A revised simile
In our sport of Randonneuring we celebrate the official finishers of an event rather than their order of placement. To reinforce this concept, official results are published in alphabetical order only. However, after following the 2009 EM1240K we need to cast a wider net and honor all of the 48 Randonneurs that attempted this event.
Every starter on Wednesday morning knew the course profile included 60,000+ vertical feet of climbing, understood that the event took place on the wrong side of the fall equinox, and the possibility of cold weather (okay, so noble believed it would be as horrific as eventually became) but start they did. Not one starter tried this event on a whim, and while the "Official Results" will probably list 22 finishers I know 48 special people gave their best in training for and ultimately participating in the EM1240K. Truly these 48 Randonnuers are tougher than nails.
I'd like to recognize Jim Logan who simply didn't want the EM magic to end and maximized his enjoyment of this event for 91 hours and 44 minutes, just a few ticks of the clock shy of the cut-off time to be an official finisher. In August of 2008 Jim attempted the PA 1000K which shares many of the same roads of the EM1240, and in the endless mountains after Canton, PA it became clear that Jim would not make the cut-off. He didn't give up but instead rode every mile until he was officially outside of the time cut. He then caught a ride "home" to the finish and worked as a volunteer in Quakertown. When I met Jim at mile 128 on this ride I had no doubts that he would finish, he resonated the quiet confidence that every successful Randonnuer possesses. Way to go Jim!
For more herioc tales of the ride please check out Kate's blog.
Congratulations to everyone who attempted the Endless Mountains 1240k, your efforts became an inspiration to all of us who saw it in person and to those who followed from a distance.