I’m not a randonneur…yet

January 20, 2013

Post’s title says it all.  I’ve given an official RUSA ride (populaire permanent length – 62 miles – the “entry level” RUSA ride length) a shot twice now, and twice have been unable to complete it within the required time.  It’s a deceptively difficult thing – I’ve ridden 62+ miles perhaps ten times, including this very route – but a combination of needing to do it within prescribed time limits and, more challenging, to do it essentially “on demand” in whatever set of conditions is present, is where the real challenge of randonneuring lies.  It’s hard enough to be able to ride 62 miles at a stretch, but to do it under these conditions is pretty tough.

To explore a bit further – I’ve proven capable of doing 62+ mile rides, including this same route.  But, what my 0-for-2 start to the RUSA career has taught me is that it’s a different beast when you need to set a date in advance, then ride at the scheduled time, regardless wind, rain, terrain conditions, personal circumstances, etc.

Three things are for sure.  One is that my attempts have only strengthened the already-high esteem in which I hold established rando’s.  It’s a small subset of the cycling community, but in my book they are truly heroes – and I now have a better firsthand understanding of just how impressive is their accomplishments within their chosen pursuit.

Two, I am not giving up.  I’m continuing to lose weight and continuing to add strength, with my recent return to weight training at the gym – so the all-important power-to-weight ratio is improving, plus my fitness.  I’ve acknowledged to myself that becoming a rando is just a subset of what I enjoy about the bike, and therefore I’ve made the conscious effort not to put much thought into or attempt any additional RUSA rides until at least March or quite possibly April.

Which leads us to three – I will be successful at my rando efforts.  It’s a deceptively difficult thing to do, especially to do consistently as is my intention – long-term, I want to gun for several of RUSA’s consistency-centric awards – but I will work hard and achieve hard-earned eventual success there, and that success will be all the sweeter when contrasted with this disappointing start.

So for the next several weeks – little rando talk from me.  I still love the bike as much as ever – more than ever actually – and I still am determined to join the ranks of the randonneurs – but I will allow myself several more weeks before I allow that to once again crystallize into a definitive attempt.

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