It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone, but our randonneuring season is winding down. There are still a few late-season brevets and populaires on offer in a few spots around the country and some permanents will be ridden between now and New Years, but for most of us it is the time for relaxed autumn cycling. These rides might be a good time to look back and reflect upon 2005—it has been quite a year for the hard- riding members of Randonneurs USA.
There were four American grand randonnées this year—Boston-Montreal- Boston, the Gold Rush Randonnée, the Last Chance, and the new Cascade 1200k in Washington. All of them were a success; the feedback from each event was very positive. Randonneurs and randonneuses from all over the US and a quite a few foreign riders tested their mettle on these challenging events. Several riders did more than one US 1200k this year and earned the American Randonneur Challenge award. Incredibly, three overachievers—Ken Bonner, Kevin Main and Dan Clinkinbeard—actually rode all four American events to earn the Coast-to-Coast award in a single year! A few RUSA members also traveled abroad to do foreign events, such as London-Edinburgh-London. We salute all these hardy long-distance riders.
Here at Headquarters we've been busy even though the season is nearly over. In addition to getting things ready for 2006, we've approved several new RBAs this fall and we're very excited about new regions opening up to randonneuring. RUSA extends congratulations to Jeff Sammons (Nashville, TN), Nick Gerlich (Amarillo, TX), and John Ceceri (Saratoga, NY). Bethany Davidson is reviving things in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and in Portland, Oregon Susan France is taking over from long-time RBA Marvin Rambo. RUSA thanks Marvin for his many years of service. Alas, two of our long-time RBAs in California are stepping aside for a well-deserved break but were unable to find replacements. Both Kevin Main (San Luis Obispo) and Daryn Dodge (Davis) have been RBAs since 1997 and will be missed. RUSA hopes some qualified members will consider stepping up so that brevets will resume in those two regions in the near future. In the meantime, we offer heartfelt congratulations to both Daryn and Kevin for years of hard work on behalf of American randonneurs. Thanks, guys! The RUSA Board also extends its thanks to two RBA applicants that we did not approve. These were in areas rather close to existing brevet series and we regretfully had to decline these additions since we felt it would dilute things unduly. Still, we very much appreciate the effort.
We've also been busy updating the RBA Procedures. Most riders probably don't know what these are, but it is a document on the RUSA web site that tells how to run brevets successfully. If you've ever been curious about what it takes to put on a brevet, it is all spelled out in our how-to "Bible" for RBAs. Go to the web site Menu on the left side of the homepage, and at the bottom you'll see a link for "RBAs". Follow the links and you will find a plethora of materials, advice, procedures, and regulations for RBAs to use. If you've been toying with the idea of becoming an RBA for an area that lacks one, you can see if it is something you want to pursue. Or, like most sensible people, you'll realize how much is involved and you'll run for your life! At the least, it should give you newfound respect for the hard work put in by each RBA. I hope you'll let them know how much you appreciate all their efforts, and better, that you might volunteer to help them at a brevet or two. Our sport depends on volunteers; if everyone just rides their bike, we'll have no events to ride. And more than one randonneur has found that if they lack the training miles to ride brevets, helping at them is still a way to stay involved with the fine people in our sport. Think about "giving something back", okay?
Speaking of volunteers, it is time for our annual Board of Directors elections. From time to time Headquarters receives messages from folks who seem to think RUSA is run by paid staffers, but this is not true. We take this as a compliment about our professionalism and high-level service to members, but in fact each of us are volunteers. Such is our love for randonneuring, we put in countless hours each year to make RUSA the success it is, just like the RBAs who organize the brevets we coordinate and homologate. I hope all our members will take the time to vote for the two candidates on pages 13-15 they like best. As I enter my final year on the Board, I hope we'll have a steady stream of qualified candidates offering their services to RUSA in the years to come.
Also, one of the ongoing discussions amongst the Board is that as the randonneuring movement continues to grow in the US, we have essentially the same size leadership team we did when things were smaller. Thus, we will be asking for more member help in the months and years to come. One example is our ever-growing permanents program. Such is the volume compared to a year ago that we'll be thinking of ways to share the workload in the future. And, with another PBP year approaching in 2007, there will be some special projects such as rider registration and designing a special jersey for the American contingent. We'll keep you posted.
We also welcome longtime RUSA member Mark Vickers of North Carolina as our new BRM Awards Coordinator. Mark was chosen from a stellar batch of applicants who stepped forward to serve after we posted a "help wanted" ad in the last newsletter. Mark will handle Super Randonneur and Randonneur medal applications for members each September and distribute ACP brevet medals to RBAs throughout the season. In the meantime, we offer sincere thanks to Mark Behning, Paul Stern, Peter Noris, Dan Wallace, Michael Vang, and Daniel Levesque for volunteering to help RUSA members and event organizers. Thanks guys! And kudos too, to indefatigable Don Hamilton for stepping in to do this job in addition to being a Board member, our RUSA Secretary, and our Membership Coordinator.
With it being the end of the year, it is also time for the annual American Randonneur Award. On page 33 you'll find details of how you can nominate a special person who you feel has gone beyond the call of duty in our sport.
In this issue of American Randonneur you will also find the 2006 calendar of American randonneuring events, and it is a rich one that will surely fuel your winter daydreams about next spring and summer's adventures. You'll see over 230 ACP-sanctioned brevets from 200-1000k, Flèches-USA team rides at 13 locations, four 1200k grand randonnées sanctioned by the Randonneurs Mondiaux, 15 RUSA-sanctioned brevets from 200- 650k, and 17 RUSA populaires. Throw in a bunch of permanents and you can find all kinds of randonneuring rides to suit your tastes. I salute each and every one of our 41 RBAs and their control workers who put these rides on, not to mention each of our RUSA Board members and Volunteers. If 2005 was a success, 2006 looks even better. If you like the BRM style of free- pace randonneuring, I hope you'll bring a cycling buddy or two to one of these events next year and introduce them to our type of long-distance cycling.
Finally, best wishes to every one of our RUSA members—you are among a special breed of hardy adventurers and I thank you for another good year of randonneuring. Even though the rides can be tough, judging by its steady growth on our shores I think more and more riders are being drawn into our sport. It has been really rewarding to be part of the movement and I look forward to more brevets with all of you in the future. Ride safely, ride smart, and have fun. Bonne Route!