Monday, June 9, 2008

What Randonneuring Is All About

Tom Petty once wrote:

Every now and then I get down to the end of the day
And I have to stop and ask myself why I've done it.
It just seems so useless to have to work so hard
And nothin' ever really seems to come from it.

Jennifer Chang just finished the Seattle International Randonneurs 600 kilometer brevet and posted this eloquent answer to Mr Petty's question on the SIR mailing list:

Hello Randonneurs,

In an impulsive moment, I've decided to post my 3:30 am journal rambling, as I feel it reflects sentiments of all of us, who attempt these hard rides. Thank you to multitude of SIR organizers and volunteers, who make these rides possible!


Monday, June 9, 2008, 3:30 AM

After SIR 4 Passes 600K

I've slept, and it's 3:30 am, and I'm up because I can't breathe and my system seems to be shutting down, but I am happy! How do you explain that!

I keep waivering back and forth about this randonneuring stuff. It's really one of the most difficult things I've done in my life and I am SO miserable, while I'm doing it, though I have moments, like when I was climbing White Pass and the sun rose slowly over the creek, and I knew I was one of the few that witnessed the light hitting the craggy walls and mountain grandeur, and I was going wow, and wow, you know.

The worst moment is when you've done over hundred miles and the sun is setting and it's beautiful, and you want the ride to end, just like that, in ease, after the hard day, you wish to literally ride off into the sunset, into hot showers, warm food and soft bed, and you've got OVER hundred miles to go! That's, for me, psychologically, the hardest part.

But, these randonneur rides end in crescendo, in heart beat, in racing beat, as you race against the time, hard, into finishline and you cross, not really into beautiful sunset, but into someone's garage, in dark, or a strange motel lobby, and there are lights, late into the night, and there are friendly cyclists, who are staying up, waiting for you! Looking out for the lost sheep. And you go, wow, I did it. I finished it. And it's an addicting high. Very, very addicting.

I always love the randonneuring ride, after it's done. How could you not? I love the other rides, too, for the comfort at the end of the hard, beautiful day. I don't have to choose, but does that mean I have to continue with randonneuring?

It's hard on my body. So hard on my body. Takes me to my limits: physical, mental, emotional. Period. But, in those limits, I am aware of my boundaries. Boundaries that define, I. And I feel sizzlingly alive, within my set limits. I am not infinite, but I am I.

It's addicting. It's the high.

Paul "Dr. Codfish" Johnson shares the control worker's view of this ride here:

No comments: