RUSA celebrated its 10th anniversary in August with a series of rides around the country.
Following are selected reports from that festive weekend.
The Santa Cruz Randonneurs ran its Chualar 200k brevet yesterday and in so doing also celebrated RUSA's 10th Anniversary. It was a good day overall; we enjoyed greeting many familiar faces, and welcomed some new riders to their first brevet as well. Overall, there were 35 entrants, 29 starters, and zero DNFs, so it was a hardy group of riders. Most of the participants were from northern California, but three randonneurs and one randonneuse traveled hundreds of miles from southern California to join us. (Most of them were in search of their final kms to wrap up their Randonneur-5000 campaigns, so there were some very happy faces and "high-fives" to be seen at the finish line. Congratulations also go out to local randonneur Phil Magallanes who completed his R-12 series of rides.)
Another out-of-area rider joined us. Adi Gerbilch of Ohio used a business trip to experience a California brevet. Hopefully Adi enjoyed his day of cycling in our region. The Chualar 200k route is a large loop that takes in various roads to the south of Santa Cruz. It features a combination of coastal roads along the Monterey Bay, flat farmland in the Salinas Valley, and pastoral hills dotted with oaks. It also includes the taxing five-mile ascent up Old San Juan Grade in the afternoon sun, followed by a long tooth-rattling descent, and then the cruel 12% slopes of Carr/Anzar Road before Aromas. A series of sharp rollers make the final kilometers back to Santa Cruz hard too. Another challenge of the route, and worse than the hills (according to many riders) is the increasingly poor condition of the country roads that county officials seem to be neglecting in recent years; more than one finisher said he wished he had fatter tires to cushion the blows.
The day started overcast and cool at the Santa Cruz Lighthouse. The ocean was flat so the surfers didn't provide their usual pre-brevet entertainment. Things gradually warmed up by midday, but no one overheated unduly during the brevet. (Not surprisingly, many riders from scorching inland areas said they enjoyed our temperate coastal weather.) Also kicking up around midday was a strong afternoon sea breeze which made the trip back to Santa Cruz pretty tough. Combined with tackling most of the route's 4,700 feet of climbing on the return, the second 100k was definitely harder than the first. Still, the riders found various companions going their speed and worked together to cover the distance to earn their brevet. Virtually all arrived at the final control in twos and threes, and in good spirits. The first group arrived in a little more than eight hours, the last after about 12. No one seemed in a hurry to leave; much time was spent after the brevet socializing on the patio of SCR HQ, eating RUSA birthday cupcakes, and showing off the handsome RUSA 10th Anniversary medals given to the finishers by the club. No matter one's finishing time, there were plenty of smiles and expressions of pride to be seen.
Happily there were no reports of crashes, aggressive dogs, or untoward motorists. It was uneventful brevet overall, so the organizers were pleased. Also pleasing was how the veterans welcomed the neophytes into their pacelines and all of them finished the day with new cycling friends. We had only one real concern; where are the randonneuses? There were only two on this brevet, continuing a troubling trend we've noticed in recent seasons. Otherwise, it was a good day of randonneuring, and a good way to wrap up the SCR's 2008 brevet season.
—Bill Bryant &
For those of you that missed it, we rode the RUSA 10th Anniversary Ride this past weekend. Our ride format was that of an "Arrow" event. An Arrow is a 24-hour team Randonnée event of 360K in length. Arrows are regional events whereby teams of cyclists all head to a common destination from various starting points. Teams must consist of a minimum of 3 members to a maximum of 5 members. Each team designs their own route and heads to a common destination set by the RBA. For more information on Arrows, please visit the RUSA website.
We had five teams that participated—two teams from Nashville and one team each from Memphis, Knoxville, and Hopkinsville, KY. There were 18 riders that participated across the five teams. The destination for our event was the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (http://www.spacecamp.com/museum/) in Huntsville, Alabama. Navigationally, riders just headed towards the big "Saturn V Moon Rocket." The weather was great and we had a full moon at night to ride by.
All the teams finished their rides on Sunday morning and were greeted by fellow randonneurs and Huntsville residents Davy Haynes and Charles Feaux. Davy and Charles handled the officiating at the finish and had a nice array of food and beverages prepared for the weary riders.
See ya on the road!
The Pacific Coast Highway Randos put on an anniversary brevet with a little over 6,700 feet of climbing. Most of the climbing was in the morning when it was cool—low 60's. Most riders were well on their way out of the Ojai Valley working their way over Casitas Pass before the fog lifted and temperatures started to climb. Once over Casitas Pass the course went just north of Santa Barbara, mostly along East Mountain Road which is a small, low-traffic street that runs along the foothills behind Santa Barbara. The return was what we call "straight down the coast" which has a few rollers around Hope Ranch and then becomes just about dead flat on the Rincon Parkway which is right along the beach. As we usually do, we had a strong tailwind all the way back to the finish. It is always a lot of fun to cruise along the Southern California Coast mid summer, while going well over 20 mph without putting out a huge effort. Views of the ocean were good but the Channel Islands were obscured by the haze that tends to be a standard at this time of year. Temperatures stayed below the mid 70's.
We had many first time brevet riders, but we also had several experienced randonneurs showing them the ropes. We also had a couple from Audax Japan!
What a fine day for a ride! Beautiful sunshine to start the day and very alert volunteers were out in force for the once-in-a-lifetime RUSA 10th Anniversary brevet. There were nearly 50 riders ready to go and despite the previous week of hesitation on my part, I was really glad to be there. Test rides the week before took the Pereira out of the mix as an incessant creak from the front wheel was driving me crazy and I couldn't resolve it. Eddy O was the backup as there would be little need for fenders.
Eric asked me to lead out folks to the first turn but that lasted all of 10 seconds as I was swamped by the first half of the pack. With a number of friends back from bike tours and 1200s, I was out-gunned from the start. A couple of us, Al, Trudy and Lyn formed a little chase group and motored our way to the Bad Carb Control. It was a quick in and out, but I somehow got a few cookies and was conscripted into poem writing for the newsletter by the irascible Maggie...Peter Leikio and I got some time to chat before heading onto the shaded roads to Banner Forest. He flatted and that was the end of our conversation unfortunately; little did I know then I would be experiencing the same many times later on. Met up with James McKee and swapped tales of parenting...he's got a way more ambitious plan than I!
Rode too with Cindi who I met at PBP 2003—nice to reminisce about an evening of pure adrenaline as we raced across France in the dark with a couple of BC women (which also did in my Achilles for the remainder of the ride). After the info control our group formed up again and we cruised into Belfair and the Good Carb Control at Twanoh State Park. I consumed a few potatoes, orange slices, an egg and V8 for extra go power. Started out a little slower this time and had to keep reminding myself that there was still 120 km to go and the day was getting hot already.
There was constant banter about the relative flatness of the ride. I must have been hallucinating because it sure seemed like a fair amount of climbing to me! I did enjoy going down Newberry Hill Rd and the generally rolling terrain though. Crossing north of Poulsbo I stopped to see the caveman at Valley Nursery who did not complain while I soaked my head under the water can. The mist was cold and very refreshing—it also amused the people in their cars who gave me a thumbs up. Hopping onto Bond Rd. and then Big Valley brought on more heat and a good headwind, plus the start of flats. None were blowouts, just a constant stream of leaks that kept me on the side of the road more often then I like. Made it to the Liquid Carb Control at Hood Canal Brewery and enjoyed some delicious brats and spuds with a handful of chips. What a perfect location! A regular outdoor BBQ with a shady spot to sit for tire changing too.
Even making it to the Liquid Carb Control was no respite as my tire went flat soon after leaving the control. This time I was out of tubes and then an angel on a Colnago landed nearby and graciously gave me a new tube—thank you Dan Turner!! That made all the difference and heading back into Bremerton on Central Valley Rd. and Tracyton Beach Rd was a joy. I didn't even know Bremerton had a bridge until I rode over Manette Bridge. What a spectacular end to the ride and I was good and tired.
Big thanks to all the volunteers: Peter Beeson, Catherine Monro, Eric Vigoren & Maggie Williams for organizing and providing such cheery support! I will try to write a poem...really....
— Jon Muellner
Not all Colorado randonneurs melt in the rain.
I spent a wet Saturday in South Denver, riding around the Black Forest region. It was a good ride, probably my slowest 200K on pavement since 2003, but it was exotic weather for mid-August, and I wouldn't have missed it. The ride was a blast.
The route follows the central core of the RMCC Black Forest 300K. Starting in Castle Rock, it heads south and east to the Black Forest region of the Palmer Divide. The route takes a 20-mile long spur to Elbert, then heads west and south to Black Forest. The route then turns west, and rides over highly rolling terrain to Larkspur, pops up over a last ridge, and coasts back into Castle Rock. Overall, the route is not technically challenging, with about 6,000 feet of climbing distributed over the rollers, but the weather is labile and can make this course an adventure.
Six randonneurs showed up at the start—John Ellis, Catherine Shenk, a gentleman on a beautiful mid-1960s chrome racing bike (whose name I didn't catch), Ronaele Foss, Brian Rapp, and your humble narrator. Brian got a good look at the glowering sky, felt the mid-40 degree temp and the brisk, wet south wind, noted the predicted 1-2 inches of rain for the area, and decided not to start. I was expecting a larger crowd, given the occasion, but perhaps we, like the Wicked Witch of the East, were water-soluble. We'd see. John Lee Ellis, our RBA, gave us a rousing speech and a summary of the growth of our sport over the last decade, then we left at 7 a.m. into a rising rain.
Out from the start the route meanders a bit, then heads up and over a ridge. I put my head down a bit, trying to warm up, and when I got to the top, I'd ridden away from the group. Thankfully, I missed the next turn, and pushed on for a mile and a half past before I noticed my error, so I got to pass John and Catherine again on the rollers. The rain turned to sleet in the Black Forest, and I was glad to have my generator light and spare LED tail light given the poor visibility in the blustery, wet morning. Riding back from Elbert into the steady south wind, I was surprised to see Tom Knoblauch. He hadn't been at the start, but he was moving with some alacrity toward the Elbert Controle. Ronaele was not far behind him.
Riding in continuous rain is a rare treat for me, and I made a few minor errors given the conditions. I chose to wear my RUSA jersey (summer-weight short-sleeved polyester) instead of a long-sleeve wool jersey in honor of the occasion. I expected it to warm up a bit more than it did, and to rain intermittently. It literally rained all day, with a high around 52 degrees and a low around 43 degrees (at noon). I got sleeted on for about an hour on my way to Elbert, CO. I was chilled for a few hours as a result. I also discovered that my year-old rain mitts are quite waterproof, but they did not prevent water from running down my jacket and into the fingers. I spent about four hours riding with my fingers immersed in my mitts. Next time, I'll put them on before I don my jacket. I'll also start the ride wearing my overshoes, even if I'm riding with full fenders. My feet got soaked and cold early on, but warmed up once I put on my booties. I must have been desperately clinging to the handlebars in the cold, as my left hand went a bit numb as well.
I drank coffee at each control, enjoyed a prefab cheese sandwich, ate granola bars, and tootled along, gearing down for each roller and missing the occasional turn, lost in the wonder of the route. I wasn't fast, but I was enjoying the unusual weather, the land and the moderate, rolling terrain. The Singer did great, and I was thankful for fenders and lights in the wet and fog. I don't climb terribly well on the bike, but I was out in the world and all was right.
I finished in around 9h07. Tom Knoblauch had apparently gotten ahead of me on one of my wrong turns, and was waiting at the finish. John and Catherine showed up 20 minutes or so later, and we all got our photos taken in our RUSA garb, sporting our 10th anniversary ride commemorative medals. Ronaele and the unnamed gentleman were still on the course, but I had a two-hour drive to my home, and the day was getting no younger. I finished my coffee, changed clothes, tossed my bicycle in the car, and drove home through the lashing rain.
It cleared up as I was driving through Erie on my way back to Fort Collins. My home, bathed in the late-afternoon sun, glistened wetly as I pulled into the yard.
Thanks to all the randonneurs who started the ride for sharing the day with me, and especially to John Lee Ellis, our RBA, who runs these events so smoothly, and to the many, largely anonymous, volunteers who make RUSA work for all of us. I hope your 10th anniversary ride was as memorable as mine.
— William M. deRosset