Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rando Pretendo 50-ish K Unpopulaire

Valley View control

It wasn't an epic ride. It was far too short for that. But it did have its challenges. There were opportunities to grunt up the steeper climbs with my windbreaker flapping and popping in the headwind like a flag straining to free itself from the pole. My glasses beaded up with rain drops that eventually dripped off the tip of my nose, tickling the tip as with a feather. As the puddle splashes soaked my feet, I fought to control the steering, zigzagging down those unpaved roads that had turned into muddy bogs. I was reminded of epic rides I've read about, but this wasn't one of them.

On rides like this I think about folks like Jan Heine, Kent Peterson, and of course Bill "Big Oak" Lambert. I think about their epic, long distance adventure rides, imagine myself being a fit randonneur, fast and never tiring. Like many of my racer wannabe cycling colleagues, I pretend. When I push off into the cold rain alone, I think to myself, "Ha! I was the only one hard-core enough to start today". When I turn to enjoy a tailwind, my legs turn fixed gear RPMs like a revved-up race motorcycle, and my breathing is rhythmic and easy. I imagine myself several hundred kilometers into a brevet with strength to spare.

But it isn't epic, and I'm not a well-trained endurance athlete. I'm only out for a solo Saturday morning ride. So when I get soaked and hungry, I simply roll back into my driveway, peel off my wet clothes, and have my lunch.


  1. I'm in the same boat. Feel the same things on very similar rides.

    Well put into words.

  2. We all do. Epic is relative. After watching Mike Curiaks video of his solo seal supported, don't even think about going into a house or warming hut trip on the Iditarod I wanted to just park the bike. Forever. Then he did that expedition with pack rafts way out there...

    But it's all relative. When I was in high school the town just past the next one was epic. The ride just a bit faster was a success. The times I got out and back further than ever before, and before dark soy folks wouldn't freak out... Those were epic too.

    And so epic is now a throw away word. Meaningless in the 24 hour news cycle of faster bigger stronger further with boats and yaks and eating only the tofu I made on route, whole chugging a mountain dew and back flipping on camera in every gas station parking lot.

    Something I've had a hard time (and I'm still very much beginners mind) is to ride for me... Not for Jan or Kent or MTBR or for those that follow me on Flickr. For me. It's hard. I fail all the time sizing myself up. Strutting myself about only to read someone else's ride report that makes my 'epic' look like a trip to the corner store.

    Walk and the journey happens underfoot.

  3. Epic is as epic does, my friend. Sounds like you had a helluva nice ride, to me.

  4. Wow, thanks! I've never been mentioned in the same sentence with Jan and Kent before!

    I'm really just an average guy who likes to ride. And while I completed my second 200K for the year yesterday, I was once again reminded how slow I am.

    Wind and cold and rain are the reminders that you are alive!

  5. Girl Scout cookies are the reminder that you are alive...

  6. I learned many life lessons when I thru-hiked all 2,100 plus miles of the Appalachian Trail back in 2001. One that stuck with me was a saying every thru-hiker seemed to know.

    "Hike your own hike".

  7. Compilation of 2 wise dudes. "Hike your own hike." Love that one. And, if course, Pondero fantasizes, but knows deep down that the number of Ks really don't matter.

  8. Any distance on a bike is better than couch-surfing! Good to hear you did a longer ride, Chris!!

    Paz :)

  9. One thing that's been reinforced for me time and time again is that a ride doesn't have to be epic for it to be enjoyable. In fact, the epic ones are generally more memorable later, but not always the most fun, when you are actually there.

  10. My 3-year-old is transitioning from a balance bike to a pedal bike. A 1K ride around the neighborhood is epic in my world. Sounds like you had a great ride too.