2017 Ohio 400K – Stories

 Posted by on May 31, 2017
May 312017

I have been heard to say that, “The ride has to have a story to be a good ride.”. Based on that criteria, and the number of stories that I heard about the 400K, last week’s 400K must have been a great ride. As a former English and History teacher, I love stories. There are stories about sights, suffering, fatigue, as well as stories about success and gratitude.  There is great knowledge and experience to be found post ride sitting around together sharing stories.

Saturday stories started early in the ride. In order to convince riders to pedal on and complete a ride, I quote a good friend and former randonneur, who always told me to ask myself, “Can I make it to the next control”. I have often done so when the mental challenge of what we do kicks in. The reasoning follows along these lines. I can get refreshment, get off the bike, just sit down, and attempt to recover and refuel before going on. I tell my volunteers to always have a smile and encouragement when they man a whole control from open to close. It helps the riders to see a friendly face, and perhaps receive some minor or major SAG at the control. Plus, we know where you are.  Dave Miller and my wife Debi spent an awful lot of hours waiting for ALL the riders to come through. Of course, they end up with stories to share too. Continue reading »

2017 Ohio 300K

 Posted by on May 1, 2017
May 012017

We’ve got another ride in the brevet series completed, now we look forward to the 400K. Some randonneurs say that the 400K is the toughest ride of the series. On the 400K, riders are forced to ride in the dark. Most of the time riders will ride the 400K straight through. I always have, but last season some riders grabbed a nap during the 400K. Riding in the dark requires proper equipment. On the 400K,  riders will get more spaced out along the route.  It can be tough riding alone in the wee hours of the morning. I often recommend that riders who have not ridden in the dark should first attempt a 24 hour team flèche .  The distance is nearly the same, the pace can be a little slower, and riders can motivate and keep others riders awake. I’ve been part of several interesting conversations in the middle of the night, mixed in with some singing here and there.  Good luck to the riders attempting Ohio’s Fleche this year. David Buzzee does an excellent job of arranging for, and checking the routes, making sure that they comply with RUSA rules. May 6th and 7th is fast approaching, consider joining or forming a team.  The rules are slightly different than the usual brevet. Check out the RUSA website for more information.

This year’s 300K provided some interesting challenges. It was colder than expected and that caught some riders off guard. There was also a “cyclocross” section on the bike trail portion of the ride. Barricades around the repair of a bridge forced riders to “port” their bikes around and over the huge blocks of concrete.  Remember that it’s not a “great ride” unless there are stories. This ride had plenty. Being in Amish/Mennonite country, many riders encountered many buggies. Sightings of very young children driving teams of huge draft horses made for some interesting stories. Hazards and obstacles on the route bring up another opportunity to understand some of the rules of randonneuring. If riders encounter a section of the route that requires them to dismount their bikes, that section can simply be ridden around, leaving the course where necessary. I’ve walked around barriers, crossed creeks walking on guard rails, and had cases where the road has completely washed away. It happens. While it might require “bonus miles”, it also provides some pretty interesting or funny stories after the ride. If this happens, call the RBA and inform him of your plans. He or she may be able to supply you with a simple remedy and can warn slower riders of the problem. Rider safety is paramount. Those of you that ride with GPS can usually identify an alternative route, those without GPS can usually find an alternative by going back to the last intersection. Continue reading »