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  1. #1
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Less expensive, more self-supported 1200K randonnees

    I just found out the price of the RM1200 ... a whopping $535!

    Personally, I would like to see an increase in number of inexpensive, lightly-supported, pay-as-you-go 1200Ks ... sort of like what the RM1200 was when I rode it in 2002. The cost was something like $175.00, and the riders paid for our own meals as we went. Because I have food allergies and a limited diet when I ride 1200Ks, that was absolutely perfect for me. I simply brought what I needed with me, rather than feeling forced to eat whatever was provided ... or worse, not being able to eat what I've paid for in my event fee because of the allergies ... or worse yet, not being provided with an adequate amount of food. I've experienced all three of those situations on "all-inclusive" 1200K events.

    The Last Chance is another example of a lightly-supported, pay-as-you-go 1200K, and although I had a few minor, easily fixed, issues with that ride (accuracy of the cue sheet, and anti-climatic ending for slower riders), I very much liked the minimal support. It was just enough (a couple bag drops, booking the two motels, and providing pizza the first night), while still leaving us out there to fend for ourselves.

    Even the PBP is pay-as-you-go ... it is up to the riders whether or not we want to eat at a control, and what we want to eat there is our choice too. We could opt to eat at a patisserie for breakfast rather than standing in line with 200 hundred other riders to eat breakfast at a control. Or we could opt to take advantage of the convenience of the control. Even sleeping accommodations were pay-as-you-go ... a nominal fee was charged for a bed at certain controls. Or we could sleep in ditch or a train shelter for free.

    Why can't we have more 1200Ks where riders pay a basic fee to cover the cost of doing a bag drop or two, perhaps a motel or hall rental in a convenient location (i.e. the 400K and 800K points), and perhaps fuel for a sweep vehicle or two to check on riders on the last day or so ... and then leave the riders to pay for whatever else they may need as they need it?

    Isn't the whole idea of randonneuring to be relatively self-supported, or at least to be allowed that choice? Isn't part of the excitement of a randonnee that feeling that it is you, the cyclist, vs. the environment with only your bicycle and whatever you can carry to get you through?

  2. #2
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    <hijack>
    Machka, if you do the last chance this year, come stay at my house or at least have a coffee or something, it's practically right here.
    </hijack>
    ...

  3. #3
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    One of my club buddies did the PBP last year. He did it in style. He had a complete support team that drove his car with a caravan between the stops (they had to drive far from the PBP route between stops to comply with the rules).

    He then slept and ate in the caravan. He had his food cooked for him so all he had to do was eat, sh*t and sleep while he was off his bike. He finished at around 85-86 hours, IIRC. They also provided him with a freshly charged GPS unit (he used two identical units, so one would always be charging) and batteries for his non-generator lamp (main lamp was powered by a Schmidt generator hub). He even had time to post to his blog during the stops.

    Maybe not quite true to the spirit of randonneuring, but still within the rules of the PBP.

  4. #4
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    the cascade 1200 is "only" $275, it seems a bit more reasonable than $500+ at least.

    CdCf: i thought any outside support was against rando rules? or are those just the un-written rules?
    cat 1.

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  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    The rules state that support is allowed as long as it is provided ONLY at the controls. Support between the controls is "illegal".

    In the case CdCf talks about, if the rider was provided all this support at the controls, that would be fine. If it were provided elsewhere along the route, the rider should have been disqualified.

    Although all kinds of support are technically allowed (at controls), I just think something of the spirit and excitement and challenge is lost when riders are "hand-held" and "spoon-fed" all along the way. However, that's not really the point of my comments. The reason why the prices of some of these events is going through the roof is because organizers are trying to "hand-hold" and "spoon-feed" riders all the way through the events rather than setting them loose on a course to fend for themselves ... and I think organizers could easily cut back on support, lower the costs, and still run a very good event.

    Personally, I don't want that much support.

    I have NEVER wanted to have meals included in the price of my randonnees. In my experience, organizers just don't know how to feed long distance riders anyway ... so why bother trying. (As an aside, if organizers are going to include meals, I strongly believe they should talk to clubs like the Elbow Valley Cycling Club in Calgary and the Edmonton Bicycle and Touring Club in Edmonton. The EVCC does an incredible job with the food on the Golden Triangle Tour, and the EBTC did a great job with the food on their Tour de l'Alberta. Lots of other rides could learn from them.)

    I also prefer to limit myself to one (if the route is an out and back) or two (if the route is a loop route) bag drops. There were something like 5 for the BMB, and that was just confusing and frustrating. I'd much rather just deal with one bag. That way I've either got it on the bicycle, or it is in the bag, or I have to buy it along the way. Nice and simple.

    Most controls could be information controls, or controls where riders get their cards signed by business people of the town they are going through. That's the way the brevets in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba are run. They could have a couple volunteers at the first control because riders might still be coming through in a group, but riders usually spread out so stamping cards wouldn't be a hardship on the person in the local convenience store.

    And I like the idea of having a hall or a place of some sort at about the 400K and 800K points where riders can sleep for a while, without having to track down a motel.

    A sweep vehicle employed during the last 24-30 hours or so of the event would also probably be a good safety idea ... checking up on the slower riders, making sure that everyone is accounted for, etc.

    But really, other than that, how much support do we need?

  6. #6
    Senior Member pasopia's Avatar
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    Yeah, I was planning on doing the Rocky Mountain 1200 until I found out the price. That combined with the airfare to Kamloops is too expensive for me this year. I agree with Machka, there should always be an option to pay as you go. I'm vegan, so chances are good I won't be eating any of the provided food, making it a big waste of money for me.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    The rules state that support is allowed as long as it is provided ONLY at the controls. Support between the controls is "illegal".

    In the case CdCf talks about, if the rider was provided all this support at the controls, that would be fine. If it were provided elsewhere along the route, the rider should have been disqualified.
    Only at the controls, of course. He didn't spend all that money and training just to be DQ'd in France...

  8. #8
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    Of course, the Americans do tend to stretch the rules to suit their own. On PBP, we noted one American rider who received support from a registered support vehicle on course. Evidently, the problem was a crook rear wheel. We saw the crew replace the wheel for him on the side of the road as we rode past. The support crew then used the official riding course to access their way back to the next control. We were flabbergasted that this had been so blatant. But what can you do? If that rider finished, there would be no amount of persuading that could make him see the incident as anything but required and expedient -- and to hell with the rules.

    I have to say, I am quite comfortable with doing no 1200s and very few other randonnee events this year. I am seeing more and more cheating come into the sport, and our leadership in Australia has shown a prediliction for breaking the association's privacy rules to enable another member to gain a financial advantage (while not a direct riding issue, it is one that reflects the degeneration of the sport's administration).

    BMB was a particularly bad experience for me, mainly because of the effect spoiled food had on Machka and her chances of finishing. I had paid a large amount of money to travel half way round the world and an expensive entry fee (by comparison to other 1200s I had ridden) to be served crap by the organisers that made people sick. The attitude of many associated with the organisation was lousy, starting at the top, and it is little wonder the event is now defunct.

    The two 1200s other than PBP 2003 I have finished, the Great Southern in Australia and the Last Chance, both hold a very dear place in my heart (astonishing for the Last Chance, isn't it?). The GSR for the support that was willingly provided by volunteers for an entry fee way, way below the BMB one (and the food didn't make people sick), and the Last Chance for the surprise support that the organisers were able to weedle out of the entry fee.

    Machka mentioned two touring clubs that could provide great lessons on catering. I would also toss in the organisers of the two Mid-West UMCA 24-Hour races that I have done. On both occasions the facilities and food were simple but extremely effective.

    The challenges of randonneuring are diminishing, and my feelings over the past few years that the influx of racer cyclists (and not the 24-hour mob) who want to have support, support, support is contributing to this erosion. But then maybe I have a jaundiced view of that because my randonneuring experiences was based on rides in Tasmania with limited or no supported.

    One poster on another forum unrelated to BFs, put it very nicely by saying: "I think with 1200k's priced at $540, we as a Randonneuring community run the risk of becoming exclusionary. One of the attractions of randonneuring is the socio economic and racial diversity of the people riding events (yes I know, we need more gender parity, but that is another topic), with BIG events, the ones that many aspire to ride some day priced at $540 plus, we run the risk of basically Ranodonneuring for some, that some being the Serotta riding, Mercedes driving, trophy house buying lads and lasses."
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  9. #9
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    I haven't done any audax events so far, due to family commitments.

    I contemplated just doing the LEL (london-endinburgh-london) as it would be easier to plan for one humungeous event than several smaller ones.

    I contemplated it right up until I discovered that it was 'all inclusive', without an option to opt out of the food. Like Machka, I have food intolerances, and I couldn't trust the controls to provide me with 'safe' food. Equally, I couldn't justify spending over $300 USD on entry fees and then have to buy my own food.

  10. #10
    Senior Member The Octopus's Avatar
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    At least in the U.S., there does seem to be a good diversity of 1200K experiences, both geographically and considering the level of cost one wants to bear and the services one wants included. The Shenandoah is a great value for the money ($175; $275 if you want the jersey and the bag drops), the Cascade is relatively inexpensive, and Bonifay 1200 (when its run) is also pretty low-frills. Machka already mentioned the Last Chance, which when I did it was $150 and got you two nights' hotel stay and all the pizza you could eat, personally delivered by John Hughes. The BMB and Gold Rush are more service-oriented, but then they're also much larger rides presenting more complex logistical challenges than these others.

    I've only done two 1200s, but my limited observation was that most of those who didn't finish probably weren't going to finish no matter what the level of support was. The support at brevets varies tremendously throughout the U.S. -- from "next to none" in the midwest and parts of the south, to "fully catered and supported" on the West coast. It didn't seem to matter what one's previous experieces were, support-wise, when it came to finishing (or not) PBP. Oregon had a 100% finish rate (9/9), and I'd swear that out here you could get a manicure at some of the controles, they're so well provisioned. My Ohio bretheren, however, had an average finish rate, and these are folks who ride year-round in terrible weather with support that consists of being told to "go with God" after being handed the cue sheet (figuratively speaking, of course).

    Personally, although I can live without it, I'm glad there's a lot of support and "hand-holding" out there at many randonneuring events. Seeing it means that there are huge numbers of volunteers, many of whom are giving up their own rides to help others, working to help out the riders, cheer them on, keep them dry, and get them fed and back on the road again. As long as so many people feel passionately about the sport to volunteer their time this way, I think the sport is in good shape. I'm also glad that there are so many people out there willing to organize events. At least in the U.S., this is relatively new; the number of brevets and 1200s has exploded in the last few years, and our permanents program (which takes a lot of work from a lot of people) I think has really added to participation in the sport (and provides for a very low-cost, DIY randonneuring option).

    The big question for our sport is how to bring more young folks into it. In U.S., anyway, we're a growing sport, but it's growing by adding many more of the demographic that already makes up the vast majority of the riders. All these baby boomers will move on to other things (or pass on to the great controle in the sky!) and then there will be a big change in the sport. I'd be very, very surprised if PBP in 2015 draws 5000 riders.... I think finiding a way to draw in new blood is criticial to the sport surviving in as healthy and as diverse a form as it is today.

    Finally, I'm not sure about the "true spirit of randonneuring" arguments (not that anyone here is making them). None of us -- even the bearded guy with his wool threads, down-tube shifters, and aged Brooks -- compares to the folks who pioneered the sport a century ago. And those who come after us will find their own ways to mold the sport to fit their times and lifestyles. The beauty and fun of randonneuring to me is that it is such a very, very big tent that welcomes everyone and treats them equally. How we ride, and what we ride, I expect will continue to change as it always has. But I hope this spirit of cameraderie will continue to endure, as it always has.

  11. #11
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    People shouldn't think the randonneur rules were/are 'writ in stone'. It wasn't until 1966 that the PBP maximum time limit was reduced to 90 hours (previously 96) and support between checkpoints was banned.

    Expensive 1200s will ultimately live or die by their popularity. If you will only ever do one 1200, the entry cost is almost irrelevant. If you do two or more a year, entry cost becomes a significant factor. First-time riders tend to want the security of more extensive support, rather than the 'go with god' approach. I would guess that most randonneurs only do one 1200...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Octopus View Post
    The big question for our sport is how to bring more young folks into it. In U.S., anyway, we're a growing sport, but it's growing by adding many more of the demographic that already makes up the vast majority of the riders. All these baby boomers will move on to other things (or pass on to the great controle in the sky!) and then there will be a big change in the sport. I'd be very, very surprised if PBP in 2015 draws 5000 riders.... I think finiding a way to draw in new blood is criticial to the sport surviving in as healthy and as diverse a form as it is today.
    The average age of PBP riders has remained fairly static (just under 50) for the last few events (don't have the 1995 or 1991 average age figures to hand). This suggests that riders generally attempt brevets when they hit 'a certain age'. The historical descriptions I've read suggest that brevet riders have always leaned towards the gray-haired. Sure, as the number of riders hitting that age drops, the number of randonneurs will probably drop but that is inherent in any bulge in population distribution.

  13. #13
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    As I posted when this came up on the Randon list - one can ride out your back door and do a 1200k anytime one feels fit enough - but there wouldn't be any support, medals, jerseys, livebloggin, photos on the web, t-shirts, and cow bells. Nor would you be enshrined in someone's giant book of cycling...

    So... in some cases - you get what you pay for. And in others I think it is organizers just trying to cover costs.

  14. #14
    Recumbent Ninja
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    almost all of our events here in Texas are little to no fees at all.

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    To suggest that people would ride a 1200 on their own within the 90-hour limit is a bit disingenuous. The medallions really are the only constant along with the recognition (which is almost zero if you belong to an organisation like mine and do international events other than PBP).

    And the trouble is, if you are a backmarker, often you don't get what you paid for. And even otherwise, you can get more than you bargained for with bad food!

    Plus let's be quite clear... BMB when I participated wasn't, in my estimation, a big event despite all the hype associated with it, and the high entry fee. About the same time, I did the Mid-West 24H and that poohed all over the BMB for support, friendliness, road conditions, and so on. And the price was comparatively much better.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Marcello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Octopus View Post
    Oregon had a 100% finish rate (9/9), and I'd swear that out here you could get a manicure at some of the controles, they're so well provisioned.
    It is all part of our evil plan to get people addicted to long distance riding. If I remember correctly, at the 200k spring last year we had fresh donuts and coffee at the start, a very nice variety of food and beverages at the 60k controle, and chocolate milk and cookies at the end. The 300k had food at the 120k controle, and the leftovers from that were brought to the finish line. The 400k had some cold pizza at the end, and no support on the course. On the 1000k we did last August, on the weekend after PBP, you pretty much got the brevet card and cue sheet, and that was it for the next three days.

  17. #17
    Not an internet law-maker Godwin's Avatar
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    I do solo unsupported rides, although I'll brag a little medals really don't mean too much for me, the only person I really feel I have to prove something to is me.

  18. #18
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    Several countries allow permanent brevets, allowing riders to do brevets whenever they want and at whatever cost they want . They are eligible for domestic awards but usually not for international randonneur awards. These events would seem to bridge the gap between 'overpriced 1200s' and doing long rides 'without recognition'.

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    There are no permanents in Australia, as far as I am aware. Only raids, which are a completely different animal.

    There also is no pre-ride option -- something that would have allowed me to complete a 1200 for an international award if the pre-ride had been at Easter for the event that runs a week after. The pre-ride is a very attractive proposition for the purposes of course checking and increasing the pool of volunteers, who also have the chance of gaining credit for their ride.

    And Australia also seems to have no six, 12 or 24-hour races as conducted by the UMCA. I suck at the races, but I still beat the guy who finished fourth in RAAM two years ago in Illinois (he retired, but is still registered as a finisher with the distance he recorded ). And I have never finished last .

    However, like the 1200s, these races can take me places I haven't been before and there is an eclectic mix of competitors, most of whom don't have an elitist attitude, even if they are elite athletes of the highest standard. In other words, I can mix with those riders at a reasonable entry cost.

    Also, don't think that I am in it for the medals. But bragging in Australia is a worthless exercise.

    This question of expense of rides is, I think, something that Audax Australia is grappling with, particularly in how it should frame its 1200 calendars. One of the significant fears I have is that because Audax Australia has adopted a lowest-common-denominator approach by running myriad short rides (50, 100, 150 but no true centuries), the pool of volunteer organisers for longer, quality events is severely diminished.

    Having chatted to members of BC Randonneurs, I understand that organisation veered away from running so many short rides, relying instead on a few quality short rides as pipe-openers to the season. The result is large turnouts, wiht one event basically paying for the remaining year's rides. And there is still an enthusiastic volunteer support base for the longer rides.

    The volunteer issue also plays a pivotal role in ensuring event costs are contained. This was particularly evident with BMB where I understand many of the costs related to paying personnel at controls. That those employees at controls had not empathy for cycling was pretty evident on occasions. It could be argued that PBP does the same with its controls and catering, but the entry fee is such that you aren't paying for that service until you actually partake of it. And if you don't like it, there are many cafes and other eateries along the way.

    For me, the single worst aspect ogf BMB was that the control that served up bad rice that made Machka so ill, and upset several other riders that we know of, was run by a high-falluting figure in randonneuring from the West Coast of the US. Go figure that he and his wife should have known better. But I do wonder who paid their air fares to attend the event on the East Coast.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    Permanents are currently being discussed by Audax Oz, as noted recently in 'Checkpoint' and on the email list. Australian Raids are generally similar to European Raids and are brevets, just not ACP- or LRM-homologated brevets. Check the FFCT calendar, you will find more non-ACP than ACP brevets. Australian brevet organisers and their support crew can ride up to 8 days before or after their event and have it validated as if they rode on the day.

    Some of your other points are a matter of opinion. The British have a different approach to running events to the Canadians (in respect to short vs long events) and, by chance, Australia is somewhat closer to the British model. Britain's experience is that involving more people with shorter brevets tends to result in a number of enthusiastic randonneurs that are not interested in riding long brevets but are happy to provide support to those that do.

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    I'm with Machka on wanting to pay for less support on 1200K's. I also got sick on BMB (but not as sick as her). Those of us who were riding at the end of the BMB train got pathetic support at many of the controls. I prefer the model of just stopping along the road to get food when you need it, and then at the control you check in and check out and you're on your way. At least you get moderately fresh food that way instead of stuff that's been sitting out for hours and who knows who has leaned over it and had their sweat drip on it or whatever. Bag drop at 400 and 800, since I do need/like to have food items that can't be bought roadside (hammergel).

    As to in-between-control support at PBP, I saw this being provided to Italian, French, and Spanish riders (based on team jerseys). There were vehicles parked all along the summit of Roc Trevezel that seemed to be providing support to their riders. What can you do? Just ride your ride and be a happy camper. They have to live with themselves and look themselves in the eye when they're shaving or putting on makeup :-)

    Best,

    Nick

  22. #22
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    To suggest that people would ride a 1200 on their own within the 90-hour limit is a bit disingenuous.
    yeah, but that is what it is really about, no? self reliant, self supported, long distance rides. officially, i think the fine print on most rides is that you are to assume you are on you're own ride when you are out there - you just happen to be out there with other people doing the same route at the same times as you are.

    i guess i can't get my head around complaining about the cost (and not picking with you, but in general) - yet still wanting to have an organized 'ride' - organizers probably make little to no $$ on this. folks should choose events that suit them - if its fully catered - don't go, or pressure the organizer for a different option.



    sorry you're BMB sucked. it was the end of a run for them - perhaps they were just done with it and dropped the ball.

    and it is also odd that the support was so horrible - i emailed about a month or more prior - stating that i wasn't qualified for the ride but would volunteer for support in burlington or brattleboro. (the ride went right past my office in putney, vt) - i was turned down and told that 'BMB is fully staffed and we didn't need any volunteers'. i was also told to register for one of the longer events that didn't require a SR series - which i found was a bit odd - maybe they were short on cash?

    so i planned a moving day and between loading my truck i sat on the front porch of the office and watched folks go by (about 8 miles north of brattleboro). i had a good chat with some folks who were on the return leg and had eaten at the diner across the street - remarkable energy and spirits for where they were in the ride.

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    Well, while I know that we can all go out and do a non-permanent, self-organised 1200 on our own... the big question is: Why? Tell me, how many posters here actually have and done it within the prescribed time limit.

    But there is another issue at stake here for organised rides and that is Duty of Care. It is part and parcel of any event that is organised, not just randonnees. The participant makes a binding contract with the organiser, by filling out and entry form and paying a fee, that the organiser has taken all steps to ensure risks during the ride are reasonable, and that there has been no negligence on behalf of the organiser to minimise those risks and ensure the rider is capable of riding, continuing and completing the event. It also means there should be a plan if someone goes missing on an event to ensure their whereabouts is identified.

    The things that are really starting to annoy me (I would use the P-off words actually) are organisers who are at the start, then aren't seen forever... or ride the event themselves! In one example of the first case, I had to mail my card to the organiser; too bad if I was still lying in a ditch somewhere three days later because the organiser was too incompetent to keep a proper check on my whereabouts during the ride. In the second, well, it happens too frequently... even the 1200 this month, the organiser is riding, and the entry fee isn't $15 -- more like $95. At 60 hours into the ride and without much sleep, how is he functionally going to be able to make a decision on an incident -- if anyone can even contact him?!!!!

    I have organised both randonnees and public cycling events. Believe me, public cycling events really open your eyes to all sorts of these issues. And don't come at me with the "insurance will cover everything". Anyone who has had to deal with insurance cases knows that it can become a nightmare, and ultimately, you as the organiser are still held responsible.

    I was always very nervous about the welfare of cyclists on my events, and ensured there was a proper count at the finish, and a follow-up if everyone wasn't accounted for. Apart from that, my risk management was good, and we never received a claim... although there was one occasion when a police officer knocked on my front door over pelotons upsetting traffic.

    But it seems a laisse-faire attitude in riding randonnees also seems to be the culture among many organisers. And unfortunately, many of them concentrate too much on "looking after the rider" with support, rather than concentrating on the impact of their course, route instructions, and risk management.

    The additional support in the form of huge quantities of food, and subsequent costs in entry fees, is not needed, in my view, and in many ways comes from some notion that we have to get more people into the sport. We are a marginal group -- we are sneered at by the racers and regarded as eccentric at least by other cyclists (and utterly stupid and fit for the mad-house by the remaining public).

    Take as an example. I am not sure of the financial outcomes this year, but in 2007 I understand that Audax Australia's flagship event, the Alpine Classic 200, which has a good volunteer base but offers a huge support, ran at a loss! Why?!! It brings out hundreds of riders who couldn't give a hoot about randonneuring at any other time of the year. Yet the regulars like me have to underwrite the Alpine Classic. When a large event gets to a loss-making point, then a severe review of its intentions and benefits to the sport needs to be done. As far as I can see, except for internal coverage through the AA newsletter, there are no benefits deriving from what is just another 200km randonnee.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  24. #24
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    Rowan, attitudes differ between countries, regions and organisers regarding support and duty of care. As an example, Britain has a documented risk analysis method for its events and an organiser classification and mentoring system but explicitly states that entrants are on their own ride and that the organiser has no obligation to sweep the course or transport DNFs (some organisers choose to do so, of course). It is fairly common for their 'shoestring events' to require the rider to post completed brevets cards to the organiser, whether the organiser is riding or not (effectively riding a group permanent). Australia has more of a culture of providing support to riders but currently has no documented risk analysis or organiser mentoring (both still being developed/agreed). Provided the rider is aware of the circumstances when entering, I think there is room for different approaches. There is more than one method of holding a good event, speaking as someone who has organised both randonnees and 'public cycling events'.

    The Alpine Classic has traditionally made an excess, with significant money going to Audax Australia. I'm not sure of their 2007 figures but personally, I am not going to get too hassled about a single year over-budget.

  25. #25
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    I can only speak to the U.S., but it sounds like the duty of care is very different here than in Australia. It's assumed, even on highly organized club and century rides here that you're out there on your own, ultimately responsible for yourself, and that you have no or, at best, little recourse against a ride organizer or ride sanctioning body if something goes wrong, even if it's the fault of the organizer. Depends on the state, but the waivers we all sign are generally enforced and even if they're not, good luck recovering for your injuries when counsel for defendant ride organizer waives the release you signed in front of the jury. That takes care of negligence. Intentional torts generally are not waivable, but then your remedy is against the individual and not the club/organization, and good luck with recovering on your judgment from Joe or Jane Blow ride volunteer. (Sorry, law geek here.)

    It depends on the RBA, but the expectation and the understanding in the States is that you’re really out there on your own, no matter what you were promised or what you were delivered. There is no sweep. So one is obligated to after DNFs, although if you DNF you’re encouraged to call someone so that folks know where you are and that you’re o.k. Organizers who do their own rides are common. Posting cards is very common (or leaving them under the wiper blade of the RBA if you beat him to the finish).

    One of the take-aways I have from this thread is that us randonneurs could collectively do a better job at expectation management. There’s such a diversity in our sport in how rides are organized and run. I’ve found that most people are o.k. with most circumstances and levels of support/service/whatever, so long as they know what the deal is beforehand. I’m not talking about getting poisoned or paying for food that you never get. Those are problems and they’d be treated as problems anywhere and,, I hope resolved in the future if not made right on the present ride. But I’ve seen a lot of dissatisfied folks at rides and have thought, “Well of course thus-and-such was the way it was. That’s how it always is here.” We could do a better job proactively educating folks about what to expect, and those

    It also sounds like bringing permanents or something similar to other parts of the world would also be a good idea. The permanent system in the U.S. is wildly popular and growing exponentially. And there are a couple of them that are over 2000K long. No medal, but I imagine the bragging rights and respect that would come with pulling either of those off (Salt Lake City to Navoo, IL, and Sacramento to St. Joseph, MO) would be tremendous. Many of the permanents are free. Many more are $5 to cover the cost of posting the control cards. Don’t like any of the routes? Create your own. Build it, and they will come.

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