Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rando Bling, Worthless Trinkets or Something More?

Is it bling or are they trinkets? My kids give me such a hard time for buying randonneuring medals, you wouldn't believe it. They always smirk and giggle when one arrives in the mail. "How much did you pay for that one, pops?" Since rando events are so lean, the finishers medals are generally not included in the registration, so if you want a medal, $8.50 it is. It wasn't until recently that my kids got the point that one needs to actually finish an event to be eligible for a medal in the first place. In an age when people get awards just for showing up, I understand their cynicism, but these medals mean more to me they think.

I don't typically buy medals to acknowledge all of the rides I complete. On the contrary, I only have three sets of medals, each from a different commemorative year denoting something special in my randonneuring life. ACP unveils a new design with each edition of Paris-Brest-Paris, so medals change every four years. I earned my first set of medals (from the 2004 - 2007 collection) in 2007 during my first year of randonneuring. The next set I purchased in 2010 to mark my fastest brevet series to date when I finished three out of four brevets within 60% of the allowable time. The third set (above) I purchased this year to commemorate my first successful brevet series following my accident. Unsure that I could still cycle for 400 or 600 kilometers straight when I began the season, these medals remind me that I am back in action and able to ride long distances without pain or suffering.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The NYC 200K: Wrapping it up!

Originally, I had offered to volunteer at this early fall edition of the NYC 200K, but as my chances of completing a full SR series began to fade, Jon (the organizer) and Katie (the RBA) were most agreeable and understanding of a last minute change of plans. As a result of their generosity, I was able to bag a required ACP 200K and with it, one of my major goals for 2012. At the start of the season, I wasn't quite sure I still had it in me. Would I be able to ride 400K and then 600K without debilitating pain after the accident? I could only answer this question by riding. As it turns out, I was able to complete a pain-free brevet series without too much trouble. 

Riding with Laurent and Leroy, RBAs emeriti
Early Saturday morning, I was off the front and feeling great as we crossed the George Washington Bridge as grey storm clouds began to form. Missing a critical turn within the first five miles of the ride, I found myself descending and then re-climbing over 800 ft of unnecessary hill. The silver lining, though, was a chance to ride with a few old friends along the way. I sure hope that I'm riding this strong when I'm 85 years old! Heck, I hope I'm able to ride, period. Leroy is a legend, there's really no other way to say it. Would you look at those legs? That's right, people, 85 years old!

So with this brevet, my 2012 cycling season has officially kicked into low gear. Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, comes at such a great time. As the school year begins, the days grow shorter and the evenings cooler, and it's a time of reflection on the year behind and hope and goal setting for the year ahead. Next year, I plan to push this recovery one step further and add a 1200K to the line-up. Wish me luck. I eagerly await the 2013 calendar of events due out within the next month.