2018: Back to the Big Bicycling

Hello and happy 2018 from me and Mary!

It’s already the 8th and we are in full planning mode here in Washington. The subfreezing temperatures have kept us from taking long rides, but have also given us some time to set the wheels in motion on the serious rando stuff this year.

So far we have gotten out for two “one mile per degree F” rides. Sunday was a 21-miler around D.C. to lunch.

Lavender hot chocolate at Open City. Guaranteed to restore circulation to fingers and toes


Last Monday we managed 23 miles with our pal Eric Pilsk.

That’s Eric under all that orange, trust me (photo courtesy Mary)

The main news is that we entered the Coulee Challenge 1200K starting August 13. This Twin Cities-based ride will take us south along the Mississippi River in Wisconsin and then back up the Minnesota side.

Our last 1200K randonnee was in 2012 at the Colorado High Country 1200K, and our last 1000K was the D.C. Randonneurs’ Appalachian Adventure in 2014. We’ve focused on spring brevets and touring in the West the last few years, but we want to go back to Paris-Brest-Paris next year and the Coulee looks like great preparation and a neat event.

Plus, we are both from the Midwest (I also lived for nearly two years in Rochester, Minn.),  but we haven’t ridden a long randonneur event in the region. The closest thing is RAGBRAI, which Mary rode twice. The Coulee covers terrain we’ve wanted to see by bike for a long time.

For a little extra preparation we plan to tandem tour unsupported from Los Angeles to Phoenix in March. We have family in both places to visit and we want to check out the cycling culture in L.A., where we have been following some nice tandem folks on Instagram. Looks like they have some fun rides!

Our route is still to be exactly determined. We need to ride from Pasadena to Brawley, Calif. near the Salton Sea to join up the Adventure Cycling Association Southern Tier route, which then takes us to Phoenix/Tempe. As usual, we will stay indoors, carrying only minimal extra clothes. That should allow us to cover the 500 miles in five days. Hopefully we will have some helpful spring winds.

And, in the mix, we will ride a full brevet series with the D.C. Randonneurs. We also intend to provide volunteer support for the club’s own Blue Ridge to Bay 1200K in late May.

This all gives us a solid schedule through the summer. And then? We’ll look ahead to Paris-Brest-Paris next year. We rode together in 2011 but skipped the 2015 running. It’s time to go back, fortunes willling.

The Spectrum and me on a cloudy New Year’s Day in Georgetown (photo courtesy Mary)

6 thoughts on “2018: Back to the Big Bicycling

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