1000k Calendared Rando Ride
This ride was scheduled to commence from Tavares, Florida on Friday, October 27th at 4 in the morning. Click on the map below to see the route at RWGPS. Four local riders participated, and me (from New Jersey). Four guys (ages 38, 55, 58 and 59, and one woman (age 51). I was the 55 year old. We were allowed 75 hours to complete the course with two nights for sleepovers. Each night we reported back to the Point of Departure from the day before (Inn on the Green motel in Tavares).
This was my third rando ride for the month. I did a 1200k ride in the first week of October, then two weeks later I did a 200k ride that was somewhat hilly. And then this ride one week after the hilly 200k. Unfortunately for me I got a sinus infection the day after the 200k ride, and was therefore starting this 637 mile (1000km) event sick and with an injured left achilles tendon. Not good. However, I was over the worst of the sinus infection the night before the ride started. And the ride was mostly flat. So I didn’t see the tendon becoming too much of an issue. Everything turned out OK I suppose since I finished the ride in 67 hours and 20 minutes all in one piece and able to drive home to NJ the next day without any trouble. I had about 7 hours and 40 minutes left to spare at the end. Phew!
This was not a ride for the record books. I was riding injured and sick. I just wanted to finish without hurting myself. And by so doing I would wrap up my RUSA Cup Award in 7 months during my first year of randonneuring.
I rode most of the route alone except for 150 miles during the first day. There were only 4 other participants: Ed, Marion, Mark, and Tayler. All four were local to Florida and knew each other fairly well. I rode the first two segments alone on Day 1, and the four others kept catching me at the controles as I was leaving. So when they caught me at the 7-Eleven before we got to Starbucks I stayed back with them and we rode together to Starbucks. Then I took off from Starbucks before they did because they had different eating plans than I did. Halfway to the next controle we were together and stayed together for the rest of the day (mileage for the day was 270). During that day I saw some wildlife I wasn’t used to seeing much: big black snake, armadillo, bald eagle, and a live raccoon. The day got quite hot. Fortunately I was already tan enough that I did not burn. But my tan got darkened quite a bit.
I had plans to depart on Saturday morning at 4 AM, and the other four had different plans. I never learned what those plans specifically included, but I got the feeling they weren’t going to depart before 7 AM. I was willing to wait until 5, but not longer. And I got no nibbles at that. So I never saw the four of them again. I’d ask at the controles whether riders had come through before me, and I always got a resounding “no.”
With these longer rides I’ve consistently been having rump problems. I thought I was getting saddle sores. But this time around I’ve figured out that my rear end is just bruised beyond recognition by the time I’ve finished a long single day in the saddle. I use a somewhat hard racing saddle, and I’m going to look into a comfort-oriented saddle for future long rides (over 200k). I’ll probably settle for the RavX Gellow Comp that I use on town bikes currently. I expect it will solve my problem regarding a sore butt.
Mileage for days 2 and 3 were about equal. I was expected to ride about 183 miles each of those days. Day 2 started out cool and foggy, but by afternoon it was sunny and quite hot. The roads for the most part were boring, and I was not having fun. Felt a lot like riding the roads in the NJ Pine Barrens. I don’t do that very often (for your information). But there weren’t too many inclines, and there wasn’t really all that much wind to contend with on Day 2. The only wildlife I saw that I’m not used to seeing was a large alligator crossing a river. I saw it looking down from the tall bridge I was riding over. It was quite a ways away. The ride on this day was clearly the easiest ride of the three days. I was slow because my rear end was causing me much pain and discomfort. So much so I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to tackle Day 3. Not finish? I’m not used to that!
By 3 or 3:30 on Saturday afternoon (Day 2) the clouds started rolling in. They cooled things off a bit. But they also brought a misty drizzle from 4:30 to 7. Not a problem. But soon it got dark and it started to really rain. Not a downpour, but a good solid rain for the rest of the ride back to the sleepover. Many of the hills on the day’s ride were in this section. So the darkness coupled with the rain made it difficult to navigate the hills without having to waste energy climbing. My quads were sore the next morning if you were wondering.
I looked at the weather forecast online on Saturday night and it said temps were to drop and it could still be raining in the morning. I decided to not depart until the rain had stopped. I ended up leaving at 5:30 Sunday morning in the dark on damp roads and the temp was somewhere in the low 40s. But the rain had brought some serious wind (15-20 mph winds coming from the west). So there was a wind chill factor, too. And guess where the route took me on Day 3. You guessed it – directly into that Easterly wind. There were some hills to contend with on this day, but the real hill was that wind. I made it through the course even with my butt problems and hobbled in at the motel (last controle) at 11:20 on Sunday night – some 67 hours and 20 minutes after starting the trek. I was the first finisher according to the person who signed my brevet card.