Sunday, January 09, 2011

2011 A New Year With New Challenges

Last year I finished seven cycling events. Accomlishments which I am very proud to have participated in and complete. They were the Daffodil Classic (65 miles), May Day Metric (75 miles), Lewis County Historical Ride (72 miles), Flying Wheels Summer Century (100 miles), Seattle to Portland In One Day (202 miles), RAMROD Ride Around Mount Rainier In One Day (154 miles), and Cycle the WAVE (44 miles). This year I joined the Randonneurs and will be attempting to complete a P-12.

Before I explain what a P-12 is, I think a short description of randonneuring should come first. Randonneuring is long-distance unsupported endurance cycling. This style of riding is non-competitive in nature, and self-sufficiency is paramount. Participation in randonneuring events is part of a long tradition that goes back to the beginning of the sport of cycling in France and Italy. Friendly camaraderie and perseverance are the hallmarks of randonneuring.

RUSA (Randonneur USA) has a new award program this year called the P-12. Modeled after the R-12, this award is for members who ride a sub-200km randonneuring event in each of 12 consecutive months. Being new to randonneuring I thought it best to start off with the P-12 and next year go for the R-12. The R-12 Award is earned by riding a 200km (or longer) randonneuring event in each of 12 consecutive months. The counting sequence can commence during any month of the year but must continue uninterrupted for another 11 months.

So beginning in January I plan to ride a 100 - 199km ride per month. And if I complete this task I will receive the P-12 Award at the end of the year.

Besides the P-12 rides I would love to try out a few other randonneur rides this year. A few of their 200km, 300km, and yes maybe even a 400km this spring/summer when the days are longer and the weather a bit more pleasant.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

WTS Redmond to Carnation and Back

A big turnout for the first WTS ride.

I joined the Seattle International Randonneurs on their first WTS (Winter Training Series) ride today. We met at Sammamish Valley Cycle for an 8:30 sign-up, an 8:50 briefing, and a 9:00 start. The day was a typical January day in the PNW. Wet, chilly, windy, but the sun popped out half way to Carnation. It actually turned into a pretty decent day to be outside and on a bike.

We left the bike shop's parking lot and maneuvered through the streets of Redmond. We turned onto East Lake Sammamish and cruised for six miles before turning left onto Thompson Hill Road. The run on East Lake Sammamish was a nice warm up but Thompson Hill Road was a challenge. The grade on this hill is 9.5% and a few riders I passed were walking. Hey it's early in the season and why kill yourself on a training ride in January? I took my time and made it without having to get off my bike and walk but I sure was huffing and puffing as I ascended the hill. Once on top it got a lot more pleasant. The rest of the ride to Carnation was flat with a few rollers. One particular part of the ride I totally enjoyed was the descent down Duthie Hill. What a ride! Entering Carnation I rode along wonderful back country roads with very little traffic. The road that runs along the Carnation golf course was one of my favorites. Finally at mile 22.5 I arrived at Sandy's Espresso in down town Carnation, this was our rest stop.

At Sandy's I ordered a tall mocha which I thoroughly enjoyed. I took my time drinking it relishing in the warmth and taste of this wonderful beverage. After I finished my mocha, took my bathroom break, and refilled my water bottles I was on my way back to Redmond. On the ride back I set a moderate cadence and enjoyed the pastoral scenery. There was quite a bit of climbing again and another thrilling downhill to enjoy. And before I knew it I was back at the Sammamish Valley Bike shop.

Sandy's Espresso in Carnation