The true Randonneur

I learned a lot last night, chatting with Eamon and others. It transpires that audax riding is, for the true Randonneur, partly about enduring through the suffering, and some appear to go out of their way to intensify that suffering, be it by sleeping out, not taking a change of clothes on a week-long audax, or other things that most would consider masochistic in the extreme, if not downright mad. It is with this in mind that I discovered that we could have had a mattress two nights ago, but Eamon thought we should suffer, so made us sleep on the judo mats!

Island Roy View, Co. Donegal

Island Roy View, Co. Donegal

This suffering is not without purpose, however. When you have done without something, having it again seems like a luxury. That was the case with the mattress tonight, and it will be this evening, if there are showers in the same building as the sleeping accommodation. To appreciate stuff that is normally taken for granted is obviously a good thing, and such an outcome means that the suffering may not be so mad after all.

As I left the table to go to bed at 12.30am, the other folk were still drinking beer and chatting. Lying in bed, and processing what I had just heard, I tried to embrace the snoring going on all around me as yet another part of the suffering that would lead to a new appreciation of the normal.

One cardinal rule of the Randonneur is that nothing is ever done to the detriment of another rider. On the contrary, one looks out for them. Here are a couple of examples: William, who had already done the loop on Achill Island I am about to do, approached me this morning, warning me of kamikaze sheep on a steep, switchback descent; There have been no phone alarms going off in the mornings to get riders up – A volunteer wakes you up at a time you have previously agreed, thereby not disturbing others, who may only just have got in after riding all night.

Thinking about all this in the small hours of the morning it would appear that, in Randonneur terms at least, I have a way to go before I fully embrace suffering and thereby appreciate the ordinary…

Next : Day 5