Newsletter - 2014 Archive

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Randonnesia Sets In
by John Oswald

We're changing a tube on the side of the road outside of Sonoita when it hits:

Y'know, all those flats we had in Victoria..? We have this down now!

It's true. As an (almost) one-year-old tandem team we are still learning the ropes but thanks to (the now legendary) four flats on the Chili 200 Malou and I have our flat repair system down pat. We are back on the road in eight minutes--changing a flat is much faster as a well-drilled team!

Our first three days at Lon Haldeman and Susan Notroangelo's PAC Tours Desert Camp have been extremely pleasant because of the hard won fitness of our frigid early season rides--including the Chili 200--and I'm...grateful?!?...that we had the opportunity to face adversity and overcome it before coming down to Arizona.

As we get back on the road and continue to rip through the rolling ranch lands I begin to reflect on our first 200 of the season. I can now see that the concentricity of the figure eight route that I railed against was actually useful; how, if any of the flats had been catastrophic, it would have been easy and relatively cheap to call a van taxi for a rescue. I remembered how, even as we were riding the early season brevet on a tandem, that I appreciated (and commented out loud on) the conspicuous lack of sustained or steep climbs. Coming and going near the roads we had just passed over also meant we regularly crossed paths with other groups we might not have otherwise seen--and it allowed them to keep tabs on all our mechanical difficulties and offer assistance.

I sighed as we rolled on in the Arizona sunshine and told Malou how we could (and should) have borrowed the Continental Top Contact Tires that I'd donated to my school's bike club when we bought the tandem instead of rolling the dice on the worn Grand Bois' we tried to eke out the 200 on (while getting our new Compass treads shipped to our Tucson hotel). None of those four flats would have happened on those armoured Conti beasts. Alas...

It's amazing how much more perspective one can have when:

- it's 81F
- you are flying with a tailwind
- on your new tires
- in Arizona
- on Spring Break

...than when one is still shivering on the late ferry home on Sunday night knowing one has to be at work in less than 10 hours.

Note to Self: Don't write ride reports without having slept it off!

I'm sure many of the, um, "more seasoned" members of the club had a good laugh at my expense upon reading my last report so now I'm confident they will also recognize this Randonnesia stage of recovery from in-brevet trauma.

The stages, in order, as far as I can tell (two weeks into my third season of Randonneuring), would be:

- Shock,
- Disbelief
- Anger/Rejection
- Reflection/Randonnesia
and finally...
- Repetition.

So...I hope to see you at the Victoria Populaire March 30th--that is if Vancouver Island Route Co-ordinator Mike Croy is still speaking to me!

March 28, 2014