Sunday, February 4, 2018

Jim's Grand Randonée Log

I've been asked to extend my Tips series to include a "First Grand Randonée" blog.  To gain context for that next blog, I wrote this retrospective on my grand randonées to date.

I’ve start 9 grand randonnée and completed 8 as of this writing.
  1. 2007 Paris Brest Paris 1240 km
  2. 2008 Endless Mountains 1000 km (E PA) – DNF
  3. 2008 Ohio 1000 km (OH)
  4. 2009 Endless Mountains 1240 km (E PA)
  5. 2010 Natchez Trace 1000 km  (TN)
  6. 2011 Pars Brest Paris 1240 km 
  7. 2012 Allegheny Highlands 1000 km  (W PA) 
  8. 2014 Appalachian Adventure 1000 km  (DC)
  9. 2015 Sunshine 1200 km FL)
In 2015 during Sunshine 1200 km I made a heart-felt promise never to right another one. Now in 2018, I’ve signed up for the 2018 Blueridge to the Bay 1200 km

What I was riding for
Proudest or best memory
Most important lesson learned
Sufferfest memories
PBP 1240 km
To become an ancien
I’m an ancien!
Just keep moving.  Don’t pack light
Hardest thing I did in my life.  Legs totally ripped apart in a way never before or after.  50F and rainy 1st 2 days. Last 2 days were hell on wheels.  Mildly psychotic last day from sleep deprivation.
Endless Mountains 1000 km (DNF)
Eastern PA
Punch my card on home turf. Except I didn’t.  Completing my R5000.
Dinner before the start with the other riders.  Though I got nervous when Crista was nervous about the route
Never pass up an RBA or volunteer with water.  They know something you don’t
Heat exhaustion at 90 miles after passing RBA with water then went dry .  Rode another 1 ½ days without recovering.
Ohio 1000 km
Columbus PA
Show I learned my lesson 3 weeks earlier at Endless Mountains.  Got my R5000.
3 weeks after DNFing in PA, completed a 1000 km.  Self-supported out of a motel room.
The simplicity of a base camp figure-8 grand-randonnée.  The RBA/organizer hit a dog and went to the hospital on day 1.  It didn’t matter:  I self-supported out of a single motel room
The mechanics of my right foot broke down on day 3.  Removed an insert as my feet swelled (lost my 2nd big toenail in 2 years).  The difference in leg lengths was brutal on rest of body.
Endless Mountains 1240 km
Eastern PA
Punch my card on home turf after DNFing year before in 1000 km.
Completed a grand-randonnée on home turf!  Last rider to complete within time limit
Training and fitness matter.  Preparation matters.  Do more though.
I was prepared for 2 days of cold rain.  My body broke down on days 3 and 4. 
Natchez Trace 1000 km
Nashville TN
A milestone on my R5000.
Rode a grand-randonnée without my body breaking down (much)!
Natchez Trace is really dull – trees, trees, trees.  Then more trees (a very long and narrow national park with nothing commercial visible from the road.  Filled water bottles from a lot taps in national park restrooms
Mostly survived.  After finishing, the sole of my right foot was almost too numb to drive – I couldn’t feel the gas pedal as I drove to the after party.
PBP 1240 km
Ride it with style
I’m a randonneuring stud.  78-ish hours
Training and fitness matter.  Preparation matters.  I’ve arrived!
A good 3 days, then arrived at 3rd sleep control at noon – skipped it.  A mistake.  Suffered last day.
Allegheny Highlands 1000 km
Pittsburgh PA
I was RBA and this was in my region.
Don’t assume route designers know what they are doing. 
If you offer a grand randonnée, make it ACP, so people can get  medal.
Great route for 2 days.  Then with 800 km in our legs, we rode the return of the 400 km from Erie. Brutal.
Appalachian Adventure 1000km
Checking off my 1000 km box in case I registered for PBP in 2015.
Completing it, despite it being stupidly hard
Know what you are signing up for. I thought our lead regional club would offer a sensible 1000 km in a pre-PBP year.  Instead, they offered a sufferfest
I endured OK.  But was annoyed by it.
Sunshine 1200 km
A local substitute for PBP 2015.
Riding through unexpected heat and surviving!
I don't need to do this again.
I suffered the heat.  I wasn’t prepared for the distance.  I promised myself I would never ride a 1200 km again.

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