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Frequently Asked Questions
What You Need to Know About Brevets

 

What is a brevet?

Brevets are long distance, self supported events including distances of 200, 300, 400, 600, 1,000 and 1,200 kilometers. This, of course, raises the next question. So how long is that? First, a kilometer is 0.62 miles. This translates to a 200 kilometer brevet being approximately 125 miles. A 300 kilometer brevet is around 186 miles. A 400 kilometer brevet is around 250 miles, and a 600 kilometer brevet is around 375 miles long.

A brevet has two time limits. The first is the fastest time in which a rider can complete an event. The second is the maximum time in which a rider can complete a brevet and still be an official finisher. These range from 13.5 hours for a 125 mile/200 kilometer event to 40 hours for a 375 mile/600 kilometer event. This translates to approximately 20.5 mph for the fastest time and just under 10 mph for the slowest. Our events are as close to the minimum distance as is realistic. Events can not be shorter than the official distance, and I try to keep those bonus miles as low as possible.

As mentioned above, brevets are self supported. This means each rider needs to be responsible for their own needs and be able to handle any flat tires and roadside repairs.

Where does the Edwardsville series begin and end?

All Edwardsville events start at the intersection of N 2nd St and College St in Edwardsville. There is a commuter parking lot at that intersection, and parking has been safe for many years. You can find a map of this location by clicking here, or by opening the maps link on the navigation bar.

Do you charge for brevets? If so, why?

It takes a lot of time and effort to organize these rides. It takes time and money to drive each route, usually several times to ensure the roads are suitable for riding, that bridges that were there last year, or last month are still there, that the county highway department has not just dumped tons of gravel on the route. A portion of your entry fee helps to offset the cost of gas, printing of maps, cue-sheets, brevet cards, mailings, and of course, hosting and maintaining this web site. Your entry fee also covers the cost of liability insurance maintained for each rider and each ride. I don't get rich doing this, and the cost is less than you would spend for a club ride of equal distance.

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Is there cell phone coverage on the routes?

Mostly. Our routes are not on main highways. Rather we travel the farm roads and state routes of rural Missouri and Illinois. Cell phone coverage can be spotty depending on your cell phone provider. Make sure you have a fully charged cell phone before the start should you need assistance.

What is the elevation gain for the events... AKA ... How much climbing is there?

I ran the St. Louis / Edwardsville series through MapMyRide's web site The 200K route has around 1,000 feet of climbing. The 300K route has around 1,800 feet. The 400K has around 2,500 feet and the 600K has around 4,000 feet. Our series is one of the flattest series in the country. All of our climbs are short and nothing over four to five percent. No leg busters.

All this being said, what we lack in hills we more than make up for in wind. It is not uncommon to have strong winds from one or more directions during a ride. You may face a headwind on the way out, and on the way back. In 2013 our first event had very strong headwinds all the way to Okawviille, mile 78. It was a long slog south, but had nice tailwinds heading back north.

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Night Riding?

Yes we have night riding. Most of it occurs ... well ... at night ... Okay... Front and rear lights must be attached to your bicycle and be in working order before you can start any ride. Depending on which event you are entering, we may begin before sunrise and lights (front and rear) along with reflective gear (ankle bands and reflective sash/belt) are required. Also longer events such as the 300K, 400K and 600K events can finish well after dark, and again, lights and reflective gear are required.

If you do not have working lights attached and appropriate reflective gear, you will not be allowed to start the event. Lights are to be turned on and reflective gear worn anytime lighting or weather conditions dictate. Failure to have lights turned on and reflective gear on after dark, or when weather deems it necessary is grounds for disqualification. Please refer to the RUSA Rules For Riders for complete rules.

Do you offer SAG on your rides?

Short answer... Nope. Longer answer... Brevets are long distance self supported events. As the volunteer pool is very limited, and the RBA also likes to ride his bicycle, you need to be able to handle flat tires and any mechanical emergencies you encounter along the route. If you need to abandon an event, you need to find your own way back to the start. The RUSA Rules For Riders do not allow personal support along the route. You can, however, if you feel you really need SAG, have someone meet you at, and only at, official checkpoints. Any personal support outside of official checkpoints is against the rules and riders will be disqualified. Carry a fully charged cell phone, and dial someone who loves you if you can't finish. If you really want SAG support, let me know when you would like to volunteer.

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What rules do I need to follow?

All rules listed on RUSA's web site, Rules For Riders need to be followed along with state laws for bicycles. In Illinois, cyclists can ride two abreast as long as you are not interfering with the normal flow of traffic. Ride single file when there is oncoming traffic. Ride to the right. Bicycles must use lights and reflective gear as noted. If after reading the Rules For Riders, you have a question, email me and I would be happy to answer your question.

What do I do with my brevet card?

At the beginning of each ride you will be provided your brevet card. Make sure you put your name and address on the brevet card so it can be returned to you at the end of the season with your certified sticker attached. A brevet card is your ride passport. At each checkpoint along the route you will have your brevet card signed and have the date/time of passage logged. At the final checkpoint you will enter your finish date/time and sign both the brevet card and final check-in sheet. Leave the brevet card in the plastic bin, inside the police station when you finish.

What should I wear?

Dress for weather variations. It can be very cold in the morning and warm up later. It can be downright cold all day long, or be hot and humid in the morning and get even hotter mid-day. The events go rain or shine. Sometimes snow showers, sleet and or rain have occurred. Dress in layers, and have some protection against sun, rain, snow, wind, etc.

Weather has varied from the teens to over 100 degrees. Thankfully not on the same ride. I am not a weather man, so pick your favorite television station or web site and watch the weather. Dress in layers at a minimum. As mentioned before, you MUST wear reflective ankle bands and either a reflective sash or vest, and have working front and rear lights mounted to your bicycle for night riding. Helmets are required at all times.

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Do I have to carry everything with me?

You must be self sufficient. You can either carry all your food, water and clothing with you, or purchase what you need along the way. At least for the St. Louis series you do not pass any bicycle shops, so carry a tube or two or three, a pump that you know works, and any tools you may need. If you do flat, please do not dump your old tube alongside the road. Either carry it out with you or find a proper trash container. Along the same lines, if you use those Gu packets or food bars, please don't litter. Your actions reflect on all riders. We pass through small towns with quickie marts every 30-40 miles. You can buy additional food and water along the way, so carry your wallet and money with you.

What do I do in an emergency, or if I can't finish an event?

Again, brevets are for self sufficient riders only. In case of a medical emergency, dial 911 immediately, then call the phone number on the top of your brevet card or route sheet to let the ride organizer know. Remember, cell phone coverage can be spotty. If the RBA is not able to pick up your call, leave a message.

If you are just too pooped to pedal, take a break, eat, drink, rest and reassess your condition. If you decide to abandon the ride, you need to find your own way back to the ride start. Call the cell phone number listed on the top of your brevet card or route sheet and leave a message indicating you have abandoned. When you get back to the start/finish, drop your brevet card off at the finish location.

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