By Johnny Bertrand
In response to the call for opinions on the Two Year Rule in the Fall of 1996, I wrote the following letter to Jim Konski.
Enclosed with this letter was the original 1989 letter from the Audax Club Parisien allowing RBAs, such as me, to become Correspondants directs in the US, effectively by passing IR in all administrative functions save voting at the quadrennial RM meeting held after PBP. It was this turn of events that inspired IR to impose the Two Year Rule.
I followed up several times throughout 1997 via E-mail and by phone, but I never received a reply.
January 30, 1997
727 North Salina Street
Syracuse, New York
- Two Year PBP Requirement
- Personal IR Dues
- IR's Future
Please find enclosed a copy of the letter sent by Robert Lepertel in 1989 to US Regional Administrators explaining the 2 year rule requirement.
Enclosed also are my membership dues for the IR for 1997.
Having read and reread the 1989 letter from Lepertel, it seems to me that the two-year rule was imposed by the ACP/RM primarily because we failed to submit brevet results for a couple of years. The high number of DNF's in 1987 is mentioned, but it is not the central point of the letter.
In later correspondence, M. Lepertel has made a point of saying the RM don't mess in the internal affaires of member countries. The 1989 letter also states that the requirement was for the 1991 PBP.
Given these facts, I must vote to repeal the two year rule. Americans have proven themselves in the last two PBP's. Brevet organization has improved. Standards are by and large being met. I see no reason to continue to impose more severe requirements on Americans than on the rest of the world.
Another point I would like to address is the organization of the IR itself. As a result of trying to pull together information for publication on the web site, I have found that to the best of everyone's knowledge, the IR has little or no structure.
There appears to be no papers of incorporation, no constitution, no by-laws, etc. The newsletter head implies that there is an advisory council, but the members listed as such have no knowledge of their role or function.
In short, the IR appears to exist solely in you and those appointed by you as Regional Administrators. Although it is admirable that you have accepted and shouldered such a tremendous responsibility for over 20 years now, I cannot say that it necessarily bodes well for the future.
Lepertel noted in one of his recent letters that the RM organization in Ireland folded, since all responsibility was borne by a single person. Life got in his way and forced other preoccupations on him. Randonneuring, there, has suffered as a result.
I know you are really busy with your engineering practice and the daily demands that running a business require. Like the rest of us, you are also 20+ years older than when this adventure began. In that time you have almost single handedly built a vibrant, viable randonneuring organization in the US. However, to see this legacy prosper in the future, I think it is time that the IR become a more formal organization.
What I would suggest is a sort of constitutional convention made up of you, the Advisory Council members, and the Regional Administrators. I'm sure it will be difficult to find a time and place that is convenient to everyone, but it can be done. If need be, a great deal of the discussion can be done by mail or by e-mail.
I would propose some sort of governing body elected by the IR membership on a regional or perhaps proportional basis. I'm not really sure what the correct form should be; that's something that needs to be discussed.
What I am sure of is that it needs to be discussed and that discussion needs to be followed through by action. The IR and its members are currently sorely unprotected organizationally. As an unincorporated group we, collectively and individually, are exposed to a lot of nasty legal possibilities, but more importantly, if something should happen to you, a disabling bike accident for example, the IR is at a standstill.
Who would publish the newsletter? Who would pay the bills? Where are the bills? Who could sign IR checks? Who would rightfully take over the organization and its resources? Unless I'm mistaken, I think the answer to these and any other questions like them is that we have no idea.
Jim, you have played a pivotal role in randonneuring in the US and I cannot express my admiration for what you have accomplished. But that being said, I truly believe that if what you have so carefully crafted is to continue, plans must be made and put in place to assure a transition from a one-man operation to a more diversified one that is based on an elected board of some sort.
Let's not be caught like Eddie Dunne in Ireland. Let's assure that randonneuring in the US continues to prosper long beyond us. During these past 20+ years, you have made a contribution to randonneuring in the US that only one person can best. That person is you! You can best yourself by seeing to it that IR is as strong and vibrant in the future as it is today!
Please consider what I have said. As the officially recognized US representative in RM, only you are in a position to initiate such a transition and see it through in an orderly and positive way. I urge you to call a constitutional/organizational meeting now. Please give of yourself once again for randonneuring, as you have so faithfully given in the past.
Johnny Vaughn BERTRAND,
IR Regional Director,
Brevets de R.M.,
Bluegrass Cycling Club