This Space for Rent

Now that’s interesting…

In the past few years, I’ve ridden 1-2000km’s of brevets/permanents, with the vast bulk of them being organized (ACP/RUSA-approved) brevets, with a few permanents thrown in to fill up the gaps, and ended up with not very many miles spent out on the road (filling up my time with 30-40 mile grocery loops, at least until my family started to complain about me vanishing for 4 hours when I went grocery shopping.)

This year, so far, I’ve completed 9000km of brevets/permanents (~10200km if you include non credited checkrides; ~10700 if you also include DNFs) and, um, only about 2400 of those kilometers were ACP/RUSA brevets.

So why am I riding brevets? It’s certainly not for the ACP credit – I’m never going to ride PBP, because the idea of spending several thousand dollars to go on a long ride with 5,000 of my closest friends fills me with crawling horror – and it’s increasingly not for the company (I’ve gotten fast enough so that I am more or less the same speed as the slower echelons of the fast boys, and at those speeds it’s more of a race than it is anything else. I could slow down, as has been contemptuously suggested when I’ve griped about it, but I like kiting through the countryside at a comfortable speed.) Maybe because it’s because I love travelling out to remote parts of the Portland metro area and spending $15-40 so I can wander around the countryside by myself.

Actually that last part is a lie. I hate waking up at 2-3 in the morning so I can ride the mclm 20-30 miles out to a remote suburb, then ride another 120-240 miles, then ride 20-30 miles back home. I much prefer the routine I’ve developed for riding permanents, where I wake up at 4-6am, ride 0-4 miles to the start, do the loop, then ride 0-4 miles back home. The Portland-based series that was done this year went a long way to making riding the organized events more pleasant (though I didn’t ride any of them except for the summer 600; I was involved in organizing/volunteering for the 200, 300,and 400 so I couldn’t ride anything except for the workers rides) but, alas, the ancien régime strongly disapproves of rides that start in Portland, so that experiment is not being repeated.

But I can ride a 200 by myself without difficulty. I can ride a 300 by myself if I carry a mp3 player and can listen to music. I’ve ridden a 400 by myself (and hated it, though that loathing did carry me to an under 20 hour finish, even including a 45 minute break where I sat down and seriously thought about DNFing the stupid thing before deciding that I needed to go home, so I might as well finish) without a mp3 player, but there is a small collection of Portland-area riders who are happy to ride long loops without having the carrot of an ACP stamp dangled in front of them, and I’ve coaxed some of them out on 300s and 400s (and one of them is coaxing me out on a 700 this weekend, which I’m very much looking forward to and not just because it will give me my second series for the year.)

And there’s the small problem of my shattered shoulder, which can be patched (and which needs to be patched, because I’m getting very tired of the clavicle and scapula rubbing against each other, and equally tired of the way all of the muscles in that quadrant of my body are slowly turning into knotted balls of pain from trying to support the load of my arm without the assistance of my clavicle) but at the cost of not being able to use that arm at all for 3-6 months while the ligaments slowly regrow around the cadaver ligaments that will be sewn in as a supporting matrix.

This surgery and recovery will, happily, basically cover the spring ACP series, which means that I will have an excuse to not ride out to the dog end of nowhere to ride (and, as a massive bonus, it will keep me away from some people who would make the whole experience an exercise in despair.)

So, as an experiment, I’m going to just not do any local brevets next year. If I feel I need the social interaction, I’ll just take a train up to Seattle to ride a SIR series (or take a train to California to ride a SF series,) but, barring that, I’ve got a huge stack of permanents to ride (16 of mine now, including one 2-3-4-6 series, and I’m not the only one who’s got a 600+ out there, so I can almost (I need to design a coast range/valley floor 400; if I stitch together my two Portland-Pacific City routes they’re almost 400k, and I’m sure I can make up the remaining 32k by avoiding the Wheatland Ferry) ride two permanent 2-3-4-6 series without overlap) and if I ride the eff out of my routes I’m sure I can get myself up to 10k RUSA km without too much trouble.

And it’s not as if I’m going to have any choice; by the time my arm is functional, it will be June (I may have to back out from organizing a couple of 200s in June/July because of this; if I can’t checkride the routes, I can’t organize a ride on them,) and then I won’t have time for any bike camping because it will take time away from riding the local routes. But it is useful when something I have to do is something I want to do.