Saturday, January 14, 2023

Picacho Flyer 100k Permanent Populaire

On January 10, I rode the Picacho Flyer 101k Permanent Populaire. The start/finish is about 10 miles from where we stay in Tucson, so I rode to the start and back. 

More importantly, while the official route turns around at the base of Picacho Peak, there's plenty of time to go into the park and enjoy the scenery, and the only real climbing on the route. I wonder if that was the original idea the route designer had, that folks could optionally tour through the park.


The start is at the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Park, which is related to the Cañada del Oro Path. 


Much of the route is on the I-10 Frontage Road heading NW in the direction of Phoenix. En route you can peer west to the Pinal Airpark, a facility in the desert that is a boneyard for airliners and other aircraft (and may rehabilitate some).


As you proceed outbound, you see the ever growing image of Picacho Peak before you.


At the entrance to Picacho Peak State Park, I paid my $3, got the stub below, and some advice from the ranger - also a road-bike rider - as to some particularly steep stretches within the park (Barrett Loop) that a cyclist might enjoy. 


Nice vistas from Barrett Loop ... which does have its steep spots.



Next touring down the main park road.


A view across the valley.


A nice assortment of saguaro and other cacti. And lush green grass, after New Year's rain.




Heading back south into a headwind, it was comforting to have aerobars. It was a reminder of some earlier perms I rode here, the Picture Rocks 100k and the Old Pueblo 200k, which also went through Marana NW of Tucson.

A nice perm finish back at this artful bench. And then it's on back to our dwelling.


This was a surprisingly fun and pleasant ride, especially Picacho Peak, the figurative high point of the experience. 

-jle

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Last Chance 2022 photos

 Riders at the 4:00 am start, Louisville, CO

John Lee Ellis, Osvaldo Colavin, Charlie Martin, Man-Fai Tam -- all members of the RUSA Web Team -- at event start


Bryson Strauss with curious rancher/cyclist east of Joes, CO - Bryson wrote one of the rider reports


Dang Dzung w/ volunteer Patricia Heller


Robert Newcomer at Anton, CO

Charlie Martin changing tube after thorn puncture



Charlie Martin discussing birds with volunteer Patricia Heller

Record high temps for this date here ...


It'll Do Motel, Atwood, KS

Dawn on Day 2, Atwood, KS

Brent Myers and Beth Long w/ Family Members, Atwood, KS

Charlie Martin at breakfast, displaying patched tube, after multiple thorn punctures


Beth Long managing rider check-ins in Atwood, KS

Undulating landscape in Kansas


Volunteer Debbie Bush with Roger Peskett

Gabrielle & Carl Andersen at pre-ride check-in

Gabrielle and Carl Andersen, with finishers' medals -- they wrote one of the rider reports

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Colorado Rando Awardees - 2022 Round-Up!

   Here are Colorado randos who've earned RUSA and ACP awards in 2022!

Once again this year, we recognize you, our friends, because you have pursued this or that challenge, and through commitment, persistence, and discomfort, have managed to achieve it!

For some of these awards, you need to apply to be recognized. You don't need to purchase the physical award. What's important is the goal and the accomplishment. For some, the physical award is a nice memento.

Some are challenges within the current year or a twelve-month period. Others recognize achievement over a number of years.

We congratulate our fellow randos for their persistence in achieving their goals!

You can see our cumulative awardees across the years here:
Super Randonneur · R-12 / P-12 · R-5000 / 10000 · Others


One-Year Awards
ACP Super Randonneur
R-12
P-12
American Randonneur  
Challenge
K-Hound
Can-Am Challenge
Multi-Year Awards
RUSA Cup
ACP Randonneur 5000
ACP Randonneur 10000
RM Challenge Lepertel
Ultra Randonneur
Coast-to-Coast
Mondial
Ultra R-12
American Explorer
Rando Scout
— other awards not covered here 
RUSA Distance Awards
Ultra K-Hound

Ultra P-12
Galaxy
Rouleur

ACP Super Randonneur
Complete brevets of 200km, 300km, 400km and 600km in one year.

10 awardees in 2022.

BUSH, Debbie †
ELLIS, John Lee
HARTOKOLIS, Nyssa
KHAN, Rashid
LEDRU, Pascal
MANGIN, John
MOORE, Jennifer
TUREK, Michael
WARREN, Corinne
WEIGEL, David (1)

Longer distances can be substituted - as for RUSA Ultra Randonneur award.
(1) First Super Randonneur award!




R-12
Complete a 200km or longer RUSA ride in each of 12 consecutive months.
Listed in order of achieving.

Henry Snavely [7]
John Lee Ellis [15]
Jim Howell [3]
Paul Foley [8]
Michael Turek [6]
Corinne Warren [5]
Trent Cooper
David Weigel




Ultra R-12
Complete ten R-12's (need not be contiguous).



P-12
Ride a 100km to 199km RUSA ride in each of twelve consecutive months.

Jim Howell
Dustin Harding
John Lee Ellis [9]
Paul Foley [4]
Malcolm Fraser [5]
Corinne Warren




ACP Randonneur 5000
Ride 5000 km in events including Paris-Brest-Paris, a Flèche, and 200km, 300km 400km, 600km and 1000km brevets within 48 months. (An Audax Club Parisien award, not RUSA.)

LEDRU, Pascal
RAMOS, Mateo


Friday, December 16, 2022

Grand Randonnée Round-Up for 2023!

It's December, and the snow is only flying in the mountains, but it's cold enough here to be inside planning, so it's time to take a look at next year's Grand Randonnées!

Six US Grand Randonnées are scheduled for 2023:
Some Early Season Events! - The Texas and Florida 1200k's in March are the earliest in the year in US history. And only two had been scheduled in April - two prior editions of Carolina Spring. 

Route Shapes ... and Logistics - Four of the events are four-loop events, which have become more and more popular. Three of these are genuinely "cloverleaf" - loop emanating to the four points of the compass from the ride finish. Ours (the Colorado Front Range 1200) is less so, because we are bounded by the Denver Metro Area, so we only go in certain directions. But the advantages for riders and organizers are the same: easier logistics, and easier to support.

At the other end of the spectrum is point-to-point (such as the Craters 1200), where riders need to think about getting back to the start, or home.

Paris-Brest-Paris - That Other Event - Each of our US 1200k's prior to PBP can be ridden with lots of space between them and PBP. Either as prep, or just more 1200k fun!  Some of you may choose one or more of these (or the Craters 1200, or a foreign Grand Randonnée other than PBP) instead of  PBP. Plenty of options!

♦ ♦ 

Here are "award motivations" for riding a Grand Randonnée:

Finish two US grand randonnées in the same year.

Finish four different US grand randonnées - over any number of years

Finish a US grand randonnée, a populaire, a team event, 200k, 300k, 400k, 600k, and 1000k, and enough extra to add up to 5000 km in 24 months.  (Extra time allowance for series spanning Covid timeframe.)

Finish PBP, another grand randonnée, two Super-Randonneur series (with 1000k's), an additional ACP 600k brevet with at least 8,000 m (26246 ft.) of climbing, a Flèche, and other ACP/RM events within six years. (Extra time allowance for series spanning Covid timeframe.)

RM Challenge Lepertel
A 1200 km or longer event in each of 4 consecutive calendar years, one of which must be PBP.
Les Randonneurs Mondiaux has relaxed the requirement to complete a grand randonnée in each of four successive years. You can make up the year 2020 and 2021 by riding an extra grand randonnée in a successive year.

And now details on the US grand randonnées ...


The Golden Falcon is a new event organized by the Northeast Florida Randonneurs. This is a new region, led by Hamid Akbarian, who is also RBA of the Northern Virginia region, and who has organized two 1200k's there. We should expect easy logistics for riders, since the route is a cloverleaf (based out of Jacksonville), and limited support during the event, mainly at the overnight venue. (The event is designed to be self-supporting.)  Could be a benign way to ride an early-season 1200k. About the name: the event page says, "The Golden Falcon symbol was used during the first dynasty of Persian Empire to recognize the freedom of all the people under the Persian Empire, especially women & minorities."

  
The Quick and Dirty is a new event organized by the Hill Country Randonneurs. It will be a cloverleaf-route tour of the Texas Hill Country - one of the  most attractive areas in Texas - based out of Austin. This is an attractive, hilly and wooded area with many quiet roads. Folks who've ridden the Texas Rando Stampede have sampled this area.  Pay attention to the lodging setup and  recommendations such as the "Host hotel deadline."  This should be a good, scenic event with opportunities for camaraderie.

  


Carolina Spring continues the series of spring 1200k's organized by Tony Goodnight that have been well received, with a variety of routes over the years. Tony says, "There will be 3 sections into the Foothills of NC or VA, then to Sandhills of NC." All of these areas are attractive for cycling with nice terrain (some climbing in the foothills, and rolling terrain in the Sandhills). You are responsible for lodging, including en route, under the philosophy that one set of stages does not fit all riders. When I rode the Taste of Carolina, I made my own reservations a few hours beyond the third day's supported checkpoint because it made more sense for me. Worked out great.

  

The Northern Virginia Cloverleaf 1200K - based out of Sterling, VA - is the second edition of this challenging but logistically friendly ride. Limited support as is typical of the cloverleaf format, but expect excellent organization and a warm welcome from Hamid and Shab Akbarian. Christine Newman wrote a ride report of the first edition for the RUSA magazine, American Randonneur.

  


The Colorado Front Range 1200 is a new event organized by Rocky Mountain Cycling Club. It is based out of Louisville, CO in Boulder County. Unlike the Colorado Last Chance 1200 and the Colorado High Country 1200, it uses the four-loop format like the cloverleaf 1200k's, but with the loops skewed to avoid population centers. It's a mix of canyons, Front Range mountains, and plains riding. It is based on the Solstice 1000k brevets (tacking on a 200k perm route), which can be ridden self-supported. Expect light event support but a scenic and challenging, and very doable event!

  


Seattle International Randonneurs' Craters 1200 is the second edition of this evocative event, although 1000k versions had been held earlier. With segments along the Pacific Coast, culminating at Crater Lake in Oregon, it is definitely alluring. Expect good organization, from one of the largest rando clubs in the nation. It is the only point-to-point US 1200k this year, so pay attention to the logistics issues of getting back home from the finish.

  

Foreign Randonneurs Mondiaux Grand Randonnées

Have a look at the Les Randonneurs Mondiaux calendar for 2023 for listings of Grand Randonnées worldwide. There are 68 events for 2023, despite it's being a PBP year. Some of these could be really evocative events and something new for you!
  • 22 in India
  • 11 in Australia
  • 6 in the US (as mentioned above)
  • 1 or 2 in other countries
  


The 20th edition of 
Paris Brest Paris kicks off on August 20, 2023. This grandest of Grand Randonnées requires a fair amount of thought, preparation and planning, everything from which start group and starting wave to where to sleep during the ride to where to stay before and after the event. In addition to the ACP's PBP website, See the RUSA PBP main page and PBP FAQ page for more info.

  

Choosing and Riding a Grand Randonnée

My traditional advice ...

While all grand randonnées aim to provide you a memorable experience, there are many styles of events, kinds of challenges, services, and what you get for your fee.  So investigate and find which ones suit your personal goals!

Scenic and Challenging or Social ... or Both? - Each of these events is challenging, of course, and any can be social with the right attitude and discipline.  But it can be easier to stick together as a group if the route is more moderated in its climbs, exposure, etc.  Riding with a group may be important to you.  Or you may be longing for that special, bracing experience, and willing to ride stretches alone or with a few friends who've agreed to stick together.

Your Ride Plan? - Some events provide a pretty definitive idea of where you should sleep. Others provide some accommodations at a number of controls. Still others leave you totally to your own devices.

» Stage-Oriented events have suggested riding segments per day, with overnight facilities provided at the ends of those segments. They have become more popular over the years. This scheme promotes rider cohesiveness, and allows riders to regroup on successive morning starts.  They also allow the organizers to concentrate their lodging and food support at fewer points, making for upgraded lodging options and cost savings.

» "Freestyle" events come in variations on two themes: many staffed controls with sleep options (some of which may be limited, but still a place to sleep), such as Paris-Brest-Paris and the Rocky Mountain 1200; or no event-provided lodging, leaving you to research ahead of time, and make your own arrangements based on your ride plan, likely with a more economical entry fee.

It can be satisfying to tune your ride to how things are going, or to your own personal way of riding.  It can also be comforting not to have to think about that, and just ride well-thought-out stages. 

Pre-visualize how you'd ride the event you've chosen or are considering, and how the event structure supports or can accommodate your needs.

Services / Lodging Provided? - Are there regular opportunities to get food (either event-supplied or in stores) and shelter / lodging (either event-supplied or motels en route)?  The Big Wild Ride 1200k in Alaska, for example, advised riders there could be stretches up to 200km where you'd need to be self-contained (except for water).  This requires more planning on your part, but the reward could be a remote, scenic trip hard to match.
  
Effort and Expense - Finally, while it may not affect which event you choose, research the total cost of riding the event.  The entry fee may a small part, when added to transportation and lodging - and the logistics of getting to/from the start line.  International events clearly can be more trouble and expense, and some US events are easier to get to than others, too.  If it's a trade-off between economizing and the exotic, you may find the new or exotic worth the extra cost and trouble, or not.  It all depends!

- - - 
  
Plenty to whet your appetite and take you to new places in 2023.  So start imagining, planning, ... and training!

-jle

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Colorado Rando Awardees - 2021 Round-Up!

  Here are Colorado randos who've earned RUSA and ACP awards in 2021!

Once again this year, we recognize you, our friends, because you have pursued this or that challenge, and through commitment, persistence, and discomfort, have managed to achieve it!

2021 - Rebounding After a Difficult Year For a time through 2020, there were no events and perms to ride. We can happily see that things are pretty much back to normal in 2021, with plenty of new awardees and the usual overachievers!

For most of these awards, you need to apply to be recognized. You don't need to purchase the physical award. What's important is the goal and the accomplishment. For some, the physical award is a nice momento.

Some are challenges within the current year or a twelve-month period. Others recognize achievement over a number of years.

We congratulate our fellow randos for their persistence in achieving their goals!

You can see our cumulative awardees across the years here:
Super Randonneur · R-12 / P-12 · R-5000 / 10000 · Others


One-Year Awards
ACP Super Randonneur
R-12
P-12
American Randonneur  
Challenge
K-Hound
Multi-Year Awards
RUSA Cup
ACP Randonneur 5000
ACP Randonneur 10000
Ultra Randonneur
Coast-to-Coast
Mondial
Ultra R-12
American Explorer
— other awards not covered here 
RUSA Distance Awards
Ultra K-Hound
Rando Scout
Ultra P-12
Galaxy
Rouleur

Super Randonneur
Complete brevets of 200km, 300km, 400km and 600km in one year.

16 awardees in 2021,
up from 0 in 2020.

ELLIS, John Lee
FEY, Jonathan
FOLEY, Paul A
HARTOKOLIS, Nate
HOWELL, Jim
KHAN, Rashid
LEDRU, Pascal
LOWE, Mark
MANGIN, John
MOORE, Jennifer
RAMOS, Mateo
SMITH, Vernon
TUREK, Michael
TURNER, Jason
WARREN, Corinne
WITTER, Erin




R-12
Complete a 200km or longer RUSA ride in each of 12 consecutive months.
Listed in order of achieving.

Henry Snavely [6]
Jim Howell [2]
Paul Foley [7]
Michael Turek [5]
Len Szmurlo [2]
John Mangin [3]
Jennifer Moore (F)
Jeremy Shlachter [2]
Nate Hartokolis
Dustin Harding [3]




Ultra R-12
Complete ten R-12's (need not be contiguous).



P-12
Ride a 100km to 199km RUSA ride in each of twelve consecutive months.

Paul Foley [3]
Malcolm Fraser [4]




ACP Randonneur 5000
Ride 5000 km in events including Paris-Brest-Paris, a Flèche, and 200km, 300km 400km, 600km and 1000km brevets within 48 months. (An Audax Club Parisien award, not RUSA.)

Paul Foley [3]

Friday, November 12, 2021

Grand Randonnée Round-Up for 2022!

 It's November, and although the snow is only flying in the mountains so far, it's time to take a look at next year's Grand Randonnées!

A record nine US Grand Randonnées are scheduled for 2022:
* First scheduled in 2020 and then in 2021, but cancelled both times because of COVID.

♦ ♦ 

Here are some "award motivations" for riding a Grand Randonnée:

Finish two US grand randonnées in the same year.

Finish four different US grand randonnées - over any number of years

Finish a US grand randonnée, a populaire, a team event, 200k, 300k, 400k, 600k, and 1000k, and enough extra to add up to 5000 km in 24 months.

Finish PBP, another grand randonnée, a Super Randonnée 600, two Super-Randonneur series (with 1000k's), a Flèche, and other events within six years.

RM Challenge Lepertel  NEW 
A 1200 km or longer event in each of 4 consecutive calendar years.
Les Randonneurs Mondiaux has relaxed the requirement to complete a grand randonnée in each of four successive years. You can make up the year 2020 and 2021 by riding an extra grand randonnée in a successive year.

And now some details on the US grand randonnées ...


The Treasure Cove 1200 is a new event organized by Northern Virginia Randonneurs, who organized the inaugural Northern Virginia Clover 1200k in 2021. This one claims to have much less climbing, starting out with a visit to the coastal plains are of the Virginia Tidewater, and incursing into North Carolina. Riders will get their share of hills, though in western Virginia and West Virginia. The NVR 1200 was well organized in 2021, and we can only expect the same of this one!

───────────────────────


This is the 6th edition of the Gold Rush Randonnée, featuring a beautiful and rugged exploration of Northern California, including the Feather River Canyon. The GRR is the second oldest US Grand Randonnée, dating back to 2001. Davis Bike Club provides excellent and comprehensive support, with plenty of staff and a numerous sleep venues, so you can tailor your own ride, or adapt as you go.

───────────────────────


The Mason Dixon 1200k is a new event organized by DC Randonneurs, who organized the successful Blue Ridge to Bay 1200 in 2018. "The route includes the Blue Ridge and South mountains, Shenandoah Valley, the iconic Antietam and Gettysburg battlefields, and Pennsylvania Dutch Country, all in the Mason Dixon region that functionally separated Union and Confederate territories." So, an historic bent to this event, and sounds like similar locales covered to the Shenandoah 1200 of earlier times.

───────────────────────


Seattle International Randonneurs is offering a new, and longer route for the Cascade 1400. Preliminary route info suggests a point-to-point route starting on the Olympic Peninsula, crossing to the east side of the Cascades, and returning over the North Cascade Highway to finish north of Seattle. Could be an epic and expansive ride, opening up new territory for this event!

───────────────────────


The Lap of the Lake 1200 is a circuit of Lake Ontario. So a portion of the route is in Ontario, Canada. It is based on the Lap of the Lake 1000k, which Pete Dusel has organized for years. "Please make your plans assuming this is a self supported ride."

───────────────────────


New York - Montréal - New York is "a long skinny loop, visiting six ranges of the Northeast Appalachians." It starts in the New York City suburbs and turns around near Montréal in Québec.

───────────────────────


This is the second edition of the Coulee Challenge, organized by Minnesota Randonneurs. A number of us rode the inaugural event in 2018 and had a great time!  Yes, there are some stiff climbs up the coulees, but plenty of pastoral scenery to calm the experience, and great support.  Plus the chance to sample, compare, and debate about the virtue of Minnesota vs. Wisconsin cheese curds.

───────────────────────


This is the 12th edition of the Colorado Last Chance. We may return to our pre-2017 two-state format (east on US-36 until some point in Kansas), but may have some new things in store. This is a good ride to do in a group, because the terrain makes it easy to stay together, and the possible wind makes it inviting to do so.

───────────────────────


This is the second edition of Pete Dusel's WNY Waterfalls 1200k. Pete created this event in 2021 to substitute for LOL, since the Canadian border was closed. Riders loved the waterfalls and other nice scenery of Western New York. 

♦ ♦ 

Foreign Grand Randonnées - Have a look at the Les Randonneurs Mondiaux calendar for 2022 for listings of Grand Randonnées worldwide. Among the 93 events for 2022:
    • 13 in India
    • 11 in Australia
    • 9 in the US (as mentioned above)
    • 1 in Canada
Highlighting a couple of events ...

August 25

This is the fourth edition of the Granite Anvil, organized by our friend Dave Thompson under the rubric of Ontario Randonneurs. The event has been well received, especially the 2nd and 3rd editions. For 2022, instead of one big loop, it will be topologically like this year's High Country: out to a common overnight point, two loops from there, and back. That should make logistics easy for riders and maximize scenic route appeal.

───────────────────────

July 3

The third edition of the Ronde Aliénor d'Aquitaine, in southwest France should be a good, scenic event, judging from the positive opinions of friends who've ridden it before. They offer, "the forests and  lakes of the Périgord Vert, the medieval fortified towns, the legendary passes of the Pyrenees (including the Aubisque), the verdant Basque Country, the dramatic Atlantic coast, and finally the prestigious Médoc (Bordeaux ) wine route."

♦ ♦ 

Choosing and Riding a Grand Randonnée

My traditional advice ...

While all grand randonnées aim to provide you a memorable experience, there are many styles of events, kinds of challenges, services, and what you get for your fee.  So investigate and find which ones suit your personal goals!

Scenic and Challenging or Social ... or Both? - Each of these events is challenging, of course, and any can be social with the right attitude and discipline.  But it can be easier to stick together as a group if the route is more moderated in its climbs, exposure, etc.  Riding with a group may be important to you.  Or you may be longing for that special, bracing experience, and willing to ride stretches alone or with a few friends who've agreed to stick together.

Your Ride Plan? - Some events provide a pretty definitive idea of where you should sleep. Others provide some accommodations at a number of controls. Still others leave you totally to your own devices.

» Stage-Oriented events have suggested riding segments per day, with overnight facilities provided at the ends of those segments. They have become more popular over the years. This scheme promotes rider cohesiveness, and allows riders to regroup on successive morning starts.  They also allow the organizers to concentrate their lodging and food support at fewer points, making for upgraded lodging options and cost savings.

» "Freestyle" events come in variations on two themes: many staffed controls with sleep options (some of which may be limited, but still a place to sleep), such as Paris-Brest-Paris and the Rocky Mountain 1200; or no event-provided lodging, leaving you to research ahead of time, and make your own arrangements based on your ride plan, likely with a more economical entry fee.

It can be satisfying to tune your ride to how things are going, or to your own personal way of riding.  It can also be comforting not to have to think about that, and just ride well-thought-out stages. 

Pre-visualize how you'd ride the event you've chosen or are considering, and how the event structure supports or can accommodate your needs.

Services / Lodging Provided? - Are there regular opportunities to get food (either event-supplied or in stores) and shelter / lodging (either event-supplied or motels en route)?  The Big Wild Ride 1200k in Alaska, for example, advised riders there could be stretches up to 200km where you'd need to be self-contained (except for water).  This requires more planning on your part, but the reward could be a remote, scenic trip hard to match.
  
Effort and Expense - Finally, while it may not affect which event you choose, research the total cost of riding the event.  The entry fee may a small part, when added to transportation and lodging - and the logistics of getting to/from the start line.  International events clearly can be more trouble and expense, and some US events are easier to get to than others, too.  If it's a trade-off between economizing and the exotic, you may find the new or exotic worth the extra cost and trouble, or not.  It all depends!

- - - 
  
Plenty to whet your appetite and take you to new places in 2021.  So start imagining, planning, ... and training!

-jle