The Green Machine is born. Becoming An Ancienne.
THE GREEN MACHINE
A beautiful 2007 green Rivendell Rambouilliet came into my possession in mid April 2015 from Bob Booth, a friend of Eric Peterson and fellow randonneur from Madison, Wisconsin. My journey into randonneuring was getting more exciting as it unfolded. I felt like I was riding a Cadillac. The Green Machine weighs in at 38 lbs. with rear rack, panniers and front bag. It truly comforted me on the long rides and absorbed the shock much better than my full carbon road bike (weighing in at 17 lbs.). I was willing to sacrifice the weight for the comfort, recognizing that going past a 300K was unchartered waters for me. Not only was the “Green Machine” nurturing to my body on the rides, she was a beauty to the eye with the beautiful lug work and Honjo hammered and fluted fenders. She is a classic randonneuring bike and I was set with my rando steed to test uncharted territory in the Super Randonneur Series.
THE QUALIFYING BREVETS
Eric, Rick, Rob and I completed a 200k (124 miles), 300K (186 miles), 400K (240 miles) and 600K (380miles) in a matter of six intense weeks from April to early June with the Great Lakes Randonneurs in Wisconsin. As we finished the 600K, our last qualifying brevet the second week of June, Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) was within my sight. We were lucky with the weather for 3 out of 4 qualifying brevets. But the 600K we finished to qualify for PBP was brutal. As veteran randonneur and ultra cyclist Rob Schaller said to me, it was one of the most challenging in terms of weather. We rode 380 miles, climbed 16,000 feet and the weather proved to be the 600 lb. gorilla in the room. We left Delavan at 6:00 am with rain, a light wind and 65 degree temperature. The rain would stay with us until about 110 miles into Baraboo, Wisconsin. As we continued to ride the first portion of the 600K, a cold front moved in and the weather continued to deteriorate. The temperature continued to drop from 65 degrees to 38 degrees when we finished the 400K of the 600K at 5:30 am. We arrived in Delevan to sleep for 3 hours and head back out to finish our 200K. The weather was more cooperative for the 200k, no rain to deal with but a heavy wind heading back to Delavan.
I remember coming into Delevan for the last 25 miles, smiling the whole way in…I was bound for Paris. I had completed the Super Randonneur Brevet Series in my first 6 months of randonneuring to qualify for Paris-Brest-Paris. I felt like Charlie in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory singing blissfully, “I’ve got a Golden Ticket….I’ve got a golden twinkle in my eye…cuz I’ve got a golden ticket…”
It felt good to ride with a group from the Great Lakes Randonneurs to train for PBP. Eric Peterson, Rick Cosario, Bob Booth and Rob Schaller were instrumental in providing me feedback and mentoring throughout the entire series and for which I am so grateful. Additionally, I had the opportunity to meet so many new cycling friends from the Chicagoland region as well as Minnesota in my brevets in southern Wisconsin.
After completing the Super Randonneur series in early June, the goal was then to continue to build on the strength and conditioning bank to be ready for PBP in August. I did a phenomenal week long training event with fellow PBP rider and La Vuelta Puerto Rico friend Catherine LaCrosse called RAINSTORM in Indiana. This week long bike tour consisted of 100 miles/day for 5 days, finishing with a Ride Across Indiana called RAIN (160 miles) on day 6. It was a great intense week of cycling and I highly recommend it for anyone looking train for ultra-distance events. After I completed this in early July, I was focused and getting ready each day for PBP; training my body, my mind and my spirit for pushing my body like I had never done before.
I was waiting patiently for August 16th at 8:00 pm when my PBP journey would begin. I was ready to roll the dice…