My (lifetime) randonneuring goals

December 28, 2013

As anyone who knows me in personal life can attest, when I get into something I go full boar.  I want to become the very best I can at something, or dedicate huge amounts of time to it, or see/hear/read all there is to experience about that thing, etc.

Cycling but more specifically randonneuring is no different.  I’ve had a passion for the sport ever since first learning about it, and despite my recent “abuse” of randoing – which I deeply regret in several ways – I still retain the love of randoing, and I cannot wait to return to it.

I’ve been giving a fair amount of thought to what LIFETIME goals I should set for randonneuring.  So these are the goals that I don’t intend to accomplish in 2014, or the next 12 months (which, today being 12/28, are basically one & the same), etc.  Instead, these are things that, as I look back as an older man years from now at my randonneuring “career”, I want to be able to say I accomplished.

Keeping with my “all in” kind of approach, I, more subconsciously than consciously, ask myself, “Self, what is/are the highest MORTAL accomplishments that you can hope to achieve in randoing?”  RUSA, the governing body of randonneuring in the US, offers a wonderful range of awards, for different “kinds” of achievement – annual mileage, lifetime mileage, consecutive-months mileage, variety of rides, variety of US states, etc.  The “bling hound” in me would love to win every award RUSA offers – and I’d love to make that happen.  But, when we speak of CONCRETE, actual goals, I retain as the criteria that they be big-dream, stretch goals but yet “mortally achievable”.

Switch pursuits on you to give a metaphor – I’m a big chess fan and former very active player.  In one interview, chess grandmaster Edmar Mednis said of his lifetime achievement that “the ultimate goal of every chess player is to become world champion…but that is really reserved for a very very few…so the substitute goal for most of us is to become grandmaster because that is the highest ‘normal’ title you can achieve.”  That sums up what I look for in my lifetime randoing goals – big-dream goals but arguably the highest “mortal” goals you can shoot for.

After some internal haggling about what constitutes “mortal”, I’ve arrived at my Big Four randonneuring goals.  Remember, these are lifetime goals, not what I intend to do in 2014.  I’m not likely to accomplish any of these in 2014.

Here, then, in ROUGHLY ascending order in terms of difficulty, are my targets:

  1. Win the P-12 award.  This, again, is the award given by RUSA for 12 consecutive months (doesn’t have to be 12 months in a calendar year) of a 100-km (“populaire length”) ride.  This was my initial RUSA goal, and I was 6 months into it prior to my “hiatus” this year.  When I return, this is definitely a goal I want to look back on years from now and have ticked off.
  2. Win the R-12 award.  The relative difficulty of goals 2 and 3 are debatable, but ehhh.  R-12 is the same as the P-12 but represents 12 consecutive months of a 200-km or greater ride.  There are a good number of people who have won the R-12 but it’s still a small % of RUSA’s overall membership.  It’s a deceptively difficult award to win, and especially if you live in a state that experiences a true winter!
  3. Win the “super randonneur” award for riding “the series”.  Ok, first off, this is actually an ACP-sanctioned, not RUSA-sanctioned, award, but I’ll spare my non-hardcore readers the details.  RUSA administers the award in the US, succinctly.  This is an award given to a rider who completes “the series” of rando-length rides within a calendar year – that is, a 200k, 300k, 400k, and 600k brevet (group rando ride) within a calendar year.  For my imperial-units friends, that’s about a 124-mile, 186, 248, 372-mile rando ride in a single year.
  4. Win the “K-Hounds” award.  This is the highest annual-mileage award RUSA offers. Once again sparing my readers laborious detail, this is an award that riders created and moderated (but which RUSA acknowledged & recognized) until this year, but starting in 2014, RUSA will begin administering and formally distributing this award. This award is given to riders who complete 10,000 RUSA kilometers in a calendar year.  Unless my semi-hand-count of the K-Hounds website fails me, only roughly 70 riders (I think I counted 71) have ever won this award since its 2006 founding.  I know for a fact that more riders have achieved each of the other 3 honors I name, so I consider this the most difficult of my 4 lifetime goals.  If accomplished entirely via 200-km rides, this would mean basically a 124-mile RUSA ride every single week for a calendar year.  That’s damn impressive.

When you consider that ~70 riders have won the K-Hounds award, then even if you make an assumption that all of them have won the awards associated with my other 3 goals (it wouldn’t shock me at all if there were a few who had done only 3 or even 2 of them, though), this means that only about 0.75% or fewer of all RUSA’s 9,230 (all-time) members have achieved all four of these.  Very ambitious goals, indeed.

No clever summary here to this post, except to say that obviously I have much hard work ahead of me.  I’m animated, though, to start working toward these very respectable targets.  And like Mednis, the chess grandmaster quoted earlier, once I do achieve all of them, I can – and will – feel very good.


One Response to “My (lifetime) randonneuring goals”

  1. Scott said

    Nice read! I found you while attempting to find a loose definition of an “accomplished randonneur.” I have goals much like yours. However, instead of going for the K-Hound, I’m considering the RUSA cup, which spreads the mileage out over two years. Chasing RUSA-only rides would take too much time away from my local club rides. I MAY shoot for a grand randonnee if the 600k goes well. Feel free to check out my blog at My goals are there.

    BTW, rather than using the term “win,” which suggests one has “lost” if a goal is unmet, consider using the term “earn.” I think that is more in the spirit of randonneuring (non-competitive) and better-describes what you’re really accomplishing. I recently earned (or completed) an R-12 and began a P-12 pursuit in December. 🙂

    Good Luck!

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