By Robert Fry
RUSA members between them rode 282 Permanent rides in 2005, a grand total of 58293km. These numbers are both just over triple those of 2004, and exceed by a wide margin any expectations I might have had for the growth of the Permanents program in 2005. Route owners and riders alike, you folks all have a lot to congratulate yourselves for! It was especially rewarding for me to see riders using Permanents in months without brevets to chase and achieve the new R12 award. I had to smile when I saw my prediction of last year confirmed (even if it was an easy call to make), as Texas riders received the first of these.
Permanent route ownership, even early into the program as we are, is not entirely static. A relocation has forced Kay Ogden to hand off her Houston routes, and Mark Thomas has found another volunteer to handle his, leaving himself with just RBA and Board duties to worry about! We thank both Kay and Mark for the time and effort they spent setting up and administering their routes, and we welcome Bob Riggs and Mark Roehrig, respectively, as the new route owners.
Once again, a big thank you to everyone who submitted new routes. We have now reached 107 routes in the database, up from 37 a year ago. Again this exceeded my best hopes, and also helped to keep me quite busy last year.
All of our Permanent routes can be found on the RUSA web site, at http://www.rusa.org/cgi-bin/permsearch_GF.pl.
Apart from the number, the variety of routes available has also increased, with distances ranging from a couple of Permanent Populaires just squeaking in at 100km, all the way up to Spencer Klaassen's epic Pony Express ride of 3585km, from St. Joseph, MO all the way out to Sacramento, CA. I await with great interest the first completed brevet card from that ride. I had thought it might be the longest Permanent route in the world, but discovered that the Brits cheat by allowing theirs to be held on foreign soil. Their longest route—the 6800km Transamerica Trail! Guess the ball is in our court…..
New route applications are always welcome from any RUSA member, especially from regions not yet represented, and can be submitted to the Permanents Coordinator at any time. Contact Robert Fry, firstname.lastname@example.org, (319) 226-5436. The RUSA web site has a main Permanents page, http://www.rusa.org/perminfo.html, with information and resources for both riders and route owners. Please note that applications are likely to be processed faster in the off-season, as I am an RBA too, and I also like to bike now and again.