What is Randonneuring?
These are some things you'll need to know if you want to ride with the Santa Cruz Randonneurs. Please read this information before you send in your entry.
- The rides of the Santa Cruz Randonneurs are sanctioned by the Randonneurs USA (RUSA) and Audax Club Parisien (ACP) in France. These rides, or brevets, are challenging long-distance cycling events with time limits. The overall minimum pace on brevets is about 15 kph (9.25 mph); the maximum is 33 kph (20.5 mph). Riders must stop at checkpoints, or controls, to prove they have covered the official route in the specified time window. Upon successfully completing the ride, each rider earns a numbered brevet from the ACP that certifies he or she finished the course in the allotted time. Every finisher's result is recorded in Paris, along with all the others going back to the very first ACP allure libre brevet in 1921.
- The brevets of the Santa Cruz Randonneurs are fine long-distance events in their own right, and they can also serve as qualifiers for 1200-kilometer events like Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP). For further information on PBP, other events, and anything else related to randonneuring, please see the RUSA web site.
- Brevets are non-competitive recreational cycling events. Results are published alphabetically, not by arrival time. Being first is meaningless since anyone who finishes within the official time period is considered a winner. One "races" only with oneself to improve one's own time from the previous year. On the other hand, slowing down to help a struggling rider is seen as a very fine thing to do. Friendly camaraderie, not competition, is the hallmark of randonneuring. The long distances and self-sufficient style of cycling found in brevets allow participants the opportunity to explore their own strengths and weaknesses. According to T. S. Elliot, "Only those who risk going too far can possibly know how far one can go."
- Randonneurs are expected to be self-sufficient and tenacious. They should be able to repair their bike, read a map, or deal with bad weather. Riders who quit during the ride may have a long wait until help arrives. No personal sag support is allowed to follow the riders at any time, per standard randonneuring regulations.
- There are no organized rest stops as you might find on other club centuries and double-centuries. Riders should bring some money to buy their own food and fluids at stores and cafés. Be ready to ride some long distances (45-60 miles) between stores on the events greater than 200k, especially late at night when some businesses are closed.
- The rides are held rain or shine. Bring adequate clothing for variable weather conditions. Brevets are long events and the weather might change a great deal before reaching the finish; you don't want to be caught unprepared.
- Participation in our events is by pre-registration only. We do not accept any "day of" entries. Materials must be produced in advance for each entrant and this takes time. Registration and payment for each event must be received by the Wednesday at 8 P.M. preceding the event. Entrants will also need a little time prior to each ride familiarizing themselves with each route by looking at a map. We provide electronic information and cue sheets to all registered participants the weekend before the event and then again after registration closes.
- No entry fee refunds are issued. If you notify us at least 7 days before the event that you are unable to attend, we will happily apply your entry fee toward a future Santa Cruz Randonneurs event. Otherwise, absolutely no refunds for "no shows", bad luck, or late cancellations.
- All Santa Cruz brevets use 24-hour military time.
- The brevet routes are not marked with directional arrows to show the way; riders will need to use their route sheet. Riders will supply their own map. One we highly recommend is "South San Francisico Bay & Monterey Bay Areas" by Krebs Cycle Products. This is a good map bicycle-specific map. It has virtually all the roads used on our brevets. Or, if you belong to AAA, their "Monterey Bay" and "Coast and Valley" maps show virtually all the roads on our events.
- Join Randonneurs USA. You need to be a RUSA member to enter our brevets. For modest yearly dues you will get, along with being able to ride US randonnneuring brevets and permanents, an informative quarterly journal dedicated to randonneuring. Members' brevet results are automatically posted to the RUSA website as soon as they are received from Paris, a valuable service if you are trying to enter 1200-kilometer events like PBP.
- RUSA members are entitled to buy a handsome brevet medal at the end of each event if they finish successfully. The cost is $10 each. The medal design changes every four years after each PBP, but you can see some older examples in the RUSA medal gallery.