Gravel, PBP prep and other things ahead in 2022

Rather than post a retrospective of our rides in 2021 (good riddance!), I’m going to discuss the plans Mary and I have for the new year. We’ve locked in one big gravel event but the rest of our agenda is a work in progress.

Coulee Challenge 2018

Of coure, everything depends on future circumstances during this pandemic. Adding to the mix is Mary’s pursuit of a graduate degee at night, which could interfere with summer travel.

Still the winter planning season is upon us. It’s free and fun!

Indoor fondos: January and early February represent peak indoor training time, to me. I target a few hard long rides to improve my sustained endurance. My goal is to complete one or more five-hour rides at close to a threshold effort. The BMTR Fundo rides on the weekend are great for this. These kind of efforts really paid off for me the last two years, especially on gravel endurance rides.

Unbound Gravel: We expect to finally ride Unbound Gravel this June. We gained entry as a tandem team in 2020 for the 200-mile distance and deferred last year. We have confirmed entry, air tickets, car rental and hotel all lined up.

ThanksGravel ride from Middleburg, Va. with Bluemont Connection in November

In the meantime we have plenty of training to do. Our average pace is a couple miles an hour slower on gravel compared to pavement, but riding the long brevets this spring will pay off and regular longer outings on local gravel roads wil be part of our riding.

Coulee Challenge 1200K? In the four-year cycle of the Paris-Brest-Paris 1200K randonnee, which returns next year, this year is an important one for us. In the past we’ve treated the year before as a dress rehearseal for PBP and in 2018 we rode the Coulee Challenge 1200K in Minnesota and Wisconsin as a preparatory ride.

It appears likely we will return to Coulee this year. We definitely want to ride a 1200K if we don’t get there.

Due to our trip to Unbound, we won’t ride the D.C. Randonneurs’ Mason-Dixon 1200K on June 9, but we will be back in time to volunteer. We’re looking forward to all the excitement!

Randonneur brevet series: We did not ride a full Super Randonneur series (200K, 300K, 400K and 600K) the last two years due to the pandemic. We’ll knock out a series this spring with the D.C. Randonneurs (see the club schedule here and a national rundown of rides at Randonneurs USA) to get ready for Unbound Gravel and our likely 1200K. Maybe this will add a veneer of normalcy in what will be the third year of the pandemic.

This year, we are looking at new gravel-ish rides through D.C. Randonneurs ranging in distances up to 200K. Details are still to come on those.

Europe tour? Not happening. Another of our deferred plans from 2020 was a two-week unsupported bike trip in the French Pyrenees to meet up with the Tour de France. We have airline credit for unused flights from 2020 but we’ll spend that on domestic travel. There are just too many unknowns to predict a hassle-free — and enjoyable — trip this year, especially with so little time to use.

Coffeeneuring 2022: I’ll lobby Mary to bring back the Coffeeneuring Challenge this fall!

That’s all from the planning department. I hope your plans work out well this year.

2 thoughts on “Gravel, PBP prep and other things ahead in 2022

  1. Yay 2022! Good luck at Unbound. What wheel setup will you be running? We did it several years ago on 29×2.1s. Overkill 3/4 the time, felt necessary 1/2 the time :-)

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