Today, The Daily Randonneur hits up the Pacific Northwest for some Rando Q&As. Joe Platzner, a Seattle Randonneurs member, PBP entrant, and TDR Rando Photo prize-winner, shares some of his thoughts on brevets and randonneuring with us.
1. When did you start randonneuring?
I joined early in 2008.
2. Why did you start?
I read some ride reports online after PBP 2007. They all had titles like, “PBP was atrocious this year,” and I was inspired. I was happy to discover Seattle has a club. That explained the wool jerseys.
3. What is your home club?
Seattle International Randonneurs. SIR is an amazing club. The club runs on volunteers, and everyone is always offering to help out. One shows up for the rides but stays for the people. Honestly, the club has some serious mojo. Everyone should visit Seattle for a brevet or two.
On the other hand, having done rides with a few different clubs around the country now, I realize that we are just as much part of the RUSA club. That should be pretty cool in Paris.
4. What is your favorite distance of the Super Randonneur series (200, 300, 400, 600K) and why?
They are all good. A couple of my friends told me that it was good preparation for longer rides to be able to make 300s routine; it seems like good advice.
5. Which distance do you find the most challenging of the SR series and why?
It’s all pretty bad. And by “bad” I mean “good.”
6. If you have done 1000Ks and 1200Ks, what do you like about them?
I’ve only done two rides of that distance. The first was Portland to Glacier, and the second was the Cascade 1200. I loved the point-to-point nature of the Glacier ride; you could look at a globe and say, “we went from here to here.” On Cascade, I “enjoyed” riding through a couple of near DNFs and popping out the other side. It’s also cool that people travel from all over the world to do the 1200s.
7. What is it that you love about randonneuring? That is, what keeps you coming back ride after ride?
I like that it is not racing, yet you get to test yourself. I like hanging out with like-minded individuals even if we fight like an old married couple (Greg.)
Seriously, the people are amazing. We just finished a “heat camp” a few weeks ago, and we didn’t want it to end. It was like going back to college and living in the dorm.
8. What constitutes a “good ride” in your view?
It completely depends on the day. I’m often just out on social rides, but it is also fun to try to go hard on occasion. The quality of coffee weighs mightily in the success of an event as well.
9. What are the qualities you think a randonneur has to have to be successful?
Being stubborn and self-sufficient go a long way.
10. How do you define successful?
Wow, there are so many different ways. Part of it is signing up for rides that are beyond your comfort zone and having a go. But more importantly, just throwing a leg over the bike is 90% of the battle.
A bunch of us have trained pretty hard for PBP. After PBP, I’m probably going to lobby RUSA for an official “Coffee Shop Run” medal. To earn it, you need to ride your bike slowly to a nearby coffee shop and enjoy a fine beverage. I think this would be a big seller in September.
Thanks so much for being part of the Rando Q&A, Joe! See you at PBP, and please count Felkerino and me in on the September coffee rides.