With two small children, post-tenure service obligations, and a new old house and yard to tend to, I’m continuing my randonneuring-without-training with mixed results. My weekend 60-80 mile rides have been replaced by tree-trimming and picnics in Balboa Park, and my three-time-a-week 10 mile ride to work (and 10 back) serves as my exercise. Maybe a short run once a week. But I’ve learned before that “training” can make something fun into something miserable.
So, I jumped into the 2012 randonneuring season with the Rainbow 200K, the traditional season opener for the San Diego Randonneurs, my local club. Forecast called for rain, and mother nature provided. It rained for about 60 percent of the day. It was a messy, wet ride. probably 60% of the riders did not use mudguards, which is a bummer unless you want grit in your face when riding in a group.
Fenders: out of COURTESY.
I wore a wool t-shirt, long-sleeve wool SDR jersey, and my trusty Ibex knickers. Once you’re soaked through, it really doesn’t matter much if it keeps raining. The wool warms even when wet. If felt great on the early climbs like up Del Dios Highway, but slowed down getting into Rainbow. Then I caught my wind through to Oceanside and down the coast. I finished 9:48, which I was pretty darn happy with, even though I felt like I lagged the last 30 miles. It was a good day, and a lovely course.
So, I felt emboldened as I signed up for the Corona 300K. Last year, I rode this course in the pouring rain, but I felt strong and looked forward to a nice long day in the saddle. I was sick earlier in the week, but decided to ride anyway. I arrived about 5 minutes late, seeing the group leave as I pulled into the parking lot. I thought I would catch them – but didn’t really see anyone until Las Pulgas Rd. The ride up to Newport Beach was fun and fast, but my stomach began to feel a bit sour at the control. I called my wife to check in and she was having a bad morning with the kids. Then I began to think about work, and undone tasks, and general negative thinking.
Negative thoughts and doubt always enters my thinking at some point during a randonee, but the best thing about long rides is that these can be conquered. On this year’s Corona 300, the negative thoughts never left. For 120 miles, I was in a dark place. The ride was fine, but I felt like crap. The 30 miles on the SART were mind-numbing. The long stretches through Lake Elsenore and Lake Village were lonely and filled with dread. By the Temecula control I was shivering and felt sick. The after-dark climbs up old Highway 395 were better, but by the time I tried a french fry at the last control in Escondido, I puked my guts out. I had support and fellowship from other riders, including Jamie, who I finally got to ride with. But I limped up and over Del Dios, and happily and unceremoniously finished in 15:54, got in my car, and laid in a fetal position for most of Sunday. I had ridden 300s with more climbing and felt much better. This ride would raise quite a lot of doubt on my season. Perhaps its time to get back to those weekend rides.