Some year-end reminders, as we approach the 2015 brevet season:
1. If you earned any RUSA distance awards in 2014, order those now, if you’ve not already done so, to avoid missing out on your hard-earned hardware.
2. Check your RUSA membership status to ensure that you are a RUSA member before the start of the ride so that you receive “credit” for it, if that’s important to you. Remember that permanents cannot be ridden by non-RUSA members, and non-members include those whose memberships have lapsed.
3. With our first brevet less than three weeks away, now is a good time for veterans and rookies alike to review and refresh themselves not only on RUSA’s Rules, but also the Rules for Central Florida Randonneurs.
4. Especially for you new(er) folks, here is a short introduction to what you can expect on your first brevet. Time spent now studying and becoming comfortable with the rules and procedures of randonneuring will prevent day-of-ride stress and headaches (and will also give you ample time to holler at me if you have any questions).
5. Reflective Gear merits a special mention this year, since there is a lack of uniformity in what RBAs require in this regard. The RUSA rule on reflective gear is here (scroll down to Article 10). The RUSA rule is the rule for Central Florida Randonneurs’ rides. Sam Brown or bandolier-style reflective belts are still permitted by RUSA, and therefore I will continue to accept them. You are, of course, free and encouraged to add additional reflective gear to your clothing and bicycle. Although it is not the rule, RUSA has a “best practices” guide for reflective gear located here, which I commend to your attention. You are all adults and experienced cyclists and are ultimately responsible for the safety of your own ride — not RUSA; not me — and so I leave it to your judgment and experience, and based on your own comfort level and the particulars of each night ride, whether you want to use any additional reflective gear beyond the minimum requirements. However, riding without the RUSA-required minimum reflective gear at night on in low-light conditions will result in your disqualification.
6. Support and SAG also merit a special mention, as brevets in some areas of the country have recently seen an increase in support, including providing all food and drink to the riders and even SAG service on brevets. You should not expect this on any Central Florida ride. I believe that self-sufficiency is the hallmark of randonneuring. If you will be fed at any of the controls on a Central Florida brevet, this will be clearly indicated on the cue sheet, the brevet card, and in the pre-ride instructions made available on this website well before the ride. (Our 400K this year, for example, will include the usual lunch stop at Ferndale Park because of the great distance and difficult terrain that exists between Center Hill and West Orange/Oakland.) Otherwise, you should assume and prepare for these rides as if you are totally on your own for food, hydration, supplies, and mechanical problems and that all controls are unstaffed. Remember that non-neutral SAG is forbidden anywhere other than at a control, and that if you abandon a brevet, you — not the RBA or the volunteers — are responsible for getting yourself and your bicycle back to the ride start. There is no SAG on these events. If you have questions about this, please contact me.
7. Finally, this is a PBP year. Our rides will be especially well attended this year and, for those looking to make the quadrennial pilgrimage to France, you’ll have many opportunities to meet and ride with other like-minded randonneurs, including a number of us who have done PBP before (and, in some cases, many times before). Take advantage of these opportunities on the rides, and also feel free to pick my brain. I’ll have presentations on PBP on the nights before the 200K and the 600K (see those event pages for details), but feel free to call or email with questions and I’m glad to “pay it forward” and help you on this most excellent adventure.
Happy New Year, bon route, and see you on the road in 2015!