Saturday, March 15, 2008

This thing called Randonneuring


I've had this nagging feeling about cycling this year, and I seem to be caught in between the racer wannabes and the "just-ride-for-fun" crowd. All this mileage chasing and racing the rabbits has had me a bit disturbed. So, I decided to look into this randonneuring thing that I've heard so much about lately. Well, I think this just may be the ticket.

The emphasis on this type of cycling is primarily on the individual and not geared towards any kind of racing per se. Although the events have to be completed before a certain time limit, the time limits seem to be doable at a reasonable pace. Not only are these rides doable, they seem to be quite pleasurable in nature and focus on the camaraderie of cycling instead of the competition of cycling.


Rather Cool, Peachy, Keen Medal You Can Get When You Complete One of These Brevets

The complete Medal Gallery

Rather than go into all the particulars of randonneuring, I thought I'd post a couple of links that outline this type of cycling quite well. Basically, the rides are organized into what is called a Brevet (Bre'veh) and can be 200, 300, 400, 600, 1000, and 1200 kilometers in length, with the grand daddy of them all being the Paris-Brest-Paris 1200. All these are sort of a right-of-passage and come complete with bragging rights! So, off I go into another really cool segment of cycling!

Here is the "official" USA Randonneuring site: RUSA

Thursday, March 06, 2008

An Old Friend


This past weekend I resurrected an old friend, my Trek 2300 road bike. I bought her complete back in 1989 as a closeout model from a shop that no longer exists here in Vegas, Bikes West. I remember bringing her home and thinking to myself that this was the ultimate riding machine. She had seven gears, index shifting, three-cross wheels on Matrix rims, and a frame made from combined carbon-fiber and aluminum tubing. Wow, I thought! Technology is great and it just doesn’t get any better than this. I used to methodically clean her after every ride, painstakingly wiping her down from top to bottom hoping to somehow maintain that “new-bike” look.


Upon our first move from Las Vegas to Hawaii, I built a bomb-proof bike case out of plywood and packed her away for the long overseas trip. Unfortunately, I lost interest in road biking for a couple of years while in Hawaii, and my once cherished companion stayed locked away in her wooden cocoon.


I guess I’ve resurrected this bike a few times now that I think about it. The first coming was when I broke her out in Hawaii after a couple of years and actually started riding seriously again. After moving back stateside, we completed the Ride of the Rockies together in 1999, 7-speed original groupo and all. The second coming was a new paint job and the one that her frame sports today, only this time I added a 9-speed groupo for the new millennium. As a hallmark of her durability, we completed our very first double-century ride together in March of 2003.


Replaced by the need for a new frame and new fancy components, I stripped her down once again and tossed her in the garage for quite a number of years. She moved from this peg to that peg; from this shelf to that shelf, and always seemed to be “in the way.” Every time I would go out into the garage and see her hanging there, I would think to myself, “I gotta do something with that frame.”

Since I build my own bikes and do my own mechanic work, I often get requests from people to do some form of mechanic work on their steeds. I recently took a friend’s road bike and converted the shifting from the traditional road shifters to mountain bike shifters to give the bike more of that “motorcycle” feel he was used to. Well, during that transition I had an epiphany: hey, I thought, why not do the same thing to my old frame? And that, as they say, is the rest of the story. Recently, I did some work for a bike-shop owner friend of mine and as payment, he gave me a new pair of 8-speed mountain bike shifters. I sorted through all my old junk, came up with the rest of the parts and voila, she was reborn for a third time! And, what a great ride! So, now I have one more new-old bike to ride. I love rebirths. Life is good!

Last ride: Training, Saturday, 27 Dec 2003, Green Valley to Blue Diamond, 47.8 miles

Latest ride: Commute: Monday, 3 Mar 2008, Anthem to Nellis and back, 48.39 miles.

Totals since Jan 2003: 42 rides, 1786.36 miles.