Tuesday, May 7, 2013

In the beginning...

The guy next to me is asking about the route. Of this ride. Because you can be on a ride and be from someplace else and wonder what is next. You have all night to think about it.

The route is the Boonville 600K and we are on some road outside Healdsburg and it's about to get hard. For my money this is the hardest 600K anywhere. Daryn Dodge designed the route. It has broken people, caused them to reevaluate their goals, led them to DNF. Sent them back to flatter terrain.

Naturally, this is the part I leave out.

No moon tonight. If we could see the roads around us it would be beautiful country. The start was at 8pm yesterday, Friday, after a crazy week at work. I'm sleepy, sore, not feeling strong. It's just before dawn, a circadian low point.

It's exactly two years ago, May 7, 2011.

Before long I'm telling the creation story of RUSA, who was involved and why, how it came about. At the time of the first Boonville 600K in 1999, Davis Bike Club was the randonneuring club in California. The first running of this brevet had a 4pm start. A warm night in the Alexander Valley, a big moon over Yorkville. You could ride by moonlight.

Dan addresses the Davis Bike Club team in Paris in 1999. All the new RBAs and Daryn are here...

The whole crew was there including Donn King, Bill Bryant and Lois Springsteen, Todd Teachout. In the next few years all these people started new brevet series closer to home. Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, San Francisco. Those series are still going strong, along with Davis. Randonneuring, once a fringe sport, began to take off. Dan Shadoan was on the ride too; he took over from Daryn. Davis is how and where it all began.

Hearing my own voice I think this is what people sound like when they're old. Maybe I've hung around too long. This type of cycling you can do into your 70s but I'm so weary. Feeling old. The brain injury has taken its toll. What am I doing out here?

I'm qualifying for my fourth PBP. This time not for adventure or ego or lack of better things to do, but to jump-start my brain. Bathe it in chemicals, grow new capacity, let it know it is still expected it to do stuff. Get off the couch.

Dan & Ann are waiting in Ukiah, along with Mary and her family. The extreme stomach issues that could be TBI-related, they're waiting too. They start on the way back from Boonville and dog me for the rest of the ride. I'll be speechless with nausea. I'll sleep for three hours in the back of Deb Ford's car in Calistoga. I'll survive.

Tomorrow, the Fort Bragg 600K with SF Randonneurs. All night to think about it.

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