The seed of randonneuring was planted. Becoming an Ancienne.
One of the most frequent questions I was asked along the PBP route when people found out I was new to both randonneuring and Paris-Brest-Paris was, “What brought you to the event?” I remember completing my first 300k in August 2014 in Wisconsin called the Dairyland Dare. It was 186 miles with 13,500 feet of elevation gain. As I finished that event and got off the bike, one question came to mind, “How much further could I ride if I could ride 186 miles in 1 day?”
As a result, in the fall of 2014 with that question in mind, I then began to investigate other riders in my club who were riding longer distance events and reached out to them to inquire more. I met with fellow Elmhurst Bike Club member Eric Peterson in the late fall-early winter of 2014. I had not met Eric previously, but would see his longer rides posted in the club every so often. I started following his posts on Facebook and was quite intrigued with his stories of adventure on his long rides. After completing the Wisconsin Triple Crown Series in 2013 and completing the Dairyland Dare 300K in 2014, my interest was definitely peaked, “How much farther could I go?”
Eric and I met for dinner in the fall of 2014 and he introduced me to this new realm in the cycling community called randonneuring. He explained what brevets were, how they were structured and the importance of self-reliance on them. I asked many questions. Eric was wonderful and full of information and suggestions to someone new to this type of cycling. He is a true mentor and leader. He offered me a lot of wisdom and expertise from his years of doing brevets and randonneuring. At that meeting, I told him that I would be interested in doing some brevets with him in 2015. The seed of randonneuring was planted and continued to grow. I wondered then if I could complete the full series in 2015 and started to do my homework and planning-training with that goal in mind. I did not know if Paris-Brest-Paris would be within my reach, but I would use the qualifying brevets as a benchmark. I was very excited for this new adventure ahead of me.
Paris-Brest-Paris OR BUST!
Our “Paris-Brest-Paris or Bust” group was born in early 2015. Eric Peterson, Rick Cosario, Roger Pardon, Rob Schaller and I began our quest to finish the 2015 Super Randonneur brevet series. Both Eric and Rick had previously participated in PBP; Eric in 2007 and Rick in 2011. We began our brevets to try to qualify for Paris-Brest-Paris in April 2015 with the Great Lakes Randonneurs, out of southwestern Wisconsin.
Since these brevets are build on self reliance and self-sufficiency, the proper gear is key to success. Although I love to ride my light carbon road bike, I knew I would have to get a new steed for these brevets as my bike would not enable me to carry much gear with me. The search for my new rando steed began…