By Bill Bryant
Earlier this year the Audax Club Parisien in France released the 2000 brevet results of all participating member countries of the Randonneurs Mondiaux.
Randonneurs USA is very proud to announce that American randonneurs earned a fine second place standing behind our hard-riding colleagues in England. RUSA's second place is good progress from the busy 1999 PBP year that saw a lot of randonneuring activity around the globe. That year France was first, the United Kingdom second, and the United States third. In the traditional post-PBP slump, there was reduced brevet participation in most countries last season. See chart.
Last year, the US closed the gap on the Brits nonetheless, with less than 100 points separating our two nations----quite impressive when one remembers that our RUSA membership is one-third that of the Audax-UK and that the distances we must travel to events is often far longer. On the other hand, France suffered more and slipped down to third position. But we can't rest on our laurels----other countries are building up momentum and preparing to "take a flyer" past us into the lead during 2001! Both fourth-place Australia and fifth-place Canada showed noticeable gains in 2000, so randonneuring is obviously catching on there. (For a complete explanation of how points are earned, refer back to the May, 2000, issue of American Randonneur.)
In addition to the country comparisons, there was more good news from many regional brevet series in the US. Among the 153 clubs that organize brevet events worldwide, America had four in the top ten! As in 1999, third place in 2000 went to northern California's powerhouse Davis Bike Club. But unlike 1999 when the next US club was in 23rd place, we now see the Boston Brevet Series in fifth place, the Potomac Pedalers in eighth, and Florida's West Palm Beach in tenth. Not far behind were the Ohio Randonneurs (14th ), Seattle International Randonneurs (17th ), Lone Star Randonneurs (18th ), Freewheelers of Spartanburg (20th ), Kansas City Ultra-Cycling (21 st ), Great Lakes Randonneurs (25th ), and the Rocky Mountain Cycle Club (27th ).
A summary of how many randonneurs earned the prestigious Randonneur-5000 medal is also interesting. Canada led with 26 recipients, and the US was right behind with 25. Australia was third with 21, France earned 18, Denmark 7, England 6, Sweden 3, and Germany 2. Looking at the US in particular, the two best-represented clubs were Davis (11 medals) and Seattle (5), with the remainder spread around the country.
Some of these changes are due to randonneuring having a quiet year in France and elsewhere during 2000, but the healthy brevet participation in the US in a post-PBP year also indicates a lot of potential for American randonneuring during the next few years. None of this excellent progress could happen without dedicated randonneurs, but RUSA also sends out hearty congratulations to our tireless RBAs and their checkpoint volunteers. On behalf of our members, the RUSA leadership sincerely appreciates all your hard work putting on these long events year after year.
As to 2001 and beyond, let's be sure to finish all the brevets we start---keep those points rolling in! Remember that randonneuring is not racing. It's all about determination and tenacity, no matter what your cycling ability. A speedy finishing time doesn't earn any more points than a slower one. If you're going through a rough patch on a difficult brevet, search for the inner strength to make it to the finish line inside the final cutoff. Better yet, introduce a friend to randonneuring! After all, a 200k brevet isn't that much longer than a normal 100-mile century; perhaps you can do some recruiting among your cycling pals there.
Congratulations, everyone! Bonne route et bonne chance en 2001!