Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Boothby Challenge

The Boothby Challenge

I didn't know it at the time, but my first 300k was Donald Boothby's last 300. It was one of those things you just couldn't say no to. I had just ridden across the country for the second summer in a row and landed at Donald and Mimi's house again. I had met Donald the previous summer (as mentioned in this blog) and was introduced to randonneuring for the first time.

I called Donald before crossing over Stephen's Pass and dropping into Seattle to see if I could stay with him again. I had just ridden 500 miles in four days and was ready for a rest day. Not only was I ready for a rest day, I was ready for some company. I had spent the previous 2 months cycling solo with no company but myself.

Donald took me on a long tour around the city before we pedaled our way to his home for the evening. By the time we landed at the house, Donald had convinced me to stay and rest 4 days through the week, ride a 100k on Saturday and then a 300k on Sunday to Portland. 300k? Are you crazy?! I had never ridden a bike that far in a day! My longest day so far had been 150 miles in Montana a few weeks back. But I was heading to Portland anyway, so.... why not?

With an experienced wheelman to follow, I anxiously agreed. In the meantime, I was fortunate to enjoy the good company of the Boothby household.

First, we rode "Don Boothby's Herding Cats" 100k around Seattle on Saturday July 2, 2011...

Donald told me about this R12 thing. It's a RUSA randonneuring award for riding a 200k every month for 12 consecutive months. Then he told me he had set a goal for himself to ride a 300k every month for 12 consecutive months. I asked him what the award was for doing that. He explained that there wasn't one but the 300k's would still count towards an R12 award. Interesting, I thought quietly to myself...

Donald and I set out from Seattle at 4:30 am if I recall on July 3, 2011 for Portland. Donald did not let me rest for long. In fact, he imposed time limits on our stops. Despite the time limits, I do believe I managed to have a cup of coffee or some coffee product along every stop. And yes, I did enjoy the obligatory donut early on in the ride.

At the end of the ride, I drank more coffee...

I wasn't sure I wanted to get back on my bike the next day ride another 100 miles. Donald explained that randonneurs harden up and get back on the bike on day 2 (and day 3, and day 4) and keep riding. I thought... that's crazy.

I returned to North Carolina after finishing the cross country tour of solitude. It didn't take me long to get thirsty for the camaraderie I experienced with Boothby. I wanted it. Fortunately, I fell right into an active group called the NC Randonneurs.

Since setting out with Boothby on what seemed to be an unreasonable bike ride, I have had the time of my life pushing the limit a little bit, and a little bit more, and a little bit more. And sometimes, not pushing the limit at all but just going for a pleasant stroll with some good friends. We call that a randonnĂ©e.

So the Boothby Challenge, as I understand it, has a few parameters...

The rider must complete a minimum of 300k per month for 12 consecutive months.
The rider must consume a minimum of 1 donut or 1 piece of pie per 300k ride.

Any takers in North Carolina???