First Time Brevet Rider Tips
by Tom Rosenbauer

If you've never attempted a long ride before, I know that some of these distances may seem daunting. I believe that there are three things to becoming a successful randonneur:

First, there is the "physical" aspect -- no doubt about it, you'll need some strength and endurance.

But I think the other two dimensions, "knowledge" and "mental" are even more important. "Knowledge" encompasses the preparation for a ride: getting the bike in shape and your bike fit issues worked out. It also includes all the little decisions you make on a ride.

But by far, I think the "mental" aspect is the most important. One way to mentally deal with these longer rides is to think of them as a bunch of smaller ones, put together. And each ride tends to prepare you for the next longer one. For example, you already can do a 70 mile ride. The 115K is a 70 mile ride (which you can already do) plus a couple of more. When you tackle the 200K, think of it first as a 115K (which you can already do) plus an 85K which is less than what you've already done.

Each brevet you ride will have check points which are called "controles" -- these are usually spaced around 30 miles apart. I always think about just getting to the next controle point. I know, even on my worst day, that I can do 30 miles! By focusing on just getting to the next controle, you will eventually finish!

The best advice I think I can give is to join RUSA (Randonneurs USA). You will receive a Randonneur handbook -- believe me, this handbook is worth the annual dues which are pretty modest. The handbook has all sorts of useful articles that will help you develop your randonneuring skills Go to: http://www.rusa.org/index.html for an application.

Regards,
-Tom Rosenbauer
Easton, PA