Sept 19, 2015 – On this day, Kit, a friend and a fellow endurance athlete, and I embarked on our first official randonneuring event. This is the NJ Randonneurs Central Jersey 200k. We are not new to riding long distances and spending hours on the saddle, but randonneuring is different. It is a self-supported long distance ride, relying on the cue sheet given at the start (and a gpx/tcx map route if you happen to have a gadget like garmin where you can upload and follow the route). To get more information about randonneuring, visit these wonderful sites, RUSA and NJ Randonneurs
Weather forecast was mild and sunny, with a little fog in the morning. We started from my place, about 4 miles from the official start. Arrived at the start, got our brevet cards, listened to the last minute instructions, and off we rode with the rest of the participants – all 49 of us. The route traverses the central to southern part of New Jersey. A very scenic and flat course, passing through several farm lands.
We met Wirt, another friend and also an endurance athlete, before the first control at mile 31. The three of us continued on the route, enjoying the day while exchanging pleasantries. Wirt would join us until the next control at mile 51 – a Wawa food stop. Bought my favorite stuffed pretzel, re-filled my water bottles, and Kit and I continued with the rest of those doing the brevet. Wirt had to follow a different route to get back home. It would be 13+ miles before the next control, but the newly paved asphalt made if feel shorter (and faster). More nice and smooth roads leading to the next 2 controls. Took a break, and late lunch, at the Wawa control @ mile 91 marker. I bought my stuffed pretzel + some mozzarella sticks (my two goto quick bites). Kit, if I remember correctly, had a full sandwich, a coke, a coconut water – a full lunch serving enough to make me feel like taking a nap after.
The rest of the route was as smooth and scenic as the first 90+ miles. Central Jersey 200k is a wonderful brevet for those who want to embark on this type of long distance cycling. We reached the finish without any issues, mechanical nor physical. We signed and handed our brevet cards to the volunteer – 200k done.