Starting July 1, 2020, RUSA has “reopened” brevets of 225km or less. While we’re all excited to get back to riding, to do this successfully – read: as safely as reasonably possible under the circumstances – there are some changes to how our brevets are organized and ridden in light of the on-going global COVID-19 pandemic.
First, it is all of our responsibility as members of our communities and families and for our own health and for the health and safety of everyone we come into contact with, to know and follow all applicable local laws and guidance concerning public health and the pandemic. This is especially challenging in Florida, where there is an absence of clear, consistent direction from state officials and, as a result, municipalities and counties have enacted varying, sometimes conflicting, ordinances. We all need to recognize this uncertainty and also that national, state, and local rules and guidance can change radically and quickly and that this might determine how – or even whether – a brevet can be run. It is each rider’s duty to exercise good common sense, to stay informed and flexible, and to make decisions not just for themselves, but others, too.
With this in mind, the following rules and procedures will apply to Central Florida Randonneurs brevets:
–Anyone who is sick, thinks they might be sick, thinks they have any symptoms, or thinks they might have been exposed to someone who is sick or someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 needs to not ride and must stay home. And if you’re awaiting a COVID-19 test result, do not ride, regardless of the circumstances that caused you to be tested. Not only is participating in a brevet under any of these circumstances irresponsible for your own health and the health of everyone else you come in contact with, but your doing this might, single-handedly, cause all brevets in the United States to cease immediately and indefinitely.
–Brevets will be unsupported. There will be no support on the route or at the controls. There will be no event volunteers. SAG will not be provided under any circumstances. Each rider needs to be fully prepared to participate in the brevet without any organized support of any kind, including if they DNF on-route. Riders are reminded that it’s permitted to have your own support/SAG, but that it is forbidden to take support other than at a control. That includes food, water, help with a mechanical, … anything at all. That’s a long-standing RUSA/ACP rule and it remains unchanged in any way, as does the prohibition against “ride alongs.”
—Brevets will not have social gatherings before, during, or after. Pre-, post-, and during-ride meals are a hallmark of our brevets, but hosting them is not responsible during a pandemic, at least not in July. Trust me, as soon as we can reasonably bring these back, we will.
—Masks. Riders in Pinellas County must wear masks anytime they enter a building. Note that there are exceptions to this legal requirement and that if wearing a mask indoors is problematic for you for any reason, then it is your responsibility to research the legal exemptions to that requirement and determine whether you think any of them apply to you. Riders must wear masks when checking in for the ride until they depart on the brevet. That’s not Pinellas County’s requirement; it’s mine: No mask, no ride.
Outside Pinellas County, be aware that there are a patchwork of laws and ordinances with various exemptions to indoor mask requirements (or no requirement at all) and that if you choose to enter a building without a mask that you should research whether that is legal. Of course, regardless of what the law requires, each rider must obey all directions from any business owner concerning masks or other conduct in their place of business. Simplify your life: wear a mask. Don’t have a mask? No worries; I’ve got one for you.
I will wear a mask and gloves when checking you in for the brevet. I’ll also have hand-sanitizer at the check-in, but you are encouraged to bring your own on the ride.
—Maintenance of social distance. Riders are expected to maintain six feet of separation from others. Don’t congregate in groups off the bike. Be aware that social distancing is required by law in some of the communities you will pass through unless, for some reason, it’s not possible. Simplify your life: practice six-foot social distancing all the time, everywhere.
—Group riding: Riders are discouraged from riding in groups other than with those they live with. How riders ride together – whether at all, how far apart, etc. – is up to the riders. You are all adults and are all expected to communicate with each other on this topic. Of course, if someone asks that you not ride near them, honor their request.
–RUSA now requires two waivers for each brevet participant. I’ll post them on the website in advance of brevets so you can review them at your leisure. You can print and sign them yourself, or I’ll have some available at check-in. Same as before: ink signature required; no “electronic” signatures. You’ll toss them in a box so we’re not passing paper around.
–All events are now $10 per event; we’ve still got insurance and over-head, sadly. Payment should be made electronically, by PayPal, prior to the ride start. I’ll take cash – exact change only – or a check at the ride start; you can toss it in the box.
—Brevet cards are eliminated. You’ll get a brevet card after the fact to memorialize your ride, but they will not be issued at check-in.
—Controls; start/finish procedures. All controls, including the start/finish control, will be “photo” controls: take a photo that shows you and your bike at the control. All controls other than the finish control are untimed. No receipts, no signatures. Just make the overall time-cut and you’re good. At the completion of the ride, you must email me your photos, all in one email (mind the size of the photos or they’ll get bounced). Don’t send them to me one at a time. When you finish, you can go; there’s nothing to sign.
Brevets are now “show and go.” Once you are checked in with me at the start, you can start your ride. Consider a “7AM start” to mean that you can start any time from when I have checked you in up until 7AM, which is when I’ll depart, as I’ll be riding, too. Your official ride time will be your finish time minus your start time. Don’t forget the starting photo!
–If you DNF, you are still required to let me know that, as soon as it’s safe and practical to do so. We want to make sure you’re accounted for and safe!
—Changes and new information will be communicated on the website’s page for each event and, if necessary, to registered riders by email.
–What is the plan for making up missed brevets or hosting other brevets? Depending on the success of our Pinellas Beaches 100K – e.g., how these procedures worked — we will hold the Up All Night! 200K in July. We’ll also make up the San An 100K. If and when RUSA permits a 600K to be held, we will make up our postponed ACP 600K. (Expect that, if that brevet can be held, that it will be similarly bare-bones, with no overnight support or hotel arrangements; we’ll all be on our own.) We will also hold other distances, too, as time and the pandemic permit. We all want to ride and we all have personal goals and awards to chase. So long as we can ride brevets safely and responsibly, we will.
–What about audax brevets? They are suspended until further notice, per the UAF. The audax format is incompatible with pandemic mitigation.
—Final words. Let me be blunt: this all sucks. But we’re all in this together. Let’s set a great example for everyone else in how we ride. It’ll keep the lights on here and at RUSA and it’ll give our loved ones and friends confidence that we’re being safe and responsible. Also, if you’re not comfortable with riding yet, or with the reopening, or with any of these procedures, then please don’t ride. No worries; that’s a totally valid call to make. Brevets have been around for almost 150 years. They’ve survived world wars and even a prior pandemic. They’ll still be here next year or whenever. What’s important is ensuring that you will be, too, and that your enthusiasm for randonneuring endures. Key to that is ensuring that you feel safe and comfortable (and that those who love and support you feel that you’re safe and doing the right thing, too). Like all other aspects of an endurance sport, don’t push it. Taking your time and taking things one at a time is almost always the way to get to wherever you want to go. So, see you on the road or on the flip side and, until then, stay safe.