Saturday, August 9, 2014
At Long Last, a 1000K Medal for the Collection.
When I first began participating in brevets in 2007, I was struck by the heft of the well-designed ACP finisher's medals. Since brevets are not races, all who finish events within the prescribed time limits are entitled to a medal to commemorate the achievement. Not only that, to keep event costs down, medals are optional and must be purchased (for a nominal fee) by official finishers after the event results have been certified. This last fact brings endless mirth to my children who routinely ask me whether I've "bought any new medals" after finishing a brevet. The fact that not everyone is entitled to such a medal is lost on them. Oh well.
Medals are generic and available to finishers of brevets of all of the established distances (200K, 300K, 400K, 600K and 1000K) certified by Audax Club Parisien (ACP), the French organization that certifies and regulates randonneuring events around the world. ACP issues a new design series every four years to coincide with the running of Paris-Brest-Paris. As such, since 2007, I have collected awards in three designs. There is also an award that matches each design series, known as the "Super Randonneur," which is available to those who complete a full series of events (200K, 300K, 400K and 600K) within a given season.
The 1000K award is a bit of an outlier. Not formally considered part of a Super Randonnuer series, 1000K events are not even held in all regions that host randonneuring events. I first planned to complete a 1000K brevet in 2010 to prepare for and to receive an early registration slot for PBP 2011. Due to an accident on the NJ 600K, however, I was unable to clip in for the Lap of the Lake (LOL) 1000K in July 2010. Just six weeks later, when I was about two hours into the PA Endless Mountains 1000K, I was hit from behind by a distracted driver. As a result, the 1000K distance has grown to near mythic stature in my recovery plan. It was with great satisfaction, therefore, that I opened the envelope yesterday containing my first 1000K brevet medal. The only visual difference from the medals in this series currently in my collection is the silver color and embossed "1000km" lettering.
The completion of this 1000K in 2014 has provided me with a preregistration slot for Paris-Brest-Paris on April 26, 2015, which is a few days shy of my 50th birthday and one week before those who completed a 600K as their greatest distance in 2014 are able to register. While I'm not concerned about PBP selling out early, it is nice to be at the front of the line. Registration for PBP will also be a wonderful birthday gift to commemorate my first half century. The 1000K medal represents more than just an early preregistration slot to me, though. It is symbolic of my return to long distance brevets after a debilitating accident. I can assure you that it will not be the last 1000K medal in my collection, but it may be the most cherished.
Up next: the Princeton 200K in early September.