Rando Q&A with Velocia, San Francisco Randonneurs

The Rando Q&A returns this week, and today we’re going back to San Francisco to talk with Vélocia, a randonneuse who not only rides, but takes gorgeous photos during her journeys. I got to know Vélocia through her photostream, and knew she would be a great addition to the Rando Q&A participants. Thanks, Vélocia, for sharing your randonneuring perspectives with us. It was great to meet you in person during this year’s Paris-Brest-Paris, and I hope we meet again on another ride someday.

1. When did you start randonneuring?

The records show I became a RUSA member and completed my first ACP sanctioned brevet––a 300K randonnée––in 2006. The first control of that ride was a secret control and the organizers were sizing up the newcomer, gauging my chances for success.

Later in 2006 I did the Raid Pyrénéen, a 710K ride that traverses the length of the Pyrenées over 18 cols between the Atlantic and the Mediteranean. The Raid is sponsored by Cyclo-Club Béarnais and has a time limit of 100 hours; they provide a brevet card and validate the results. So I’ve always had an interest in cyclotouring.

In secondary school I organized multi-day bike camping tours in the countryside with my friends. I did century and double century rides for many years before joining RUSA.

Vélocia's Terraferma Corsa 650B (c) Vélocia

2. Why did you start?

Paris-Brest-Paris! In the 90’s a coworker noticed my interest in bicycling and suggested I should try PBP. He rode the rainy 1987 PBP. At the time the idea of a 1200K ride sounded too extreme so I dismissed it.

Then in 2003 I met a new coworker who was training for PBP. She tried to convince me to join RUSA and do the qualifying rides. She was a real inspiration. By August 2003 I regretted not having followed her advice. It became my goal to complete PBP in 2007.

3. What is your home club?

San Francisco Randonneurs

4. What is your favorite distance of the Super Randonneur series (200, 300, 400, 600K) and why?

I tend to enjoy the 200 and 300K distances the most. Somehow it seems like they’re more social and fun. The longer rides tend to be more serious with fewer new riders.

5. Which distance do you find the most challenging of the Super Randonneur series and why?

The 400K always seems like it’s the most challenging. For some reason I tend to suffer more form the sleep deprivation on that one.

6. If you have done 1000Ks and 1200Ks, what do you like about them?

I’ve done one of each. It’s a thrill to explore unfamiliar territory and meet riders from other clubs.

Editor’s note: This was written prior to Vélocia‘s completion of the 2011 edition of PBP, so that makes two 1200Ks!

Photos from the Central Coast 1000K (c) Vélocia

7. What is it that you love about randonneuring? That is, what keeps you coming back ride after ride?

I like the camaraderie and the physical challenge. Sometimes there’s a spiritual aspect, too. For example, riding alone on a quiet country road under a starry sky in the middle of nowhere. And of course, the endorphins.

8. What constitutes a “good ride” in your view?

A “good ride” follows a beautiful course. Very often a “good ride” will have some element of adversity, which can be satisfying to overcome; for example, persevering through unpleasant weather or solving a mechanical problem.

It can be fun to ride fast, but it’s not necessary to set a personal best in order to have a good ride.

On a recent 300K I was riding with friends, sharing stories. At one point I was laughing so hard I was nearly choking on my sandwich. That was a good ride!

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