October 10, 2017

2018 is gonna be huge! ...and some training primers...

Yeah, I'm pimpin' it early... cause I'm excited about it!

While the official schedule won't come out for another couple weeks, you should mark your calendars for 2018 and make your randonneuring dreams happen.  Yes, you, long-time-reader!  

Something that has been requested by riders for a while is actually gonna go down.
Memorial Day weekend 2018, we're looking at five events starting at the same time from the same hotel.  This event works a lot like some very successful events in Iowa and elsewhere around the country.  You will be able to ride 200, 300, 400, 600 or 1,000km distance, all starting and finishing at the same hotel.

Well, okay, so what?  ... what the heck does THAT mean, really? 

Unless you've ridden the longer distances, it's hard to see this benefit immediately - but, it's all about logistics.  For example, (although the precise routes and details are YET to be finalized, so do NOT take this as law as you read this, no matter when you're reading it:), if you were riding a 600km on that day, to complete your SR series, you would start and ride a 400km loop from the hotel, hitting the usual array of pre-determined controls - like on a normal ride - but, you'd end up back at the the hotel, which acts as an intermediate control; where you can then take a shower, a nap, change clothing, refill your bags with supplies, batteries, etc., before heading out on another loop - this time of 200km, ultimately finishing again back at the hotel - to complete your 600k.  The hotel acts as the start, and some number of intermediate controls depending on the distance, and then the finish.    

In short, it's amazing:  it renders the planning process for the longer distances MUCH easier.  No worry about drop bags, what to pack, no need to pay for multiple hotel rooms on a longer, stretched-out loop, and a bit of a familiar stop to punctuate the goal you're undertaking.  The 1,000km, in this example, would simply add another couple of varied loops.  Those big distances that have never seemed tangible just became easier to imagine.

So, mark your calendars and watch the www.audaxkc.com site for coming details.

The full Audax KC schedule should be out later this month, offering up the usual fare of 200, 300, 400, 600km rides, a Fleche, the aforementioned Memorial Day brevet series, and - yes - even more!

While I'm a creature of habit and KC is sorta my "home turf", I am branching out and very excited to see some new territory out there in rando-land...so, 

DO NOT forget about the highly-regarded Nebraska Sandhill Randonneurs, either... ALSO run by our tireless RBA, Spencer K. - yes, he runs TWO regions. 
The stories I have heard coming out of the Nebraska Rides are borderline legendary.
The 2018 schedule is out there now -- so, if you don't mind a short drive to where the traffic isn't... get up there, and explore!

2018 is going to be huge... 

But, how do you GET there? 


Maybe you're reading this and wondering how we ride all these ridiculous distances.  Well, as you might have gleaned from my last post, it is a journey, a progression.  Start slow and low.  Try 50km... that's a little over 30 miles.  Yeah, it doesn't sound like it should be a big deal, but, then try it faster.  Then, a little faster... 

But, rando isn't about speed....? 

True... but, one training philosophy suggests riding harder at shorter distances as training for longer distances at moderate speeds.  As you add distance... ramping up from 50km to 75km, and then 100km... inevitably, you'll dose out the same effort over more miles.  If you can ride a reasonably fast 50km, then you can conceivably knock out a respectable 100km time without worrying too much about the dreaded clock.  Granted, the RUSA time limits are generous... but, the idea is to move from "finishing" to "finishing comfortably", or, with time in the bank.  That translates to time for sleep and sit-down food stops during the longest distances.  The foundation starts at much shorter distances, you see.  

Extend this idea to Ultra, and you can see the point --- Ultra goes beyond rando and gets competitive, so the goals begin to introduce speed AND distance.  Randonneuring enjoyment, however, CAN coexist with some speed training.  You end up adding time into your bank, and that's more time for mechanical issues, food stops, or just enjoying the scenery on your terms - and not the clock's.    

There are tons of resources out there on how to ramp up to a century ride, and they translate and extend very easily to 200km.  But, training programs are very personal.  Research and see what works for you and your riding style, and adjust.  I am not "fast"... not in a strict racing sense -- but, building up endurance is not, conversely, about long, touring-paced slogs to build saddle time.  Remember to ask around, get lots of quality rest, eat smart, ride smart, and be safe.  Ask your doctor if randonneuring is right for you...

After you achieve the 200km mark, simply rest, recover, watch your nutrition and advance to the 300km level.  If you're like ME... maybe the first 400km is a big stretch, even after achieving the 300km level.  It IS possible to come off the local club rides and grab a 600km the following spring... but, don't look that high up the mountain yet.  Sometimes it takes a couple of years to reach a stride, work out inevitable bike fit issues that only crop up after a dozen hours, etc.  Remember, it's a journey, a progression.  Focus lower, at 100 and 200km for now... that's six months until March 2018's first 200km ride... that's do-able.  

If you've been thinking about it and find yourself with questions, hit me up in the comments, check the web, surf the RUSA site, hit our Facebook page.  We're here to help!  

Let's go long in 2018..!

October 8, 2017

Is Randonneuring Dying?

I only say this up front, because I have (in the past) personally fallen into a burn-out trap which subconsciously had me thinking along the lines that - because I have traditionally had limited riding days available - if a ride was not going to count for RUSA credit, it wasn't worth riding.  I think, personally, I've missed a lot of great riding because of my attitude.

But, I also think too much.  (Noooo, not you, Dude!)

This, in some ways, makes me a rando-snob.  People don't ask me cycling-related questions, EVEN when they see I've ridden to work, because they know what I do "for fun", and they immediately assume they aren't going to be on my same wavelength.  I've somehow, unintentionally, isolated myself in a place where I'm "unapproachable" and "weird"... and nobody wants to be like me. 

So... let's grow the sport... (crap)

Lots of bad behavior to un-do on my part.

How do social isolates find OTHER social isolates?  These equations don't solve!

When I approach this same concept from a "community" perspective I feel a conflicted sense of responsibility.  I am a social outcast and lone wolf - like many randonneurs... yet, I genuinely want MORE people to discover the freedom, personal satisfaction, sense of accomplishment, and genuine thrill of riding LONG.  In that same breath, however, I - again, like most of us randos - am fully content to spin out 200 miles in complete solitude and not think anything of it.  I have dropped out of pace-lines JUST to be by myself.  This is a weird sport, this.  My behavior certainly doesn't encourage growth!  
How the heck did I get here?

GETTING to RUSA-land is a process.

We've often tossed around ideas on how to build the club, grow riders, and keep RUSA relevant; yet, to do that I have to remember where I came from.

It was 1999.
I didn't plan to be a randonneur.
I honestly thought that 100 miles was "THE" end-goal.
Warbird and I trained... and trained... and trained.  The MS-150 was a big success as a result, and it was happy days.  

But, that itch was there... did we have to wait for the big club century to ride long?  What if we went farther?  Who are these "idiots" riding DOUBLE centuries??  Seriously?  

"Those guys are crazy...."  

...and yet, I'd find myself secretly wondering if *I* could do it, too.

Then Warbird met the "Grim" Rieper.

He rode a 200 and 300k, and came back to me with tales of epic, awesome rides, endless days, challenges  ... the kind of rides that rattled bottle cages apart and destroyed morale (and backsides) ... and yet... it all sounded amazing.

When I rode my first 200km from Liberty to Platte City and back (thanks, Bob, for making it "easy" - pfffffft) I had no idea that I'd STILL be enamored with it almost two decades later. 

I talked it up, wrote hundreds of thousands of words about it, posted pictures, and tried to make it sound amazing and romantic.... and some riders came.

...BUT, I have seen far too many riders join RUSA and then slip away.  I feel, sometimes, that I didn't do my part to help support and keep them there.  Do we really have a "community"?  Am I doing enough?  Is it even UP to me? 

I need to start doing my part again, and start holding some of the shorter rides that ultimately started to build a community.  People came out and tried 50km, with coffee and jokes and good times - and some showed up for their first 200k.  Some stuck around, some slipped away.... honestly, like Everest (if you'll forgive that lofty analogy), people train and train and train, and then summit; but, it's not something the spirit or the body can often allow annually.  

When one does something HUGE, it's just "done" - and that's normal.  

Some folks join, ramp up, qualify, ride P-B-P, and never ride another rando event.  Box checked.  Done.  Same with Ultra-Cycling.  You train, you ride Furnace Creek or RAAM (I wish), and it's "done".  Forget completely about cost and time... assuming THOSE things were free, most would not come back year over year.  Many can't.

... but, a strong community of "lifers" like myself can help make those journeys possible.  

I need to start making appearances at the local club rides and mix it up with racers and people riding their FIRST road ride EVER - and everyone in between.  I need to show up in the RUSA jersey with the weird saddle bag, and answer questions and talk, and make people realize that it is possible.

I can't expect people to flock in when I haven't even propped open the door.

Yeah, we're a strange bunch... and, it's hard enough riding 100km for the first time when you have to show up to a dark parking lot and try to mingle with a bunch of "weirdos" you've never met.  Rides of ANY distance become SO much easier to digest if "my friend ____ is gonna be there!".... you know?  

Rando isn't dying on its own... heck, it's not dying at all.
But, I can't complain about low ridership and not make the time to try and change things.

Of course, my time limitations are real.
I have high hopes - but, here I am on another weekend morning doing homework and (ahem) typing THIS... instead of mixing it up at the local show-n-go ride.  One of these days the time will present itself - and you can be sure I'll be out there as ambassador for RUSA and Audax K.C..  For now, maybe these posts are enough?  Maybe the Instagram posts are enough?  Maybe... maybe... and I know for every one of "me", there's another RUSA lifer in KC that is fighting the same fight.  We may not ever be as big as San Fran, or Seattle...

...but, OH baby... the thrill of completely running out of route cards at the registration table at the Spring 200km, because we suddenly had 50 walk-ups?  dude.... 

I think we can do this.

Randonneuring isn't dying.
We won't let it.

Let's go ride