We are organizing a series of fatbike adventure rides to begin in December. While we are not opposed to racing, we think it more fun to go out for a long group ride, with finishing as the goal. Randonee’s, also called Brevet’s, have been popular in Europe for a long time. Randonneurs USA is an organization that promotes these kinds of rides here in the U.S. Here is a description from their website (http://www.rusa.org/faq1.html):
- What is a “randonneur”?
There is no direct English translation of the French term “randonnée”, which loosely means to go on a long trip, tour, outing, or ramble, usually on foot or on a bicycle, along a defined route. A person who goes on a “randonnée” is called a “randonneur”. (The correct French term for a female participant is “randonneuse”, but such distinctions are often lost in America, where we tend to lump everyone together). In cycling, it means a hard-riding enthusiast who is trying to complete a long randonnée inside a certain time allotment. Note that a randonnée is not a race. Overall, about the only thing being first earns is some bragging rights. It is not uncommon for the last finishers to get as much applause as anyone else. Indeed, there is much camaraderie in randonneuring. One does it to test oneself against the clock, the weather, and a challenging route – but not to beat the other riders.
In comparison to other forms of competitive long-distance cycling, such as at the Race Across America (RAAM), where there are following cars with crews supporting the riders every inch of the way, randonneuring stresses self-sufficiency. Help can only be given at the checkpoints along the route, so support crews (if there are any) must leapfrog the rider. Any rider caught receiving assistance from a support crew in-between checkpoints (or, “contrôles” as they are commonly called) will be subject to a time penalty, or even disqualification. Randonneurs are free to buy food, supplies, or bike repairs at any stores they encounter along the route. Once riders have successfully completed a 200-kilometer “brevet”, they are entitled to be called a “randonneur” or “randonneuse”
While randonnee’s are traditionally on pavement and ridden with road bikes, there’s no reason we can’t do this off-road, even in the snow, on fatbikes. Going off-road will also change the nature of this kind of randonnee as there will be no check points and nowhere to buy food or supplies along the way.
Our idea of a winter randonnee on fatbikes, is that we would select a route, meet together, and go for a long ride together. This not an “organized” race; it’s a no frills, D.I.Y. kind of ride, completely self supported, meaning:
No entry fee
No aid stations
No course markings
No timing (except by each individual, if you like)
No t-shirt or other swag
What you do get is a nice ride in the mountains in the company of like-minded fatbikers looking for an adventure. If you would like to time yourself, we are happy to post results on the blog, as well as your photos. We also welcome those who are not up to the full distance. Feel free to ride as much of the course as you would like. The routes will likely be in the 20-40 mile range for this year. Much longer than that and it will be a little tricky (but certainly doable) to be completely self supported (in Winter). We will do rides in the months of December, January, February, March, and maybe April if there is still good snow cover. We are open to route suggestions and other ideas on how to make this a good experience for all. Some of the routes we have in mind include
• Right Fork of Hobble Creek, up and over to Diamond Fork and back
• Mirror Lake Highway to Baldy Pass and back
• Up Tibble Fork in American Fork Canyon (maybe a long loop up and around to Cascade Springs Road, then over the Alpine Loop and back)
The first ride will be Saturday, December 20 at 8:00 am. Stay tuned for the course, but we are leaning toward Hobble Creek, Right Fork as this is a pretty mellow ride for the first event. This may evolve into something more “organized” but for this season we are going to keep it simple.
Let us know if you have any questions, suggestions, or comments. Leave comments here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org