Who is the youngest rider in RUSA? I'm not sure but I think Joseph is close (his brother is 2 months younger so he's at least #2). Not having completed a 200k he is not an official Randonneur of course but as of yesterday, he has results recorded in the annals of RUSA.
A few months back I determined that although the R12 was a bit of a stretch for this time in my busy life as a father of 4, the P4 was absolutely doable due to the fact that many of my Saturday rides are over 62 miles. With the advent of the shorter 100k rides and my determination to keep up the younger three children's interest in cycling, I signed Joseph and Josh up in RUSA owing to the fact only RUSA members can ride permanents or ride with someone riding a permanent.
Originally I had my doubts about being able to ride the whole way and keep over a 10 mph average with a kid on the back. In the end, despite complaints about sore backsides, we made it with an hour and a half to spare even with the heat rising.
5 am is pretty early for a 9 year old but Joe was eager to go. We couldn't find his bike shorts (need to order some more before we do this again) so he wore normal shorts. 5:20 found us at the store and getting some donuts for our receipt. The first ten miles are all uphill so you have to work a little to beat the clock but we made it with 15 minutes to spare and were on our way back down where we discovered we would have headwinds out of the south.
Heading east to the Superstitions we ran into the Two Wheel Jones group watering up. I chatted with one of them and mentioned Joseph was going to ride for the junior team this year and he said it looks like they might have 40 kids and a real coach this year. That's psycho. I think a little structured training will be good for the boys. Their average speed has been increasing lately but on some things they need a second person giving them the advice for it to sink in.
Turning south Joseph wasn't sure about things and wanted to head home but I convinced him to keep at it and this morning and even yesterday at the end he was glad he did. I wonder sometimes how much of the headwinds he feels on the back of the tandem. Up front they are annoying but the wind gusts don't slow you as much on a tandem due to shear weight. He was contributing but not a whole lot at this point. We managed to hold 15 -19 most of the way across the valley down to the San Tans. I went ahead and turned music on on my phone for Joseph as the section down Ironwood gets a little tedious except for the motorcycle track where folks were out jumping and racing much to the delight of Joe.
Pushing back through the hills to San Tan park was difficult for Joe and his backside was really hurting but I promised a long stop since it was the last control and it would be good to stop and sip some cool water. I must say I was starting to feel it a bit in hear. It's one thing to ride a 100k but it is an entirely different thing to ride 100k with an 81 lbs 9 year old on the back. By the time we were heading into the final stretches of Ellsworth I was feeling it and felt like I easily had 100 miles in my legs. I must make a note that it is possible to get satisfactory training in and spend time with the kids at this point. Just have to be careful not to burn them out. I think I'll wait another year before stepping them up to 200k. We'll let them do the full Tour de Tucson first.
After finishing of course, there is nothing like a big cup of frozen custard to get the body recovering. There are not too many times when it is safe to do the custard thing but after a ride of 5 hours or more I have no qualms and must admit it is a powerful motivator for me. We ended up doing 112k with a moving average of 14.3 mph and over 1200 feet of climbing. Not too shabby for a guy and a 9 year old I think.