Thursday, January 20, 2011

Princeton-Belmar-Princeton 200k Permanent - January R-12

The Dunkin Donuts at Belmar had its share of snow
Not unlike my prior R-12 there is some difficulty finding the right window of opportunity to schedule the rides during the winter months. A group of R-12 hopefuls decided to ban together for the January ride. A snowfall spoiled our plans for the weekend after the New Year. We then set our sights on the mid-month three day holiday weekend (M.L.K.). More snow was predicted and cold temperatures, but miraculously the forecast changed at the last minute giving us an opening on the Sunday. Everyone jumped at the chance.

A wintry view of the beach at Belmar
Our group was nine in number at the 7:30am start in Princeton Junction. The largest gathering I'd ever seen on a Permanent. It was a pleasure to ride along with this pack of experienced randonneurs which included my regular riding companions Al, Paul, and Jon. I was pleased to see New Jersey series regulars Katie, Ron and Barb. And, representing the PA Randonneurs were Bill and Ixsa. Ron and Barb were aboard one of the two tandems. Katie and Jon were the team on the second tandem. The temperature at the start was right around the 30 degree mark. By afternoon we would bask under a strong sun with temperatures around 35F. Although we faced some unfavorable winds after the turn to the west out of Belmar, they were never daunting.

Seven of the nine riders remained together for the entire ride. Bill and Ixsa fell back after the Belmar control and continued on their own. With two tandems among us we had plenty of weapons for plodding through the westerly wind as we managed a nice steady pace through New Egypt and Permperton. As is usually the case with a good size group we took a good amount of time at the controls. Much of it spent enjoyably reminiscing about past Rando experiences. Daylight was with us until just a few miles before Hightstown. After which we arrived at the Cranberry Pizza for a quick slice before undertaking the final seven mile dash to the finish. That last little stretch would be the coldest of the day at 28F. The two tandems teams mustered their remaining reserves and lead the way to the Dunkin Donuts, where we had set out from this morning. The seven of us were in just under 11 hours.

For Jon and Paul it would be their 24th consecutive 200k, fulfilling their second R-12. Tandem couple Ron and Barb logged the first ride of their third go around, having already earned two consecutive R-12 medals. For Al it would be ride number one of his second time at the award. Katie would score her 9th in a row at a first R-12 attempt. My number is 22, two more for my second time at the award. Also of note is Jon and Katie finished their first 200k as a tandem team. Bill and Ixsa made their way around in just over 12 hours braving some cold temperatures and black ice as the snow melt of the day re-froze. They stand at number 4 for Bill and 3 for Ixsa working toward their first R-12.


Just two years ago the R-12 was a very small part of the Randonneuring culture in our area. There were no permanents to ride and little talk of developing any. Currently, its growth is exponential. The popularity of this prize may surpass that of the Super Randonneur award. It is not uncommon for new riders to complete twelve monthly 200k's immediately after their first brevet. Speaking personally it has motivated me to learn to ride in weather conditions that I once considered intolerable. I enjoy the year round training and feel more ready for the regular brevet series when the spring events arrive. Perhaps most importantly, when folks get together to share a fun challenge, enjoying each other’s company in the process, I think that is a very good thing. Let’s keep it going.

See you on the roads

1 comment:

  1. Joe,

    Congratulations on another R-12 finish. Sounds like a great group of riders. I had the same thought about how quickly the R-12 idea has taken off. Who came up with it? It is genius.