Friday, January 22, 2010

Variety, the spice that ...

leads to antacids

You know, it is really great to see rando in the USA blooming into so many different and really interesting presentations. Not that I don't just love the typical out'nback brevet with the standard fare stale pizza pocket at a gas station convenience store. But varierty makes rando more attractive to new riders and will perhaps keep some riders in the fold. 

So I was pleased to see the TDR photo contest recently. This is the classic stone soup tale: Take something you already have in abundance (rider photos) mix it up with a liberal dose of creative marketing (also cheap and easy to acquire) add equal parts competition and humility (a contest and again the aforementioned home grown photos, what can I say?), glaze with a skim coat of respectability (a semi-famous contest judge!) then serve at a gala affair (The annual club meeting). The piece de resistance? Awards! Another incentive to attend the annual club meeting.

A person can ride only so many centuries, double centuries, or sponsored club rides with the bagels, bananas, and blue port-potties until you start to look for something 'more'. We need to make sure that brevets do not start looking like ‘so many centuries.’ I think if we keep this in mind and occasionally add a dash of 'chocolate/chili’ sauce every so often we can assure that rando will remain ’fresh’ and attractive (stale pizza pocket notwithstanding).

There was also the announcement of D2R2, a dirt road adventure.  not repellent buty actualyly very attractive to randos intheNortheast.  Out here in the PNW, we'll host the 3 Volcanos 300K in August.  a fun and challenging Moutai ride with stretches of gravel, and close up peeks at three peaks; Mt Rainier, Mt Adams and what is left of Mt St Helens.

As if we need additional incentives this year. Anyone with PBP notions is perfectly aware that things are different this go-round. ACP recently released news of PBP 2011 and I had to chuckle at the response from so many rando enthusiasts: Did you know that ACP will now require a euro certified reflective vest for night riding? Did you know that this would be a 'reflection' of new EU law, and that the certification does not necessarily correspond to products on todays market? Right away riders searched and offered up the technical requirements of the standard, found certain suppliers, critiqued the relative strengths and weaknesses of the market offerings, and began the drumbeat for the production of something that will both meet the standards and the aesthetics of randonneurs. And we are in a hurry, after all there are only 19 months left till we toe the line. It makes me laugh and gives me hope. Funny that we can obsess so completely over something we love. Funny that we see such huge significance in such small changes. Hopeful that it is not just about hand wringing, carping, complaining, and criticism; this is about getting after it!

Actually that little bit about the vests caused me a moment of disappointment. I am a closet sentimentalist. I have a well worn reflective sash that I ‘decoupled’ from the original Nathan Sam Brown belt which somehow has stayed with me over the years. It is the first piece of reflective gear I acquired for rando riding. Sentimental not just because it has survived the campaigns, but also because it's adorned  with two little notations, indecipherable in bleeding color felt tip marker script indicating that it was inspected and approved for use by one of those kindly elder gentlemen at the start of PBP in ’03, and again in 07’. It appears that my trusty sash is no longer good enough to protect me. So funny that there is this rigid requirement in the name of safety, however, helmets are only ‘recommended’.

One thing that caught my eye was the notion that a rider can move his or her registration date up by two weeks if he or she rides a 1000km. Also of note was that a 1200Km ride would suffice for this purpose. I have always thought a 1000K to be good pre-PBP experience for newer riders.  I suspect that events with limited participation will probably see a spike in subscription in short order.

My friend Greg in SoCal made this comment on the PCH Randos list which is a reasonable passumption:

"... a 1000 will get you to the front of the line - for all countries.  Last year there were about 237 finishers of 1000 and 1200+ rides. This figure would take up almost 40% of the USA allotment for PBP. Without doing the numbers I think it would be safe to say that the 600 finishers would consume the rest with some disappointed riders - assuming that all finishers applied to go to PBP. Given the new rules I think it is safe to say that the number of 1000 finishes will dramatically increase in 2010. Doubling or tripling for PBP would not be surprising. Consequently, if you finish something less than a 1000 in 2010 you may have similar odds to winning the lottery for getting into PBP for 2011."

So sure, there is lots of buzz in the rando community and in the information age, all is known in the first five minutes. What do the rules not say?: I will be a better candidate for, and participant in PBP if I ride…. more. I’m turning this dope scope off and going for a ride!

1 comment:

  1. AFAIK, there is no rule that you cannot wear your venerable sash over your reflective vest.