Thursday, October 29, 2009

So many brevets, so little time

As the RBA of my home randonneuring club puts it so eloquently: "Too early to plan 2010? Heck no!" And just like many others, I have been waiting impatiently for RUSA to approve the abundance of brevets proposed for 2010 so that I can start filling in my calendar for the next year, long before the 2009 season (which goes from January to December) is over.

My planning always starts out with the big goals, i.e. the famous "1200s". As soon as I noticed during one of my routine scans on that the Cascade 1200 will take place from June 26 - 29, 2010, I told everybody who was within earshot that this was to be my first big goal for 2010. I had read all the descriptions and reports from the previous editions and always knew that I just had to do it: Big mountains, high desert areas, and organized by the prestigious Seattle International Randonneurs club!

And while I was mentally up there in the northwest, I also looked over to British Columbia, with fond memories from last year's Rocky Mountain 1200 flooding my brain. Much to my delight, I found that Ken Bonner (note that this article is from 2005!) will offer the VanIsle 1200 again, not even four weeks later (July 21 - 25, 2010). Those who know me well enough will understand why I added the VanIsle 1200 immediately to my major goals for 2010.

OK, two 1200s within four weeks should be enough of a worthy challenge for me. Now I need to start thinking about how to prepare for it! Let's look at the RUSA web site for the Californian brevet dates. First, my home club - WOW, a new record number of brevets:

That will keep me busy - and should prepare me well for the C1200 (the 6/12 200k brevet just two weeks before: perfect!) and the VanIsle 1200 (with the 7/17 populaire right on time as a smooth, relaxed "tapering ride" just four days before the start).

Despite the record number, there are still weekends left for brevets from the other Californian clubs - let's look!

I am always grateful to the Davis Bike Club for the Gold Rush, and I like their brevet routes. Maybe I can do another series there:

And I have good memories of my first 400k brevet in Santa Rosa (2006) and last year's 200k with the excellent Bear Republic Brewing Company beer at the finish (and this year's 300k) - I'll have to go back there, too:

This is good calendar stuffing, at least for the first half of the year. But how about the Santa Cruz Randonneurs where I received my first exposure to randonneuring in 2005, and whose RBA couple has RUSA numbers 7 and 8 and consists of a former and the current RUSA president?

A big first: a 1000 km brevet, and then a complete series with an extra 200 in the otherwise relatively quiet summer months. But (oh my) the 1000 conflicts with the Cascade 1200! Now I don't know what to do ...

And I haven't even finished yet with the Californian brevets - more conflicts to come! Because Fabienne lives in LA, we have reasons to make a trip to SoCal every so often which I like to combine with riding one or the other brevet from the PCH Randonneurs or the San Diego Randonneurs. Look how prolific those two clubs are:

Both clubs offer a 1000 km brevet on the same date, and generally, the conflicts with the brevet dates in Northern California become more and more unavoidable. - It's a nice problem to have!

So far, I have only looked at the brevet calendar. The schedule of the 2010 CalTripleCrown double century series has not been published yet; I will want to come back to some of them as well - at least the Spring and Fall events in Death Valley, and the Knoxville, and ...

And then, just when I thought that all this was more than enough, this popped up on my radar screen and within minutes became the desired pinnacle of my 2010 season: In September, I am going to France and participate in the 1000 du Sud, an extremely alluring heart-shaped loop from the Mediterranean Toulon through the Gorges de l'Ardèche, then into the Alps over some famous TdF passes and back through the Haute Provence to Toulon! Not that I expect it to be easy (quite the opposite with its 38000 ft of elevation gain); but it's simply irresistible. If you don't read French, still take your time to look at the photos from this route. Maybe you understand me better when you learn that I first came to Southern France for two years as a student in 1970, that I found my wife there, and that we lived there from 1982 through 1991 ...


Let me know if you want to come along.

My preparation for the 1000 du Sud has begun!

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