Friday, January 27, 2012

Colorado Permanents - What's New!

A couple of new Colorado permanents you might like:

Vail-Glenwood-Vail (VGV) - A new 200k from Catherine Shenk: "A year-round ride from Vail to Glenwood Springs and, if you have time, you can visit the hot springs for a soak before returning. Note there is typically a tail wind on the return." 

 Rabbit Mountain Romp - A new 108km Permanent Populaire offering "A foothills-skirting jaunt punctuated with short climbs, visiting Eldorado Springs and Rabbit Mountain."  This is actually the first part of the Carter Lake Cakewalk, so conceivably you could start together with folks riding the latter.

Rabbit Mtn. Romp does not include Rabbit Ears Pass
(photo from Colorado High Country 1200):

Looking Back

32 riders rode 195 perm rides last year, including some never-before-ridden ones.  An active year!

Which perms get ridden the most, and which are more "selectively" ridden?  Here are the stats for 2011. 

Click to view larger image.

Few surprises here. Lyons-Berthoud, in third place, is a 103km permanent populaire, by the way. The others are 200km or longer.

Here are stats since the first Colorado permanent.

Click to view larger image.

The most-ridden ones generally offer terrain which is more conducive to letting riders stay together, and are more season-proof.

 The least-ridden ones are by no means inferior routes.  Rather, they're often the most challenging (and most season-constrained).    To see a tally next to the Manhatten Express (considerable dirt road mileage), Aspirations Attaining Aspen (a mountainous 600k), Fun Frolic to Fraser (dirt over Rollins Pass), the Squaw Pass Scramble (Omigod Road), the Mt. Evans Grimpeur (Mt. Evans summit ... and Omigod Road), and Rocky Mountain High (Grand Junction to Denver over the mountains) is a testament to hardy riders! 

Thanks to Will deRosset, Beth and Brent Myers, and Catherine Shenk for these extra-credit treats!

♣ ♣ ♣

As we ramp up our brevet planning, remember the perms!  They are great for:
  • riding alone
  • riding congenially with a few friends
  • going off on new adventures between scheduled events
  • keeping up fitness ... and toughness ... in the off-season before the brevets.
John Klever and Leslie Sutton at Eldorado Canyon
on the Carter Lake Cakewalk


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Can-Am Challenge - Something for You?

The Can-Am Challenge is an award earned by finishing a Canadian and a US 1200km-or-longer Randonneurs Mondiaux sanctioned Grand Randonnée in a single calendar year.

History - The award started as a cooperative initiative between Réal Préfontaine (vice president of Randonneurs Mondiaux at the time) and Jennifer Wise, RM president and Boston-Montréal-Boston event director, as a way to promote 1200k’s in North America, build a sense of community, and give an added challenge to “overachieving” randonneurs. 

The original Can-Am commemorative pin:
The inspiration for the award came in 1997, when Dr. Préfontaine had succeeded in his self-imposed challenge of finishing both the Rocky Mountain 1200 and BMB, as he described in a 2006 article in American Randonneur. 
At that time, there were only two 1200k’s in North America: BMB, begun in 1988, and the RM1200, begun in 1996.  And riding more than one 1200k in a year - much less a month apart - seemed exceptional to say the least. 

Now, of course, there are multiple Canadian and US 1200k’s, and multiple riders who succeed at two or more 1200k’s in a single year.  So the Can-Am Challenge can be seen as a harbinger of increased aspirations both on the part of event organizers and riders in the ensuing years.
The new 2012 medal design:

This year in Canada, the BC Randonneurs is organizing the Rocky Mountain 1200, while the US offers the Shenandoah, Cascade, Colorado High Country, Taste of Carolina, and Colorado Last Chance.


You can see further details on the BC Randonneurs website, and soon on the RUSA site.  Thanks, by the way, to RM1200 co-director Ali Holt, who designed the new medal.  Ali was also the graphic artist for our High Country 1200 jersey and medal.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

RUSA Distance Awards ... and the K-Hound Phenomenon

As a fresh year beckons, it's time to apply for RUSA Distance Awards if you're interested.  Deadline to apply is January 25If you've ridden 1000km or more in RUSA events in 2011, you may apply for one or more distance awards.

Distance and Randonneuring - Randonneuring is about a number of things.  It's above all about seeking out personal challenging events and finishing ... hopefully with some camaraderie thrown in.  But rando goals by their vary nature involve considerable cumulative distance: 1,500km for Super Randonneur, at least 2,400km for R-12, and, well, 1,200km for a 1200k grand randonnée.  Plus the added training randonnées.  Plus the sheer-joy-of-riding randonnées.

Distance volumes can be a byproduct of your main goals, or an added goal in itself.  In either case, if you're doing a fair volume of randonneuring miles, why not get recognized?

Some Perspective - Certainly, for many randonneurs, beyond a certain point, life intervenes.  Not everyone's life obligations, structure, and priorities make room for countless hours on the bike.  Fortunately, there are many other splendid goals within randonneuring.

A Bit of Extra Credit - RUSA Distance Awards are in denominations up to 5,000km.  Lone Star Randonneurs RBA Dan Driscoll saw that there were some overachievers who could use a larger denomination, hence the LSR K-Hound award, for finishing 10,000km or more in RUSA events in a year.

This year, Catherine Shenk became the first Colorado randonneuse, and second Colorado rando overall, to earn K-Hound status - this through a variety of far-flung, challenging events, from Texas to Alaska.  Congratulations, Catherine!

Dan will be giving us an update on his program in an upcoming issue of American Randonneur magazine.

For now, simply maximizing the number of happy, challenging, rewarding rides sounds like a great goal for us all.