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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

NJ 300K

Last Saturday I rode in the NJ 300K, a ride that I had not participated in for a few years. The weather was great, nice cool temperatures for the majority of the day, which really helped during the climbing in Warren County. As usual, the brevet was not without new experiences for me. We had a very small group of 21 riders, and when we set out at 4:00, I quickly followed 2 lead riders, not realizing that one was Joe Kratovil, who I know is a very strong & fast rider. I rode a good portion of last year's NJ 600K with Joe throughout the Catskills, with the difference being that Joe was on a Fixed Gear bike, which is still hard for me to comprehend given that very challenging route. As we rode into the 1st control at mile 30,I knew that I would not be able to keep up with Joe & the other rider, and they quickly left the control, making the decision an easy one for me. One of the things that I have not done yet on a brevet was to ride on my own for any real period of time & has always been a bit of a fear for me. I ended up riding the rest of the brevet on my own, and I really enjoyed the experience, and gained some confidence. I even survived leaving the overhead lights in in my car all day, which I learned about from Steve at the 1st control, no call to AAA needed, the joys of a hybrid battery. The NJ 300k is a beautiful route, which was exceptionally well supported by many volunteers. The NJ 400 will be my final brevet before leaving for Ireland, much more training to be done.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Wow, 2 1/2 years since my last post, life has been busy & good. Last year I completed another Series & had some great rides in NJ & PA, met some great new people, and reconnected with some new friends after not doing any events in 2012. I would have to say that there likely was something in the back of my mind in 2012 after failing in my first 1200K attempt, that likely sent me back to my normal group riding & more time at the beach. After the miserable winter we all experienced in the Northeast this year, I enjoyed doing the NJ 200k to start this season, which spends some time along the NJ coast, which I love so much. It was a great way to kick off the 2014 season, although I will say that we experienced some serious head winds making our way down the coast towards Spring Lake. A few months ago, my good friend Bill Fisher, officially invited me on to his Fleche team, "Fear of Gears", after talking to me & encouraging me to join the Fleche experience for the past few years. As the team name would suggest, my teammates, Jon Clamp, Norman Smeal, Gavin Biebuyck & Bill, all did the Fleche which started from the Eastern PA headquarters in Quakertown PA, with No gears. I was & i am still, in awe. I, was not ready for that particular challenge, but my friends welcomed me to the team anyway, and we had a fantastic ride down to Southern NJ,& back. Although I started the ride very sick & ended the ride even worse, I really had a great time, learned a lot (how to kill time in the middle of the night, when all you really want to do is keep riding)I have to say that midway through the ride, I was thinking to myself, this is great, another Randonneuring "check the box experience", but just maybe, this will be it for me 2014, or perhaps, maybe just the NJ 300? Soon thereafter, Bill & Gavin mentioned that they had signed up to ride in the Mile Failte 1200K in Ireland, in June & why dont I join them? I didnt give this too much further thought during the ride, but I have been thinking how great it would be to do some serious riding in Ireland & also, how much I would like to get back to the land of my ancestors, after not having been back for too long now. Once Bill & Gavin sent me some info the next day, I decided to sign up & I am really looking forward to the experience. Unlike my first attempt at a 1200K, I intend to approach this much more differently. Although I am in full training mode, I am really looking forward to the full experience, the beautiful scenery, the opportunity to ride with people from so many countries & also being able to ride with 2 very good friends & experienced Randonneurs, Bill & Gavin