Seven of us rode together to celebrate Cynthia's achievement: Andy, Cynthia, Dub, Joe, Neil, Wayne, and me. Wayne organized the ride, the Red Caboose Populaire. A populaire shorter than a brevet, typically 100K. Our route today was just over that distance, 64 miles long. It was my first populaire. Not that I've never ridden that distance before; I just haven't done it under the auspices of RUSA.
Joe was so thoughtful to make this sign for Cynthia and bring a globe for her photo opp at the start of the ride. Fortunately, she didn't have to ride with the globe.
All of the brevets that I've ridden have been in the allure libre style. In allure libre riding, each rider rides as fast or slow as he/she sees fit, as long as he/she finishes within the designated time limit. We rode today's populaire in the audax style, as randonneuring was originally done. In the audax style, everyone stays together. This certainly seemed appropriate as we all wanted to support Cynthia.
It was cold! We started with temperatures in the mid to upper 30s, and it never got above the low 40s. Everyone was dressed adequately, but it's amazing how much energy the body expends just to maintain its temperature.
The route had just two controls besides the start/finish. The first was a convenience store at mile 31. Wayne made special note of the sign in the window advertising batter fried shrimp. Mmm...seafood from a convenience store...
As I rode next to Cynthia toward the second control, I asked her about her randonneuring experiences. She joined RUSA in 1999 and is no. 608. Today we have more than 11,000 members. It's really cool to meet someone with such a low RUSA number!
She said that when she started, there weren't permanents and populaires like today, and so you couldn't accumulate mileage as easily. She certainly has racked up the miles over the years, however. She's done Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) four times, twice solo and twice on a tandem, and she's done five 1,000Ks. And of course there have been numerous 200, 300, 400, and 600KS. Cynthia definitely exemplifies another important randonneuring trait: dedication.
We passed a field that was strewn with deflated Christmas inflatables. Cythia aptly noted that it looked like a Civil War battlefield with Christmas characters. Coincidentally, we saw this while riding on Dixie Highway.
A short distance farther, we reached our second control, The Caboose in Rutledge. An old caboose has been attached to a building to make a delightful sandwich shop. The seven of us, along with Cynthia's husband Chet, had a light lunch.
Neil had calculated the exact spot that would mark Cythia's 40,000th km. It was just four miles from the end. Of course, we had to stop for another photo opp:
|Eastville, GA - the perfect place to reach 40K|
|L-R: Wayne, Cynthia, Dub, Joe, Andy, and Neil|
If I'm going to spend a day in the cold, I can't think of a better way to do it. Congratulations, Cynthia!
A Personal Bonus
About a week ago, I checked my Strava mileage for the year. It was 8,817 - pretty close to 9,000, but I decided to let it go. Then, on Wednesday Wayne posted about the Red Caboose Populaire. Hmm...with those 64 miles and the 82 miles on Saturday's Peach Peloton, I would need only 37 more miles to get to 9,000. I could do it!
I did my regular Thursday ride, selecting the Forest Service fire tower as my destination. That out-and-back-route gave me 26 miles. I needed only 11 more. Therefore, I rode my bicycle to and from work on Thursday and Friday. Riding my three-mile commute those four times was just enough to push me over the top.
Everything went according to plan - yea! Chad even gave us a few bonus miles at Saturday's Peach Peloton. I didn't mind - they were insurance.
So, I'm very happy to have met this last-minute 2017 goal, but I'm even more happy for Cynthia. Ride on!