New RUSA/ACP Rule re: Intermediate Control Times (largely irrelevant to us)


Our French overlords — the ACP — have decreed that intermediate control times are . . . no longer a thing. The control itself IS still a thing–you’ve still got to verify passage through every control, including the intermediate ones without exception–but with this change you’re now allowed to arrive and depart intermediate controls (meaning, not the start and not the finish but every other control point on the route) whenever you want.

This really isn’t relevant to us. In 13 seasons of being an RBA hosting over 1000 riders on brevets in those years, I have never had a rider “out of time” at any control, including the finish control (one rider came within two or three minutes and several have been within 10 minutes, but I’ve never had an HD/ DNQ rider). I’ve also never had a rider (other than someone in a velomobile on the 2016 Cracker Swamp) able to “ride ahead” of a control opening time, even to the first control (one of you came within 4 minutes once, which was impressive). So, while there won’t be opening and closing times enforced for intermediate controls, I’ll still print those times on the cue sheet and brevet card to help in planning/pacing your ride.

All this said, nothing changes with the start and finish of the brevets: You cannot start early (brevets are mass-start at the designated time) and you cannot finish late. Doing either of those things = DNF. Otherwise, enjoy the additional freedom in how you pace yourself around the course. Personally, I’m looking forward to more rest and sleep on the 600K and longer events, especially on the last night of a 1200K. I’d rather finish in 88-89 hours with 8 hours of sleep that last night than in 85 hours because I had to leave out early to make it to some gas station at 1050km by 6am. Woo hoo!


What’s in Store for ’24

All y’all–

Here’s some news on the impending brevet season:

(1)  Big picture: We have 11 events on tap in 2024, including a full ACP brevet series, the San An 100K, the San An night ride, a UAF audax brevet, a fleche, and — wait for it … — the Cracker Swamp 1200 (with a 1000/200 option).

(2)  COMPLETED – Event registration for the 2024 season is being posted over the next few days; the 300/200 on MLK Jr weekend is already up. We’re sticking with the format of running the 300 first, based on a lot of success with that last year; the shorter ride on the second day is just … nice. The 300/200 will be run out of Tavares.

(3)  The fleche is returning this year; it’ll be the first one held since 2019. Details are on the event page for that ride. It’s an event with unique rules, so if you’ve got questions about it, shoot me a note. The fleche is perhaps my favorite randonneuring event. Of all the randonneuring “stories” I tell, it seems like a disproportionate number of them are from the fleche.

(4)  COMPLETED – We’ll offer just the one audax brevet this year on 2/3/2024 — from my house to Tarpon Springs and back — but if you miss it, you’re really missing out. An audax brevet is like a big fleche: everyone riding together, very social, good food. Audax brevets count toward RUSA awards and the medals for them are just fantastic.

(5)  After an eight year absence, the Cracker Swamp 1200K is returning, November 7-10, 2024. Stuff that’ll be the same: the clover-leaf route design, interesting roads, great community and camaraderie, BBQ, scotch, and a 1000/200 option for those needing those rides for a RUSA cup or ACP 5000/10000 award. Stuff that’ll be different: the start/finish location. More info and registration information will be posted this Winter.

(6)  Look for your brevet cards and a year-end letter in the month of November.

See you on the road,

Upcoming 600K Brevets!


We have two 600Ks on tap in the next month.

The first is the ACP-sanctioned 600K brevet our of Dunnellon on April 15. You can get the details and register for it here. The route is a new one — it’s the same 400K that we did in March plus a 200K dog-leg on the Withlacoochee Trail. It’ll get you qualified for Paris-Brest-Paris. It’s also a great route with some of the best cycling roads we’ve seen here in a long time.

The second is a UAF-sanctioned 600K brevet, which — hopefully! — will be the first audax 600K run in the United States. Ever. I say “hopefully” because we need FOUR bikes to officially start the event and THREE of those are required for anyone on the event to be an official finisher. Right now, we only have three  people registered, so the event is at risk of cancellation. If you’re looking for a great time — think of a two-day fleche, but without having to stay up all night! — then consider this event. If you’re looking for some extra practice riding a disciplined pace before PBP, then consider this event. And if you’re looking to be a part of randonneuring history, then definitely consider this event. Further information and registration are here.

Hope to see you on the road!

Clermont 200/300 Brevet Weekend — Update


I hope you are excited about this weekend! Here is some information to update you on what to expect:

— The final cue sheets have been posted to the Events page for each ride. We’ll have printed copies at the start. Please let me know if you have any questions.

— Expect it to be colder than we’re used to. Saturday’s start-time temps will bottom out at freezing in the countryside and it will struggle to warm into the 50s. For our slower riders, be prepared for a chilly night Saturday night, too. On the plus side, you’ll have 95 miles of tailwind to Avon Park. On Sunday, the 200K will start in temps in the 30s. Dress appropriately.

— Please arrive in plenty of time to check in, futz with your bike, hit the head, etc.  Brevets start on time, with or without you. There will be pre-ride announcements five minutes before the ride, and then we’ll be off, on-time.

Lights and a reflective vest or sash are required on the 300K, which starts in the dark.  Please set your tail light to solid, non-flashing.  Flashing tail lights are illegal in Florida (they are not legal on PBP, either). Lights/reflective stuff is not required on the 200K, but you will be disqualified if you ride in low-light or dark conditions without using those items.

— Scotch?  Yes, by God.

— It’s not too late!  Bring a friend or three. Just be sure to have them register by this evening!  And if you registered but can’t come, that sucks, but please drop a note to let us know not to expect you.

— Upcoming rides!  Our next event is an audax (UAF-sanctioned) 200K brevet on February 11. It’s at my house and there will be amazing food, beverages, and a new lunch spot.  If you’ve not done an audax brevet before, please join us!  The rest of the ACP and UAF rides (and a 100K RUSA populaire) are up on the calendar. Check ’em out and come ride!

See you this weekend,

Upcoming brevets — NEFR


Our neighbors over in the brand-new Florida region — Northeast Florida Randonneurs — are hosting two randonnees this upcoming weekend — a 200K on 11/12 and a 100K populaire on 11/13. Head over to their website (linked above) and check it out! They’re also hosting a brevet week in February, which is a great way to get some additional riding in or meet some or all of the PBP qualification requirements.

See you on the road,

News and Updates in 2022

All y’all–

After two years of relative dormancy, here’s where we’re at:

(1)  Our first proper brevets were held over the MLK Jr. long weekend. We had 27 complete the 200K and 9 hardy randonneurs completed a seriously wet, windy, and cold 300K the next day.  100% finish rate on both rides. You guys are awesome!

(2) Next up for the ACP brevet calendar are the 400K in March and a 600K in April. Registrations are either up on the website or soon will be.

(3)  We’re also playing host for the Gainesville club this year, administering their 200, 300, and 400.  Thank you to Scott Manning and Susan Gryder for stepping up and being the boots on the ground to run these events. Please support them by riding those events and offering your help to them if you can spare it. Florida is best served by having three independent, healthy randonneuring clubs offering brevets and whatever we can all do to help keep it that way, the better off we — and the sport — will be.

(4)  We had our first audax brevet in two years earlier this month.  Seventeen folks including some brand-new to randonneuring enjoyed a glorious day and even some ouzo in Tarpon Springs. Next up on the UAF (audax) calendar is a 400K in March and a 600K in May.  Those are special rides. The 400K rides like a large fleche. We did one three years ago and it drew 16 people. It was a total blast. There has never, ever been a 600K audax held in the United States (and I believe one has not been held outside of France).  So that will be a very special ride. It’s 2x300K, with a legitimate overnight and meals, all in under 40h.  If you miss this, well . . . you’re doing randonneuring wrong.

(5)  Speaking of special stuff, PBP is next year. It sounds like it’s far off, but it’s not.  Your ability to participate will be determined, in part, by the longest ACP brevet you complete in 2022. So if you want to do PBP, I recommend that you ride at least a 300K this year to ensure yourself a spot on the ride.

(6)  I know I have a ton of stuff to send back to you all.  Medals, brevet cards, … it’s an impressive stack on my desk.  The weather sucks today and so I’m diving into that. It’ll take weeks to get through it, but it’s coming. I’m going in; wish me luck!


Cracker Swamp Update

It is less than three months until the Cracker Swamp 1200 and registration still hasn’t opened. I wanted to update you on why that is and to let you know the status of the ride.

Executive Summary: The go/no-go decision on the Cracker Swamp will be made on August 31. Either registration will open that day or the event will not be held in 2021. If it is not held in 2021, the next Cracker Swamp will take place in Fall 2024.

Why the Delay and Uncertainty? I really thought that widely available vaccines would have brought us to a good place where normalcy would prevail and we could move forward without the constant pandemic umbrella hanging over our heads at every turn. I never anticipated that the vaccination rates would be so low and the pandemic is back, or remains as the case may be, with a vengeance.

As a result, Central Florida’s hospitals and EMS systems are currently overwhelmed. As of yesterday, according to our medical director, my county had several hospitals at or beyond capacity with ER bed wait times at seven hours. Nearly 50% of admissions to a floor are for COVID; more than 96% of those admissions are unvaccinated. Our EMS can no longer transport from a call to the hospital; fire/rescue is providing that service and they are at capacity. Conditions are worse, in some cases much worse, in the parts of the state the Cracker Swamp runs through.

There are consequences to an uncurbed pandemic. The consequence of full emergency departments, overflowing hospitals, and potentially delayed EMS response is that it would be irresponsible, in my opinion, to hold a four-day ultracycling event when it’s foreseeable that someone might need medical care and help either wouldn’t be there or we’d be taxing an already overburdened system. Overnight brevets, where people are riding at night, sometimes alone, and sometimes without the best situational awareness after days in the saddle, present heightened risk. In the face of at- or near-capacity medical and EMS resources, those risks are unacceptable to me. If the Cracker Swamp were taking place in August or September, it’d be cancelled for this reason alone.

But who knows what November will bring. The pandemic has taught me that predicting the future is a fool’s errand. However, we’re fast approaching a time when significant money must be firmly committed and an educated guess about the impacts of the pandemic on rider and community safety must be made. That deadline is the end of this month.

Give It to Me Straight; What Are the Odds? Not good. Unlike during the previous spikes in pandemic-induced hospitalizations, this time there are no state or local efforts to try to curb the spread of the disease. The other downer, of course, is that infectious disease doesn’t respect state boundaries or care about politics. What’s raging in Central Florida right now will soon enough be coming to your communities, too, and that could negatively impact the prospects of holding the Cracker Swamp, even if things begin to improve in Central Florida.

Why Not Hold a No-Frills/DIY/Rider-Capped Cracker Swamp?  Principally for the same reason. While reducing or eliminating volunteers, food, swag, overnight support, on-course support, and other organized aspects of the Cracker Swamp would move the go/no-go date slightly later, it would not change the fundamental calculus when it comes to the impact of an unchecked pandemic on our first responders and hospitals.

Secondarily, the Cracker Swamp is not a no-frills ride or a permanent. It was conceived as a large social event that emphasized community and camaraderie and not just as another bike ride or excuse to bag miles and medals. Preserving the character of the event is key, second only to making reasonable decisions about participant and community safety.

This Sucks. Tell me about it.

Got Any Good News? Absolutely. Keep things in perspective: This, too, shall pass, (although I sure thought it would have by now). Randonneuring isn’t going anywhere. Paris-Brest-Paris survived two invasions and a pandemic. What the ACP and their forbearers and the early organizers of PBP didn’t do, though, was try to run big, long cycling events during wars and out-of-control pandemics.

If you’ve read this far, thank you and thank you especially for your patience and understanding. If you have questions, please contact me. If you would like to be taken off this distribution list, or know someone who would like to be added to it, please let me know that, too.

Thanks and stay safe and healthy,

Brevet Updates: 2021


Long time, no events. Some good news, all around:

(1)  San An 100K this Saturday, 8am. No fee; registration required. Hope to see you there. This likely didn’t make it on to many of your calendars and that’s fair. So we’ll do it again toward the end of the month.

(2)  Up! All Night ACP 200K registration is also posted. Hope to see you there.

(3)  Cracker Swamp? But of course. Registration and Details coming June 15, 2021.

(4)  What about other brevets? Make-ups likely in the Fall. Stay tuned.

(5)  Audax? Yes, returning in January 2022. And it’s not just a Florida thing anymore.

2021 Brevet Updates

Here’s where we stand as we approach a year into pandemic life here:

(1)  This upcoming weekend’s 400K is postponed. We’ll host it later in the year when we have a better chance of more people feeling comfortable with overnights, night riding, and when we’ve all been riding distance a bit more than most of us have been lately.

(2) In it’s place, we’ll host a 200K RUSA brevet on March 6. Registration here. If this is successful, we’ll host more 200Ks this Spring to get folks back into the swing of things.

(3)  Plan on the 600K in April not taking place in April. Plan on another ride(s) that weekend. If we’re lucky, it’ll be a 200/300.  If not, it’ll be one of those rides for certain (unless things take an unfortunate, and unexpected turn for the worse with the pandemic). We’ll reschedule the 600K later in the year, if we have time and if/when more folks are more comfortable with that distance (many of us have not been riding as much) and with the overnight and, hopefully, for when we can confidently offer support.

(4)  What about the Cracker Swamp? Keep holding the dates. It’s looking like it’ll be good-to-go. We’re waiting for some better intel on what the lay of the land will look like for what overnight accommodations and support can reasonably be (and thus how to price the ride so we’re both fair yet don’t go broke). Good news: if you want to ride, you’ll be in the ride: no queues; no waitlist; no nonsense. We’ve all had enough stress lately.

(5)  Where’s my stuff from 2020? In a pile on my desk. Mea maxima culpa.

Stay safe and healthy,

Remembering Jacquie Schlitter, 1967-2020

We are sad to report Jacquie Schlitter’s recent passing after her fight with cancer. Jacquie became a randonneur in 2011 and completed a full series that year, culminating in a joyous and successful, if somewhat sleep-deprived, Paris-Brest-Paris (a result of “Too many French cafés”). That little vignette, which she shared with me as we approached Villaines-la-Juhel, typified Jacquie’s awesome nature. Jacquie would be in the middle of doing something really tough, really extraordinary, and totally wiped out and yet there she was, despite being on the edge, with a huge smile on her face and not only having a good time, but spreading positive energy to everyone she came in contact with no matter who they were. Anytime you saw her pig-tails flying in the breeze (usually up the road!), you knew you were witness not only to one of the strongest riders ever to put a bike on the line, but to someone who knew how to have a great time and always supported others.

Several years later, Jacquie completed the infamous beer-and-wine-soaked loop-style 1000K we ran in October 2014 to gauge interest in such a route design. Would returning to the start/finish each night be too boring? Or would riders enjoy having a basecamp and starting each day together? Leave it to Jacquie to prove the concept of an event that emphasized camaraderie (see above, taken after Day 2). The ride and route design were huge successes in no small part thanks to Jacquie and John whose enthusiasm for ultracycling and sharing its joy with others were positively infectious. Jacquie completed the 2016 Cracker Swamp in the same grand, enthusiastic style.

Jacquie, we sorely miss your spirit, your speed, and your hugs. May all your roads from hereon out be freshly paved and the wind forever at your back.