Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Brevet rules

Every now and again I have a rider on one of my longer brevets ask a seemingly simple question.
Q. The route goes near my house. Is it OK for me to drop in and eat/sleep there?

Article 6 of the RUSA rules states:
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.

This is generally considered to mean that you cannot have someone follow you in a SAG vehicle, pull you, or aid you in any other way except for neutral support provided by the ride organizer. There are many questions as to what constitutes aid on the RBA message boards and there are different interpretations.

Anything that could be construed as deliberately meeting up with someone who is not on the same ride for the purpose of receiving aid is grounds for DQ. Accidentally meeting up with a buddy who is not on the ride and riding with them for more than a few minutes is strongly discouraged. This much is clear.

I once rode a 600k with a very long, hard, hot climb with no water available for three to four hours. I created my own water drops the evening before the ride. To me, that is self-sufficient and doesn't break the rules. No one stood by the side of the road to give me water. I also provided water to another rider who was with me and left the jugs out for any riders who were behind me.

Let's suppose I had left my car part way along the route and used it to store water or food or equipment. The car is unmanned. Again - I don't see a problem with this unless someone is waiting in the car to help.

Now let's think about the house question again. Let's suppose his house is only a mile from the official overnight control. Why should he pay for a room at the overnight control when his house is only a mile away? I cannot reasonably expect him to do this. But I can insist that his wife does not help him in any way. I can insist, but I can't enforce!

What if his house is twenty miles away? Does it really matter? To me it's not that different from the car scenario. The only thing that would concern me is the possibility of him getting support from a family member in the house. That would be a clear violation of Article 6.

So the answer, from me, is "Yes, you can sleep at your house." But no-one can help you by cooking for you, doing your laundry while you sleep, giving you a back rub, etc. Heck, they can't even open the door for you.

I know there are purists who disagree with my logic. The definition of "aid" is subjective. Some people argue that even a welcoming smile and a friendly face are "aid". That's just silly.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Seal Beach - Duarte loop

We are in the middle of a heat wave in Southern California. Amber and I rode my Seal-Beach to Duarte loop permanent which is about half of my Five Rivers 300k brevet. I had expected it to be warmer than three weeks ago when I rode the brevet, but it was 91 degrees Fahrenheit in Duarte. Oh well, I said I needed flat hot miles and I got them.

We finally got to eat at the pizza place next to the 7-11 in Duarte and it was better than I expected. We had a portion of cheese bread and an enormous calzone for only $8.50. They only take cash though. The inside looks pretty sleazy and none too clean but they have an A rating and we didn't get sick. I recommend this place if you have cash, you're hungry, and you're not trying to impress anyone.

Sausage calzone $5.50. Yeah - that's a gallon water jug behind it.
Six hours and eight minutes (the pizza place is pretty slow). I'm dehydrated and hyponatremic. I have a lot more training to do before I'm ready for Florida.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Crackerswamp 1200km randonnee

Well I just signed up for the Crackerswamp 1200km randonnee. It's run by Paul Rozelle, a chap who seems to have an excellent sense of humor. It is based in Tavares, FL and takes the form of a four-leafed clover with 400k on the first day, 300k on the second and third days, and 200k on the last day.

I don't know the precise route yet but I have virtually ridden some of Paul's brevets in the region and I am hoping the randonnee follows the same routes because it looks very pretty down there. I've never been to Florida but the climate models for October show highs around 85F and high humidity. That's a little outside my comfort zone.

My plan is to do as little riding between noon and 6pm as possible. But with a 4am start, I see no way to get my sleep patterns shifted around. I'm still working on that.

So now I need to get as many flat, hot miles in as I can. I don't see a way to train for the humidity. I also need to find a good hard case for my bike - I'm thinking that will be about $500. Add $600 for the return flight, up to $300 to transport the bike, rental car, we're talking some serious money. Still, it's a lot cheaper than PBP.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The tumbleweeds wore Nikes

I hosted the Five Rivers 300k brevet on Saturday. Twenty eight riders started and finished within the allotted 20 hours. Quite a lot of them finished within 12 hours even though an unforecasted Santa Ana wind created a strong headwind towards the end of the ride.

On Sunday evening Amber and I rode the Back Bay loop which covers a 50 mile section of the brevet route. It was very windy and we were very careful coming down the hills after Jamboree because we had side-winds gusting up to 30mph.

One of the biggest hazards we faced was tumbleweeds. They were blowing all over the road and piling up in the bike lanes. Some of them were getting serious air time.

Once we got back onto the Santa Ana bike path we turned south towards Anaheim and had a solid 20mph tail wind. Nice.