Now and again — mainly in the spring, but also sometimes in the summer and fall — I like to ride organized events. Some people call these events races though I certainly can’t be said to race them; instead, I try to ride them and have a particular kind of fun–that is, bike fun.*
And even though I live in a city with a great many cyclists and a certain number of events, few — if any — of the local events catch my imagination.** This means that to ride the events that I want to ride, I end up either driving a rental car (we don’t own one and haven’t for more than 7 years) or riding with someone else to get there. This often means that I’ll end up spending as much time in the car as I did riding the event (not to mention nights in hotels, and the like).
This all strikes me as silly. It strikes me as even more silly when I read Jan Heine’s account of riding the Oregon Outback, and then riding home.
Originally, this made me think that I should just stop bothering with events entirely, and go for rides from home. And then I realized that there was no reason that I couldn’t — at least some of the time — do both. As a university employee, I have a substantial amount of vacation time. And, there’s often nothing I’d like better than to just ride for several days in a row.
There’s just no good reason, none at all, why I couldn’t just ride to some of the events that I want to ride. The GLRC brevets aren’t that far away, and neither is northern Illinois. East-central Iowa and southern Minnesota both require more of a time commitment, but it’s still doable. The same goes for northern Wisconsin.
One or two days of riding to reach an event that I want to ride seems reasonable. To ride further than that for an event would require said event to be something very special — and I’m not at all sure what would possibly qualify.
So that’s what I’m going to try to do, at least once or twice this summer and fall. Ride to the ride. Ride the ride. And then ride home. Camping or hotels are both reasonable options.
* Bike fun is like regular fun, only with more suffering.
** Yes, I know this is an argument for putting on our own events; we’re working on it.