Randonneuring 2022

Randonneuring: the art of riding a bicycle ridiculously far for fun.

More specifically: the sport made up of brevets, which are non-competitive, self-supported, ultra-distance, against-the-clock cycling events.

From the summer I started riding, brevets were my goal. It was no easy thing, because the penny ante for a brevet is 200 kilometers (124 miles). This was the year that it all came together for me: training, bike fits, and a full season of events.


I rode the Sterling Populaire on April 9th with the New England Randonneurs, finishing in 4:39.

What went well: two months of mostly-structured indoor training beforehand. I was in really good shape for this, and my time reflects that. Though I didn’t ride alone, I kept up with a strong pair.

What went poorly: I showed up to the brevet without the route in my bike computer. Well, that just meant I had to stick to a group. And I showed up about ten minutes before go-time, so I was scrambling to get geared up in the parking lot. That didn’t really change.


Two weeks later I rode the Wachusett, Oakham, and Purgatory brevet, again with NER. I finished in 10:23.

What went well: This was just a beautiful route through central Massachusetts! I still think about the winding climb through a new development, up to the golf course. Not much stoppage time, I was quick in and out of controls. My nutrition was good, I had enough to eat the whole day.

What went poorly: I did not have enough to drink in the first three hours. Actually, I had nothing to drink, because I left my bottles in the car. The biggest rookie mistake I made all season, and the reason I decided to write packing lists. Luckily I was able to get bottles at the first control…wow.

After my 200k I felt super strong. Then I got covid! Or a really bad flu. I’m still not sure what it was, but I was in bed for a week and didn’t train for two or three.


Didn’t make it to the NER Ware’s The Quabbin 300km, but I did drive out to the Midcoast Maine 300k on June 11th. I finished in 16:30.

What went well: Another wonderful course through mostly-quiet roads in Maine. A lot of good memories riding with a great group for most of the day. This was the debut of my Otso Warakin Ti and my first time riding in the night. I really liked night riding and electronic shifting! My gear worked as I expected it to. Finally, I finished strong in the night after feeling like I struggled in the afternoon, and chased down a nice round finishing time.

What went poorly: This is where my long-ride-specific problems emerged. Shoulder and neck soreness, lower back pain, foot numbness from narrow shoes. I didn’t figure out mitigations during the ride, and took too long to develop solutions afterwards.


I went back to NJ to visit my mom and rode the Wildwood 400k with the NJ Randonneurs on June 25th. I finished in 20:35.

What went well: I survived a brutally hot day. 90 degrees and humid at the Jersey Shore? Get off the bike and hit the beach, man. I didn’t quit at the controls despite really wanting to. Really, I was looking at how expensive it would be to Uber home from two counties over. But I gutted through it, and again was stronger in the night. It was really nice riding in the night with someone else, it’s spooky out there in New Jersey with green tunnels. Oh, and I had like five Icee’s, one at every control point. Sugar and cooling, heck yeah.

What went poorly: After this I think I finally decided to get different shoes. In with Lake, out with Sidi. My shoulders and back were really killing me too, so I got a suspension stem and seatpost. My appetite went away in the heat, and I couldn’t get to sleep after such a big day. These would haunt me later…


Again, back in NJ. I rode the East Windsor 600k and scratched after the first day - 250 miles in 18:35.

What went well: Ridiculous pace on the first day. The weather was cooler, 70s but also raining. I ate well but didn’t stick with any groups and rode solo pretty much the whole time.

What went poorly: I couldn’t get to sleep after the first day. Didn’t bring an extra Benadryl and melatonin wasn’t cutting it. After getting one pair of bibs soaking wet and finishing the day in them, my undercarriage was pretty tender. Either bring an extra pair or get fenders (ideally both).


In August I went to Minneapolis to try a grand randonee. This was the motivator for all my training in 2022. When I got to the sticking point of hard workouts, I told myself “1200”. I attempted the Coulee Challenge starting on August 15th to the 18th. The first day was 236 miles; I finished in 20:36. The second day was 185 miles and I finished in 17:55. They were the hardest rides of my life. I did not start days 3 and 4.

What went well: I loved the course and the ride volunteers were incredible. I got to see a part of the world that I otherwise would never have visited, and I’m eager to come back for another try at the challenge. My gear held up well.

What went poorly: The rider did not hold up well. IT band pain, knee pain from walking hills, left hand numbness - these were the physical reasons I stopped. Mentally there were a number of difficulties. Certainly I wasn’t prepared in either way for the steep and long climbs on the course. If I was able to ride them all, I’d have done better with time as well. Solo riding took its toll. Groups seemed to give their riders strength.


I’m going to finish a brevet series - 200, 300, 400, and 600. Maybe I’ll try a 1000? I’m not going to try to make it to PBP, though. :(