I spend this last year in an epic quest to complete an entire brevet series. For the uninitiated, a brevet is a long distance cycling event that it non-competitive and time-limited. The standard lengths are 200km, 300km, 400km, 600km and 1200km. Other distances are possible, but these are the most common. My goal was to complete the early season brevet series to qualify for the Gold Rush 1200km Randonee. I had mixed results – I had many fantastic rides, some absurd failures, and many lessons learned.
I rode all of my events with the PCH Randonneurs, a Ventura-based group of ultra-distance cyclists. The 200km event started in Ventura, rode south along PCH to Malibu, back north all the way to Montecito, and then back down the coast to Ventura. Although it was a flat ride, it was quite windy in the morning. I remember riding down East Hueneme Rd. leaned way over into the wind that was blowing ferociously against my full-disk rear wheel! By the time we made it back to Ventura for lunch, the wind had died down and I continued riding to Montecito with my good friend, Bruce. It was a great way to start the season, and we finished in 9 hours, 30 minutes.
The 300k started with pouring rain. I’m not talking drizzle here, I mean RAIN…something we are not all that accustomed to here in SoCal. Fortunately, I grabbed the shower cap out of the hotel room, and while it may not have been a great fashion statement, it kept my head dry throughout the event. This ride went from Ventura up to Lake Casitas, over the Casitas pass through the foothills to Montecito, more climbing in the foothills above Santa Barbara and up the coast to a beach turnaround, and back along the coast to Ventura. We then headed south and inland to Moorpark, over Grimes Canyon to Filmore and back out to Ventura.
While this ride was wet for the first 5 hours, it was a great ride. This was the first ride where I started meeting new people. Joseph Maurer and I shared a hotel room at the start, and I rode with several others throughout the ride. While some cursed the rain, I rather enjoyed it. I find riding in the rain akin to being a 7-year-old again, splashing through the mud puddles. I did learn, however, that clip on fenders are not deep enough to prevent spray from engulfing the rider behind me on a fast descent!
More to come…