For us, the brevets really get rolling in the spring, along with the cherry blossoms, longer days and warmer temperatures. I have to admit I still think of this time of year as “brevet season” with so many packed together and a cold winter behind us.
Last Saturday we wrapped up our pre-season of sorts with a 146-mile check-out ride of much of our fleche route to Gettysburg, Pa., where we met up with the teams riding the D.C. Randonneurs spring Dart. After a fun dinner hearing about their rides, we stayed over and rode back home with Crista & Chuck and friends. It was a nice day, a nice group, and it was MG’s birthday. I can’t think of a better way to spend your birthday.
The D.C. Randonneurs have already staged one 200k ACP brevet, in February, but the heart of the ACP schedule begins Saturday with the Urbana 200k from Urbana, Md. RBA Bill Beck has scheduled the ride in our favored orientation, which puts the climbs in the right places for this tandem team, at least, though the opposite direction has its advantages.
We break for a weekend of blossom viewing with family and friends on April 2, then get back out there April 9 with the Middletown, Va. 300k, a sublime, hilly jaunt through lush back roads in West Virginia. The next weekend we tackle the DCR Flèche with the expanded and re-named Team Table for Five (formerly Team Velo Espresso Gelato). We’ll finish the first part of the season with the classic Warrenton, Va. 200k on April 23.
In May we’ll ride the 300k and 400k from Frederick, Md. and return to Virginia for the 600k in early June. From there it’s a couple months of longer rides and light touring building to Paris-Brest-Paris in August.
MG and I always enjoy the spring brevets, but with PBP 1200K ride on tap, they have extra importance this year. We are not just qualifying, but also getting our approach and teamwork honed for the big event. The preparation and anticipation are a huge part of PBP; otherwise it is merely a four-day ride in France.
Our goal is to have a good ride at PBP without much drama; easier said than done, but that’s the idea. Getting the kinks ironed out during the brevets is a fun part of making the most of our trip to PBP.
We hope to see our pal and TDR Rando-Photo Contest judge Gregg Bleakney there. We were pleased to see on his blog today that he featured PBP in the Ultimate Ride Guide that he shot and wrote for Velonews. See his awesome photo and summary of PBP here. Congratulations to Gregg for his fine work, and our thanks to him for highlighting our big event. We’re not racers, but it’s as big a deal as any race to us.