I have been recovering for three days. I finally found the magic formula to stop the nausea and now feel well enough to write on the blog. Watermelon with table salt is doing miracles. Life is good. Last Sunday I completed the last 600K Brevet to qualify for the PBP. Today I start preparations to make the PBP a bit easier than the qualifying rides.
Saturday was the start of my last qualifying run, the Sweet Onion Six. A fine little jewel run by the famous Kaiser brothers of RAAM fame. That morning thirteen riders lined up for the start. They came from far and near – New York, North Carolina, Alabama, South Carolina, and of course Georgia. Surprisingly, there were no women. This is perhaps the first Brevet I’ve attended without a female rider. I guess all of them have already qualified. During the assembly I realized my predicament of DNF’s was not just an issue for me. Several of the riders had exactly the same problem. This would be the last hurrah for an invite to the big dance for a lot of riders.
The Sweet Six is a good route starting in Athens and traveling through scenic antebellum towns such as Madison,into the lake region of Georgia and into the flatlands of the Sweet Vidalia Onions. Then you turn around and go back. A big surprise was seeing many non randonneur riders and clubs out riding in the area. Don’t let folks tell you Georgia is not a bicycle friendly place. It’s a great place to ride.
The first and last 150 miles is where you find most of the 16,000 or so feet climbing (actually its closer to 18,000 feet, but who’s counting). They aren’t mountain size climbs but when you add the Georgia heat you might think they are. The 130-mile mark is where I ran into my little predicament. Exercise-induced nausea hit and wouldn’t let go. My plan was to get to the night control at mile 272 and sleep it off. But like the other Brevets, this control was looking like a bridge too far. When the sun came up I was still pedaling , no sleep, with nothing staying down. Time was now a factor; no rest for the weary. I was lucky. This Brevet was different from my other DNF rides. I was riding with fellow Randonneurs and not alone. The Alabama, N.C. and Florida boys were the difference that kept me moving forward both days. For this I am grateful. I arrived at the Blue Goose Bike Hostel 120 miles from the finish. Kevin and Chris passed on their words of wisdom and off I went. Yes I walked the “puke inducing hills” but I made it and now it’s on to Paris. And yes, I have to work on my little issue between now and then.
I haven’t seen the results but I believe everyone who had to finish did so. I certainly hope so. Time for the Moose song.