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The Human Psyche, Marrying Mr. Bois, and Keeping it Real
by Lorraine Nygaard

My Chilli 200, 2013 report has 3 sections. I invite you to read 1, 2 , or 3 observations.

The Human Psyche

We can talk ourselves out of anything. Early in the year, I had great plans to do as many of this year’s rides as I could. But as the Chilli 200 day drew near and my preparation was not as it should have been, it was easy to talk myself out of taking part. Any number of excuses were quick on my lips – too busy, no training, guilt for having fun when my kids are working so hard, I look stupid being slow and old and and and. But there was the little voice deep inside that said, “I really want to try”. I put on my new tires the afternoon prior to the ride, hoping that would help increase my speed. But I wasn’t able to re-attach the brake cable. I added a mud flap, but it rubbed the tire. My mind kept flipping between going and staying home.

Picking up my sons from the ferry terminal at 10:30 p.m., knowing they had worked hard all day, I sheepishly asked if they were able to help out. My heart was warmed as my 18 year old Luke did the work until midnight, while giving me a lesson on how to adjust the brakes if need be. Again though, that stupid voice: “Is a midnight sleep-time appropriate for a brevet? No. “ The other voice replied “Do they ride with sleep deprivation in PBP? Yes.” I woke at 4:30, and went out into the cold morning to see if I would be able to ride on my new tires and brake properly. It felt really good. All right, let’s make porridge and get this show on the road.

Within the first 15 minutes of the ride, I was so happy that I’d made the choice to take off. By fluke, the weather was outstandingly awesome. Getting out and breathing the early morning air while the world is quiet was enough reason for taking off. If you ever doubt a reason to leave the house, just use that one.

I Want to Marry Mr. Bois

Within the first 50 km of the Chili 200 I decided that I want to marry Mr. Bois. And I will have his children, two of them, and we’ll call them both Grand. And we’ll roll faster than I ever have before. Our union will be happy, and trustful.

I will laugh at how easy a relationship could be. No more intense pressure to keep up. No strain in my being. Ah yes, bliss with Bois.

For those that don’t know, Grand Bois is a lovely tire that rolls easily. I had no idea that the same pedaling could produce a form of ecstasy. I hesitate dating Mr. Marathon Supreme again.

Keeping it Real

I am not fast. I will never be one of the “cool” randonneurs, and that could easily be a reason to not bother taking off on brevet day. Especially when there were a lot of “roadies” there on Sunday morning. “Wow. Look at all the team shirts and carbon bikes”, I thought to myself. Undoubtedly they were thinking, “Here comes some dumpy gal. Ha ha. What’s she doing here?” But I decided in my mind, “It is my part to keep randonneuring real.” Everyone is supposed to be able to happily take part, it’s not a race, it’s for the scenery and the camaraderie and challenge to our own bodies and state of mind. And I love riding my bike, and I have new tires, and I like a challenge. That’s it.

After he’d seen everyone else off, Mike pumped up my tires and I left on my own. Thanks Mike!

So far as the ride went, I was extremely happy with incremental steps to success. This was my 4th 200 in 1 1/2 years. Things that slowed me down were not training every week with big rides, having that excruciating pain in the 3rd toe, chatting with small shop owners, and ordering fries that were wrapped in massive pieces of newspaper but no carrying mechanism. That was a dumb choice! Things that helped me shed some minutes included having the new tires, being clipped in finally, fine weather, and a super rip-snorting fast pace with my newly-found friend Denise as we bonded across Land’s End road and Highway 17.

The highlight of my Lantern Rouge ride: In the last hour with the pending dusk, I stopped on West Saanich Road to methodically stretch out my leg to bring feeling back to my toe, and felt as if I was being watched. I looked across the road and saw 3 very large horses staring at me with concern and compassion. And then another, with an enormous head and the kindest eyes you ever did see, and then I realized “Oh, you’re a Shetland pony!” And we watched each other for a while, and I realized he wanted some love. I’ve always had a wee fear of horses, but I went over and petted his face for quite some time. It brought the greatest joy to me that this was the finale of my ride. I connected with a horses’ soul! Screw the fast times. This is real stuff, I thought.

Thank you to Brynne, Mike and Steven Croy as always, the terrific organizing trio. Thank you to Kristy Lee, Brynne, Steve, Dave, Vik and Sharon for their happy faces at the controls. Thanks for the new friendship Denise! Not quite “breaking bread”, but passing the same home-made energy bar between moving bikes within 5 minutes of meeting is a pretty good start to something cool. We blabbed for the next several kilometers.


I’m organizing the next brevet called “Somewhat Familiar”. Anyone that is doubting themselves and trying to talk themselves out of it had better pick up their socks and come out to keep it real. The personal joy in facing our challenges, and reaping unexpected rewards is the best. See you then.


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March 5, 2013