I recently received my first (of many more, hopefully) R-12 medal. I didn't start out with the goal in mind to achieve an R12. I started the 2007 brevet season as I always had -- which means starting cold with the Morrisville, NC 200k and riding myself into shape from there.
After completing the full series, I still felt like I needed many more miles under my belt before PBP. Mike D. Had put together several nice Permanent routes in the area so I began working some of these rides in on a regular basis. Something just clicked for me -- brevets shouldn't just be a "spring-only" thing -- I should be doing this all year 'round. Mike D. and several other riders were working on their R-12 and really encouraged me to pursue my own.
PBP was a bust for me and a major let down. I felt like I needed to achieve some goal for 2007 and... well... I was already a good 6-months into a R-12... And well, the rest is history.
I'm very happy with my R-12. I've really enjoyed doing the Permanents all year around. I've always commuted year-round, but longer, 200k+ rides haven't factored in before. Coming into the first brevets of the season was so much easier this year -- I didn't have to suffer and claw my way through the first 200k.
However I think the best benefit of the regular monthly permanents is being able to connect with all your great cycling pals all year 'round.
On last weekend's Danbury 205, we were all joking how it'd be kinda funny if you had a puncture from one of the candy cane shards that littered the streets of Mayodan after their Christmas parade. Well, that's been rolling around in my head all week and this morning as I rode to work, the chorus of Margaritaville also popped into my head and this is what I came up with. So sing along in the the tune of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville.... (sorry, Mr. Buffett)
I blew out my Michelin Ran over a candy cane Now I'm gonna have to stop and fix this flat tire But I'm well prepared I have my spare tool kit And I'll be back on the road in a few
Wasting away again in Mayodan Searching for my spare inner tube Some people say there's a candy cane to blame But I know it's my own damn fault
I hope this horrible little tune gets stuck in your head today too. It's about to drive me crazy!!
It was about time to start thinking about the December permanent when Mike D. posted a message to the NC Randon list about riding John B's new Danbury 205 route this weekend. I was in. As fate would have it, Mike unfortunately wasn't able to make the ride.
Several of the usual suspects rounded themselves up for the ride. Branson, Jerry and I rolled out together into a rather cool morning.... somewhere in the upper 20's. True to John's description, it seemed like only a minute or two and we were clear of the strip-mall and out on the back roads of the Piedmont.
John also went on to say, "The route is pretty hilly, but the first leg of the route eases you into it gradually with a few nice rollers to get you warmed up. Most of the climbing is concentrated between Mayodan and Danbury, starting with a nice climb right after leaving the first control in Mayodan....". Truer words could not have been spoken.
While refueling at the Mayodan control, we met a really nice fellow who was clearly an avid cyclist & regular commuter. He'd recently had some sort of heart trouble and off the bike due to doctor's orders. He's hoping to get clearance from his doctor soon to start riding again. I sincerely hope the news is good.
The climb out of Mayodan was quickly confirmed... literally as we left the control. From there out to the turn around was a suffer-fest. Beautiful, scenic suffer-fest, but a suffer-fest none the less -- at least for me. Branson seemed to be sporting the wings of an eagle as he made the climbs look effortless.
Note to self: work on getting better at climbing.
Overall, the route was wonderful. Mostly quiet roads, great scenery and challenging terrain. We did have a bit of navigational confusion, but very easily straightened everything out.
One turn in particular at Hwy 158 wasn't well marked, but it's right where you'd expect it. There's also a flashing signal light at the intersection for confirmation.
Cajun man did make a appearance near the end of the ride for a bit of comic relief! We were all in good spirits and getting just a bit punchy.
After finishing up at John's house, we adjourned to the shopping center where we'd started. The talk of the evening had been dinner and Wholly guacamole had been crowned the winner. And a winner it was! After downing 47 baskets of chips and a 2 gallons of salsa (each), we waddled out to our cars for the journey home.
My adventure was over yet, however. About 20 miles from home my car starting acting funny -- with 10 miles to go the problem became obvious as my lights dimmed to a quaint orange glow. Dead alternator. Almost made it home, but the Sammy finally ran out of juice about 2~3 miles from the house.