By Bill Bryant
Now I know how John Adams must have felt. At the beginning of the United States, George Washington helped lead a bold revolution and set up a new nation that was unlike anything that had come before. He was our first president and served two successful terms that set the tone for what was to follow. Washington did a good job and more than a few people wanted him to stay in office permanently and become the new American "king." But Washington wisely stepped aside after two terms because he believed the longterm health of the new, democratic nation depended on having more than one person lead. And so it came to be that John Adams was elected as the second American president.
In similar, if less dramatic fashion, I humbly become the second president of Randonneurs USA. I am very grateful for the support of my fellow Board of Directors who elected me, as well as that offered by many RUSA members from across our vast country. Moreover, I am very appreciative of the tremendous job done by my predecessor. Due to Jennifer Wise's unflagging energy, I inherit a well-run organization that is poised for future growth. From our earliest days following "the revolution," Jennifer---our "Washington" if you will---has been at the helm, guiding RUSA and encouraging the growth of randonneuring in the USA. She, and all the others who joined her along the way, have much to be proud of. As Bob Lepertel of the Audax Club Parisien writes in the 2003 PBP journal, "The supremacy of the USA is indisputable." With strong participation in our regional brevets, new areas being opened up with more events, our recent excellent PBP success rate, RUSA has indeed come a very long way under Jennifer's guidance. Mission accomplished.
Now it is time to look ahead. I thank my lucky stars that I am just one member of a terrific team. If you will look on the other side of this page you'll see the names of my teammates on the RUSA Executive Committee. Along with our 35 Regional Brevet Administrators, these are the energetic volunteers who ensure you have good events to ride, randonneuring information to read, distance awards to earn, and that your brevet results are processed swiftly and correctly. I am proud to be associated with them. Just like a fastmoving peloton needs to work together against a strong headwind, so does RUSA need new volunteers to help carry the load---hopefully one day your name will be there too. But right now it is my turn at the front and there is a lot to do. I am at ease, nonetheless, knowing that I am in the company of very fine people who want to make a contribution to American randonneuring.
As I write this, the first brevets of the 2004 season are already underway. Our RUSA calendar currently has over 230 brevets, flèches, and permanents; no doubt more will be added before the season is done. Whatever your region, you'll find hardy, friendly cyclists of all abilities out there enjoying the adventure of randonneuring. Bonne route et bon courage!