1996 was my first (and very tentative) year in randonneuring. This is the story of that year.
At that time, I worked in Princeton NJ. I had scoured the web, reading reports over the winter of 1995 and was inspired to give it a try myself.
At that time, there was no brevet series in New Jersey. Speeding up on Friday evenings to Boston in my 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX with my bike in the back became a regular occurrence. I ended up riding the entire Boston Brevet Series (200km, 300km, 400km and 600km), then run by Dave Jordan.
|I used a 51cm Vitus 979 frame bought from Bike Nashbar with Shimano 105 6-speed components complete with downtube shifters. 52 x 39 front and 13-26 rear was the gearing. It weighed 21 lbs. An inexpensive and serviceable setup. However, despite its faithful service, I ended up ditching the Vitus for a high-end titanium bike with Dura-Ace STI 8-speed after the series. (I reckoned I had earned it.)|
It was also a reward-based series. Each time I completed a brevet, I bought myself a new bike toy from the catalogs.
Enough bike background!
|May 18th||200k||June 1st||300k and Tour de L'Île|
|June 22nd||400k||July 20th and 21st||600k|
There are the stories I wrote for randon (an online mailing list for randonneuring) immediately after each ride. I like this style of reporting; otherwise memories fade, get embellished and revisionist history kicks in. It was fun to re-read them, although I wince at the naivety of the (w)rit(d)er. The reports are presented basically unaltered, though I couldn't resist adding a few notes here and there.
As a result of completing the series, I qualified for and even completed Boston-Montreal-Boston (BMB) in 1996. In 70 hours and 45 minutes for 1200km and about 30,000ft of climbing. (In a later attempt I completed it in 57 hours. But that was with dedicated training and years of randonneuring experience.)
Although I posted all these stories to randon, I actually wrote them for myself. A diary or record of how it really was, if you like. I hope it helps to inspire others to try randonneuring. It's hard to convey the great feeling that comes from being able to cover serious distance in this style. There is no follow van, no navigator. It's you, the hills and the vast distance you must cover today.
I suppose the 1996 series take-home message is this: