April 6, 2019

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It seemed like a beautiful day for a bike ride, and the temperature was perfect.  However a persistent wind of more than 10 miles per hour from the southeast wore the riders down during the first half of the event.

Pictured above are eight of the nine riders who rode events on April 6.  Gay Ely and I completed the 200k.  Jerry Cabeliza, Scott Ebbing and Todd Ranney completed the 300k. Tom Gee and George Jarad completed the 400k.

Kelley Wegeng attempted the 600k, but decided to end her ride when the prospect of riding 180 miles alone in the dark in the rain seemed like less fun than a warm hotel room in Mount Vernon.  Kelley was riding at a good pace into that ever present headwind.  She is an excellent rider and hopefully she will be back to finish the 600k.

Scott Thompson attempted to ride the 200k, but fell victim to heat exhaustion.  As an experienced randonneur, he wisely called for his wife to rescue him in Okawville.  Just a reminder that a rider can suffer from dangerous heat exhaustion even in cooler weather.

Thanks to Robert Tesar for pre-riding the 300k course.

April 13, 2019 Report

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Three riders completed the 200k on April 13, 2019.  They were Ed Carl, John Garrett and Scott Thompson.  Scott extended his streak of riding at least one brevet each year for the past fourteen years.

Six riders started the 400k on April 13, 2019, with an ominous weather forecast predicting wet and cold riding ahead.  The forecast proved to be accurate with parts of the course receiving rain of more than one inch.  Nevertheless, four current members of STL Randonneurs managed to finish.  They were Michael Billing, Jon Batek, David Mitchell and Jerry Cabeliza.

Two riders did not finish.  They deserve recognition for attempting a challenging ride.  Both Robert Tesar and Jeff Schmela both completed approximately 220 miles before wind, rain and cold stopped their rides.  Jeff was attempting to join STL Randonneurs.

Congratulations to all nine riders.

April 6, 2019 Rides

On April 6, 2019, we will offer a 200k brevet, a 300k brevet, a 400k brevet, and a 600k brevet.  All rides will start at 7:00 a.m., but you need to register between 6:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.  Pre-registration is not available.  You should complete the registration form on this website and bring it with you on the morning of the rides.  You should also try to have the exact amount for your ride.  The costs of the rides are $10.00 for the 200k and 300k, $15.00 for the 400k and $20.00 for the 600k.

Robert Tesar pre-rode the 300k course last Sunday and found an error in the Ride With GPS file.  I think that error has been corrected, but you must remember that the official course is set out on the cue sheets which are available on this site.  It is your responsibility to make sure any electronic versions of the course are correct.  The Brevets app for the iPhone also has electronic versions of the courses available.  I create these courses for Brevets and use them to help create the cue sheets, so they tend to be very accurate.

I have driven or ridden each course and they appear to be in pretty good shape.  There are some potholes but they are infrequent.  On the 600k course, I did not ride the Tunnel Hill Trail between Burnside and Vienna, but I spoke with some trail users, and they said the trail was in good shape.

Some of the 600k riders have stopped at the Hotel 7 in Vienna, Illinois, and rested for a short time.  I checked with the hotel yesterday, and they said they only had three reservations for Saturday night, so it is not too late to get a room if that fits into your plan.

The weather looks like it will be nice on Saturday with some possible rain on Sunday.

If you have any questions, please contact me.

Dennis Smith, RBA

St. Louis, Missouri Region

 

March 16, 2019 – Brevet Update

Taking advantage of favorable weather, five riders started the 200k and seven riders started the 300k at 7:00 a.m. this morning. Their times at the control at 51.45 miles are as follows:

200k Riders

Robert Tesar 9:55 am

Emily Higgs 9:55 am

Will Purba 9:55 am

George Jarad 9:55 am

Jason Marshall 10:27 am

Above left to right Randy Anderson, Doug McKerran, Jason Marshall

300k Riders

Randy Anderson 10:15 am

David Mitchell 11:00 am

Doug McLerran 10:15 am

Kurt Hentz 11:00 am

Ted Tiberi 11:00 am

Marty Heyen 11:00 am

David Wiley 11:00 am

David Mitchell, Kurt Hentz, David Wiley, Marty Heyen and Ted Tiberi in Breese, Illinois

Cancellation of January 19, 200k Brevet

I have decided to cancel the 200k brevet scheduled for this coming Saturday, January 19, 2019, because I do not believe it would be safe for the riders.

Last weekend the St. Louis area received a significant amount of snow.  Because of the cold weather this week, most of this snow remains on the bike trail portion of the ride.

If that was the only safety concern, I would re-route the ride to avoid this section, but there are ominous weather forecasts for this coming weekend.  Current weather forecasts for Saturday predict freezing rain and snow during the ride.  Additionally, temperatures are predicted to drop from 37 degrees at the start to 29 degrees after ten hours.  The wind is predicted to be between 20 m.p.h. and 23 m.p.h. during the ride.

I hate to cancel a scheduled event based on forecasts, but I want to give everyone enough time to make other arrangements.

Ultimately, rider’s safety is our primary concern.  Based on the current forecast, this concern mandates a cancellation.  I hope you will be able to join us for rides later this year.

Dennis Smith, RBA St. Louis, Missouri

 

The Courses

The St. Louis Randonneurs have been using basically the same routes for almost twenty years.  I hesitate to change anything that has worked so well, but sometimes minor adjustments are required.  For example, roads may be closed for some kind of repairs as happened this year.  And sometimes controls move as happened this year with our finishing control at the Edwardsville Police Station which moved down the street.  Because of this we have to reroute parts of the courses at times.  And print up new cue sheets.  And alter the courses in the Brevets App and on RideWithGPS.  And try to make sure that everything is absolutely correct.

Because of the road closure east of Millersburg, Illinois, I had to reroute the course this season.  I added a ten mile loop through the Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, campus onto the start of the ride to make up for the ten miles we lost by rerouting around the road closure later in the ride.  The advantage of this change is that you will pass within one-tenth of a mile of the starting point at the ten mile mark.  So if you forgot to turn off the interior lights in your car, or you forgot your extra tire tubes in your car, you can drop back by the start after ten miles and then immediately rejoin the course.

So as soon as I rerouted the course through campus, the City of Edwardsville started working on St. Louis Street.  So the street is a little rough between miles .5 and 1.5 and during the same stretch on the return back around mile 8.5 to mile 9.5.  Other than that the roads are in pretty good condition.  I rode part of the courses last Sunday, September 15, and then drove the parts I didn’t ride this past week.  Everything should be OK.  The sneaky dog that sometimes chases us at mile 45.25 hasn’t been around for the last couple of times I’ve ridden the course.  (Sneaky because he doesn’t bark at you until he is next to your rear wheel.)

All of the courses share the first 78 miles and the last 42 miles.  The 300k and the 400k share the first 113 miles and the last 60 or so miles.  So don’t just follow the cyclist ahead of you because he or she may be riding in a different event.

The weather forecast looks good for September 22, 2018, so I hope to see a lot you enjoying Southern Illinois this weekend.  I have updated the courses on RideWithGPS and have designated the 200k course as RUSA116-20180919 and the 300k course as RUSA117-20180919.  You can create GPX files from these this site.

I have tried to use GPX courses created from RideWithGPS but I keep getting errors on my Garmin 1000.  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but I will keep working on it and see what happens.

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All of the courses that can be used by the Brevets App have been checked numerous times, and if you have an iPhone, I urge you to use the Brevets App as a supplement to the printed cue sheets navigation during the brevets.  Version 2.0 of the app will be available soon which adds audio directions.  If you show me that you have the Brevets App installed on your iPhone at the time of registration, you will receive a one-time $5.00 reduction in the cost of the ride.  The app costs $5.99 in the app store, so I think this is fair.  Here is a screenshot of the app.  The speed and miles are inaccurate but this gives you a sense of what the riding screen looks like.

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When in doubt, the printed cue sheets are to be considered the official route.

 

 

The Rules

All events presented by the St. Louis Randonneurs are governed by the rules of RUSA which can be found here.  It is important that these rules be followed because if they are not, you may be disqualified and/or barred from any other RUSA sanctioned event.  More importantly, most of the rules are common sense rules for your safety.

For example, you must wear a helmet while you are riding.  Anyone who has taken a tumble and broken their helmet would not question the wisdom of the helmet rule.

Other rules governing safety concern our interaction with motor vehicles.  For example, the night visibility requirements are very, very important.  I previously mentioned the bike lighting requirements in my post entitled The Bike.  The rider must also wear reflective items during the time between sunset and sunrise.  Each rider must wear a reflective strap on each ankle and a reflective vest or other item.  Recumbent riders do not have to wear a reflective vest, but they must have other reflective items on the rear of their bike.  I personally believe that the reflective vest or the reflective “Sam Brown” belt are the most effective piece of safety equipment a rider can possess at night.  The rules governing night visibility cannot be waived.

In Illinois, two riders are permitted to ride side by side.  However, if there is any traffic present you should ride single file.  This is more a rule of courtesy than an RUSA rule.  We enjoy a good relationship with the residents who use the roads with us.  Many of them will wave at us during the ride, and some will even stop and offer assistance if you stop and look needy.  It is difficult for an automobile to pass a lone cyclist on several of the roads that we use for our brevets.  If you insist on exercising your rights under Illinois law, you will prevent these cars from passing.  Please help us maintain our friendly relationship with the drivers in our area.

You must obey all local traffic laws.  Our old friend, Randy Johnson, was once stopped by a police officer in St. Jacob, Illinois, on a brevet because he did not come to a complete stop at a stop sign.

Time limitations are important.  You must complete the 200k event in 13 hours and 30 minutes, the 300k event in 20 hours, the 400k event in 27 hours and the 600k event in 40 hours.  Also you must reach each control within the time limits printed on the brevet card.  The first scheduled checkpoint on our brevets is in Breese, Illinois at mile 51.5.  You must have your brevet card signed by an employee of the Casey’s General Store at that location prior to 5 hours and 32 minutes after the start of the ride.  In other words, you cannot reach any control at a later time and make up for lost time later to finish within the required finishing times.

Brevet Card?  What’s that?  I’m glad you asked.  A blank brevet card will be given to you at the start of the brevet.  The brevet card for the 300k looks like this:

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Make sure you get the correct card for the event you are riding as there are different cards for each distance.  This card will be your proof that you completed the ride.  At each control, you must have your card signed by an employee of the store and the time must be written on the card.  Most of the time this has not been a problem, but we have had several times when an employee has refused to sign a brevet card.  If this happens, purchase something and include the receipt with your brevet card and let me know.  Also text me at the number on the brevet card immediately so I can address the situation.  When this has happened in the past, it has been because of a misunderstanding of some sort.  The employees of the convenience stores are not our employees and are signing our cards as a courtesy.  In return, we suggest that you always purchase something from the store in return and at checkout POLITELY request that the cashier sign your brevet card.

According to RUSA rules, “Missing checkpoint verification, missing checkpoint times, or loss of the brevet card are grounds for disqualification.”  So what do you do if you lose your brevet card?  Contact me at the number printed on the brevet card . . . oops, that won’t work will it?  Well maybe you should put that number in your phone before you begin.  Anyway, definitely contact me before you drop out of the ride.  Once I found a brevet card that Scott Thompson had accidentally dropped along the road during a brevet.  He kept riding and when he and his brevet card were reunited, he was considered a finisher.  So you never know what will happen.  Just keep riding.

We might also have an unannounced control.  This could be as early as five miles into the ride, or it could be near the finish of the ride.  You must stop at these controls and have your brevet card signed.

RUSA also states that “Each rider must be self sufficient.  No personal follow cars or support of any kind are permitted on the course.  Personal support is only allowed at checkpoints.  Any violation of this requirement will result in immediate disqualification.”  So if you cannot call someone to bring something to you that you need EXCEPT at controls.  This also means that you cannot have a car “leap frog” you during a ride.  It does not mean that you cannot have someone meet you at each control.  The support cars just are not permitted on the course.  Nothing in these rules forbids help from other riders or from local residents.

At the conclusion of the ride, you must complete ALL of the information on the back of your brevet card and place it in a plastic bin at the Edwardsville, Illinois, police station.  Make sure you put your finishing time on the card and make sure you sign your card.  After the results are processed by RUSA and ACP, your brevet card will be returned to you.  I usually mail the cards out at the end of the year after all of the brevets are completed.

The most important rule?  Have fun.  Consider how blessed we are to be able to ride these extraordinary distances.

Once you have successfully completed the brevet, you will automatically become a member of St. Louis Randonneurs and your name will be added to the members page of this site.