22 June 2015

I am a Super Randonneur

Super Randonneur   (rahn doe ner) - A special medal awarded to those randonneurs who successfully complete a challenging series of brevets (200, 300, 400, and 600-kilometers) in a year. A hard-earned honor unto itself and worthy of being any randonneur's goal for the cycling season, the Super Randonneur series of brevets is usually needed to enter a 1200-kilometer event.

To be perfectly honest this was never in my plans for 2015, I had planned to ride a 300km event and possibly even the 400km but never the full series.
Note this is a long post by my standards.... short version I did it with a great group of friends and lots of sunshine. 

200k event

My randonneuring season started with the 200k Palmer spring classic.  I didn't have the greatest of starts to that event, I over heated and was cramping up by mile 30.  Luckily I was riding with a great group of people and thanks to Oscar, Chuck, Chris and Ryan letting me wheel suck/draft I managed to complete the event well within the time frame.
Photo Album 

These guys let me draft a long way :D

Riding gravel, the guy on a cross bike gets a flat.... go figure

Almost there

300k event

Following on from the Spring Classic we were back riding again four weeks later for the Anchorage Palmer Anchorage event.  Last year this was the first time I rode an event with the Alaska Randonneurs (see here for the blog post) This year I upped the distance I was going to ride.  This time I was going to attempt the 300km event.  We couldn't have asked for a better day out, sunshine, great temperatures and again another fantastic group of people to ride with.   Photo album

The 300k was a lot of fun and surprising I felt really good after the event, I seem to be improving every event that I take part in.  I am managing to improve my hydration and fuelling for the events.
Sunshine riding

Fantastic views

Homeward bound

All done Tom, Tim and Narciso

400k event

Just two weeks later I was out on another event, this time it was a 400km event. In 2014 I did this event as a one way, ride to Seward and take the train back, (see blog here).  This time I was going to attempt my first 400k event.  The weather was significantly better this year.
First control Portage - 2014
Cold and wet climbing to Summit Lake - 2014
2014 pictures

First control Portage - 2015

Warm and sunny climbing to Summit Lake - 2015

2015 pictures

The ride went great.

The engines for our ride down to Seward

Brant and Oscar were (only)riding the 200k event and very kindly spent most of the way down to Seward on the front of the group pulling us along at a good pace.  

Almost caught back onto the peloton 
We were a big group riding out of Anchorage and aside from stopping to take off clothing early on and playing catch up for around 12miles down the Arm I was able to draft a fair amount when I needed.

First bit of sunshine on the ride
We arrived in Seward early in the day and after refuelling headed back to Anchorage.  It was really warm on the way back up to Summit lake and we had a head wind.
Turnagain Pass summit 

Almost there

Chasing the sunset

Stunning views

All finished no lights required

600k event

After the effects of the 400k had worn off  and I found out the 24 Hours of Kincaid was not going to be happening for 2015.  I started to seriously consider riding the 600k event.  I talked with Amanda and after calling in a lot of kitchen passes :-) I booked the time off work and committed to the event. 

The original plan for this event was to ride up to Talkeetna and back which was a change from the normal event they have previously ridden (ride report) normal route page here.  All this changed last week due to some serious wild fires closing the road we needed to ride.  

The Alaska Randonneurs managed to put two approved permanent routes together for the 600k event, this is very important for anyone using this as a qualifier for Paris Breast Paris (PBP).  For us this meant that we would be riding the 400k event we rode the 3 weeks ago then completing a 200k event afterwards, this is normally how the event is split but for us this would mean a lot of time on the Seward highway which although has a reasonable shoulder by Alaskan standards also has a lot of traffic. 

The route started at 6am, this is 2 hours later than we normally start to ride down to Seward and the traffic was noticeably higher.  The weather was definitely not as warm and sunny as three weeks ago which was actually a relief, firstly we wouldn't be so inclined to stop and take pictures and two it was a great riding temperature for the majority of the ride.

Photo album

Down to Girdwood we let Oscar do some of the pulling until he rode off the front and we didn't chase him down but we did appreciate the tow whilst it it lasted.  We also saw the bore tide.
Bore tide

After a quick stop at Tesoro in Girdwood we were down to four people (Jan, Tom, Narciso and I), we rode as a group all the way down to Seward and back to Tesoro, mostly together, I didn't take many photos on the way down, the light wasn't that great and I mostly forgot :D

Stocking up on the way out of Seward

Tail winds galore

I forgot my towel

Getting ready to roll again, we had some horrible headwinds after this.

A quite moment along the arm, didn't get much darker than this. 

Jan was taking part in the 400k event, I think he finished at 02:00 I finished got back home around 00:30 and was asleep by 01:30 to get up at 05:15 to complete the 600k event. 

6am and off we go again

Tom pulling along the arm towards the climb

Bottom of the climb

Top of the climb with Bernie resupplying 

Bake shop in Girdwood for lunch

Thanks Julie for the photo
Almost done

Buzz finishing the climb

Narciso finishing the climb
Narciso, Buzz and I finished the route at around 17:15.  Tom finished a little later and I know Andy finished at some point too.  Buzz, Andy, Bernie and Tom  are off to complete PBP this year and I wish them all the best of luck.

What have I learnt on these long rides. 

  • It doesn't matter what you do, your arse will hurt.
  • Chamois butter is fantastic I couldn't ride these distances without it. 
  • Brooks saddles are comfortable but I still need cycling shorts and chamois cream.
  • I don't really have any specific ideas of what to eat but I do know I eat lots when doing the rides, pretty much always eating and hydrating after getting it so wrong on the Palmer Classic.
  • Am I mad? Possibly or maybe just crazy.
  • I am lucky and haven't had any punctures in all the distance I rode.
  • I am very thankful that Amanda is so supporting and looks after Fiona whilst I do these events.
  • I mostly rode the events in sunshine :D
  • I plan to do a 1200k event one day, not this year though.
  • I want a cross bike.
  • Yes my legs get tired though not as badly as you would think, I more feel like I have no power left in them.  Oh and going up stairs is hard work for a couple of days afterwards. 
Thanks for reading all

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