As 2013 draws to a close, we are looking back over the successes and joys of the year, especially the exceptional rides we have enjoyed. For me, last year had me realize what is truly meaningful for me in a ride: fun, adventure, connection with my friends, and being present with myself in my surroundings. Click on the photos to read a blog post about the ride (where available).
After a some wonderful winter rides on familiar routes, the season started in early April with an impromptu ride to the San Juan Islands. Ryan and I experienced ferries, rain, and our first mountain pass of the year, Mount Constitution.
May brought the Flèche Vélocio. This 24-hour ride is always a wonderful experience with friends. We rode our usual course around the Olympic Peninsula, complete with breakfast at the historic Lake Quinault Lodge and a finish on gravel roads.
In June, Ryan and I headed out into the Cascades to scout the last part of the Volcano High Pass 600 km Super Randonnée. We climbed a dirt road mountain pass at night and found snow near the top. This was the last part of the course we had to trouble-shoot before setting up the ride as a permanent brevet.
I was working in France in July, so I took the opportunity to ride the Raid Pyrénéen for a second time. This 720 km ride over 18 mountain passes (above the Aubisque) always is a challenge, but this time, I faced some unexpected obstacles. In the Winter 2013 Bicycle Quarterly, I write about my disappointment when my plans did not come to fruition, and also how the ride turned out to be wonderful nevertheless.
August saw another highlight of the year: I finally rode the entire Volcano High Pass 600 km Super Randonnée. 600 km Super Randonnées are organized by the Audax Club Parisien, and they must include at least 10,000 m (33,000 ft) of climbing. This was definitely the most challenging event I have ever ridden. The beautiful scenery of passing close to three volcanoes, the solitude of more than 130 km of gravel roads, and the difficulty of almost non-stop climbing, punctuated by technical descents, all made this ride very special. The full report is in the Autumn 2013 issue of Bicycle Quarterly.
October had Ryan and I head out for a “day” ride” in the Cascades, where we were eager to explore a new gravel road. It turned into a 27-hour ride, and we loved every minute of it.
In addition to riding cyclocross in November, Hahn and I headed out for a two-day camping trip to explore “secret” passes in the Cascades. We also tested a new bike that will be featured in the Spring 2014 Bicycle Quarterly, but that is all we can tell you for now…
Looking back, I am amazed that we fit in so many memorable rides into our very busy schedules. Most rides started from my front door, and lasted 1 to 2 days, which made them more manageable time-wise and very affordable money-wise. That is the beauty of randonneuring for me – you don’t need a lot of money or time, but as the old advertising slogan said: “Just do it!”
What were some of your memorable rides in 2013?