Sunday, December 21, 2008
Got mine yesterday, with the help of JoeRay: #84. That's 84 months in a row with at least one century ride. 7 years. The picture is from century #1, way back in January 2002, when this madness started. My goal at the time was to do a century a year, not a century a month. But I had not counted on the undue influence of several randonneuring lunatics. Rich. Adrian. Dan G. Mike. Those are the guys who got me started down the path to rides of 200, 400, 750 miles. Distances I did not believe were possible, or advisable, back when I dipped my first toe into the sport of randonneuring.
Now, more than 60 brevets later, I have a profound appreciation of the goals that can be achieved on a bike, and of the magic landscapes that are accessible only on two wheels. The high desert of Washington state with 300 miles in the legs, a 30 mph wind at your back and 50 mph on the speedometer. The deep green fern-lined lanes of France in a bone-chilling rain. A midnight snowstorm on the road to Liberty. I have a friend who says he does not understood the benefit or value of travel. But he'll never conjure those images in his mental slideshow, and he'll never understand the rejuvenating power of a family ice cream stand on the side of a Vermont mountain.
Goals cannot be achieved without sacrifice or pain. Or sometimes drudgery. Yesterday's century was one of those. Miles for miles' sake. Pounding out a rhythm on the pedals with one eye on the odometer. A day that started in a thick fog and ended in a light rain. With a flat tire thrown in for good measure, and a repair job that went south when I pulled the valve out of the new tube. But we got 'er done. The streak lives. And in one month, I'll tie Bruddha Rich, the guy who persuaded me in January 2002 that a century a month was a good idea. Back then, Rich had 12 months under his belt. I never thought that I would catch him. I thought a full year would always separate our marks. Then, without notice, Rich let his streak go last February and the door of opportunity opened. With each new month I've closed the gap. It's only fitting that he join me in February when I move past his record...You out there, Rich?