By Bill Bryant
A new cycling season is upon us. Already some brevets are being ridden in warmer regions of the US, and elsewhere randonneurs and randonneuses are preparing themselves for their local brevets in spring. Behind the scenes, the RUSA Volunteers have been working with your Regional Brevet Administrator to ensure you have good events to ride and your hard-won results are recorded properly. We don't have an off-season; it takes a lot of work each month to keep our sport running smoothly. Just like a well- oiled group of randonneurs covering the kilometers in a pace-line during a brevet, some of us work at the front while others rest at the back. The rotation and effort never ends, but everyone eventually takes their turn helping the group and we're all better off for it. We recently had our yearly RUSA elections and I'm pleased to welcome Terry Zmrhal and Tracey Ingle to the Board. I'm also very impressed with the fine group of RUSA members who stepped up and ran for office with Tracey and Terry. We've never had such a talented slate of people wanting to help the organization and it speaks well for our future. Thanks, everyone.
As for me, it is time to slip off the front of the pack and take a rest in the back. I've enjoyed serving as your president for the past two years, but it's been a lot of work each day and I'm worn out. I am also in the final year of my last term due to term limits for Board participation and want to get the right people in place during 2006 as we head into 2007, which is another hectic PBP year. I've asked my fellow Board members for someone else to take over the helm and they've graciously agreed. Due to the lead time needed for American Randonneur, the new president will be chosen after this column is written, but before you receive your newsletter. So if you're curious, go to the RUSA web site at www.rusa.org and look for the Announcements and you'll see who the new President is long before the May issue comes out. Our board has fine people serving on it and I am utterly confident an excellent person will be selected. Returning to that pace-line analogy, everyone in this group is strong and can take a useful turn to maintain our forward progress.
I look back on the past two years with pride at what the RUSA leadership team has accomplished. Our sport is stronger than ever. RUSA HQ has worked tirelessly to improve the way we serve our RBAs and how we work with our new ones. All of this is to stay true to the BRM formula of randonneuring and to maintain the quality of American randonneuring events. I feel RUSA has come a long way since our founding in 1998 and has largely reached the goals we set for ourselves back then. Our national program of brevets, populaires, permanents, flèches, and awards are all going well. Can we improve? Sure we can, but I think changes in the future will be more about refinement than wholesale change. Our most important goals now are to increase participation, and to get more riders to volunteer to help their local RBA to put on their events. So many randonneurs have told us how rewarding the brevets can be and what that means personally. I hope you'll think about volunteering at some brevets so that others can experience that feeling too. With this, our sport will only get better.
Best wishes, everyone, for another great year of randonneuring. I'll see you out there!