybody who rode with us! Being able to share the ride with others enhanced the brevet experience and made me feel we had an even better ride, making for even more SUCCESSFUL brevet.
6. Starting, Controlling, and Finishing within the Time Limits. Our Co-Motion tandem operated smoothly throughout the spring. We experienced one minor mechanical this season. Otherwise, our bike moved us smoothly through each brevet and we started, controlled, and finished within the time allotments.
7. Great Routes. The DC Randonneurs route designers assured that each ride took us through green countryside, quiet roads, and even up a mountain or two. Oh, and the excellent weather didn’t hurt either. The beauty of the courses stays with me, and remembering them evokes a great feeling of fulfillment.
Other elements contributed to this successful brevet year, but these are the standouts for me. I hope everybody else out there can say they experienced some 2009 randonneuring success, too, be it a great outfit, a personal best time, or whatever criteria is important to you.
And now, I’m happy to focus on non-brevet related activities for the next couple of months while I revel in the successful 2009 ACP brevet season!