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2024 Randonnees

Old 04-21-24, 12:39 AM
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2024 Randonnees

I guess it is my turn to start this thread.

Vineland 200k pre-ride

In the gloaming...


My birth year.



Wanting to do this distance at least once this year, I started out in the early Saturday drizzle with Mac V and Gary P. I wasn't really dressed for a chilly rain (no wool layer), so I was hoping to ride myself warm, and luckily was able to do so. After a while the skies dried up, and by 11am I started seeing my shadow.

Having the urge (unlike the younger guys), I pulled over a couple times to stealth-pee, and after the second time, I couldn't catch back up. I kept them in sight for a long time, but my left knee started giving me some grief and I could not accelerate. I couldn't even keep up a double-digit speed in any headwinds or on any inclines (of which there were thankfully few). I accepted that they were long gone on ahead, and was surprised when they came up behind - they had stopped at a McDonald's! After that I cut short a control food stop, so we played a bit of leap frog, ultimately winding up together at the pizza control at mile 99. They departed before me and continued on their 300k quest, while I was only 26 miles from my goal. With a decent tailwind, I made it back to the start/finish without any drama (thank heaven for ibuprofen). And there I was surprise-greeted by Rick L, the event organizer, who handed me homemade brownies and a cold Stewart's Root Beer. Now that guy knows how to make a rider feel appreciated!

Saw my first wisteria, buttercups, dandelion puffs and tent caterpillars. Saw some swans on Mannington Meadows, and some ospreys swooping in to improve their pole-top nests by Dividing Creek. Heard a rooster crowing along Hoffman Mill Road.

On this ride I used the new-to-me eBrevet app for control check-ins, and it worked well. Should make for less need for volunteers.
The actual NJ Randonneurs 200k/300k brevet will be held Saturday May 4, 2024.
Here is a link to the route:
PRELIM Vineland 200K 2024 Ride with GPS

On the Spesh Roubaix.



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Old 05-04-24, 04:29 PM
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Pics from NJ Randonneurs Vineland 200k/300k





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Old 05-06-24, 10:48 PM
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At 2011 PBP, I was riding with a Belgian guy on the last stretch into Paris and realized, to my shock, he was on a fixie. Insane. Absolutely ludicrous.

Fast forward to 2023, I built up a fixie and started riding populaires. Eventually a tailwind-aided 200k from Olympia to Portland.

So 2024 is the year of the fixed gear SR series attempt.

April 6th, Oregon Randonneurs held their spring 200k, "Birkie", a pure out-and-back to just past the now-defunct Berkenfield general store and restaurant. It's a very fixie-friendly 2800 feet of climbing, with just one short steep bit each way. 11 riders started, 3 who'd make the trek down from Seattle. My gearing dictated my pace on rolling hills the first 9 miles, and I found myself toward the front, as the others appeared to be in early season mode. It started drizzling; no surprise for April in the PNW. I deployed my rainlegs, zipped up my jacket, and donned my rain mitts, all on the move.

At mile 9 we entered the Banks-Vernonia trail, which is a 21 mile paved rail-trail. Numerous root eruptions mean you have to pay attention, and some of the wooden bridges have abrupt edges. Everyone else stopped to regroup at the trailhead, and I found myself out front. It's a gradual climb, railroad grade, to about the halfway point where there's a sharp 30m downhill and climb. I'm sure there was once a trestle. Here I had to dismount and walk for a minute, which provided a welcome respite from the saddle. By Vernonia the front group had pretty much come together, and we stopped at a coffee shop to refuel for the next 60 miles. From Vernonia, about five of us rolled out together as the route followed the Nehelam highway, running along the Nehalam river. Aside from one state park with a spigot, there are no resources and no cell signal for the 30 miles out to a desolate turnaround, and 30 miles back to Vernonia.

Nehalam highway is no place to bike on a weekday, with logging trucks dominating. Weekends, it's quiet with the occasional local who may or may not be friendly. The amount of tree bark debris on the shoulder is a testament to ongoing logging activity. It's generally serene, with some stunning PNW sights. The front group stayed just ahead; I wasn't able to match their pace on descents, but closed the gap on climbs and flats. It was one of those days when the rain would stop, sun pop out, rain come back, sometimes even rain with sun. At the turnaround, an unexpected volunteer was parked with water and snacks. Everyone else what chatting, and two of us rolled out ahead.

The return was uneventful other than precipitation, which slowly transitioned from drizzle to light steady rain. I rode a lot with my buddy Graham, and some with Sarah. Three others eventually rolled past, as everyone found their pace. Back in Vernonia, we were all in the same convenience store at the same time, when the light rain turned into a heavy rain. Graham and I decided to hang out at the convenience store table whilst the others headed out into the weather. Ten minutes later, the rain stopped, and we rolled out feeling quite proud of our collective 130 years of wisdom. My rear tire went soft after a particularly nasty bump, and I had to stop and pump it twice before it fully sealed. While I pumped, the sun came out; between the sun and pumping my tire, I warmed up nicely.

During the last 30 miles, on the trail to Banks then rolling roads back to Forest Grove, we caught everyone. Full disclosure, two guys were slow rolling because of a cracked carbon rim. We caught up to the last two with just a mile to go, and four of us finished with the same time of 8:55. I was glad to have dry clothes in the car, and also happy to finish in daylight.

One down, three to go. Or rather, 200k down, 1300k to go.

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Old 05-08-24, 10:12 PM
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300k fixed done. 8k feet of climbing, most of that in 5 climbs interspersed with mostly flat sections. Tough. Elapsed time 15:28.

After reviewing past rides, that's the climbiest 300k I have on record. The fixed-gear SR plan was to ride the flattest SR series I could put together between Seattle, Oregon, and Eugene. Who knew they'd pick this year for climby rides. SMH.

This weekend is the 400k. 10k feet. Yikes.
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