Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Dallas area, Texas
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Really can't answer your question, but can make some suggestions:
-Look up the UMCA site, check the events listed there. Some of them, like the Texas Time Trials, have 6 hour or 12 hour versions that you don't have to be Superman to compete in. At a lot of these events, there is a wide spectrum of talent, and you'll have some of the best riders in the world and then a lot of regular-joes. You can be a fairly ordinary rider and fit right in at some of these events. So you don't have to build yourself up to RAAM level before you do anything.
-If you can't compete in the events, see if they need volunteers, or go be a spectator. Either option can be informative if you've never been there.
-Some of the local riders that are not great racers have gotten involved by crewing for other people.
-Your local randonneuring club MIGHT have some really good long-distance racers in it, check into the club. Not just for that reason, but that's a side benefit.
-Randonneuring is not intended to be training for long-distance racing. On the other hand, riding a 600k at a leisurely pace is probably a lot better than sitting on your sofa or riding a Saturday morning club ride, too. You can train your body spinning pedals in a garage, but getting out and doing things helps to train your mind. Getting sleepy when you're riding through the cold at 4:00 AM or puking because you've had too much Gatorade over the last 10 hours is hard to duplicate in your garage.
-A potential benefit of doing some of the above is that you might discover you don't like it without having to look too foolish. I managed to "RAAM Qualify" a couple of years ago. My theory is that this RAAM-Qualification is to rule out people that are half nuts. Because, for RAAM, you need to be full-nuts, not half. And so having finished that 500 mile race, I would never in a million years sign up for RAAM.
-RAAM and RAW can be very expensive, what with transporting vehicles and support personnel across the country, housing them in hotels, etc. On the other ultraraces, ones that are close and ones that don't require a support vehicle will be easier on the pocketbook.
"be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."