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:
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.