A Different Path

I have, over the past two years or so (it’s amazing how time grows larger as you grow older–remember when six months was a long time?), settled into a rhythm with my daily activity. My bicycle has become my primary means of transportation whenever the family is not involved, and I cannot remember the last time I went to work via any other means. During that time, I’ve dabbled a bit in the black art of alleycat racing, and even tried my hand at proper racing at the Oval. Many of our climbing friends have slowly morphed into (or returned to being) cyclists, and several race on a regular basis. While there is certainly a draw to return myself, my short-lived career at the Oval reminded me that in order to excel, you must train–a lot.

I have become sparse at the climbing gym, in part because I would rather spend the time between and bedtime with my kids, and in part because I cannot muster the motivation to after 8:00pm, especially after my commute. This is not say that I don’t want to climb. I’ve enjoyed the (little) time we’ve spent outside thus far, and I’m looking forward to cooler temps for the fall. And I’ve been content to simply climb–not concerned about grades, or whether I fall–just moving over stone. Simple.


As of late, I have been interested in randonneuring–essentially, longer distance, unsupported cycling events. These range from facile, sub 115km populaires to the brutal 1200km of Paris-Brest-Paris. These events are not races, but simply tests of endurance and self-sufficiency where the rider must maintain a simple 10mph to finish the event within the time limit. Easier said than done, I suppose.

Today I caught wind of a populaire being held outside of Philly (apparently there are no randonneurs in the Pittsburgh area) in October, so we have a rather tenative plan to spend time with family there so I can get my feet wet. Ideally, such events could be a springboard for doing something a bit more ambitious, like the cross-state brevet that was held this Spring (Crushing the Commonwealth). But who knows, perhaps I’ll too much misery in so much time in the saddle. Only one way to find out.