Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Super-Randonneur: Andrea Koenig

When did you ride your first brevet? My first brevet was the 200 km Stove Prairie Saunter in September, 2007.

Your brevet/rando experience up to this point? I didn’t have any brevet experience. I had some “randonneuring” experiences of my own: I biked the RMCC’s Copper Triangle. This ride is not a race and had similarities to the brevets and permanents due to the stops at gas stations and/or convenient stores. I also biked from Breckenridge to Denver during that same summer.

How did your previous rando or other experience help you? I didn’t have a lot, but I was athletic growing up, through high school and college. I think that helped to give me some advantages (I learned how to mentally adjust more quickly to new experiences) and/or disadvantages (aches, pains, injuries).

Did you do any specific training for successive, longer SR events? Some night riding, additional brevets/permanents as well as RMCC club rides.

What were the challenges moving up to the longer distances? Mostly mental ones—I just had to tell myself that I had my cell phone, $, other riders that would help me out in the case that something happened (and I’ve used them all). I would also remind myself that despite my mental and physical preparations, that these were just rides and I didn’t have to finish. Despite that last statement, I still took the rides seriously in my prep work.

How many years of working towards the SR award did it take you? Setbacks overcome? In terms of biking, two years. I did have a set back my first year of cycling and attempting the SR series (I completely only the 200 and 300 km brevets). I was disappointed at first, but also realized I could learn from the experience of not finishing the 400 km. I was happy to have ridden my second longest ride as well!

Any particular strategies (nutrition, pace, sleeping)? I ate/drank all sorts of things—bagels, peanut butter, coffee, hot chocolate, Powerbars and Hammer products. I did nothing really for pacing, other than just knowing the time constraints for RUSA’s (and ACP’s) rules for completing the rides. I slept between the two loops of the 2009 600 km ride, as I liked the idea of knowing that a reward of sleep/relaxation was waiting for me.

Other tips or words of wisdom? Bring enough gear and food/water for the weather conditions, lengths of riding between checkpoints and try to know the terrain in terms of where the route goes as well as hills, flats and mountains.

- Andrea

Ed. Note: After Andrea's first brevet, she rode a 200k or longer in each of the next eleven months, to qualify for the RUSA R-12 award, and continued on with another twelve months after that, her second R-12. After her first SR series in June of 2009, she successfully completed the Last Chance 1200k in September. Photo above is of Andrea off to a good start on the treeless environs of eastern Colorado on Last Chance 2009. -jle

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