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Cherry Blossoms and Returning to Randonneuring
Ride Date: March 19, 2016
by Jaime Guzman

We are having a beautiful early spring this year in Vancouver and the cherry blossoms are out in full force; a very fit background for returning to randonneuring after an injury forced me to miss the PBP last year.

For once, I read the pre-ride description this year and learnt that the first brevet of the season wasn’t meant to be an easy one, but a hilly one, courtesy of Will. On the other hand, we had perfect weather while Will, Deirdre and Shiro had to fight nasty winds in the pre-ride.

One hears of the Craigs and Colins of this world and their quick return to randonneuring after being shot or crashed by a car, and you think “That’s great” and don’t give it a second thought. But when you are on the receiving end, there is no escaping the conclusion that it takes a load of guts to come back. I will spare you the gory details, but enough to say that I crashed last April and broke my collar bone and cracked a few ribs. I did recover quickly after my surgery and went back on the bike soon, but not on time for the qualifiers for PBP. To be honest, the main issue was that I did not have the nerve to ride a brevet in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere on my own.

My friend John, who rode with me the Early Bird last year AND this year, also had a nasty crash and surgery to repair broken bones last year. At some point, sitting at a table at a Timmy’s somewhere in Abbotsford we were trying to count how many broken bones from cycling were sitting at the table among the four of us. We never settled the matter, but it is fair to say more than 10.

I tell you, randonneuring is not for the faint hearted. I remember talking with Gary Baker once at a 1200K brevet. I don’t remember his exact words, but we were talking about somebody who had to abandon the ride because of knee pain. He said: So what, my knees hurt too; every time I turn the pedals! And so he went on to complete yet another 1200K brevet. Gary is a tough guy, if I ever new one.

At the end, this was a beautiful return to randonneuring despite all the hills, and what a contrast compared to the soaked-to-the-bone Early Bird last year. It was great to see old cycling friends converging at the Timmy’s at dawn and then again at the end of the ride, debriefing the 2016 Early Bird.

Stay well and remember: Enjoy the ride. Never quit.


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March 21, 2016