Qualifying for PBP.

It's the time of year, that comes every  four years in a Randonneurs/Randonneuses life. If you want to make it to PBP  http://www.paris-brest-paris.org/pbp2011/index2.php?lang=en&cat=presentation&page=statistiques you must do your qualifying Brevets.

If you listened to your RBA, you did some of the pre-qualifying Brevets last year and were able to get on a "holding" list. This list allows you to get through your qualifying Brevets, this year, with some calmness and not have to keep your eye and finger on the computer screen's red registration button as the sign up day gets closer and closer. You and 5999 of your best Brevet riding buddies. I was one of the lucky riders.  I was able to get in my 600km Brevet just before taking a 9-10 month break form riding to work out the kinks of several accident related injuries. Doing the 600KM Brevet (ACP, of course) allowed me to pre-register on April 17th. At least I have a little time to finish up my SR series and get my mind and body ready for PBP-a goal of mine for more years than I can remember. The very goal that seems to be helping propel me forward as it is harder and harder to keep rehabbing and riding and working and mentally preparing for PBP.  Like the little engine that could! I can, I will. Well, because to stop now, would seem like quitting. And I am not a quitter. Life, like riding is something we do to get us to the next goal-the next thing. Like a long Brevet or ride, things always change. My hope is that the riding gets easier, more relaxing. Less painful, and becomes what it once was for me, a great way to see life and the world. I think I can, I think I can, I can, I will, because quitting is not my option.

So, making the come back after so many injuries is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I knew physically it would hard but I didn't think it would be such slow progress. I know, I tell my clients and athletes to keep moving forward. To be patient. I can, I will!

So I needed a diversion. A diversion from riding on the roads I know so well. The rides I would time myself on (once a racer-always a racer). So I asked Steve if he'd like to go on a mini vacation to ride somewhere different and do a Brevet qualifier, too.  We began looking for something that would be at a lower elevation than our home town or where we sleep at night. Not hard to do as we live at about 7,000 feet. We also needed some Brevets that had a little less climbing than home. This would give me the best possible riding and success. Wenatchee, here we come.

 We headed for Wenatchee Washington. Land of many many orchards. Here would be a week of rides, social get-togethers and the NW Crank.

When Steve and I started looking around for a Brevet week, or at least the option to do a 400KM and a 600KM Brevet in one week, we jumped at the chance to go and ride with the Seattle International Randonneurs at the NW Crank week of rides. It seemed the perfect way to celebrate our 19th anniversary and test out my riding legs after such a long winter off the bike. It helps that the elevation of the start and finish of these rides is about 6,000 feet lower in elevation than where we lay our heads at night.

Our biggest decision was not who to give the pets to for a week or what to pack for different weather conditions, but was whether we should go buy fenders for our bikes. We know some of the RMCC Brevet riders have fenders on their bikes but Steve and I have declined to add them to our bikes (at least for now). We are very aware that is can be very impolite to ride with people in rain and not have fenders... but decided to trust that we would be treated as inexperienced guests and I can say, we were not disappointed. We were treated like the dry inland riders we are.  Lucky for us (or really our new riding friends) we only encountered a handful of rain drops. I now own a brand new pair of quick release Race Blade fenders. I'll be ready for that rain now!

The Brevets during the NW Crank Week Apples, cherries, and pears. We saw fields of winter wheat brown and done and the new sprouts of the coming summer wheat. We rode along the Columbia River and saw incredible mountain lakes, like Lake Chelan.

Our new friends at SIR (and, of course the promoters of NW Crank) did not disappoint.  We had a wonderful vacation and even more satisfying rides. We made great new life long friends and people we hope to see in Paris or Brest, or along the way.

Steve and I would highly recommend going next year and getting in some early season miles, Brevets, or just great scenic rides. P.S. bring fenders-maybe.

Bonne Route!
Michelle and Steve