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Is randonneuring really about accumulating riding miles?

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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

Is randonneuring really about accumulating riding miles?

Old 01-03-22, 01:29 PM
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jlippinbike
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Is randonneuring really about accumulating riding miles?

I just did a search for 300k rides for 2022 on the RUSA Web site. If you cut out CA and TX results, then there were 99 total offerings nationwide. I live in NJ, so for me the local RUSA regions (MA, MD, NJ, NY-long island, PA-eastern, and VA-northern) combined offered 15 of those 99. My question is: Why are so few 300k brevets offered by RUSA's RBA's? And if you think they offer plenty, then why are there so few 300k perms listed in the RUSA Permanents Program? Currently there are a total of 40 perms in the perm program catalog that vary in length from 300k to 310k. That's for the entire country including CA and TX.

Is randonneuring really about accumulating riding miles, or is it about participating in long rides? The scarcity of 300k ride offerings indicates to me that randonneuring is really about accumulating riding miles. What do you think?
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Old 01-03-22, 02:35 PM
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For some folks, it is about accumulating miles or how many brevets/perms one can do in a year. For me, one SR series plus a 1000k and/or 1200k is enough. YMMV

Scott Peterson
Newport OR
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Old 01-03-22, 03:00 PM
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Are you hoping for simple answers to these questions? Motivations for randonneuring are myriad and personal. I can't really explain why I like doing it...

If my region is any indication, a lot of RBAs haven't even posted their 2022 schedule yet, so I would take your search results with a grain of salt.

If 300s are indeed less popular, perhaps they're a "mushy-middle" between 200s and 400s. You can bust out a 200k and still have time to do other things with your day. A 400k is something you go ahead and dedicate a whole day to, and the fatigue starts to get "interesting." 300s might well be some people's favorite, but they just strike me as a part of the series to get done.
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Old 01-03-22, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jlippinbike View Post
I just did a search for 300k rides for 2022 on the RUSA Web site. If you cut out CA and TX results, then there were 99 total offerings nationwide. I live in NJ, so for me the local RUSA regions (MA, MD, NJ, NY-long island, PA-eastern, and VA-northern) combined offered 15 of those 99. My question is: Why are so few 300k brevets offered by RUSA's RBA's? And if you think they offer plenty, then why are there so few 300k perms listed in the RUSA Permanents Program? Currently there are a total of 40 perms in the perm program catalog that vary in length from 300k to 310k. That's for the entire country including CA and TX.

Is randonneuring really about accumulating riding miles, or is it about participating in long rides? The scarcity of 300k ride offerings indicates to me that randonneuring is really about accumulating riding miles. What do you think?
Before RUSA came along, I had to either go to Mass or DC (Potomac Pedelers) for a brevet. They both offered one series. One 200, 300, 400, and 600k. It seems there are fewer offerings since covid. Nonetheless, NJ has two 300K brevets next year, PA has one, and LI has one. That is a lot in my mind. Usually, most RBA offer several 200k brevets per year. PA has one every month. In my opinion, there has been a shift of focus towards huge participation patches compared to the old days, not to say your observation is correct but it seems accumulation of miles and events seems to be the main trust when one looks at all the ways to get oneself a patch.

There is a 300K Perm in south NJ. The record is just under 11 hours IIRC.....
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Old 01-03-22, 04:19 PM
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As an RBA and ride organizer: a 300k is significantly more work than a 200k, IMHO. A 200k is a day ride; you don't have to worry about finding late-night controls, overnight parking rules at the start/finish, finding a finish that's safe to wait at (as a woman organizing rides, this may be higher on my concern list than some organizers; the time I felt at most danger doing anything rando-related was being harassed while solo-working a control), etc. For regions with organizers whose houses make good starts/finishes, adding more long rides might be pretty easy, but it can be pretty challenging if not. A 200k with rando-standard levels of support (i.e. not much if anything) is pretty easy to throw together. A 300k starts to have logistical concerns.

Also, to put the numbers in perspective, for ACP brevets (the ones that already must be scheduled for 2022), the numbers for RUSA are:
200k: 211
300k: 132
400k: 92
600k: 71
1000k: 19

That doesn't look like a huge drop-off, it looks like steadily lower numbers of extra rides beyond a region's core series as you go up in distance. 47 separate regions are holding a 600k, at a quick count, so 47 of each can be assumed to be the "core series". Add to it the R-12 rides and the fact that it's not uncommon to run a 200k alongside a longer ride -- both Westfield and New England in your "area of interest" do that a fair bit, which pads the 200k numbers, and it's not much drop-off at all.

(note: I said "show only future events" when crunching the numbers, so if anyone did run a brevet this past weekend I didn't count it, but that should be a fairly low number.)
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Old 01-03-22, 04:39 PM
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300k ain't sexy.

200k is the gateway distance, the entry level distance, the ezpz rando ride that might even leave you time to mow the grass in the summer if you're quick. Keeps your R-12 going, keeps you rando fit.

400k is hardcore. You're not bluffing your way through this distance; mistakes will bite you. OTOH, though the day is shot, you can still get up like a fairly normal person the next day.

600k feels epic, whether you sleep or ride straight through. Your first 600k, you look down at your legs in wonder the 2nd day, amazed they still function. Every 600k, something is going to happen.

300k? What's that? Mandatory for an SR series, that's about it.
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Old 01-03-22, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
300k ain't sexy.

200k is the gateway distance, the entry level distance, the ezpz rando ride that might even leave you time to mow the grass in the summer if you're quick. Keeps your R-12 going, keeps you rando fit.

400k is hardcore. You're not bluffing your way through this distance; mistakes will bite you. OTOH, though the day is shot, you can still get up like a fairly normal person the next day.

600k feels epic, whether you sleep or ride straight through. Your first 600k, you look down at your legs in wonder the 2nd day, amazed they still function. Every 600k, something is going to happen.

300k? What's that? Mandatory for an SR series, that's about it.
That's the puking distance. When new randos learn what does not work.
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Old 01-03-22, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
That's the puking distance. When new randos learn what does not work.
You're right, it's a necessary distance in the learning curve. I still say it's not sexy though.
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Old 01-03-22, 05:29 PM
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Puking makes it especially unsexy.
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There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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Old 01-04-22, 05:58 AM
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If the question was does more miles make randonneuring easier or more fun? I doubt more miles beyond a certain distance makes a rider more fit. Some coaches say too many miles creates too much fatigue and holds a rider back. The motivations and interests are so diverse, I doubt there is a common theme other than there are way more brevets now than in the past and at least in my neck of the woods (NJ and PA) they are impeccably run. There are not a lot of 300-400K perms but one could do 2 x 200K? Or 200k + 100K. It seems the perms often leave from the same area (the perm owners area)
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Old 01-04-22, 09:48 PM
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It helps that there are a bunch of awards to encourage people to ride. AUK also does something with AAA points for each ride and it seems kinda complicated to me.

People sometimes ask me why I rando but I don't really know but big yearly totals is as good a reason as any I guess.
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Old 01-05-22, 09:45 AM
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At the beginning of the 2020 season we surveyed our club members to see what they wanted to get out of the club without RUSA since they took the year off, and the findings were really interesting. The vast majority of our club members just like the challenge and camaraderie of long-distance rides with a small group. Hardly anyone cares about RUSA awards or ever rides a perm so we reduced the number of ACP rides for 2022 to exactly one SR series and added a bunch of non-ACP rides to the schedule. A few of those are double-centuries, just a bit longer than a 300k. People like those because they are long enough to be challenging, but short enough to do in one day without a hotel stay even with a few hours of travel to the start. Another interesting finding from running non-ACP rides over the past two seasons is that people actually like controls as a place to regroup with other riders. On a long ride with no planned stops, people can end up riding the whole thing solo which pretty much nobody prefers on a club ride. The best thing about non-ACP routes is that you can put the controls wherever you want and it's a lot easier to route around busy roads without adding info-controls which people universally despise.
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Old 01-05-22, 08:47 PM
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I've never ridden an Ontario brevet with useless info controls... Is that a rusa thing? The only info controls I like are the scenic spot types.
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Old 01-06-22, 05:38 AM
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What are info controls? How they diff from normal ones?
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Old 01-06-22, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by MightyDash View Post
What are info controls? How they diff from normal ones?
Info controls usually ask the rider to observe something unique at a mileage point (like the color of a certain house or what is written on a sign or how many shelves on a roadside fruit stand or color of the firehouse door at certain mileage points) whereas a normal control has you getting a receipt or stamp or a scan of a Q code.
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Old 01-06-22, 08:20 AM
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In addition to what GhostRider62 said, info controls are required when there's a possible shortcut to the route. Particularly in suburban areas, the route designer has to choose between routing on a busy road that's not good for cycling or taking side streets and adding info controls. I sort of understand why someone may have thought info controls were a good idea in the era of odometers and cue sheets, but they're totally unnecessary in the era of gps and epop. Literally nobody in our club cares about cue sheets and brevet cards anymore. All of our non-ACP routes are epop so we can make the best routes for cycling with no info controls.
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Old 01-06-22, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
The best thing about non-ACP routes is that you can put the controls wherever you want and it's a lot easier to route around busy roads without adding info-controls which people universally despise.
Dunno, I kinda enjoyed a few of the info controls, the ones asking the rider to read a sign and find the clue. If nothing else, those made a good excuse to stop and have a quick drink or take a picture.

Although I was running slow when I hit a "what color is the steeple?" (superfluous) control. The RBA let me slide with an answer of "dark."
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Old 01-06-22, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
At the beginning of the 2020 season we surveyed our club members to see what they wanted to get out of the club without RUSA since they took the year off, and the findings were really interesting. The vast majority of our club members just like the challenge and camaraderie of long-distance rides with a small group. Hardly anyone cares about RUSA awards or ever rides a perm so we reduced the number of ACP rides for 2022 to exactly one SR series and added a bunch of non-ACP rides to the schedule. A few of those are double-centuries, just a bit longer than a 300k. People like those because they are long enough to be challenging, but short enough to do in one day without a hotel stay even with a few hours of travel to the start. Another interesting finding from running non-ACP rides over the past two seasons is that people actually like controls as a place to regroup with other riders. On a long ride with no planned stops, people can end up riding the whole thing solo which pretty much nobody prefers on a club ride. The best thing about non-ACP routes is that you can put the controls wherever you want and it's a lot easier to route around busy roads without adding info-controls which people universally despise.
As much as randonneuring is touted about being a personal challenge, and attracts more than a few vocal "loners", the social aspect has always been the highlight for me. Riding with people you've just met or only rarely see, sharing tips and encouragement, helping out when necessary... I'm glad to hear so many other people are of the same mind.

Originally Posted by kingston View Post
In addition to what GhostRider62 said, info controls are required when there's a possible shortcut to the route. Particularly in suburban areas, the route designer has to choose between routing on a busy road that's not good for cycling or taking side streets and adding info controls. I sort of understand why someone may have thought info controls were a good idea in the era of odometers and cue sheets, but they're totally unnecessary in the era of gps and epop. Literally nobody in our club cares about cue sheets and brevet cards anymore. All of our non-ACP routes are epop so we can make the best routes for cycling with no info controls.
The world has definitely changed since I last rode a brevet. I kinda like brevet cards and the occasional info control (sort of like a mini scavenger hunt), but wonder if I will need to buy a GPS to get with the program again.
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Old 01-06-22, 06:36 PM
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I hate info controls that are there for no good reason. One ACP 200k I have ridden has a control every 10 miles in the second half and you only need the finish.
There is an obsession with proof of passage in the U.S., dunno why. PBP has a control or stop every 100km, because most riders need those stops.

I have designed at least one 300k perm, but never got it approved. Realistically, I was never going to ride it and nobody else would either.
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Old 01-06-22, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
The world has definitely changed since I last rode a brevet. I kinda like brevet cards and the occasional info control (sort of like a mini scavenger hunt), but wonder if I will need to buy a GPS to get with the program again.
Maybe a Cue Sheet App for us and slide our phone into the map case?
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Old 01-07-22, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
Maybe a Cue Sheet App for us and slide our phone into the map case?
I dunno, part of my reason for liking bike rides is to take a break from phones and apps and media and otherwise being constantly plugged into the Internet. Putting my cell phone in my pocket and looking at a paper cue sheet while I ride a bike outdoors at least gives me that illusion.
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Old 01-07-22, 01:06 PM
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I can't express properly how much I hate info controls that involve walking around looking for the answer. Or at least the ******g censor would have a heyday with it. They really should allow electronic proof of passage for RUSA and ACP brevets, info controls are ridiculous in and of themselves.

I think if you are going to do any perms, getting a GPS is almost a requirement. I haven't had the energy to get my perms approved under the new rules, but when I do I'm just going to add info controls to make approval easier. Back when Crista was doing the approvals, she would trust you if you had a few perms approved. Now they look at your gps track and want to know why you went around the garage to use the bathroom.

You can either do proof of passage electronically or by taking pictures along the way. Pictures are a pain.
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Old 01-07-22, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I haven't had the energy to get my perms approved under the new rules, but when I do I'm just going to add info controls to make approval easier. Back when Crista was doing the approvals, she would trust you if you had a few perms approved.
Crista is still doing the approvals. The Perm Program is still her little baby. I never liked info controls because they make administering the route a hassle. If the questions were not changed from time to time, then what was the point of having an info control? But some call US Post Office locations info controls of a sort. And I had no problem using them as controls in the routes I designed. The neat thing about designing perm routes under the NEW RULES is controls don't really mean much. As a result, it's pretty easy to design a route without considering control locations at the outset. You used to have to consider controls before you put together a route. Now what really matters is whether there are sufficient rest stops open strategically along the route. Any store, church, school, or government building can act as a control under the new perm program rules. It's much better now. It takes me about half a day to put together very nice 300k routes. That was not a typo- yes, 300k routes. Then a little more time to polish them up with controls so Crista can approve them. Crista just finished approving 5 for me in the last two weeks. And I've got one pending, with one waiting to be submitted. All 7 start and finish just half a mile from my home. Talk about convenience.
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Old 01-07-22, 01:55 PM
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One of my info controls involved a set of individualized mailboxes. Then someone took them out and they were replaced by mailboxes that were all the same. And they put them in exactly the same spot where someone is going to drive through them.

I agree it's much better now, although a lot of the improvements were started before. The flexibility is great.

All my perms started/finished less than a half mile from my house, it's just that there is a climb after the finish to get home.
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Old 01-07-22, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
there is a climb after the finish to get home.
Ouch!! It sucks living at the top of a hill. One of the hassles of living in Princeton NJ is you have to do some climbing to get back into town. Fortunately none of those climbs are real doozies.
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