Thursday, December 28, 2023

Colorado Rando Awardees - Round-Up for 2023!

    Here are Colorado randos who've earned RUSA, RM, and ACP awards in 2023!

For some of these awards, you need to apply to be recognized. You don't need to purchase the physical award. What's important is the goal and the accomplishment. For some, the physical award is a nice memento.

Some are challenges within the current year or a twelve-month period. Others recognize achievement over a number of years.

We congratulate our fellow randos for their persistence in achieving their goals!

You can see our cumulative awardees across the years here:
Super Randonneur · R-12 / P-12 · R-5000 / 10000 · Others

One-Year Awards
ACP Super Randonneur
American Randonneur  
Can-Am Challenge
Multi-Year Awards
ACP Randonneur 5000
ACP Randonneur 10000
RM Challenge Lepertel
Ultra Randonneur
Ultra R-12
Ultra P-12
Ultra Flèche
American Explorer
Rando Scout
— other awards not covered here 
RUSA Distance Awards
Ultra K-Hound


ACP Super Randonneur
Complete brevets of 200km, 300km, 400km and 600km in one year.

24 awardees in 2023.

ALLEN, Colin
BUSH, Debbie
EHLMAN, Thomas
ELLIS, John Lee
FEY, Jonathan
HOFF, Peter
KHAN, Rashid
LEDRU, Pascal
LONG, Beth
MOORE, Jennifer
MYERS, Brent
RAMOS, Mateo
SMITH, Vernon
TUREK, Michael
WARREN, Corinne

† Longer distances can be substituted - as for RUSA Ultra Randonneur award.
(1) First Super Randonneur award!

Complete a 200km or longer RUSA ride in each of 12 consecutive months.
Listed in order of achieving.

Paul Foley [9]
Bennett Sigmond [4]
John Lee Ellis [16]
Jim Howell [4]
Michael Turek [7]
Corinne Warren [6]
Rashid Khan
David Weigel [2]

Ultra R-12
Complete ten R-12's (need not be contiguous).

Ride a 100km to 199km RUSA ride in each of twelve consecutive months.

David Weigel
John Lee Ellis [10]
Paul Foley [5]
Dustin Harding
Jim Howell [2]
Corinne Warren [2]

Ultra P-12
Complete ten P-12's (need not be contiguous).

John Lee Ellis

Friday, December 22, 2023

Grand Randonnée Round-Up for 2024!

It's December, and the snow is flying in Colorado - a good time to be inside planning, so it's time to take a look at next year's Grand Randonnées!

Nine US Grand Randonnées are scheduled for 2024:
Route Shapes ... and Logistics - Three are four-loop events, which have become more and more popular. The start, finish, and intermediate overnights are all at the same venue. The advantages for riders and organizers are the same: easier logistics, and easier to support. The "two-loop" events have many of the same advantages, with the three intermediate overnight checkpoints at the same spot.

At the other end of the spectrum is point-to-point (such as the Glacier 1200), where riders need to think about getting back to the start, or home.

♦ ♦ 

Here are "award motivations" for riding a Grand Randonnée:

Finish two US grand randonnées in the same year.

Finish four different US grand randonnées - over any number of years

Finish a US grand randonnée, a populaire, a team event, 200k, 300k, 400k, 600k, and 1000k, and enough extra to add up to 5000 km in 24 months.  (Extra time allowance for series spanning Covid timeframe.)

Finish PBP, another grand randonnée, two Super-Randonneur series (with 1000k's), an additional ACP 600k brevet with at least 8,000 m (26246 ft.) of climbing, a Flèche, and other ACP/RM events within six years. (Extra time allowance for series spanning Covid timeframe.)

RM Challenge Lepertel
A 1200 km or longer event in each of 4 consecutive calendar years, one of which must be PBP.

And now details on the US grand randonnées ...

The Golden Falcon: Rise of an Empire is organized by the Northeast Florida Randonneurs, led by Hamid Akbarian, who is also RBA of the Northern Virginia region and organizing the Shenandoah 1200 in 2024 as well. The route includes considerably revised segments from last year's inaugural Golden Falcon. We should expect easy logistics for riders, since the route is a cloverleaf, and limited support during the event, mainly at the overnight venue. (The event is designed to be self-supporting.)  About the name: the event page says, "The Golden Falcon symbol was used during the first dynasty of Persian Empire to recognize the freedom of all the people under the Persian Empire, especially women & minorities."


The Shenandoah 1200: The Return of the Randos offers different routing from the classic course last used in 2013. Instead, it will have two intermediate loops, with three overnights in the same spot. The classic Shenandoah 1200 had quite a bit of climbing. The new prelim route has about 44,000 ft. per RideWithGPS.


The Colorado High Country is most likely the world's highest grand randonnée, topping out above 10,000 ft. three times.  The climbs are prolonged but fairly gentle.  The scenery is expansive, varying from Continental Divide outcroppings and forests to high sage parks.  Again this year all three overnights are in Walden, CO, making logistics easier for most riders. Stage 1 is a climb up Poudre Canyon. Stage 2 is a loop through Wyoming's Snowy Range. Stage 3 is a loop over Rabbit Ears Pass to Gore Pass and back via Willow Creek Pass. Stage 4 is back over Cameron Pass, descending Poudre Canyon.


The Land of the Sky 1300km is a new event organized by the Asheville International Randonneurs. The preliminary route has a number of loops and an out-and-back transiting Asheville, NC. Looks like an immersive tour of that part of the Blue Ridge mountains, plus a scenic visit to the hilly foothills near Lake Lure. The prelim route shows nearly 55,000 ft. of climbing pre RideWithGPS. As the organizers state, "This is a hard ride."


The Glacier 1300 - organized by Seattle International Randonneurs - is understood to be a point-to-point grand randonnée with a fairly small rider limit.


New York - Montréal - New York 1200k is, according to the event page, "a long skinny loop, visiting six ranges of the Northeast Appalachians." It starts in the New York City suburbs and turns around near the New York - Québec border (no international travel). It shares a segment near Lake Champlain to Middlebury VT with the historic Boston-Montreal-Boston.


The WNY Waterfalls 1200 showcases some of the waterfalls of Western New York (including Niagara Falls) and surrounding Finger Lakes country.  Folks have spoken favorably of this ride, the roads, and the landscape, and of Pete Dusel as organizer.


The Endless Mountains Liberty Bell 1234km is a revival of the Endless Mountains 1200k last held in 2013, but with an added Philadelphia historical aspect. Similar to the Asheville 1300k event, organizers intone, "This is a challenging ride, not for beginners." (The classic Endless Mountains came in at 50,000 ft. of climbing, and there's no reason to think this new route will be less demanding.)


The Cracker Swamp 1200km is back!  Paul Rozelle and the Central Florida Randonneurs have done a great job with this four-loop event in past years. The days are short but the temperatures have a better chance of being moderate. It's not clear if those hours of darkness mean more hours of not being able to catch sight of alligators easily.


Foreign Randonneurs Mondiaux Grand Randonnées

Have a look at the Les Randonneurs Mondiaux calendar for 2024 for listings of Grand Randonnées worldwide. There are 73 events for 2024 in 33 countries.   Countries offering the most events:
  • 10 in Australia
  • 10 in India
  • 9 in the US
Some of these could be really evocative events and something new for you!


Choosing and Riding a Grand Randonnée

My traditional advice ...

While all grand randonnées aim to provide you a memorable experience, there are many styles of events, kinds of challenges, services, and what you get for your fee.  So investigate and find which ones suit your personal goals!

Scenic and Challenging or Social ... or All of the Above? - Each of these events is challenging, of course, and any can be social with the right attitude and discipline.  But it can be easier to stick together as a group if the route is more moderated in its climbs, exposure, etc.  Riding with a group may be important to you.  Or you may be longing for that special, bracing experience, and willing to ride stretches alone or with a few friends who've agreed to stick together.

Your Ride Plan? - Some events provide a pretty definitive idea of where you should sleep. Others provide some accommodations at a number of controls. Still others leave you totally to your own devices.

» Stage-Oriented events have suggested riding segments per day, with overnight facilities provided at the ends of those segments. They have become more popular over the years. This scheme promotes rider cohesiveness, and allows riders to regroup on successive morning starts.  They also allow the organizers to concentrate their lodging and food support at fewer points, making for upgraded lodging options and cost savings.

» "Freestyle" events come in variations on two themes: many staffed controls with sleep options (some of which may be limited, but still a place to sleep), such as Paris-Brest-Paris and the Rocky Mountain 1200; or no event-provided lodging, leaving you to research ahead of time, and make your own arrangements based on your ride plan, likely with a more economical entry fee.

It can be satisfying to tune your ride to how things are going, or to your own personal way of riding.  It can also be comforting not to have to think about that, and just ride well-thought-out stages. 

Pre-visualize how you'd ride the event you've chosen or are considering, and how the event structure supports or can accommodate your needs.

Services / Lodging Provided? - Are there regular opportunities to get food (either event-supplied or in stores) and shelter / lodging (either event-supplied or motels en route)?  The Big Wild Ride 1200k in Alaska, for example, advised riders there could be stretches up to 200km where you'd need to be self-contained (except for water).  This requires more planning on your part, but the reward could be a remote, scenic trip hard to match.
Effort and Expense - Finally, while it may not affect which event you choose, research the total cost of riding the event.  The entry fee may a small part, when added to transportation and lodging - and the logistics of getting to the start line and back home.  International events clearly can be more trouble and expense, and some US events are easier to get to than others, too.  If it's a trade-off between economizing and the exotic, you may find the new or exotic worth the extra cost and trouble, or not.  It all depends!

- - - 
Plenty to whet your appetite and take you to new places in 2024.  So start imagining, planning, ... and training!


Saturday, December 9, 2023

Roggen Roundabout with Culinary Note

I had the good fortune to pre-ride the Roggen Roundabout 200k on a very pleasant day.  In fact not only was the weather pleasant; everyone from store clerks to truck drivers to a locomotive engineer were friendly.

On a culinary note, I verified that the Hudson Barn Store still offers a good variety of fried and otherwise cooked food, including this corn dog:

The staff at the Roggen store was as friendly as always, and remembers everyone from past brevets and permanents. And yes, as the window proclaims, they are still open.

My token calories there were this Snickers bar.

Heading northeast on I-76 I'd seen a long freight train stopped on the tracks. Fortunately, it wasn't blocking the road south from Roggen (which has happened before, on a 1000k).

But I got back to Keenesburg just as the freight train, now on the move, reached my crossing. However, the engineer gave a friendly wave.

Up Rd. 6, the Front Range presents a welcoming view!

And nearing Erie, the mountains are enveloped in a pre-evening haze, as the temperature drops. New green in the fields could be winter rye.

Roggen is always a nice getaway from the Front Range, and much of the distance is on very quiet roads. Bonne route to the riders on the official brevet!


Monday, June 26, 2023

CFR 1200 Report #3 - Glen Haven (Stage 2)

 Scenes from Stage 2 - Glen Haven

Dustin Harding photos from Glen Haven

Deciding how many delicious cinnamon rolls to buy.

Vernon Smith resting comfortably ...

... and Vernon heading back down the canyon.

Over the halfway point!


Saturday, June 24, 2023

CFR 1200 Report #2 - Lefthand at Sawmill Rd.

 Colorado Front Range 1200 - Report #2

Brilliant sun, but brisk winds climbing Lefthand Canyon!

Turnaround before the stiff climb up to Ward.
A smile at turning around here?

Roger Peskett descending Lefthand Canyon.
Sawmill Rd. is upper right in picture.

Pascal Ledru lending some ride insights.

Mike Turek vying with Miluna for a snack item.

Pascal, Mark Thomas, Mike, and Patrick Chin-Hong

Peeling out for a fast descent!

Winds supposed to diminish later today, with a tailwind coming back from Wellington.

Will be cross-posting on the CFR Blog.

- - -


Thursday, May 25, 2023

Flèche Report: Team Wild Cat Ptarmigans

 Some photos from Vernon, Oksana, Tom, and Dustin!

Team Wild Cat Ptarmigans
Vernon Smith (captain)
Tom Ehlman
Dustin Harding
Oksana Kovalenko
David Weigel

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Poudre Canyon 600k Photos - 13-May-2023

Photos Courtesy of Patrick Chin-Hong