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Thread: Permanents

  1. #1
    Randomhead
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    Permanents

    I'm coming up with a 300k ride in the Central Pennsylvania area. My goal is to have 10 climbs and 10k of climbing. Trying to figure out how to have controles. My route right now has a deficit of good candidates for controles.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    If you don't need the controls to provide food, water, and toilet facilities, then you can use information controls.

    Pick a spot with something unique and relatively permanent and ask a question on the brevet card about it.

    I've used things like the color of a barn at a particular intersection ... or the weight listed on a sign on the road at a particular intersection. The BC Randonneurs do this all the time and they'll ask questions like the name of a certain store, or a saying on a road sign, etc.

    I've thought about doing this, and having the participants take photos at a certain point which they would send to me. This idea would work well with one of the Alberta Randonneuring routes in the Calgary area. They had to reroute it a few years ago because of construction and basically had us do an out-and-back on a particular road to make up the distance. If it was me, I'd have had the cyclists ride to the top of the first hill where they could see the Calgary Tower (which was the right distance, as it happened), and then take a photo of it and send it to me.

    The other option is to reroute your route. I've created a full series of routes here (200K, 300K, 400K, and 600K) because I'm the ride organizer for my area, and let me tell you ... it's not an easy thing to do!!


    Here are the ACP rules ... check what they say about unmanned controls:
    http://www.paris-brest-paris.org/ACP...p?showpage=322

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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    +1 to what Machka said - Seattle Rando does similar things, asking about signs on buildings, color of a gate, etc.

    in remote areas, perhaps a mile marker would do.
    cat 1.

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    Randomhead
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    Thanks for the inputs. Central Pennsylvania can be surprisingly remote. Nothing like some other places in the world, but for the Eastern half of the U.S. it's only sparsely populated. I like the info controle idea for a couple locations. I guess I have some more scouting to do.

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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    On the photo idea, you'd have to make sure everyone had a camera with them. I like to take pictures when I'm out, and usually do have one, but not everyone does that.

    I went on a ride around the neighborhood this afternoon, and stopped to take a picture and my camera batteries were dead. Good thing I wasn't on your ride! Also, I don't normally pay any attention to the time on my camera, so for a long time, it was off on the dates or hours- keep this in mind when getting photos in from people.

    You're allowed to use postcards, if the route passes through a spot with a post office.

    If you know anyone in the area, you could always have a real live person out there.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I've never used the photo idea on any of my brevets ... I thought of it recently because most people have cell phones with camera capabilities these days, and it might be a variation on the postcard or information control idea.

    In many cases, it's very difficult to have a real life person out there, even in "populated" areas. Things close up early, towns go to bed at 8 pm, farmers don't want to be sitting by the side of the road between 8:30 pm and 4:00 am until the three widely spaced cyclists on the ride go by ....

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    How would you know when the picture was taken, that it was not shot from a car the day before? Then again, this could apply to most types of informational controls.

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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    You really wouldn't. There are cameras that put the date in the photo, and it's in the file information on a lot of them, but that can be wrong and shouldn't be depended on. Then again, on the permanent I rode the other day, the clerk at the starting point asked me what time I wanted her to put on the card, so that's not foolproof, either.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    btw one more option might be mailing a postcard as a control (to the organizer, with date/time, from a known location)...

    this is allowed for brevets, not sure about permanents tho.
    cat 1.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Brevets are very much run on the honour system ... especially where I live where there might only be one or two riders on the route. You could technically drive the route, or sit at home and sign all the cards yourself, or whatever.

    But why? I'd rather do the ride ... ride the whole distance. To me, there's no point to cheating.

    Things like photos, informational questions, postcards, etc. are just meant to give a small degree of assurance that the rider actually rode the route.

  11. #11
    Drops small screws noteon's Avatar
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    Do ride organizers ever plant a small cache of some sort of token at a controle, and require riders to arrive at the end with the correct tokens?

    You know, poker chips from a certain casino, pawns from a red plastic chessboard, that kind of thing.
    RIDE: Short fiction about bicycles • RUSA #5538
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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noteon View Post
    Do ride organizers ever plant a small cache of some sort of token at a controle, and require riders to arrive at the end with the correct tokens?

    You know, poker chips from a certain casino, pawns from a red plastic chessboard, that kind of thing.
    I've never heard of an organizer doing that, but it might be an interesting idea.

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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noteon View Post
    Do ride organizers ever plant a small cache of some sort of token at a controle, and require riders to arrive at the end with the correct tokens?

    You know, poker chips from a certain casino, pawns from a red plastic chessboard, that kind of thing.
    actually on a 600k i did last summer we had to collect little stickers from a message board atop Windy Ridge, near Mt. St. Helens (the roads were closed to cars leading up to it, and there wasn't anyone at the top to sign cards).

    one of the organizers (jan heine no less) rode a bike up to the top and put the stickers there before the ride. he also hauled something like 50 lbs of stuff (in a trailer) up the mtn for a secret control where there wasn't anyone else around, that was pretty rad.

    later on in the ride they had more stickers, and one rider was DNFd for not collecting his. he said he was there but couldn't find it, or something like that.
    cat 1.

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    Sinister Nut
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    From recent experience getting a route approved, I think the permanents committee is going to want at least a few evenly spaced staffed controles to verify the riders' time through the course. The riders are also probably going to want to be able to replenish food and water at regular intervals, too. If the course doesn't pass near any place to buy food/water for stretches of over 50 miles or so, I would consider rerouting.

    In between, information or postcard controles may be needed to prevent shortcuts. Around here most of the post offices seem to be pretty well consolidated, so if there is no store, there likely isn't a post office either. The RUSA site doesn't go into great detail about what sort of information should be requested-only that it should prove that the rider passed by the indicated spot. Also, when you submit your route for approval, you only need to give the location and type of controle. You don't need to submit a list of questions. You will need to mail in the brevet card for the first rider, so don't get too creative.

    I am in the western portion of Schuylkill county. If your route passes through this area, I would be happy to help if you need specific suggestions for controles or routing. Google doesn't always show everything, and sometimes shows things in the wrong place. Also, you could try the NJ randoneers message board for local input. http://www.njrando.com/forum/

  15. #15
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    i've thought about the photo idea. would be great to get a permanent packet with a disposable camera. snap the shots required, fill out the brevet card, mail it back. owner would then develop film.

    on a route i'm working on here in vt i send folks on many side roads. you can get there on the paved road - but in many cases its nicer riding (and a bit more scenic with climbing) on the dirt. we have an information control at an old old cemetery to prevent shortcutting...

  16. #16
    Drops small screws noteon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    he said he was there but couldn't find it, or something like that.
    Yeah, I guess the idea does open itself up to that kind of problem and/or abuse.
    RIDE: Short fiction about bicycles • RUSA #5538
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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noteon View Post
    Yeah, I guess the idea does open itself up to that kind of problem and/or abuse.
    then again, even "straightforward" controls, like the Blue Mountain gas station in Pendleton, OR, can be problematic. it was one of the controls on a 600 i did down there last year.

    the tricky part was that the name of the station had changed, and it only said "blue mountain" on a sign inside the store! needless to say it caused much confusion, and i ended up just getting water from a baseball field's bathroom sink (yuck).
    cat 1.

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  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    then again, even "straightforward" controls, like the Blue Mountain gas station in Pendleton, OR, can be problematic. it was one of the controls on a 600 i did down there last year.

    the tricky part was that the name of the station had changed, and it only said "blue mountain" on a sign inside the store! needless to say it caused much confusion, and i ended up just getting water from a baseball field's bathroom sink (yuck).
    This is a pet peeve of mine ... the ride organizer did not ride (or drive) the route shortly before the event to see that the name had changed and to update the cue sheet. Drives me crazy when ride organizers are that careless.

  19. #19
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    "Drives me crazy when ride organizers are that careless. "

    That may apply to organized rides around a schedule, like Bevets, but most Permanents might be open year-round and the route owner is not necessarily going to travel the route once per month to keep things up-to-date. He/she must rely on the riders to report any issues and may or may not ride the route occasionally.

    For informational controls it helps to develop a few different questions around the location so that a rider repeating the route doesn't already know the answer. Also, a staffed Control later on the route will allow the route owner to review the completion times between Controls to see if they are reasonable.

    Having said all that, there is nothing to stop the rider from riding in a car, sitting around to create reasonable times, then check-in at Controls. I agree -- what's the point -- but who knows what some people's motivation might be.

    As for Brevets -- my experience is that they are less likely to be abused, much less on the "honour" system than Permanents.

  20. #20
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Although RUSA does not yet recognize a photo control, I would like to see it added to the permanent rules. However, instead of simply asking for a photo of some landmark, I would require a simple composition. For example, riders would need to take a photo of their bicycles facing left in front of the Anytown city limit sign.

    The downside of a photo control is that riders would need to carry a camera. But just about everyone has a camera (it's hard to find a cell phone without one), so it would not be an onerous requirement.

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