by Bill Bryant

Welcome to another great season of American randonneuring. With more brevets, flèches, and permanents in more regions than ever before, 2005 should be a fine year of long-distance cycling for the members of Randonneurs USA. This summer will see four American 1200-kilometer events, something hardly imaginable when I did my first brevet over twenty years ago. I'll bet we repeat again as the leading country of the Randonneurs Mondiaux, just as we did in 2004. Wow!

Included with this February newsletter, you received a special 2004 Results publication. Such is the growth of our sport that we can no longer use our regular quarterly newsletters-quite a nice problem to have. We plan on repeating this publication at the close of each season. Many thanks go out to our RUSA Volunteers, Mike Dayton, Lois Springsteen, and Jim Kuehn who worked hard to create this record of our members' randonneuring accomplishments for the year.

Also included in your mailing is a special gift, a RUSA pin. I hope you'll wear or display it with our good wishes for being among a special breed of cyclist-the hardy randonneur. I'm thinking I might put mine on the back of my tire repair bag under the saddle and when other riders ask about it this will give me a chance to tell them about the sport I find so rewarding, and perhaps we'll get some new riders that way. "But, Bill," you say, "I'm not the sort of person who is into wearing or displaying pins." That's okay-I'd like you to put it inside your tire repair kit and keep it for the special time when you should give it away; I hope you'll still be an ambassador for randonneuring. From time to time every randonneur or randonneuse needs some unexpected help during his or her long-distance wanderings; giving away this small pin as a token of your appreciation would be a fine thing to do. Here's an example: At the 2001 Gold Rush Randonnée, one of the checkpoints was in the community hall of the tiny town of Adin. A remote spot in California's vast "outback" in the northern part of the state, the citizens of Adin were tickled that some crazy bike riders would pedal all the way from Davis to the Oregon border and back, passing twice through their little village. Such was their support for this unusual event that when the control cooks unexpectedly ran out of eggs, the word went around town and soon home kitchens were emptied of eggs to keep the hungry randonneurs moving forward. Had we RUSA pins back then, I would have loved to hand them out to our generous saviors. Prominent among them was a local kid named Edward. This young fellow, not yet a teenager, kept busy at the control for two days helping everyone in all sorts of ways. It was the type of unplanned support and kindness that helps riders earn their brevet, and I would have loved to give young Edward a pin to show how much his efforts meant to us. Similarly, next time I go to PBP, I want to bring a bunch of RUSA pins to hand out along the route to the wonderful French people and control workers who do so much to support the riders. My personal PBP goal won't be to see how fast I can ride, but to pass out as many pins as I can to the great folks who help us to pursue our cycling dreams.

This spring, Iowa RBA Robert Fry is organizing a memorial 200k brevet for our fallen comrade Dave Holmes. Dave's widow Tami and their kids may be there, probably helping at the start/finish. The ride is on May 7th and I hope as many RUSA members and their friends will attend as possible. I sure hope Dave's kids get a few RUSA pins from riders as a small token of appreciation for how much Dave did for randonneuring for so many years.