by Jim Kuehn
Take a dozen rough-and-ready randonneurs. Mix sweat, suntan
lotion,bag balm, and calamine. Broil in 100 degree temperatures over
asphalt. Add water to create steam. Set out for three days or 625 miles,
whichever comes first. Agitate continuously with hills and mountain
climbs. Pour off a little sleep and set aside. Garnish with Power Bars
and serve. What do you get? We're not sure, but it isn't pretty.
Potomac Pedaler's first-ever 1000km randonneur brevet was held
July Fourth weekend under brutally hot and dangerous conditions. Only
one rider, Keith Krombel, completed the full course in 53 hours, 36
minutes, well within the time limit of 75 hours. A Race Across America
(RAAM) hopeful, Krombel was determined to persevere through the same
conditions as he might experience in the Mohave Desert or Texas in late
July. Congratulations to Keith on his outstanding effort.
Temperatures rose to 95 and 100 degrees by day with high
humidity, making it a struggle to keep cool and hydrated. Ken Shields
called it quits at Singer's Glen, mile 110. Fearing injury, Chuck Wood
and Crista Borras stopped at the 200 mile mark the first evening. Faced
with missing the cut-off time for a checkpoint some 75 miles away, Jim
and Carol Corbitt of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida took a shortcut to the
As the thermometer hit 90 degrees at 10 AM the next morning,
Geoff Benedict-Hall slowly retreated to Warrenton, 150 miles away by
bicycle. Paul Donaldson, having ridden all night without sleep, packed
it in south of Lexington at mile 240. Bill Strachan rested by day and
took a shortcut to rejoin the brevet on the return route.
Keith Krombel, David Girard, Donna Dickie, and Doug Young
continued on through the second day, a 210-mile, 15,000' climbing epic
that plunged into the rugged mountains west of Roanoke and Blacksburg.
All except Krombel were rescued at mile 361 and transported to the
overnight control point at Appomattox. Others took 100-mile shortcuts
from Lexington to Appomattox.
Krombel, Dickie, Young, Shields, Strachan, and the Corbitts
cycled the third day. Only Krombel and Dickie completed the full 190
miles on the hottest of the three days to finish in Warrenton.
Coping with the weather, no matter how adverse, is one of the
necessary ingredients of randonneuring. But knowing when to call it
quits before injury or miscalculation occur is perhaps the most
important skill. The positive attitude of the participants, even in the
face of disappointment, was an inspiration. All are "randonneur