The CA Central Coast Randonnee started Thursday, August 7, at 5:30am, and for me, it ended around 10 or 11pm that same day. I completed about 300K in 17 hours (more or less) and then drove the last 50 miles to the first overnight control with Roland Bevan, one of the volunteers.
Randonneuring continues to surprise me, by which I mean that even as I get better at preparing for rides, I learn that I can still face challenges that I was not adequately prepared for. Right now I’m thinking about attitude and mental preparation.
Generally, I do fine on 200’s, 300’s, and 400’s but seem to have a bit of a harder time imagining being successful with rides longer than these. I have done ok on 600’s when riding with friends, but riding alone on longer events does not appeal to me and leaves me feeling overwhelmed by the challenge. On the longer rides especially, I enjoy working with others to complete the ride. The company and team effort is part of what makes doing these rides enjoyable, and is certainly part of the explanation for why I say “yes” to the flèche year after year.
The only explanation I have for why I DNF’d on the Central Coast Randonnee 300K into the event is that I felt overwhelmed by the task and did not have the resources to talk myself into staying on the saddle. When I stopped, I had about 5 hours more of riding to reach King City and then I could have rested for a couple of hours before starting the second day of riding. For a slow rider like me, that would have been a pretty generous sleep schedule, but still I obviously had problems convincing myself that things were going well.
In my logical mind, I know that the way to tackle a longer ride is to break it down so that you think about completing just the next short section; you complete a long ride bit by bit. I know this. But I don’t know if I can teach myself to have the patience and fearlessness to face those long stretches alone, and if I am completely honest, I’m not sure I want to.
What I have always loved about randonneuring is the way in which it makes me face myself. What is the lesson here?