As Bill Bryant notes in his president's message: RUSA exists thanks to the volunteers who have stepped up and offered their time, knowledge, and energy. As RUSA moves from one president to the next, now is the perfect time to meet some of the RYUSA volunteers who work behind the scenes. Read on to find out who these folks are, what they do for RUSA--and what their favorite post-ride meal is. Look for more volunteer profiles in our next Newsletter.
City, State: Santa Cruz, California
Work experience: 20 yearsbicycle mechanic, wheel builder, framebuilder & shop manager; elementary schoolteacher the past 13 years.
Years in RUSA: RUSA Founder 1998
Positions I've held in RUSA: Co-chair Membership Committee; Awards Committee; Rules Committee; Vice- President; newsletter, handbook, and website content contributor
Current position: President
How I got started in randonneuring: I rode my first double century at the tender age of 17 (1971 Davis DC). I also read "Old Roads and New" by J. B. Wadley shortly after that. It was the story of his '71 PBP ride and I was totally hooked. I knew that I would do PBP some day (but I wanted to go racing first). In 1979 my Davis clubmate Dennis Hearst set off for that year's PBP. Dennis was one of the American PBP pioneers (self-qualifying rides, etc), and his subsequent tales of this great ride further fueled my ambition. Four years later the first California brevets got started and I was there.
Brevet experience & awards: I did my first brevets and PBP in 1983; earned the SR award again in 1991, but at the last minute couldn't make it to Paris that year for work reasons, one of the major disappointments of my life. Finally got to ride it again in '99, this time with Lois, and on our tandem. It was well worth the wait. All told I think I've done around 50 brevets since 1983. Not all have been successful, but in every case I've learned a lot. Lois and I are currently organizing our new Santa Cruz brevet series and I am very excited about that. I'm looking forward to riding new routes with old cycling friends, as well as introducing new riders to our great sport.
Most memorable brevet and why: After so many (50+), it is hard to remember. The snowy Davis 300K in 1998 comes to mind in terms of challenges... But for sheer elation, arriving at the finish of the '83 PBP was beyond description. I had made every mistake in the book and success seemed highly doubtful most of the way, but I still managed to scrape around in 76 sleepless hours. (I was in the 78-hour start, so I didn't finish far from the end..) Really, though, the fun I have when riding with my pals in the Davis Bike Club makes all the brevets memorable. Even when the miles are hard, it is a great group and their encouragement keeps me going. Having 80 DBC riders at the '99 PBP meant we rarely felt alone. Funny, in '99 Lois and I finished closer to the time limit but with experience, we knew what we had to do. In '83, I was a clueless rookie and was in trouble virtually the entire way.
Other cycling activities: I've always been an active cycle- tourist since I began "serious" riding at the age of 15. During that time I've ridden across the US three times (1972, 1976, 1981) as well as many long trips of 1000 + miles to various places in the western US, Canada, and France. Lois and I have had several long trips in recent years; it is a great way to spend one's vacation. I notice, though, with age, sleeping on the ground after a hard day of cycling has lost its appeal, so we do credit card tours and stay in motels. Not having to haul all the camping gear means the cycling is more enjoyable too. Lois and I also do a good bit of mountain bike riding; it helps keep us from getting stale from too much road cycling. In the 1970s I was a very active racer on road, track, and cyclo-cross. I raced USCF Category 1/2 from the age of 19 to 26, about 65-75 races per season in the most active racing region in the US. My best results were in shorter events like criteriums, track and timetrials. I now look back on my racing days with pride and fondness, but when I write that "dog-eat-dog is not a phrase commonly used about randonneuring," I know what I am talking about. Though I remain a passionate racing fan, I do not think RUSA needs to adopt anything that would increase the competition among the participants.
Brevet Bike(s): I am currently riding a great Steve Rex rando-bike, but when I get cut loose from my RUSA duties, I look forward to having the time to resume frame-building. I really enjoy teaching and find it very rewarding, but I still miss being able to spend time working with my hands.
Why I decided to "step-up" and volunteer in RUSA: If you were around in the mid- 90s, you'll know that something had to be done to save American randonneuring. When Jennifer Wise, Johnny Bertrand, and John Wagner put out the call, it was impossible to ignore.
City, State: Syracuse, NY
Work experience: Geospatial Engineer Software Testing and Applications, Mapping Support Specialist, Consultant
Years in RUSA: 3
Positions I've held in RUSA: Central/Western New York RBA
Current position: RBA Liaison, RBA
What my RUSA job entails: Providing a conduit between the RBAs and the Board of Directors. Ensure officials' compliance with RUSA regulations and represent the RBAs at the BOD meetings. Why I decided to "step-up" and volunteer in RUSA: Sports have given much to me over the years. Many people have volunteered to organize the activities in which I have taken part. I have a large debt to pay to those who have allowed me to run, ski, snowboard, etc. And volunteerism reaps amazing rewards! How I got started in ran- donneuring: A dare to ride PBP Brevet experience & awards: 3 years of brevets starting with Jim Kuehn's September 200K (Hi Chuck and Christa - yup they got me through it). 1000K and 2000K medal, PBP2003, SR, R-5000 imminent. Most memorable brevet and why: I remember just about every minute of the brevets, it makes for 'good' thoughts on long car rides. I loved PBP, especially finishing knowing that I had helped others finish (I'm not trying to be sappy, I really loved that aspect). Biggest "rookie" mistake: Not enough cold weather gear. Other cycling activities: I LOVE touring! I have a great group I meet with once a year with the goal to ride in every state. I'm the insurance and distance representative on the Onondaga Cycling Club board. I enjoy assisting the local parks department with their yearly Bike Month celebration and even try to race every now and then. Brevet bike(s): Serotta CSI 'tricked out' for touring with deep rake forks and my new paint job. I also have a new tandem partner (Hi Pete).
Favorite post-ride meal: Drinking wine with the Canuks at PBP. Chocolate!
City, State: Raleigh, NC
Work experience: Currently editor of two statewide legal newspapers.
Years in RUSA: Now in third year
Positions I've held in RUSA: None
Current position(s): Newsletter editor.
What my RUSA job entails: You're looking at it!
Why I decided to "step-up" and volunteer in RUSA Jennifer Wise helped a good friend change his PBP start time. That was "above and beyond" the call of duty. When I saw RUSA was looking for a newsletter editor, it seemed a good way to repay the favor.
How I got started in randonneuring: Three years ago, I made a new years' resolution: I vowed to do at least one century a year. I showed up for a January ride and told two of the other riders---I'll call them Rich Bruner and Adrian Hands---about my goal. They both laughed and said I needed to do a century a month. They also mentioned some- thing called brevets. I went home and told my wife about the conversation. "Stay away from those guys, they sound like trouble," she warned. Three months later, there I was, lined up with my new buddies, at the start of my first 200K.
Brevet experience & awards: Two full brevet series, 2 Super Randonneur awards, PBP '03.
Most memorable brevet and why: My first 400K. It was one of those brutally hot Carolina days. Rich, Will Martin and I were roasting. About 10 miles from the turn- around, my rear shifter failed, leaving me stuck in the hardest sprocket. I was ready to pack it in, but ace mechanic Chesley Sugg, clever guy that he is, fixed me up with three gears--- low, medium and high. As I rolled into the finish eight hours later, I had a new appreciation for what randonneuring is all about.
Biggest "rookie" mistake: Using lightweight parts.
Other cycling activities: I've participated in every year of Cycle North Carolina, a week- long cross-state event with low daily mileage but lots of great company and camping.
Brevet bike(s): My PBP bike was a 1972 Silk Hope, a North Carolina frame, built up with an international mix of French, American, German, Italian and Japanese components.
Favorite post-ride meal: The Burger I had in Paris after PBP.
Age: Aging gracefully, but had my 47th birthday on the way to Brest, France during PBP this year.
City, State: Arlington, Texas, USA
Work experience: Currently a dishwasher at Jack-in-A-Box, but they are promising me a bartender's position.
Years in RUSA: It's been so long I can't remember, but my RUSA number is 390.
Positions I've held in RUSA: RBA and RBA Liaison---Board of Directors
Current position(s): RBA
What my RUSA job entails: Countless hours of "Labors of Love."
Why I decided to "step-up" and volunteer in RUSA: After all my years of randon- neuring and still being pretty bad at it, I thought becoming an RBA and serving on the board might improve my ran- donneuring abilities.
How I got started in ran- donneuring: I like looking around outside so I was look- ing for longer rides and found randonneuring.
Brevet experience & awards: PBP '99 & '03, Randonneur 5000, 6 Super Randonneur awards, 1 double Super Randonneur award (2) Supers in on year, and more then 14,000K of brevets, not to mention make-ups and pre- rides.
Most memorable brevet and why: The ones I remember the most are the ones I did not finish, I will never forget them! The rest get logged on the "fun" side of the brain.
Biggest "rookie" mistake: Thinking about how much sleep I will not get or how far I have left to ride till I finish, instead of just whistling "Dixie."
Other cycling activities: The Texas 24-Hour Time Trials, (www.tt24tt.com) --- a fundraiser to benefit a local outreach program. A great "fun" ride, if you are curious how far you can ride in 24 hours and would like to visit Texas.
Brevet bike(s): Serotta Single and a Co-Motion Tandem with a pig horn.
Favorite post-ride meal: I like the left side of the menu, because it includes all the desserts!
City, State: Waterloo, IA
Work experience: I'm just a humble engineer at John Deere!
Years in RUSA: 4
Positions I've held in RUSA: RBA for Great Lakes Randonneurs, 2001
Current position(s): RBA for Cedar Valley Cyclists and Permanents Committee
What my RUSA job entails: As Permanents Committee, I am responsible for supervising RUSA's Permanents program. This has involved creating the framework of regulations (borrowed heavily from Great Britain), and includes approv- ing all proposed Permanent routes, validating rides once the program goes into effect in 2004, and fielding any correspondence in this area.
Why I decided to "step-up" and volunteer in RUSA: As an ex-patriot Brit, I am probably the only RUSA member with prior experience of riding and organizing Permanents. I was very keen to see this program get off the ground here, and, after more than a quarter century awheel, I felt it was time I started to give something back in my adopted country.
How I got started in randonneuring: I have to blame the Dorset Coast 200K in Southern England, 1979. It was right on my doorstep, and I could never resist a challenge, even at age 13!
Brevet experience & awards: Audax UK member since 1986. Paris-Brest-Paris (1991 and 1999). Edinburgh-London (1989). Former Audax UK Individual Champion and points record holder (1991). Audax UK brevet 5,000 (1990). Audax UK brevet 25,000 (1992). AUK Audax Altitude Award (3 times). ACP brevet 5,000 (2001). Audax UK Ultra Randonneur (10 separate years of SR) (2002). A couple of RUSA Randonneur 1000 and 2000 as well.
Most memorable brevet and why: Anglesey 600K in 1991. The fourth of six 600K ridden that year on consecutive weekends. The fast tandem of Ian and Bridget Boon had given a few of us a slingshot to the turn, but from then on things became much harder. I remember riding through the Welsh mountains by myself in the middle of the night, in torrential rain, thunder and lightning, into the teeth of a howling gale. Like in Fantasia, Moussorgski played through my head, and amid the lightning flashes, I could swear I saw a witch atop a mountain peak, gleefully directing the action!
Biggest "rookie" mistake: Insufficient salt intake on my first really long ride, Edinburgh London. You don't think about it so much in a mild climate, but it can still get you.
Other cycling activities: Touring when I and my family can get away. The occasional 10 mile or 24 hour time trial.
Brevet bike(s): Mercian "King of Mercia" touring frame, plain vanilla Reynolds 531. Mostly Campy Athena with some Stronglight, Cinelli, nothing fancy. The same bike I brought over with me almost 10 years ago, now with a slightly comfier saddle.
Favorite post-ride meal: Fish and chips.
Biggest randonneuring hero: AUK's grandmother extraordinaire, Liz Creese. Probably the world's only brevet 100,000 and she did it in just 10 years.
City, State: Dublin, Ohio
Work experience: Computer Consultant
Years in RUSA: 5
Positions I've held in RUSA: Membership Chairman since Fall of 2000
Current position(s): Membership Chairman, Member Board of Directors starting in January 2004
What my RUSA job entails: As Membership Chairman, and with the help of Phyllis who is my wife and stoker on the tandem, we maintain the RUSA Membership Database and process all new and renewal membership applications.We send out welcome let- ters to new members and thanks for renewing letters to current members. We send out renewal reminder cards to those members whose memberships have expired. At the end of 2003, RUSA had over 1,800 active members. With the bulk of the processing work happening from December to March, and with 615 new members joining RUSA in 2003, it was a very busy year.
Why I decided to "step-up" and volunteer in RUSA: After having enjoyed learning the challenges and enjoying the rewards of randonneuring, I offered to the board to step in and take over as membership director, in order to give something back to this volunteer organization
How I got started in randonneuring: After having rid- den for many years with my wife doing centuries, we found they were no longer much of a challenge. There were several friends of ours who introduced us to randonneuring and helped us learn how to overcome the special chal- lenges that this area of the sport presents.
Brevet experience & awards: Phyllis and I rode our first brevet (200K) in 1997 and followed that up with a full series in both 1998 and 1999, then completed PBP in 1999. We have ridden most the Ohio Randonneurs events over the past six years and this past August successfully completed our second PBP.
Most memorable brevet and why: The Ohio Randonneurs events are known for being both beautiful and hilly. The now retired Ohio RBA Dave Buzzee wanted to make sure that his events properly prepared the riders to be able to handle the longer and tougher events such as PBP and BMB. In 1999 the Ohio Series was run in the never ending hills of southeastern Ohio. This was good preparation for those of us going to France that year. The 400K that year was the toughest and most brutal ride that my wife and I have ever ridden. For most of the day we had rain showers with several thunderstorms mixed in. There was even some time when the sun actually came out and with the moisture in the air, it got very muggy and warm. We would then get drenched again with another wave of showers. With the rain came the garbage including rocks, stones, sticks, and mud that would get onto the roads. This caused us to have several flat tires. The rain even caused my bike computer to die a slow death. Over half of the riders dropped out of the event but we kept going knowing that we needed to finish if we were going to go to France. When we came out of the hills and finally saw the lights of the finishing town, we knew that we had learned to become mentally tough---that we could tackle about anything and be strong enough to succeed.
Biggest "rookie" mistake: My biggest rookie mistake was on the 400K in 2000. It was a very hot day with temps up in the 90s. We ride with our camelbacks but on that day I just didn't drink enough. An advantage of riding on a tandem and doing brevets is that each rider can make sure their partner is doing what they should be doing, including eating and drinking. However I didn't listen to my wife and by the time we got to the halfway turnaround point I was dehydrated and needed some time to get rehydrated. I knew better but still made the rookie mistake.
Other cycling activities: Besides riding brevets and local centuries, we have enjoyed bicycle camping with our tandem and a small trailer in both Arizona and the Canadian Rockies. We have also gone over to England three times and instead of camping, have stayed in bed and breakfasts. We are also involved with organizing several local bicycle events in Ohio.
Brevet bike(s): Our only brevet bike is our custom made tandem called a Bradley, which was made locally here in Ohio by a one-man company called Franklin Frames.
Favorite post-ride meal: Mexican
City, State: Sebastopol, CA
Work experience: High School English teacher; Registered Nurse; Bike shop mechanic; Outside sales of bicycles, parts and accessories; Computer Networking Specialist
Years in RUSA: 5
Positions I've held in RUSA: Webmaster, RBA
Current position(s): Webmaster, RBA
What my RUSA job entails: Webmaster: maintaining the website, making additions and subtractions to our many pages, keeping it up-to-date, responding to information from the board and from the membership. RBA: organizing and running brevets in the Santa Rosa, CA area.
Why I decided to "step-up" and volunteer in RUSA: I was so happy to be a rider and ancien, that I wanted to become part of the delivery service to the membership--- making a contribution to help other riders accomplish their goals.
How I got started in randonneuring: Started in '98. I had heard of PBP and a friend and I were interested. We went to Bill Bryant's seminar in Davis, CA and I was hooked. Brevet experience & awards: 2003 was my fifth year of doing full, complete brevet series in a row. Two PBPs and a Gold Rush Randonnee.
Most memorable brevet and why: Probably the last Davis 600K, this spring. The weather was bad and PBP was at stake. There are memories that last from almost every one of them though.
Biggest "rookie" mistake: I have made almost every mistake that it's possible to make, and it's still a challenge to not make them, even at this point in my career. I am still always amazed at how much preparation is warranted for a long brevet, and how many things can go wrong. Maybe that's the appeal: an infinite number of variables and the challenge of anticipating and planning for problems.
Other cycling activities: I have been cycling as an adult since 1971, and have done a lot of riding, almost no racing though.
Brevet bike(s): Otis Guy Softride beam bike. I am hooked on beam bikes because they are so comfortable for the long miles that I do.
Favorite post-ride meal: Hamburgers and fries
City, State: Santa Cruz, CA
Work experience: Software Development Manager, Aerospace Project Engineer, Tax Specialist and Financial Advisor
Years in RUSA: Founding member in 1998.
Positions I've held in RUSA: Membership Co-chair, Vice- President, Webmaster, Brevet Results Administrator (for 2004), RBA---Santa Cruz Randonneurs
How I got started in randonneuring: Curiosity about Bill Bryant (and his cycling exploits) drew me to the sport. Brevet experience & awards: I began riding brevets in 1990, in preparation for the 1991 Paris Brest Paris du Centenaire. I've done 46 since then, including 4 PBPs and the Gold Rush Randonnee. I hold the R-5000 medal.
Most memorable brevet and why: There really are too many to mention. The best memories all revolve around the camaraderie of our community and what I hope to be lifelong friendships that I have developed with my fellow randonneurs. I'll ride anywhere, anytime, in any weather (almost) with "Team Girlene."
Other cycling activities: I've done eight fundraising bike rides from San Francisco to Los Angeles for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation since 1996. Together with my friends and family, I've raised almost $60,000.
Brevet Bike(s): Two Bill Bryant bikes ('91 PBP, '95 PBP), Ibis Tandem ('99 PBP), Steve Rex ('03 PBP).
Why I decided to "step-up" and volunteer in RUSA: American randonneuring need- ed organizational help with the failing health of James Konski, so initially we thought we would try to help the International Randonneurs. That proved to be impossible, so RUSA was born.
City, State: Coronado, California
Work experience: Attorney since 1978. Practice with own firm., Callahan, Little & Sullivan in San Diego, California
Years in RUSA: 1998
Positions I've held in RUSA: Legal advisor, Rules Committee, and Treasurer
Current position: Treasurer, Rules Committee
What my RUSA job entails: As Treasurer I simply perform the duties that goes with the position, depositing funds, paying expenses, preparing financial reports. On Rules Committee, periodically review rules for events.
Why I decided to "step-up" and volunteer in RUSA: I was very happy when RUSA was formed. When Jennifer Wise put a note in American Randonneur asking for any members who were attorneys to provide assistance I contacted her and volunteered. How I got started in ran- donneuring: I had done some long distance riding (double centuries). I was interested in Paris-Brest-Paris from reading articles in Bicycling magazine after 1983, 1987 and 1991. In 1994 I decided to train for PBP and rode Boston-Montreal- Boston that year. Brevet experience & awards: PBP in 1995, 1999, and 2003. BMB in 1994,1996,1998, and 2002. Have done brevet series either full or partial every year since 1994.
Most memorable brevet and why: Not really a brevet but 1994 BMB. Ride started in the rain and continued to Ludlow. Was wet and cold with teeth chattering but was able to continue and finish my first 1200K event. My favorite brevet course is the 600K brevet put on by Kevin Main in San Luis Obispo, California. A terrific course. Scenic ride on Highway 1 to Carmel for first 112 miles. Then after some climbing, "fun" headwind in the Salinas Valley for 35 miles, and start return toward finish with a 100-mile stretch in remote areas without towns and cars. Then go back to the coast for a scenic finish.
Biggest "rookie" mistake: Not necessary a rookie mis- take but in 2002 BMB did not eat enough and ran out of calories.
Other cycling activities: Ride with Crown City Cyclists a club in my hometown that I helped start in 2002. Have ridden approximately 51 double centuries.
Brevet bike(s): LeMond La Victoire
Favorite post-ride meal: Pizza
City, State: Redmond, WA
Work experience: Lawyer, telecommunications executive, bike shop owner
Years in RUSA: 5
Positions I've held in RUSA: Board member, RUSA Awards guy
How I got started in randon- neuring: I was looking for a long training ride in 1998 and stumbled across the Seattle International Randonneurs 200K. One thing led to another and I was hooked. Brevet experience & awards: PBP (2), BMB, Rocky Mountain 1200, LEL, 1000km (6), SR series (5), Randonneur 5000, International Super Randonneur 1200 (2C).
Most memorable brevet and why: SIR 1000K in September 2003. Why --- because I'm getting old and I remember the most recent one the best. Stunning scenery and great camaraderie added to the memories.
Other cycling activities: Commuting; my wife and I own a bike store.
Brevet Bike(s): 1998 Litespeed Ultimate (with rack braze-ons!)
Why I decided to "step-up" and volunteer in RUSA: To give something back to the sport.
City, State: Newport, Rhode Island
Work experience: Editing, Publishing, Bicycle Retail, Sports Marketing
Years in RUSA: 5
Positions I've held in RUSA: President, Newsletter Editor, Souvenir Program, RBA Current position(s): Souvenir Program, RBA
What my RUSA job entails: Souvenir Program---Each RUSA member should get a free RUSA decal when joining the organization. US randonneurs should have a nationalis- tic cycling jersey to wear at PBP. We also made up t-shirts and polo shirts for RUSA members to wear off the bike. The program has expanded to include shorts, vests, waterbottles and a special PBP RUSA jersey. RBA---I was involved with the Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200K randonnée before RUSA was founded, and many folks looked at BMB as the American PBP equivalent. BMB has been a good test for American cyclists to prepare for PBP. In recent years BMB has taken on a life of its own, and attracts foreign riders from around the world, who have heard that BMB is more challenging than PBP--- and want to test their reserve. BMB has been a wholly satisfying experience for them, and it allows me to meet and get to know randonneurs from this country and around the world.
Why I decided to "step-up" and volunteer in RUSA: I saw an opportunity to make the randonneur community in this country better and volunteered to do it. I wanted randonneurs to get a newsletter in their mailbox that was full of valuable information, that was readable and entertaining. I wanted the organization to have a signifi- cant recognizable logo that we could wear on our jerseys and shirts, so the souvenir program grew out of that. I wanted every member to feel a sense of belonging to a tangible and vibrant organization.
How I got started in randon- neuring: Heard about PBP, and Pierce and I bought a tandem in 1987, put fenders on it and did the brevets in Boston with every intention of going to PBP that year. We also bought a bike business that year, and on Memorial Weekend realized we had to stay home and mind our business, rather than go to PBP. I missed my one chance, but have always been fascinated with randonnuering and PBP --- so have stayed involved from off the bike.
Most memorable brevet and why: My 200k on the tandem in 1987---I was amazed that no-one was in a big hurry to finish. They got off the bike at the controls, sat down and chat- ted. This was new to me. I thought we would barrel through from start to finish. Being the stoker, I never usually get off. But I did, and it was a lot more fun.
Other cycling activities: I help out at local bike events, if I am available. I donate excess BMB supplies to the local Team in Training coaches to use on their training rides. BMB and RUSA keep me busy year round.