This week, we head out west to talk with Lynne F., a randonneuse who calls Oregon home. She not only rides, but she is also a member of the rando-paparazzi and maintains a blog about her randonneuring rides that is well worth checking out. Many thanks to Lynne for guest-posting today. I hope you enjoy her reflections as much as I did.
1. When did you start randonneuring?
November 2006. Susan Otcenas (also not a rando then) mentioned that the Wine Country Populaire would be coming up. I went out with my then-riding partner on his tandem, and we crashed on ice two miles out. That was that.
So I really started in Feb 2007. Pre-rode a populaire, then had a huge crash on a very rainy day a few weeks later, breaking the bike frame and some ribs. But I was mended enough to ride my first 200k ever (on my new Rivendell Bleriot) four weeks later, at the end of March. I’ve been at it ever since!
2. Why did you start?
I was really just going on a longish ride with friends and got hooked! I had ridden Seattle to Portland in a day twice (this a HUGE ride here, 10,000 riders, 20% or so do it in one day). I found myself riding an awful lot of centuries, rode Cycle Oregon several years in a row, and I guess I was
looking for the next challenge.
3. What is your home club?
4. What is your favorite distance of the Super Randonneur series (200, 300, 400, 600K) and why?
I’d have to say the 200. More folks to ride with, and often at (for them) a more social pace.
I am not a fast rider, but I can ride a 200k with very little preparation and have a great time.
That said, the two 600s I’ve done have felt downright epic, and that is pretty cool, too.
5. Which distance do you find the most challenging of the Super Randonneur series and why?
The 400k. I have real difficulty staying awake, and have taken more ditch naps in a single ride all over the Willamette Valley than I care to count.
Nutrition has been a real challenge past 300k, but I might have finally gotten a handle on that. Not that the 400 scares me any less.
6. If you have done 1000Ks and 1200Ks, what do you like about them?
You may be able to ask me that in late August.
7. What is it that you love about randonneuring? That is, what keeps you coming back ride after ride?
One part is the challenge. I am pushing myself WAY past what I thought I would ever be able to do. In spring 2009, it became clear that I had a major health issue, and I had to check out from life for 7 months or so.
Coming back in 2010, and then completing my first Super Randonneur series in 2011 was a really, really epic accomplishment for me.
Every single big ride I complete is a TAKE THAT to where I was before. I never dreamed I’d be able to complete a full series.
Another is enjoying the scenery at a pace where I can see and experience what I’m riding though. You’ll never know what a wheat field smells like in a car.
And last, and best, are the friends I’ve made along the way!
8. What constitutes a “good ride” in your view?
A great ride with friends. Long conversations, from books we are reading to geekier topics. Ice cream. A ferry ride. Pre-ride snack swaps. I bring the homemade Amaretti-Nutella sandwich cookies. (Yes, I make both the Amaretti and the Nutella :-) )
9. What are the qualities you think a randonneur has to have to be successful?
Persistence. Some might say stubbornness. Planning on success. Being comfortable with possibly riding alone for a very long time.
10. How do you define successful?
Finishing within the time limit. Not bonking. I set the bar pretty low.
As editor of this post, I beg to disagree with that final comment. You’ve set a high bar with your randonneuring, Lynne. Thank you so much for being part of our Rando Q&A!