It feels especially sweet to reach goals that are both challenging and long standing. I've wanted to earn the RUSA R-12 Award for many years, but the cold Northeast winters and countless compromises I would have had to make kept this out of reach; out of reach until this year. This weekend marked my final monthly ride of over 200K since last July. It also marks a year of riding brevets since returning to cycling after my August 2010 accident. In addition to the R-12 credit, this brevet also proved to me that 400K is still within my reach as a cyclist. I finished tired, a little sore in my left shoulder, but strong and within 20 hours.
The field was tiny on this late season 400K. There were just six of us, two from North Carolina, one from Cleveland and two from the local area in addition to me. The first six hours of the ride were filled with steady rain which calmed into showers and then petered out all together leaving us with a beautiful afternoon.
Shortly after the start, I fell into riding with Jonathan, a strong rider from Cleveland with a beautiful new Velo Orange rando bike, who really helped me stay focussed throughout the day. Jon is a great guy and I look forward to riding with him again. It reminds me how randonneuring can unite total strangers in a shared mission. Maybe it was the rain, maybe the green hills and valleys throughout the day, maybe it was the smell of fresh cow manure, but something about this ride reminded me of London-Edinburgh-London.
It was a spectacular ride set in the beautiful Finger Lakes region. The vistas were amazing and the roads smooth and free of cars. I will surely be back for more rides in Central New York and highly recommend them to you. I could actually hear Lake Ontario beckoning for circumnavigation as I stood on it's banks at the start of yesterday's 400K. Perhaps the Lap of the Lake 1000K lies ahead. I sure hope so.