Sunday, November 15, 2009

Three Days Off

So, you crash and leave a bunch of skin in the turn lane on Edmondson Pike. If you're a hardy randonneur, you then go right back out and ride a 1200K. Fortunately, I'm just a wimpy randonneur, so I took three days off the bike, then went out Saturday and rode a 200K permanent. I did the Jack Daniels Distillery route with Jeff Bauer and Peter Lee (on Jeff's tandem), Mike and Patty Willman (on their tandem), and Jeff Sammons (on his bike which is almost big enough to be a tandem, since Jeff is over eight feet tall ... or close to that).

The day started out fairly chilly, but warmed up nicely. There was enough wind to keep things interesting, but it wasn't too bad -- so long as you stayed in the draft of a tandem.

Peter took this picture. Obviously, he was in the draft of a tandem. It's funny how stoker pictures on a tandem often include portions of the captain's head. This one shows just how long Jeff Bauer's hair has gotten.

I had a scarey moment about 20 miles in on the ride when we went through the very tiny town of Verona. Some dogs came out of nowhere right in front of Mike and Patty, forcing Mike to hit the brakes and move left. I was on their wheel, and ended up clipping them. The quick release on their rear wheel hit the spokes of my front wheel.

Fortunately, none of us went down. I did get a bent spoke out of the deal, but was able to ride on after opening the front brake a bit. It was a frightening moment, though, particularly given my recent crash. It kept me from wheel-sucking as close as I normally do for the rest of the day.

If you've never ridden in this portion of middle Tennessee, I recommend it. It was incredibly beautiful, and the roads were nice and quiet. Some of them were a little bumpy, but that's usually the price you pay for low traffic.

There were a lot of tractors on the road Saturday. One of them was towing one of these things -- a thresher? All those whirly blade things really makes you move to the right side of the road when it's going by.

Although there's only between 5000 and 5500 feet of climbing on this route (depending upon whose device you're looking at), it ain't flat. Peter took this picture of your intrepid RandoBoy beating everyone up this long climb.

Peter then took a picture of the look of awe on his face, to capture his admiration for my magnificence.

The foliage was also extraordinary. I would probably say that we peaked in Nashville about a week or two ago, but the lack of rains and storms has allowed some of the leaves to hang around on the trees.

This was Patty's first brevet, by the way. She was great, moving through controls quickly, churning away on the pedals, and passing food and drink to Mike as he needed it. I've ridden with a lot of tandems where the going gets tough in the late miles, and it's hard to stay positive. Patty was not only positive, she was smiling and laughing and appeared to be having a great time. This is a randonneuse in the making.

I took the camera back from Peter later so that I could zip ahead and take pictures of everybody following me up the climbs. I wish that I had a better zoom so that you could see the looks of awe and admiration that they have for me and my incredible power.

Most of the route is on state road 129, which is just an incredible cycling road. Here's Mike and Patty getting to the top of the climb, where we turned briefly on to US-231.

As you approach Lynchburg, you can smell the sour mash. It was really strong here, where they are either storing it or making it in these buildings behind Peter and Jeff.

When you get to the distillery, you can take a tour. Since we were racing daylight, we only stopped long enough to get a free glass of lemonade.

It was really good lemonade.

We then went to Subway, where we could eat fresh. This is, frankly, one of the downsides of randonneuring, as opposed to touring. It's those extra 30-40 miles that you do each day that means that you can't go to one of the nicer restaurants in Lynchburg. Not that Subway isn't good and nutritious ... it's just that it would be nice to replace the calories with something a little better.

This was the last county line sprint that I took Saturday. I got three, while Jeff and Peter won seven. Those two, on a tandem, have so much power that even RandoBoy has no chance in a sprint over level ground.

Peter's doing his Leonardo DiCaprio imitation.

Peter was also modeling this jersey for some friends in China. He said that they are planning to do some kind of ride where they will do 700K in 24 hours. That will hurt.

At the top of the climb past Petersburg, I went up and shot some short video of everyone coming over. Here's Jeff Bauer and Peter.

Next was Jeff Sammons.

And then came Mike and Patty.

It took me miles to catch up with everybody after they tore down the descent. I almost got the feeling that they were paying me back for passing them on the climb and then filming them.

Here we are leaving the last information control. There are two of them on this route, and you have to write down information on the signs. I won't tell you more, as that would force Jeff Sammons to find another sign.

This is at the top of the last climb, about five miles from the penultimate control. We hurried in from here, and I was working too hard to take more pictures. Suffice to say they would have been blurry.


  1. Congrats to Patty on her first brevet and thank heavens Randoboy finished without another spill!

  2. What a great day, and special congratulations to Patty! And Mike, is this your 2nd brevet? See you November 28th?

    Kevin B.

  3. It was a nice ride. Thanks to everyone!Congratulations to Mike & Patty! You both were great! I'm looking forward for next ride.