COVID-19 Plan

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 brevets 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 organized social gatherings before, during, or after. 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.

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.

–I will post the RUSA-required waiver on the website in advance of brevets so you can review it at your leisure. You can print and sign yourself, or I’ll have some available at check-in. Same as before: ink signature required; no “electronic” signatures.

–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.

Brevet cards are eliminated for the time-being. 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 this brevet – e.g., how these procedures worked — we will hold the additional calendared event, other than the 600K which will be rescheduled assuming that that’s prudent (it should be).  We’ll also make up the ACP 200 & 300K brevets. (Expect that, additional brevets will be similarly bare-bones, with no overnight support or hotel arrangements; we’ll all be on our own.)

–What about audax brevets? They remain suspended until further notice — through 2021 at a minimum — 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.

COVID-19 Update: Brevets & Cracker Swamp


Couple of updates:
(1)  Brevets remain postponed nationally through at least the end of June.  We’ll know mid-June about July and going forward. If possible, once we reopen, we’ll make up at least some of the postponed rides from the spring.

(2)   The Cracker Swamp remains on, but as you know, everything is day-to-day. Running the event at all is, obviously, dependent on getting the green light from RUSA to hold events. It’s also dependent on redesigning the event to accommodate what are likely to be significant changes in how we’re used to randonneuring. For example, we’ll have to rethink how to have our legendary end-of-day meals in a safe yet still fun manner. Shared hotel rooms, too, are something that we may not want to do, or that all riders may not want to do but, at the same time, doubling our hotel bill (which is more than 65% of the budget) isn’t possible, either. In short, we don’t know what this will look like but trust we’re thinking about it. If the ride can be held, it will be, but expect that’ll it’ll be … different.

(3)  Permanents! There’s insurance secured for them, so expect their return. There’s no date for this yet — there’s significant logistics work to do in redesigning the program — but I suspect round-about the time brevets reopen, we’ll have perms, too. Stand by for further.

Stay safe,

Brevet Season Update: COVID-19


The pressing question is, what’s to happen to our brevet season in light of the uncontrolled spread of a debilitating and perhaps fatal pandemic, especially to the largest demographic in our state? The answer is this: The upcoming UAF 400K (March 28), ACP 600K (April 4), and flèche (April 17) will not be held on those dates and are postponed. It is possible that some or all of these rides may be rescheduled later in the year. Simply put, we’ll have to wait and see. If they can be held, they will be, but they will not be held on the calendared dates.

What about our other events — the 600K audax, the two juniors’ audax series, the June 100K and the July 200K night ride? On those, we’ll wait and see how things play out in the next few weeks before deciding to postpone or cancel them. The registrations are not posted for those event brevets, and they won’t be until we have a better sense of what we’re dealing with in combating this virus. So for now, stay tuned for further.

The Cracker Swamp remains on and I hope — for a lot of reasons, most of them having nothing to do with riding bikes — that it remains that way.

I know this news will be disappointing, and some will question the decision. Brevets are not Major League Baseball or the Rolling Stones, and they’re not even quite like UCI or even USAC races (where there’s a lot of contact). We could take steps to mitigate risk — staggering starts, using info controls — but it’s just not worth it in the grand scheme of things. There’s a lot — A LOT — more important in this world than brevets and right now is a time when we need to take a long view and make a shared sacrifice so that we can reduce not only our own risk, but the risk to everyone we come in contact with every time we leave the house. Safety is the number one priority in organizing a cycling event and, sadly, right now that means not organizing any events so long as the weight of credible, science-based evidence tells us to practice social distancing and radically reduce, and preferably eliminate, nonessential trips outside the home. Brevets are not essential and, thus, the postponement.

This was a tough decision to make and I made it after consulting the recommendations of the CDC, the much-touted Imperial College report and modeling, and the increasing frequency with which communities are legally banning non-essential travel outside the home. I also consulted history. I have a 600-page book, in French, on the history of the first 100 years of audax cycling that for the time periods I was interested in, the First and Second World Wars, also covers the history of the ACP. Brevets were not held for six years during and following the Great War. Six years; think about that. There were a few, literally just several, brevets in Occupied France but, for the most part, randonneuring ceased for a decade during and after the Second War. PBP was not held between 1931 and 1948. What we’re dealing with now is a global emergency, but it is unlikely of the magnitude of disruption our forefathers — and mothers; women participated in the first brevet held after the Great War, 100 years ago — experienced during the first half of the last century. We will get through this, just as they did. Because we’re tough, just like they were. We’re randonneurs. And there will be a second century of brevets with many tales of glory and perseverance and I’ll be there, with you, to continue building our excellent community and write that history. Until then, be safe, be well, take care of yourself and yours, and we’ll ride again together soon.

A bientôt,

400K Update


The final cue sheet has been posted to the Events page and is also here. The two major changes are that it reflects the start at the IOTG and the deletion of the lunch at the turn-around. That’s now an info control.

Other notes from the workers’ ride: loose gravel and stone on SR 21, both directions — be very careful; it blends in with the road surface!  The Pack n Sack closes at 10pm now, not 11pm. So on the return trip, plan accordingly and stop in Salt Springs to be safe. It’s a long way in, otherwise!  180th/183rd remains rough.
If you arrive tonight, come by the suite before 7pm and I’ll check you in. Otherwise, see you in the AM before the start, which is 5am SHARP. Check in at the suite anytime after 4:30am and before 4:55am.
There are only 10 of us riding; please check the registered riders list. If you’re not coming, please let me know. If you think you’re coming but don’t see your name on that list, then please let me know that, too.

Cracker Swamp 1200: Details and Registration Info

We’re excited to be hosting the Cracker Swamp 1200K again in 2020. There are some major changes — new hotel! new route! — but what remains the same is a great time riding with great people, great food and beverages, amazing volunteers, and excellent camaraderie all around. Plus some epic swag and medals. Here are the details, which are also found on the event website:

(1)  The ride dates are November 5-8, 2020, out of Tavares, FL. It’s a loop-style 1200 in the traditional format: four distinct days of 400/300/300/200. You’ll return to the start/finish (and your hotel room!) every night, where you’ll be well fed before setting out again the next day.

(2)  Registration opens at 6pm EST on Saturday, February 15, 2020, when the registration link on the event webpage — — will be live and you can register and pay. Registration closes October 4, 2020.

(3)  The entry fee is $550, which includes FIVE nights’ lodging at the event hotel (Weds. 11/4 check-in through a checkout on Monday, 11/9). That’s the day before the event (we start at 0400 on 11/5) until the day after when most people finish (most riders will finish the afternoon of 11/8). Also included are breakfast and dinner during the ride (e.g., all food at the overnight controls) plus some event SWAG, a finisher’s medal, a pre- and post-ride get-together (including dinner Sunday night), and some other righteous goodies that are TBD. You’re on your own for all travel to/from the start and for all meals/supplies/etc. on the route (other than at the overnight controls). There will be volunteers on the route and some intermediate controls will be staffed, but this is not a fully SAG’ed event: self-sufficiency and resourcefulness are key elements of randonneuring.

(4)  For the hotel, your accommodations will include a shared room, but not a shared bed, at the Comfort Inn & Suites, Tavares-North. You will be assigned a same-gender roommate, but you will have your own bed. (You and a roommate can indicate a desire to share a room on the registration form.) Your room will be assigned at rider-check-in and you’ll have it for the duration of the ride — bring whatever you want and leave it in the room.  No drop bags; you’ll be back at your room 3 times during the event! There is a group rate for those wanting to arrive earlier or stay later at the hotel, not included in the entry fee. Contact me, not the hotel, if interested. Also contact me if you want your own room (e.g., no roommate); there is limited availability for an extra charge.

(5)  The rider cap is 80 riders and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Holding a space on the ride involves completing the online registration form AND receipt of payment. If the rider cap is reached, a wait-list will be established.  We’ll take people from the waitlist in order.

(6)  If you need to cancel, here is the refund policy:
$50 of your registration is nonrefundable
100% remaining balance refundable through March 31, 2020
75% remaining balance refundable through June 30, 2020
50% remaining balance refundable through August 31, 2020
0% remaining balance refundable after August 31, 2020.

If you are waitlisted, your entry fee is fully refundable if you are not offered a spot on the ride or if you cancel your place on the waitlist prior to being offered a spot.

(7)  Qualification requirements: (a) full ACP/RUSA/UAF brevet series in 2020; (b) completion of a 1200K previously; or (3) my permission – e.g., demonstrate that you know what you’re getting into and have the ability and capacity to ride safely and within time. Ultracyclists welcome! You can register for the event before you complete the qualification.

(8)  For registration, know your t-shirt size. You will also need emergency contact information (name, phone number) for someone who is not on the ride. As noted above, you can indicate on the registration form if you have a preferred roommate. This can also be arranged later, if you have a friend/riding companion who signs up later.

(9)  Please note that the entry fee is the same if your plans are to stay at a location other than the event hotel — e.g., no a-la-carte pricing.

(10)  Current RUSA membership is required for all riders. Join here: Renew here: Check your status here:

(11)  The route is totally different than 2016, but it is still flat, compared to most brevets in most other parts of the world. It’s less than 10,000 feet of climbing, and none of it is especially steep (11% max) or long. Road surfaces are generally excellent; 23s are fine here. You’ll see both the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, pine forests, orange groves, cypress swamps, live-oak canopied roads, wetlands, and undoubtedly a gator or two, plus tons of bird life, deer, nocturnal critters, and maybe even a bear, fox, or coyote. There are some wild places in Florida, and you’ll visit many of them.

(12)  The weather is generally excellent in November. It can still be hot, humid, and rainy, but typically it is sunny and dry with highs in the 70s-80s and lows in the 50s-60s. It can be windy, especially along the coasts. While tropical storms are uncommon in November, they’re not unheard of: hurricane season ends November 30. In the randonneur spirit, we will ride rain-or-shine, but we’re not going to ride in a hurricane or if one is bearing down on us. We reserve the right to change or cancel the event due to circumstances beyond our control that arise, without liability or refund.  Travel insurance for such eventualities is recommended.

(13)  There is a jersey in the works. It’s different than the 2016 version. It’ll be totally awesome. The cost of the jersey is not included in the entry fee.

(14)  For the love of Pete, man, tell me about the food and beverages!  Everything’ll be homemade. There will be plentiful gluten-free and vegetarian options. There will be beverages, including cider, beer, and wine, all brewed/fermented by yours truly (all of which are GF). And, of course, there will be single malts at the finish. The coffee will be excellent. If you need something else (vegan, dairy-free, whatever), just shoot me an email and we’ll make sure you’re taken care of.

See you in the ‘Swamp.
RBA, Central Florida Randonneurs

200 / 300 Updates

The 300K workers’ ride did not reveal any significant issues. The construction on A1A is no longer requiring a detour, so you should be able to follow the route as indicated. As always, be careful! The cue sheet is final and is posted on the Events page for that ride.

See you this evening/tomorrow morning,

200/300 Weekend; Other News

Happy New Year and new brevet season to all!

1.  The list of registered riders has been updated on the events pages and is current as of 7pm, Thursday. You’ve still got some time to register, so come out and ride with us. It’s going to be a good weekend! If your plans have changed and you can no longer make it, please let me know.

2.  Please verify that your RUSA membership is current because RUSA’s insurer requires that all event participants be current, paid-up members of RUSA; no exceptions. Chasing folks down to renew or join RUSA is a drag and I’d rather be cooking and brewing for you guys. So, please take a minute and take care of it now.

3.  Also a reminder that anyone riding any of our events without registering for them or without being a current RUSA member will be DQ’d and permanently banned. That means no “ride alongs” and no having friends meet you anywhere on the route other than at a control. This is the warning.

4.  The 200K workers’ ride took place Wednesday. The cue sheet is now current and final. Here are some notes from the workers’ ride: (1) Although lights and reflective materials are not required, they are STRONGLY recommended; it was very foggy and you should expect the same conditions this weekend; (2) the Howey bridge is still under construction; be careful!; and (3) there is construction on US 301 north of Coleman; be careful!

5.  The 300K workers’ ride is taking place as I write this. Any notes from that ride and the final cue sheet will be posted on Friday.

6.  Although you’re on your own for food during the events, plan on dinner following each ride. You can check-in for the 200K on Friday evening at the hotel or on Saturday morning, before the start, and for the 300K following the 200K on Saturday or on Sunday morning. Reminder that there is no on-route SAG on these rides. If you DNF, your plans for returning to the start/finish should not involve an event volunteer. We will never leave anyone out there, but you will wait many, many hours for a ride.

7.  Other events and news: Remember that we have a full audax series this year as well as 400 and 600km ACP events. We’ll also be putting up information on the Cracker Swamp 1200K very soon, so watch for that; registration will open in February. Speaking of 1200s, get with me ASAP if you’re interested in riding PBP-Audax this year. I’ve not forgotten your 2019 brevet cards; they’re coming soon, as are the last of the 2019 audax medals – I am awaiting the last of them from France and will send them all out together. While the insurance snafu and the suspension of the permanents program may have some of you feeling down or like we’re all lost at sea, I can’t stress enough how much excellent, selfless work the RUSA Board has done to ensure the continuation of randonneuring in the United States. In particular, when you see Dave Thompson this weekend, please be sure to thank him for keeping the ship afloat with a wise, confident, and steady hand on the tiller and congratulate him on his very deserved elevation to the RUSA presidency! We’re lucky to have him and his leadership; thank you, Dave!

8.  Dude, where the are the GPS files? There are not any. The official routes are the cue sheets. I can’t vouch for any GPS files that people put on the internet or share among themselves. Navigation is a fundamental part of the self-sufficiency that is a key pillar of randonneuring. I’m glad to help teach you to navigate and read a cue sheet if they are unfamiliar or confusing to you; just get with me, anytime. However you navigate, please remember that staying on route is your responsibility – not your computer’s or your friend’s – and pay close attention to where you are, ensuring you’re on route and oriented. Every year we have multiple navigational DNFs due to GPS failures or misprogramming or because someone’s (not very good) plan was to follow the group or a friend and they got dropped or the “friend” DNF’d, leaving the person with no idea where they were or where they were going. Please don’t let this be you!

PBP-Audax, June 27 – July 1, 2020

For those Americans seriously considering participating in PBP-Audax in 2020, please contact me to express your interest.

Registration for the event will open in January and the UAF has asked for an approximation of the number of Americans who might be in attendance. We want to make sure that there’s room for all who want to go.

Note that qualification is not required — the first audax brevet I rode was PBP-Audax in 2016. That said, it’s still a very long ride and you should be well prepared to undertake it. Audax isn’t any easier than the randonneur format, it’s just different.  And if you’d like to participate in an audax brevet, we’re hosting a full UAF-sanctioned audax series here in Central Florida in 2020.

I’ve done both PBP formats — the randonneur version four times — and am glad to answer any questions you might have and, for those going, to assist with registration, communication, and advice and help with other logistics.

Central Florida

End of the Year Rides

With the discontinuation of the permanents program, so that folks can get some rides in and keep their R-12s or P-12s going, I just put up the registration for a 100K on this Saturday out of The Bikery in St. Pete and will shortly put up the info for a 200K out of Tavares for 12/21. As usual, preregistration is required. Also, while there is no charge for either ride, being a current RUSA member at the start of the rides is required, and this will also be the case for the 2020 brevet season. This is a new requirement imposed by our insurer and is mandatory. New folks can join RUSA at the start of the ride.

Hope you’re having a great holiday season and see you on the road, Paul

2020 Randonneuring Calendar: ACP & Audax Brevets

Here’s what we have coming in 2020: ACP/RUSA brevets, a full audax brevet series, two series of audax juniors brevets, and of course, the Cracker Swamp 1200! Save the dates!

ACP/RUSA brevets
200 — January 18, 2020 (Sa) — Tavares
300 — January 19, 2020 (Su) — Tavares
400 — March 7, 2020 (Sa) — Tavares
600 — April 4, 2020 (Sa) — Tavares
100 — June 6, 2020 (Sa) — San Antonio
200 — July 17 (Fri.; night ride) — San Antonio
1200 — Nov. 5-8 (Cracker Swamp) — Tavares
fleche — April 17, 2020 (Fri) — Orlando-area finish


UAF audax brevets (start together, ride together, finish together)
200 — January 11, 2020 (Sa) — St Pete
300 — February 1, 2020 (Sa) — Tavares
400 — March 28, 2020 — Dunnellon
600 — May 2, 2020 — Tavares or Dunnellon


Aiglons (juniors’ audax brevets) (St. Pete)
20 — May 23
30 — June 13
40 — July 11
50 — Aug 15
60 — Sept 12
70 — Oct 10