In late April I felt prepared for my first 200K having ridden both 100K and 100-mile training rides earlier in the month. I selected the Cranbury 200K in part because it was organized by my friends down at NJ Randonneurs and would provide a great opportunity for brevet socializing and also because the route is blessedly flat. As the date approached, it became clear that the weather gods were on my side. With the exception of a nasty wind, the conditions could not have been better. It was cool and sunny with dry roads and lovely spring foliage in abundance throughout the day.
The enthusiasm for this ride was impressive with over 80 riders registered. I clipped in, following an overnight at my mother’s house where we enjoyed our annual joint birthday soiree and enjoyed the energy and camaraderie that comes from riding with dozens of riders heading out into a brevet. A field so large on a 200K almost ensures that one need not ride alone and this proved to be true for me as I enjoyed catching up with old friends and acquaintances and meeting new ones along the way. I rode much of the first two stages with NJ Rando stalwart Joe R. and we swapped stories about bikes, PBP and friends we have in common.
Having spent 20 minutes fixing my flat, I decided to pass straight through the lunch control after having my card signed and rear tire inflated and headed off into the hinterlands of South Jersey alone. While I do not recall much in the way of tailwinds throughout the morning, we all definitely experienced some major headwinds on the way home in the afternoon. The winds were of the 20+ mph variety with gusts up to 40 and there were several times I found myself struggling to stay upright. Luckily the route was not a straight shot into the wind so we were afforded breaks along the way. Not only that, a group of four of us teamed up together to ride in a paceline for much of the afternoon making the return journey much more enjoyable as a result of both conversation and workload reduction.
Up next: The Bash Bish 300K