So I figured I ought to write a bit about my randonneuring education and the buildup to the PBP to give some sense of how things got going.
The financial commitment to doing was one thing, and possibly the easier part of preparation for "the ride". I kept my expenses as low as possible, dutifully contributed to the "greater goal bottle" and, probably most importantly, just hoped everything on that end would work out. The riding however, would be a real eye opener. 200, 300, 400, and 600 km. rides were a concept, when looked at all at once, that seemed, well, daunting is way too gentle a word...
Brevet #1; 200km
The 200k would pose little problem. I have done enough centuries, and a couple double centuries before with no problem, so the 200k (+/- 125 miles) looked like a good warmup. It pretty much turned out to be that. The weather was nice as I recall, and the day passed by quickly as I met veteran randonneurs and PBP anciens (someone who has finished a PBP) and enthusiastically pumped them for info. My learning curve needed to be as steep as Mix Canyon (20% + grade) if I were to do well at this.
I would learn something from every brevet, which is quite the point, and from this one I learned about how hard it is sometimes to start out again after stopping. Each ride had a series of controls where you had to have your brevet card to prove you were there and within the time limit. The control at the turnaround was at the base of the Napa side of Mt. George. As befitting a DBC event, the volunteers were great and food plentiful and yummy. I ate well, and when I saw Lee Millon pulling in, I stayed a bit longer to leave with him. That would prove painful, as starting back out on a 6km climb with some steep sections didn't really agree with my legs. But what can you do except keep pedaling? Well, that's the best thing to do anyway. I felt better after a little while, and the sizable lunch gave me plenty of fuel to finish strong.
One quick 200k down, bring on the 300!, where a more painful trial was waiting...
Brevet #2; 300km