It’s been a while since I’ve actually done a Brevet. 2012 to be exact. With the Frenchies leaving us all hangin’ on how preregistration is going to work for PBP 2015, my hand is forced to do a full series – 200km, 300km, 400km and 600km. Technically I could just do the 600km, but life will be much easier if I build up to it.
Saturday was the first Brevet of the season here in the Denver area. I was destined to finally make it to a start and not be in a rush. I was also going to eat my standard breakfast and take a shower. This meant, my preparations, for the first time ever, began the night before. I gathered all my stuff up and piled it up near the garage door. I got my water bottles out, put the powder drink in one so all I would have to do the next morning is fill them up with water.
Everything went fairly smooth and I left within my predetermined time range to get me there in a reasonable time. I arrived at 7:25 for an 8:00 start. 35 mins was great! And I was even going to sit there and chat or patch up old tubes.
I had signed in and just about had all my stuff together when a vehicle pulled up with a beautiful Paketa tandem. I was checking it out and one of the team members was having some difficulty with their helmet. OH CRAP! I didn’t remember putting my helmet in my car. I looked around my vehicle and I couldn’t find it. I knew I could not ride without one (unless, oddly enough, you’re riding with the French). I told the RBA and I had figured on taking a DNS.
One is given 13.5 hours to finish a brevet, and I’ve never been pushed for time on a 200k. Of course, I have an 11 hr and 35 min 200k time on my record. But, it was a horrible, wet, windy and hilly ride in Austin. It was 20-25 mins back to my house and I could probably be back by 8:30 or so to start the ride. I returned to the RBA to ask about starting late. I hopped in my car to drive home and I passed a Super Target and supposed a quick drive by to check out the hours would save a trip back down to the house.
Super Target opened at 8:00, and it was now 7:40. I checked for some other nearby stores, but this one made the most sense. I got everything ready so all I would have to do is strap on my shoes, put on my front bag and pedal away. When Target says they’ll open at 8, they open at 8. And with my luck, I parked on the side of the store opposite of the sporting goods. I found a helmet, all were ugly and too small, so I picked the biggest one (which was also the most expensive) and high tailed it out of there.
Finally, I started about 18 mins late. Which I assumed put everyone 4-6 miles ahead of me. I never quite know how to handle mass starts at randonneuring events. I either start out too slow or too fast. But, I decided to adhere to the ol’ rando adage of, “ride your ride.” And knowing I had poorly trained for this event with my longest ride this year being under 40 miles, a finish under 13.5 hours was my number one goal (although I was shooting for 10).
My legs felt great and I was humming along with my first hour average speed of 19 mph. Of course, it was predominately downhill as we dropped almost 1000′ from the start to our mid way point. And about an hour in I passed my first “victim.” A guy had a flat and was pumping it up. I asked if he needed anything and he waved me on. A few miles later I caught up to another person and by mile 42 I had passed a 3rd. All in all, by the first control half way through, I had passed 4 people.
I was “on call” this weekend, which meant I had to take phone calls. One of them happened to be on the way to the 2nd control, I pulled over and got everything settled and it took about 20 mins. Nonetheless, I breezed into the 2nd control.
Some people were leaving just as I arrived and another gentleman was changing a flat. I ran in the store and as if some higher being was trying to tell me something, my eyes caught the ice cream section. I settled on a Magnum Double Carmel. I chatted with the man changing his flat and ate my ice cream.
Realizing I could break 8 hours, a feat I have never accomplished, a leg was slung and I headed down the road. I was more than ready to have the ride over and the road seemed to be never ending. The wind was at our backs though, and it helped to propel me towards the finish. I texted my wife and let her know I would actually, for once, beat the time home that I had given her.
With 7 miles to go the route turned south and into the wind. A man on a time trial bike unrelated to the Brevet looked like he was going to fall over and I quickly passed. The uphill nature and the wind made these last couple miles a killer! And my right foot was acting up with a case of “hot foot.”
Finally, I stumbled into the finish with an official time of 7 hours 43 mins. I had 7 hrs 40 mins, but I went straight to my car and got out of my cycling shoes. Of course if you subtract off my 20 min late start and phone call, I could have broken 7 if I managed my time at controls better. Could of. Should of. Would of.
I’m happy with the result nonetheless.