Saturday, January 08, 2011

Lanterne Rouge -- A Brevet of 200 KM

Riding the Casa Grande 200...

A bit beat up and sore after the Casa Grande 200 km Brevet today, Gentle Readers of This Blog. But I did finish and that's what matters. I knew it would be a long day--so I was prepared. I had enough food, enough to drink--and most important--I had the mantra given to me by RBA Susan on a year I struggled to finish a 600--"Press On Regardless"

Easier said than done, mes amis.

Susan giving last minute instructions to brevet riders--its 2011--and this brevet will count for a chance at Paris-Brest-Paris.

But how could I not ride this 200? I was getting all the registrations sent to my place, and I'd see names of Randonneurs and Randonneuse I knew well. So even though I'd probably not ride even a mile with any of 'em--I might be lucky to see Tom, Steve, Roger, Margaret, Mike, Dave, Phil--the super heroes from Canada--at the start, and maybe meet a few new people and share a mile or two on the long cold and dry roads out there on the Rez.

There are just over 60 riders this morning! I believe this is a record for our Arizona Brevets!

What I was not prepared for today, mes amis, was a sore knee. I wish I would have had some Ibuprofen. I never have knee problems, but today my left knee swelled up and by the controle back at the bike shop I wondered if I should call it a day.

Just keep pedaling!

I don't know what it was that made me keep going--probably some kind of auto-pilot that Randonneurs start to develop--but I wasted no time at the controle and just jumped back on the bike, making sure I had food and filled water bottles.

The trip out to the Controle at mile 88 I knew would be a long haul. I just set myself up a pace to keep. A few tests of how fast I could push an aching knee meant that that this was going to be a long day. Two Randonneuse caught up to me just as I was going out on Indian 15 and I said to myself, "Here's a chance to ride with some other people and maybe make some time!" But when I tried to catch a wheel, the knee protested with pain.

Even though the knee hurt--and then the other knee--I just kept rolling. Pedal and then rest, pedal and rest. Press on regardless. Don't give up. You can do it!

There is no shame in arriving as the last rider on the course.

Fast or slow, 200 kms is a long ride. I am pleased that I made it in before dark, that's one thing. Even more pleased that I was there at the start with riders I admire and look to for inspiration.

On Indian 15, in the heart of the Reservation, and heading back to the finish in Casa Grande.

Special thanks goes out to my friend Phil--he loaned me his back-up fold-up tire. I had to use my own back-up fold-up tire (that has been used once in five years so I didn't know if would hold out)

Friday evening I discovered that my back tire had a rip in it, and I'm sure it would have failed early in the ride. I put the front tire on the back and the fold-up on the front. It was late and the bike shops were too far and would be closed. Phil handed me his fold-up at the start and without hesitation I stowed it in the Carradice! Thanks again Phil!

Special thanks also goes out to Margaret--we got to ride a few miles and at the ruins I got the see the Super Randonneuse Jersey she earned last year. I have never seen one before on a rider--only a picture of my friend Paul wearing his--and I have to say that I want one now for sure!

As always, Dave Glasgow rode with me and offered encouragement and logistics--he got me thinking about how I would pull this 200 off. I'd be riding most of the day by myself--don't give up! Keep going! You can finish! Stay positive and in the game!

RBA for Arizona, Susan Plonsky--boy was I glad to see her!

And Susan's wraps saved the day as you all well know. At one point you might be saying to yourself, "What am I doing out here?" "The headwind is going to do me in-how can I keep going!" But then the vision of wraps--wraps--wraps!

With a few wraps in my back pocket, I make it in before the sun sets, so I don't have to stop on put on lights.

"There will be wraps when I arrive! You speedies better not have eaten all of them!" I see the smiles and expressions of fulfilment in the faces of the riders now coming back--they have eaten a wrap or two--there's a tailwind--what could be better?

The Mighty Trek at the controle--actually, I think the knee problems were from my Brooks saddle. I went over everything on the bike after the ride--the saddle has needed to be replaced for some now. I thought I could get a few more miles out it--I think I was wrong, mes amis.

Lastly, Gentle Readers of This Blog, I will tell you that I've had great brevets where I sailed down the road like a champ--and I felt faster than a speeding bullet. I've been on brevets where in rained for 16 hours straight, and we had nine or ten flats between all of us riding together. I've had to DNF a few times.

The last car in the parking lot as I pack it up for the drive back to Tucson.

Lanterne Rouge is a finish! Cheers! Bruce

4 comments: said...

Great job sticking with it Bruce! I've dealt with knee pain myself on a few rides and know how tough that can be. It was great seeing you at the start in the morning. Hope to see you again at the 300k. :-)

Mike Enfield

Sir Bikesalot said...

Good job Bruce! You finished before I did and every other person that sat this one out! I thought about you guys as I shivered down the road Saturday morning. I just don't have the training in the legs nor the schedule that would permit a long ride at this point.

Relentless said...

The Canadians would like to send a big thank you to Susan for all her tireless work. The wraps, cookies, Starbucks coffee and of course the brownies were a real luxury at the controls. We were also freaked at the amount of riders that showed up and how well the event was organized, really pumped us up. You might see a few of us at the 300.

Stephen Kenny

Steve Atkins said...

Bruce, great to see you at the start of another season of brevets, way to stick it out.

Steve Atkins