Friday, September 18, 2009

Car(nage) up!

(Here in sunny southwestern PA, the phrase "car up" is frequently heard on club rides to indicate oncoming motor vehicles. This is me trying and failing to come up with a clever title that indicates approaching mayhem.)

The Endless Mountains 1240K is only a couple of weeks away. I think this means I'm supposed to begin spazzing, oh, any old time now. I've bought lots of consumable stuff, I've made lists of this and that and things to do and things to pack and travel schedules and detailed plans to make plans and, oops, haven't really ridden as much as I probably should have and I haven't kept up with my schedule or checked everything off my lists. And ya know what? I'm actually feeling good about this ride, mostly in spite of the preparatory rushings-about. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.

Cameos from Mssr. Franken aside, I realized recently that I've long since gotten past the point of "can I do this?". I can do this. I won't be anywhere near the fastest, but so what? I get to ride my bike for four days through some gorgeous country, probably with the trees donning their autumnal colours; I get to chat with old friends and new; I get to push my body to perform as hard as I want to, but with the understanding that I don't have to push that hard to complete.

I've decided that I'm not going for a fast time on this. Per my experience with this year's 600K, planning to maximize sleep and enjoyment, rather than maximize clock time, seems like the way to go. (Besides, following that strategy resulted in a time only a couple of hours slower than my "fast 600" the year before, so why not?) Will I try to hang with the fast folks? Sure, sometimes, when the mood takes me; it's not like I'll be shooting for my Cyclos Escargots award. However, I don't want to get all wound up in time concerns, at least not for my first grand randonnee. Let's finish strong and finish smiling...

It looks like we've got 50+ riders at this point, and the latest route (and map/profile) has been posted. Tom (PA Randonneurs RBA) has set up a blog for ride progress updates: watch here to see the gruesome details in real(-ish) time, or check the summary board here.