Most of the lessons I learned on the Flatbread 200K this year were happy discoveries.
Flat as a pancake.
My goals for the Flatbread 200K this year were modest. I wanted to not have any mechanical problems and to finish on time. I had a secret goal of not wanting to be lanterne rouge
— not that there’s any shame in that, but I don’t like to keep people waiting.
I was given an offer I couldn’t refuse.
photo by gypsybug
I spent a lot of time worrying about whether to do this brevet
. I knew that it was going to be hard (8200 feet of climbing!), and that I wouldn’t have enough time to train (2 out-of-town work conferences!). But I didn’t want to wait until the fall to do a brevet– I wanted to ride before I got into the summer physical and mental burn-out. I’ve been biking throughout the winter, but not long rides. Finally, after annoying my bike friends going back and forth on the subject, I bit the bullet and pre-registered.
photo by J
Last year, after I had successfully done two centuries back to back, I was feeling pretty good and looking to taking my riding to the next level. As if the World Wide Web read my mind, I came across this line about randonneuring: “If you have done a century and are looking for the ‘next’ challenge, [randonneuring] may be it.”* All right, I thought to myself. I’ll try it. The 200K sounds like my next move– if I can do 100 miles, 124 miles should be achievable.
The Eastern Shore Flatbread ride sounded like it would fit the bill– hey, the terrain is flat! How hard could it be? I somehow convinced my fellow bicycling buddy J to join me, although she had some reservations. We decided to stay at a hotel on the Eastern Shore the night before, get a good dinner and a good night’s sleep, then head over to the start point early Saturday morning.
We made it to the start point a little later than intended, but all was well at the beginning. I unloaded my bike and began to put some air in my tires. I unscrewed the Presta valve cap of my rear tire– it broke off between my fingers. And that’s where my troubles began.