Showtime for us, and for TDR photo judge Gregg Bleakney

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.

See the rest of my photos here and here, and MG’s here.

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.


2nd Annual TDR Rando Photo Roundup

Even though the photo contest is now at a close, I thought people might enjoy a little wrap-up about this year’s contest. Plus, I was so impressed by the spreadsheet usage at our local club’s annual meeting, that I wanted to try my hand at a couple of spreadsheets, too! Here are the results of my effort.

Number of Entries for Each Category

  1. Wild Card: 17 photos.
  2. Spirit of Randonneuring: 16 photos.
  3. Obligatory Cow Photo/Nature Shot: 15 photos.
  4. Randonneur Lifestyle: 14 photos.

2nd Annual TDR Rando Photo Contest

Types of Events Represented.

  • 28 photos featured 200Ks.
  • 13 photos were of 1000K rides. (7 of these featured the Santa Cruz Central Coast 1000K.)
  • 5 photos of 300Ks.
  • 4 Fleche photos.
  • 4 Permanents.
  • 3 pictures of 400Ks.
  • 2 Populaire photos.
  • 2 photos of 1200Ks. (Both pics were of the Seattle Randonneurs Cascade 1200K)
  • 1 photo of a 600K. (Where is the love for the 600K??)

What does it all mean? I have no idea, but it is interesting to note that just shy of half of all pictures submitted were of 200Ks.

Photos of Club Events.

Many clubs had photos represented through our randonneur photo contest, even though the randonneur submitting the photo may have hailed from another club (e.g., a PA randonneur riding a DC Randonneurs ride). The breakdown by club follows. These totals do not include Permanents. In addition, some clubs are not as familiar to me so if I have made a mistake with a club title, let me know and I will correct it accordingly.

  • Alaska Randonneurs: 4 photos.
  • DC Randonneurs: 9.
  • Harpeth Bicycle Club: 2.
  • Hill Country Randonneurs: 1.
  • North Carolina Bicycle for Life: 3.
  • NC Randonneurs: 4.
  • New Jersey Randonneurs: 2.
  • Oregon Randonneurs: 7.
  • Pennsylvania Randonneurs: 9.
  • Santa Cruz Randonneurs: 8.
  • San Francisco Randonneurs: 3.
  • Seattle Randonneurs: 6.

What about the photographers?

I noted this previously, but submissions came from randonneurs throughout the country. Specifically,

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington!

Thanks to the variety of submissions, I was treated to a virtual look inside many of the great rides that occurred throughout the country. It’s a real treat to to look at these challenging events from the inside of a warm house in the winter. I also have a wish-list of rides for the future!

Thank you to those who made the contest possible and shared your images with us. Our thanks to Gregg Bleakney for being our judge, and to Velo Orange for matching our winners’ prizes! And finally, a thank you to all of you who followed along. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

It was an excellent month, and I’m looking forward to 2011. In the meantime, it’s time to ride and take some pictures!

TDR Rando Photo Winners: Spirit of Randonneuring

Unveiling our TDR Rando Photo winners has made for an exciting week! It’s hard to believe that we’re at the final category. Thanks again to our guest judge Gregg Bleakney and to Velo Orange for matching our winner’s prize. It’s been a lot of fun to see the entries from randonneurs all over the country.

We’ve arrived at the Spirit of Randonneuring photo award winners. The Spirit of Randonneuring represents something a little different for everyone, but we’re talking about that unique feeling you can get only from being a randonneur. It can be comeraderie, freedom, gratitude, satisfaction, even joy. It’s why we ride.

Winner: Bill Beck. DC Randonneurs, Civil War Tour 200K.

(c) Bill Beck: DC Randonneurs, Civil War Tour 200K. Theresa Furnari, very happy to pass the summit of South Mountain during the Civil War Tour 200K on September 18, 2010.

Gregg says:

Theresa’s smile belongs on a randonneuring catalog cover.

As the winner of this category, Bill receives a $50 Velo Orange gift certificate!

Runner Up: Shane Beake, Pennsylvania Randonneurs Fleche.

(c) Shane Beake, Pennsylvania Randonneurs Fleche. Blue Blanket Cyclepaths Team- Paul Shapiro, Jud Hand, Shane Beake, Roy Yates & Todd Kerekes after a very wet Fleche. Quakertown Pennsylvania. April 24th, 2010.

Gregg says:

Four fully-grown, lycra-clad men wrapped in blankets just simply deserve an award for something!

Congratulations, Shane! You will soon be reading your very own copy of Bike Snob NYC’s book, Bike Snob: Systematically &; Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling. It will make for perfect reading at this year’s 22-hour control.

Thanks to everyone who entered this category! All submissions may be viewed by clicking on the photo below.

Spirit of Randonneuring

Tomorrow: A nostalgic look at this year’s contest, and encouragement to capture those memories in the year ahead.

TDR Rando Photo Winners: Wild Card!

While all the Rando Photo categories are fairly broad, Wild Card allowed randonneurs to showcase permanents and populaires of 2010, in addition to brevets. Or, if a photo didn’t fit any of the other categories, it could find a home in the Wild Card.

As a reminder, the winner gets a fabulous $50 gift certificate from Velo Orange, and the runner-up will be the proud owner of Bike Snob NYC’s book, Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling.

Comments by our esteemed Rando Photo judge Gregg Bleakney follow each entry.

Winner: Bill Alsup, Skyline-Vernonia 200K Permanent.

(c) Bill Alsup: Skyline-Vernonia 200K Permanent. Taken November 13, 2010 in Portland, OR, during the Skyline-Vernonia 200k permanent. In this photo: Adam George, Lynne Fitzsimmons, David Parsons & Ed Groth.

Gregg says:

Random red fire hydrant control? The guys seem to really be pushing their grey cells in this scene.

Runner Up: Joe Platzner, Seattle Randonneurs Fleche.

(c) Joe Platzner: Seattle Randonneurs Fleche. Wild Card was taken at the start of our Fleche this year. We were near Bellingham, WA and finished in Olympia, WA.

Gregg says:

The most incredibly random cycling button I’ve ever seen.  Only a randonneur could come up with something like this.

Nice job, Bill and Joe! Joe now has the distinction of being a two-time Runner Up in this year’s contest. There should be a medal that we can sell you for that!

Want to see our other fine entries? They’re just a click away (on the photo below)!

Wild Card

You know what’s next: Spirit of Randonneuring!

TDR Rando Photo Winners: Obligatory Cow/Nature

Tonight we feature the winners in the Obligatory Cow Photo/Nature Shot category. These are some of the favorite types of pictures we like to take when pedaling through the countryside. This category reassures us that we’re not the only ones out there awed by animals, grass, cornfields, and trees.

Again, commentary by guest judge Gregg Bleakney accompanies each photo.

Winner: Jan Bull. D.C. Randonneurs, Urbana 200K.

(c) Jan Bull: DC Randonneurs, Urbana 200K. The profile was an extract from 4 stark trees on the rise that absolutely captured me.

Gregg’s comments:

Great panorama.  Magical patterns of trees like this are always a welcome sight during long brevets.

Runner Up: Bill Beck. Woodbine-Dillsburg 200K.


(c) Bill Beck: DC Randonneurs, Woodbine-Dillsburg 200K. Well, a very curious goat actually, along Watersville Rd. during the Woodbine-Dillsburg 200K on December 11, 2010.

Gregg’s comments:

The best photographers can always find a bit of themselves in their subjects:)

Well done, Jan and Bill! Jan receives a $50 gift certificate from Velo Orange for her winning entry and for Bill we have a copy of Bike Snob NYC!

Wondering what the other Obligatory Cow Photo/Nature Shot candidates were? Click on the photo below and wonder no more!


Tomorrow: Wild Card!

TDR Rando Photo Winners: Randonneur Lifestyle

The wait is over! Tonight we begin announcing the winners of the 2nd Annual TDR Rando Photo Contest.

Before we begin, our thanks go to guest judge Gregg Bleakney. We also want to recognize Velo Orange, which matched the winner’s award, bringing the prize to $50 in store credit.

Tonight we showcase the Winner and Runner Up in the Randonneur Lifestyle category.

Winner: Rob Hawks. Santa Cruz Randonneurs, Central Coast 1000K.

(c) Rob Hawks: Santa Cruz Randonneurs, Central Coast 1000K. Just before sunset, Day 3, Approx. mile 580 on the Santa Cruz Randonneurs Central Coast 1000km, June 2010 Randonneur is Bruce Berg. The temperature was dropping quickly and for miles around there was no place at all to sit as Bruce put on a layer of clothing against the oncoming chill.

Gregg’s comments:

This image conveys a great sense of space in a beautiful landscape. I think many will identify with the solitary time spent as a Randonneur on the side of the road.  Certainly this sport is more grit than glamour.

Runner-Up: Joe Platzner. Seattle Randonneurs 200K.

(c) Joe Platzner: Seattle Randonneurs 200K. Lifestyle was taken near the end of a 200K in March near La Conner, WA. We used it as an example of what not to do at the establishments who feed us along the way.

Gregg’s comments:

Some of the greatest photos aren’t necessarily of beautiful things but rather, tell compelling stories through other subject matter. This image reminds us of both the positive economic value and negative waste we generate during our rides. Is there a solution?

Congratulations, Joe and Rob!

Rob gets a $50 Velo Orange gift certificate and, as runner up, Joe gets a copy of Bike Snob NYC’s book! I will follow up with you both.

To view a complete gallery of all our excellent entries, click on the photo below.

Randonneur Lifestyle

Tomorrow: Obligatory Cow Photo/Nature Shot. Don’t miss it!

TDR Rando Photo Premiums: Velo Orange and Bike Snob!

Tomorrow we begin announcing the winners of the 2nd Annual TDR Rando Photo Contest and tonight we present the premiums!

We have awesome participants in our contest, not only because of their great photos but also because they had no idea what the prizes for our contest would be when they submitted their entries. Randonneur art for randonneur art’s sake!

Nevertheless, we do have prizes for our first- and second-place winners.

First place. Winners of each photo category will receive a $25 $50  gift certificate to Velo Orange!

As many TDR readers know, Velo Orange is a great cycling shop in Annapolis, Md., where frames, racks, bags, seatposts, and other lovely randonneuring treasure can be found.

The TDR Rando Photo budget allowed for $25 gift certificates, and Chris and Annette at Velo Orange volunteered to match our prize, raising the full gift certificate amount to $50.

Runner up. All second place winners will be receiving a brand new copy of Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling. Bike Snob’s clever book gives us a knowledgeable, yet amusing, view of bicycle culture. It’s a perfect read when you’re trapped inside on a snow day!

Gregg Bleakney has completed his judging. Tomorrow, we start revealing his selections! Since I have a j-o-b that keeps me from TDR business during the day, look for the results in the evening hours. Thanks, everybody!

Randonneurs like Velo Orange: Bob on his VO during the Endless Mountains 1000K.

TDR Rando Photo Contest: Winners Announced Next Week

While Felkerino and I have been falling behind in our PBP training, our secret guest judge Gregg Bleakney has been busy judging all entries in the TDR Rando Photo Contest. We are poised to announce the results.  Tune in early next week as we announce the winners for our four TDR Rando Photo Categories.

  1. Randonneur Lifestyle,
  2. Obligatory Cow Photo/Nature Shot,
  3. Spirit of Randonneuring, and
  4. Wild Card.

It will all be revealed next week. And as always, thank to the entrants who made our contest so great!

Chris, D.C. Randonneurs 600K

2nd Annual TDR Rando Photo Contest: The Countdown Begins

Randonneurs, readers, contest participants, scenesters!

2nd Annual TDR Rando Photo Contest

It took a couple of days, but all photos have now been homologated and flickr-ated! We have a little bit of everything in the contest, from Populaires to 1200K adventures. Events from all over the country are represented.

Want to see what your fellow randonneurs have been up to this year? Click on the images below to be taken to the on-line flickr galleries.

Randonneur Lifestyle

Obligatory Cow Photo/Nature Shot

Spirit of Randonneuring

Wild Card

NOTE: If I have made an error on your submission or something about your needs to be changed, please let me know via e-mail so that I can update accordingly. I will then send the photos to Gregg Bleakney for his review.

Thanks again to all the participants. We wouldn’t have this ride down memory lane without you!