Sunday, July 11, 2010

Organizing a Brevet

By mid-morning Friday I had it pretty much together. All the route logistics were in the bag: The route had been pre-ridden, the cue sheet checked and matched with the roads and landmarks, the other volunteers were committed (a BIG thank you to John and Millicen) and the controls looked like they would be pretty rider friendly. On the pre-ride I chatted up the owner of the Scott Lake Grocery, telling him that NEXT weekend he’d see a flush of riders with their scavenger hunt cards, and told him how much we liked his store. He was smiling.

The weather forecast was faboo - not too hot, not too cold, Juuuuust right! (77 and sunny, winds light and variable)

Because I live out in the sticks I had brought all my camera-ready docs to town for reproduction at Kinkos after work. Business services are spotty in Oakville, even in the central business district. The cue sheet, card, and waivers were ready. About 25 riders pre-registered, and since non-members are not allowed to preregister I expected a few more walk ups than usual. We need to see about fixing that obstacle, this is a populaire after all and the big idea is to introduce non-rando riders to the world of longer distances. We need to make sure that the riding, not the registering is the hardest part.

The one little detail that always lurks in my mind at this time was sitting on my shoulder: The specter of an accident or injury on the ride. What if someone goes down crossing the RR tracks, or gets smacked by an inattentive driver, or has a heart attack? All these things are real scenarios that have played out on events I have ridden. I’d advertised the danger spots on the cue sheet, but still, these things do happen. Fortunately this route in within quick response time from a number of community and private first responder agencies, the whole area is covered by the 911 system, and it all has cell coverage. Just hold your breath and pray that all goes well.

I’ve done this enough that I know the routine, but infrequently enough that I still always refer to the clubs procedure. We’re organized and that goes a long way toward helping non-profit volunteer organizations be successful. It’s not the fun of the activity, or the rich rewards of riding, but the commitment of a group of people, organized around common goals that makes our club successful (Lord knows it’s not the great year round bicycling weather!)

That night I packed most of the supplies and materials into the truck, including two collapsible saw horses and a piece of scrap plywood to be used out a the ‘secret’ control. Even so I nearly left the house without getting the cantaloupe, watermelon, and orange wedges out of the refrigerator! That would have been a big screw up and it turned out that having cold fresh fruit at the turn around was a hit. I was however able to get to the start sans camera, Dooh!

NOTE!  Pictures here, thanks to Millicen!

Saturday morning was cool and overcast, not uncommon for a summer morning and seemed to be unfolding according to the forecast. By noon it should be sunny and warm. Shortly after I got to the brew pub the riders began to show up. Between John, Mil and I, everyone who was there on time was registered and ready to roll out at 9:ooam.  I gave the pre-ride benediction and encouraged experienced randos to ride along with some of the first timers, and they were off.

I did some shopping and a few errands and headed back to the start/finish. I was a little surprised to see the first riders return a little over three hours later. They reported no problems with the course and favorable weather with the exception of the expected headwind coming in through the Chehalis gap. Riders continued to roll in throughout the afternoon and most seemed pleased with their accomplishments. For some, this was near the outer limits of their riding ability, and for others it was just another rando event or a tune up for something ahead.

I talked with every rider as they finished and mentioned to each of them the 200K in two weeks time. Most were quite sure that they would, or would not be towing the line on July 24th, but there were a few who were not sure. These I lavished attention on. They had tasted the rando kool aid and it had not killed them so….? I told them the 200K was over similar roads, more climbing to be sure, but that they should think of it as twice as much fun as the populaire! Some may just show up, I hope they do and I like to think that sometime in the future they may look back at the summer of 2010 as the time they discovered a fun new way to spend hours in the company of great friends.

Anyway, another south sound populaire in the bag, maybe the last? And then in two weeks the 200K and before you know it we are knee deep into the second series. Tighten up you shoe laces randos, the rides are going to continue coming at you thick and fast!


  1. We had a fantastic day on the bike. There was fun conversation along the route with a good mix of usual suspects and some new folk.

    Everyone I talked to really enjoyed this.

    Thanks again, Dr C.

  2. Fantastic route, Dr. C.

    I told the wife early on (despite never having ridden most of these roads) that it would be easy training for STP with little climbing. Usually that would have been a lie, but you guys managed to prove me right for once.

    Thanks for everything.

  3. Doc Cod: That was one heckuva ride! If not for your well written description, Mimi would have never come out to play, as she views "those randos" as overachieving, mentally unbalanced and for the most part very sick individuals with a pain threshold exceeding their IQ. I think she includes me in that description for some reason. But because of you, she DID come out to play and we had a simply marvelous day on the bike together. Well organized, scenic, no intense climbing and enough people out for the day that it made for a very nice ride and after-ride lunch party. Well done, sir! And well done SIR!