That’s right, tomorrow at the butt-crack of dawn I shall rouse myself from a restful slumber, load the Vigorelli into the car, and drive almost two hours for the chance to ride my bike around in a big circle for several hours at the Princeton Populaire 120K.
Hmmm, doesn’t sound that exciting when I write it out like that…
All kidding aside, I am excited to log my first official randonneuring miles. Populaires are domestic events, sanctioned only by RUSA and not the Audax Club Parisien (ACP), the group that runs Paris-Brest-Paris. This means the 120 km I ride tomorrow will only count towards RUSA awards (you can’t use populaires as PBP qualifiers, for example). Also, I don’t think you are really supposed to call yourself a randonneur until you complete a brevet (200K minimum)…there is also a Princeton 200K being run tomorrow, but due to time constraints I had to stick to the 120K. I’ll just treat this as a training run and a chance to field test some of my gear.
However, just because it’s a shorter distance than a brevet doesn’t mean the populaire should not be treated seriously! I expect to finish in 5-6 hours, and any ride of that length requires that attention be paid to nutrition. Along with my Hammer gels and Shot Bloks, I will be trying a new supplement that Lance Armstrong is promoting:
If you want to ride like the pros, you need to act like the pros!
I still need to stop by REI and pickup a reflective vest and a new tail light (both required for the ride). Aside from that, I think I have all the gear I need and I’m feeling pretty confident about the ride. There’s a chance of rain in the morning, but I’m hoping it will hold off and end up being a nice day. I’ll try and take a bunch of pictures and will post a ride report next week. Wish me luck!