Here is what you could expect if you enter one of our brevets. Please read this before you send in your entry. In particular, if you don't understand how to handle the checkpoints after reading the procedures outlined below, e-mail us with your questions or chat with us at rider check-in before the brevet.
- Rider check-in begins 45 minutes before the starting time. Riders will sign on and be issued their brevet card. The route sheet will be provided to entrants about a week prior to the event to allow them time to familiarize themselves with the route. Remember, the route is not marked and some advance map work before the brevet is advised. We do not provide maps. (Krebs Cycle Products bicycle touring map of "South San Francisco Bay & Monterey Bay" is highly recommended, as are "Monterey Bay" and "Coast and Valley" from AAA.) There will be a brief rider meeting 5 minutes before the event begins.
- All brevets start promptly at the scheduled starting time, rain or shine. Being late is not a good idea; better to arrive a little early to warm-up and stretch before the brevet. The ride begins at the scheduled time whether you and your bike are ready or not. The start line checkpoint is officially open for 60 minutes after the start.
- The brevet routes lack any directional arrows or markings, so riders should keep their route sheet handy or use a map holder on the handlebars.
- These rides are randonneuring brevets and this entails doing some paperwork to prove you completed the event route in the time limit. Having a way to keep your paperwork (brevet card, route sheet, maps, money) dry is strongly advised. Riders are required to keep their brevet card in good shape if they want ride credit.
- Upon leaving the start and cycling the first section of the route, you will eventually arrive at a control. If you should arrive before any control opens, you must wait patiently until it does. If you arrive after it closes, you are, alas, officially out of the ride. But don't give up! Do the brevet, or part of it, as best you can and use this experience to build future randonneuring success. Also, the official rules do allow deviation in case of unforeseeable contingencies.
- Continue cycling the route and be sure to stop at the various controls (the locations of which are listed on both your route sheet and brevet card, along with the opening and closing times.) Be sure you leave each store with enough food and water for the next section of the route, plus a little extra in case something unexpectedly delays you. Also, try to bunch up with some other entrants if your paces are similar. Experienced randonneurs know the long miles go by better with companions than cycling alone.
- During the brevet you will encounter one or more types of controls:
- The first is a manned control with a representative of the Santa Cruz Randonneurs, such as at the start. He or she will sign and stamp your brevet card to record your passage.
- The most common type of control is obtaining a store receipt. You will need to buy something in a store specified on your brevet card and route sheet. DON'T lose your receipt as it is required to prove your passage. Be sure to neatly record the time you were at this control onto the correct space on your brevet card and write your name on the back of the receipt. (If you want to go to a different business in the same town, that is allowed so long as the time and town name are clearly printed on the receipt. An auto-teller receipt would also work.)
- A third type of control is the postcard control. You will be issued a stamped postcard as part of your rider packet if the event is using a postcard control. Mail it at the specified post office; this postmark will prove your passage. Be sure to record the time of your passage onto the correct space of your brevet card.
- Finally, there is also the "info" control. This is an unmanned checkpoint, usually far from any stores or post offices. Stop at the specified place and record the "secret message" or other information as required on your brevet card. Also record your time of passage.
- Failure to get "controlled" at any of the specified checkpoints during the brevet will result in your disqualification, so pay attention to these requirements. It would be a real bummer to ride all the miles but not earn your brevet.
- In addition, there might be one or more secret controls anywhere along the route. If so, any secret control will be in plain sight and impossible to miss. If you want to earn your brevet, you must stop and sign in with the club official, same as with any other control. If you should get off course and become lost, return to where you got off track. Re-joining the route somewhere else might cause you to miss a secret control and you'll be disqualified.
- Anyone observed taking shortcuts from the official route will be disqualified, but there is no penalty if unforeseen road construction, flooding, earthquake, traffic accident, etc. cause a detour during the brevet.
- If you want to be an official finisher, you must keep track of your brevet card and receipts. Sometimes, though, one will inadvertently come out of jersey pocket as the rider pulls out some food. Hopefully a rider behind will spot it and pick it up from the roadside. (If you should find a stray brevet card during the ride, earn yourself some good karma and return it to the ride organizer at the end of the event if you don't encounter the owner during the brevet.) To avoid this sort of thing, we strongly advise riders NOT to carry their brevet card in a jersey pocket; inside one's saddlebag is much safer. Nonetheless, if you should lose your brevet card, keep riding the event with some other entrants. If they can vouch for you afterward, and you recorded all the required control information and collected the receipts, you might be reinstated at the finish.
- As you near the end of the ride, remember that most of our events finish at a different place from where they began, so stay alert and follow your route sheet.
- Most of our brevets end at the home of the organizers. If you should complete the ride before they do, go to the gate on the left side of the house and go through the gate with your bike and follow the instructions you'll find there. Before you turn in your brevet card please stamp it with the time clock if no one is there and be sure to sign the back of the card in the correct place for the rider, not that for the organizer. Please don't go home with your brevet card if you want ride credit. Feel free to help yourself to a drink from the cooler on the back deck and relax a bit in the lawn chairs. If you arrive after the organizers do, we'll help you do the end-of-ride paperwork and provide a few post-ride goodies.
- At the end of each ride, your completed brevet card is kept by the organizer while the results are sent to Paris for processing. We send the results for each of our brevets to RUSA HQ for processing within 72 hours of the final control closing. In a few weeks your card will receive its numbered validation sticker from the Audax Club Parisien (and your accomplishment is entered into "The Big Book" that records all brevet finishers going back to the sport's beginnings in 1921.) We will then mail your validated brevet card(s) back to you, usually in autumn when the cycling season is winding down. What you do with your completed cards after that is up to you, but be sure and keep them if you are trying to earn such awards as the Randonneur-5000 medal. Also, if you are a RUSA member using some of our events to qualify for longer events like PBP, your newly earned brevet number(s) will be posted to the RUSA website as soon as they are received from Paris. (If you are not a RUSA member and need this information to enter an American 1200k event, contact us.)