There are three team events in American Randonneuring: the Flèches-USA, the Arrow, and the Dart. All events are for teams of 3 to 5 members and each team designs their own route that heads to a common destination set by the event organizer. Teams must ride the specified minimum distance in the appropriate time period and finish together to get ride credit. There are also some differences to be aware of too. Below is a brief description of each event. If you click on the name it will show you the regulations for that specific event.
Flèches-USA--A 24-hour event held on or around Easter weekend. This is an ACP-sanctioned event and counts toward the R-5000 medal. No rest stop may be longer than 2 hours. Allowable start times are from noon Thursday through 10 AM on Saturday. A minimum of 360 km must be covered during the event.
Traces-USA --The Trace is the “younger sister” of the Flèche. The Trace is run parallel to the Flèche, on a shorter distance (200 km minimum distance), and with a possible overnight stop. The purpose of the Trace is to choose a tourist route and to ride it in daytime hours. Teams can start and finish on the same day, or they can start on the day before the common meeting with Flèche riders, make an overnight stop, and arrive the next day. Although it is shorter than the Flèche, and does not impose night riding, the Trace remains challenging, especially at Easter, when weather conditions are often rough, and we still lack training. Upon arrival, the participants in both Flèche and Trace meet and celebrate together. Organizing a Trace at the same time as the Flèche brings more riders together, and makes the party even greater.
Arrow-A 24-hour event very similar to the ACP event, this is a RUSA-sanctioned event. An Arrow can be run any time of year and be organized for any day of the week. There is no limit as to how long a team can rest in one place. It does not count toward any ACP awards, only RUSA ones. A minimum of 360 km must be covered during the event.
Dart- Dart-A 13½ hour team event with a minimum distance of 200km. Unlike the two longer team events, a Dart could, depending on the time of year, start time, and event time period, be run entirely in daylight.
Dart Populaire- An 8-hour team event with a minimum distance of 120km. Unlike the two longer team events, a Dart Populaire could, depending on the time of year, start time, and event time period, be run entirely in daylight.
Below are some suggestions from RUSA to help the Regional Brevet Administrator (RBA) put on a successful team event, and for teams to have a successful ride. (More guidelines about riding a team randonnée are also in the RUSA Handbook.) A team randonnée has some unusual characteristics and regulations compared to regular brevets; every RBA and team captain should review the appropriate rules before beginning this process. Riders and RBAs should feel free to contact RUSA's Team Randonnée Coordinator with any questions they might have about riding one of these types of events.
To register for a Flèches-USA, Arrow, or Dart, each team's captain should do the following:
- Send the RBA a detailed team proposal with the route shown on a map and a riding schedule no later than four weeks before the event to the event organizer. It is recommended that team captains send their proposals in a timely manner in order to help the RBA. To speed up the approval process, team captains should provide full details on the proposed route, i.e. maps, town names, total distance, as well as both partial and cumulative mileages. The checkpoints, or controls, should be shown in the proposal too. A team's proposed route and riding schedule may be turned down for lack of sufficient detail. A self-addressed stamped envelope should also be included with the team proposal. Unless directed otherwise by the event organizer, it is recommended that detailed paper maps be sent in the team proposals; some computers may not read all software applications.
- When designing a route, there are several key points to keep in mind when looking at maps:
- One, team captains will obviously need to know the finishing destination set for the event set by the organizer.
- Two, a crucial factor will be for each team to find some town about 2 hours ride from the finish (this can be the same place for more than one team.) All team randonnées require that a minimum of 25 kilometers be ridden in the final 2 hours of the event. So, some proof of passage, such as a store receipt or stamp, must be gotten two hours before the finishing time in a town or village. Working backwards from the finish, find some town at least 25 km, then keep working backward toward the desired starting location.
- Three, be sure that the minimum event distance is covered (360 km for 24-hour events, 120 km for the 8-hour Dart Populaire, 200km for the 13½ hour Dart, etc.).
- Four, there should be several controls along the route, probably not much farther than 100 km apart. Remember that you only get distance credit for the shortest legal and safe distance between successive controls. So, between each pair of neighboring controls, you need to ferret out any possible shortcuts. You may need to shift controls location or add some to get credit for all the distance you ride.
- Two copies of the team's proposed route and schedule should be sent to the RBA. He or she, in turn, will keep one (paper) copy on hand for additional scrutiny if requested by RUSA.
- Upon approval of their proposed route from the RBA, the team captain will be sent the final registration documentation to complete for his or her team. The names of all team's riders will be registered at this point and any other pertinent information required by the event organizer. All the team riders must sign their own liability waiver. It is also strongly recommended that each team captain be sure that all the members of his or her team are knowledgeable about the event regulations and procedures at this point in the process. (The RUSA website has copies to print out and give to team members; look in the RBA Resources section.) At the least, it could happen that a weaker team member could attempt to finish the event alone. Or, if the captain should abandon the ride, the others will need to know how to carry on and earn their ride credit.
- Two copies of the final registration forms and waivers are to be sent back to the RBA by the team captain. These forms must be returned to the event organizer two weeks before event at the latest. One copy will be kept on hand by the RBA for additional scrutiny if requested by RUSA. The registration fee (if there is one) should be included with the final registration. One payment should be sent by the team captain for the entire team, instead making the event organizer keep track of multiple entries for each team.
- Should circumstances beyond the control of team members force a change in the makeup of the team, the RBA must be notified immediately by telephone or e-mail. A follow-up letter confirming any such change must also be sent, including a signed liability waiver for the new rider.
- In order to avoid problems with postal delivery, the RBA will send the team its final instructions and route cards no later than one week before the team's starting time. Or, if arranged beforehand, the RBA can meet the team at its departure point and hand these materials over.
Before You Start:
- Each team's route cards must be filled out completely and neatly before the ride, listing the names of the control towns and the approximate time of arrival in each in the spaces provided on the card.
- The RUSA website has downloadable masters for route cards to use in your event in the RBA Resources section. Some RBAs prefer to print each team's control points and times onto the cards before mailing them to the team captain, while other RBAs have each team captain do this. Either method is allowable; the number of teams each RBA is overseeing will probably determine what the RBA can provide for your riders.
- At the start, the time and place must be noted on the route card and the cards must be stamped in the starting town. This may be done by a club official or at a gas station, a courthouse, police station, a train or bus station, a post office, or at a business. A store receipt imprinted with the town name and date and time imprint may be used in lieu of a store stamp.
On the Road:
- During the ride, adjustment of the pace may be needed to reach the vital control point at the end of the 22nd (or 10th) hour. Some teams may have to slow down, while others may need to speed up‹watching the clock and managing the team¹s speed during the entire ride is all part of doing a successful Team Randonnée. For the Flèches-USA events, this is can be complicated by the ACP rule that no rest stop may be longer than 2 hours.
- As required by the rules, each team must start at the designated place and time on their team application. Being late to the start may jeopardize everything, so get there early in order to start on time. At the other end of the event, it is possible to arrive at the finish a little early or a little late. The main point is that all randonneuring team events require at least 25 km be covered in the final two hours. It frequently happens that a team will arrive at the finish somewhat before the event time period elapses, and that is allowed - but it is not really in keeping with the traditions of this type of event. If your team is arriving early, slow down, and if needed, take another break before the final control. Some teams have been known to relax and get a cup of coffee just a few kilometers from the finish since they want to roll in at the exact end of the event time period. Remember, a Team Randonnée is not a race, so there is no harm done if a team slows down a little at the end.
- If reaching the official event finish in the event time period becomes problematic, a team should find some town or business to record their location at the end of the event time period. The control card has a place for this eventuality. After this vital control, they can ride on to the event finish location. When designing a route, it is a good idea to have several suitable businesses or towns to pass by during the final kilometers if possible.
Notes to RBAs:
When organizing a team event, each RBA can handle registration matters as she or he feels will work best, but be sure to leave enough time to handle entries effectively. Any last-minute rushing may result in problems for both RBA and the team. At least a month is recommended for the entire registration procedure.
- From time to time, RUSA HQ will do spot-checks on various teams and events. It reserves the right to inspect any team's entry paperwork and route proposal before or after the event is held. Event organizers should keep a copy of each team's proposal and final registration to mail to RUSA if this is requested.
- Depending on how many teams the region will have, it can be helpful to have team names to keep them straight, especially if there is more than one team made up of riders from the same club. If so, the registration packet might have a space for the team's name. Team names can be fun and will give each group a unique personality.
- It is suggested that RBAs recommend to team captains that they carry a few stamped postcards during the ride. These should have your address and can be used in case of an unforeseen detour during the ride and the team can send in a postcard to verify the unscheduled town they went to in order to complete the ride successfully.
- After registration in Paris, the ACP will send certificates of completion for the Flèches-USA to the RBA that will be returned to the riders. An RBA can elect to either send them individually to each participant, or to their team captain for dispersal to his or her team. The certificates need an envelope about 8.5" x 6" in size and additional postage. Be sure to compute this additional cost in the entry fee. After the RUSA Arrow and Dart events, the riders' results will be added to their yearly total of brevet kilometers on the website, but there are no certificates from RUSA; you may want to create some that reflect your region and event.