On Saturday, we rode the Coulee Challenge route. The Coulee is a 200 kilometer course through the Coulee region south and west of Black River Falls. Nine riders showed up for the challenge. When we left at 8:00, the temperature was around 40 degrees, a sure sign that fall is on the way. The nine of us quickly broke into 3 groups. A lead group of 2 riders, my group of 5, and 2 others sweeping the course. I rode all day with Rob Welsh, Mark Olsen, Kelly Hines, and Glenn Seager. We finished the course in 8:34 minutes. This time was over 40 minutes faster than I have ever covered the Coulee route. Saturday evening everyone came to our house for chile, beer and tall tales.
Sunday morning came way too early. I was feeling less than perfect when I wheeled to the Holiday station for the start of the Dairyland Dandy, another 200km brevet. Seven riders showed up at the start to give it a shot. Without any real plan, we reached a consensus to ride audax style, basically riding together all day. My day was a little odd. Leaving the start area, I had lots of trouble clipping into my pedals. After 2 or 3 miles, I was finally able to clip in, but it would be an all day problem. All told, I rode over 60 miles with only foot clipped in. By the end of the day, we got into a pattern of prying my pedal open at the control, putting my shoe in, putting my foot in and then getting on the bike. Not exactly convenient but it was good enough to get me home. We finished the route in 9:40. Not exactly fast, but it was lots of fun riding with some fun people and sharing good conversation.
All in all, the BRF weekend was a success and plans are already in the works to get this on the Minnesota Randonneurs calendar for 2012.