Stop if you have already heard this one.
An Engineer, an Artist, a Librarian, and a Teacher decided to stage the 2017 Ohio Randonneurs ACP series…………………..and with the help of several of you……………………………I can say: “We Did It”.
During my first year as RBA for Ohio Randonneurs, I decided that it would be fair to all members if we moved each series to the four corners of the state. To that end, I told Paul Bacho, a long time randonneur, that I needed some routes that started in Northeast Ohio. After covering Southwest, Central, Southeast, and Northwest Ohio, it was Northeast Ohio’s turn. I have to admit that I badgered Paul every year to get some routes together, and with Cindy Watkins and a host of others, this year he was able to do so. This past winter when the snow was flying deep in the Northeast, Cindy and I went out to preview the route that they had put together. Word got out and soon other randonneurs in the area chimed in on the route. Lynn Clark, as well as Kevin Madzia of Century Cycles, offered solutions to some of the problems we were having. After another trip to preview the route with another randonneur, Steve Gassman, we finally had something to turn over to the engineer.
Dave Miller, an engineer at the Ohio Department of Transportation, gets to apply all the neat filters, look at statistics, scan the route foot by foot, look for controls that are open 24 hours, check road surfaces, and apply other ODOT things, in order to come up with a polished route and cue that must be submitted to RUSA for approval. The routes committee at RUSA looks at the route, and then offers suggestions that must be incorporated before final approval. If they are not incorporated, Dave has to explain why, and suggest an alternative, which then must be approved.
At some point, early in the process and frequently during the process, some of you request the final cue and route weeks before the event. The final cue is assembled on Monday night the week of the event. If there has been a “pre-ride” that prior weekend, we try to make sure we include bridges out, blocked paths, etc. Our goal is to make it a safe ride for our randonneurs, and to give them some nice scenery and some interesting stories. Once Dave delivers the final cue and route to me, I send it all on to the Artist.
Ted Meisky performs miracles as far as I’m concerned. Ted created and maintains the Ohio Randonneurs website. Hopefully you enjoy this because of Ted’s efforts. Ted patiently asks for information about the rides that he can post on the website to keep it current, and to keep you informed. Ted takes all the registration information, and spreads it magically across several mediums. Talented computer people at RUSA have put together a brevet paperwork program that now enables RBA’s across the country to be consistent. Before that came out, I had Ted. Now, Ted has incorporated the program into my preparation and presentation of the brevets. Along the way, Ted has communicated ways that the talent at RUSA might want to improve their program. That usually comes about from some picky request made on my part, for which Ted has had to find a fix or solution. Ted supplies with me registrations, liability releases, check-in sheets for each control, individualized brevet cards with riders names on each one, and when it’s all over, he posts results and my summaries. If one were to compare our website to others in RUSA, you would find we have one of the finest, if not the best. Best thing, Ted will continually tweak things with his artist eye to make them better.
After Ted works his miracles, he sends me a rather long email with several attachments. In order to navigate and print all the necessary paperwork, I call on the Librarian. Debi is usually upstairs in the kitchen, making homemade date bars. I try to navigate and print and I actually do get some things accomplished but, inevitably, I yell upstairs for help. While I pace around like an expectant father, Debi calmly sits down and clicks several solutions to my problems. I try to follow her methods and remember them for the next brevet, but I always yell for Debi in the middle of the date bars. By the end of the night, Debi has everything neatly stacked away and paper clipped for the road trip to the brevet.
That process is repeated for each of the ACP brevets. I have surrounded myself with GREAT people.
Continuing on a theme from this season, this year’s 600K was full of stories. We had two riders complete the entire Ohio 2017 ACP series, one a seasoned veteran and the other a “newbie”. Toshiyuki Nemoto, the veteran, and Jared Swartzentruber, the newbie, both received their SR Ohio Series t-shirts. You can see the pictures here. Congratulations Gentlemen. I had hoped that Scott Blower would have completed the entire series on his Eliptigo but, knowing the climbing involved in the 600K and having ridden the earlier rides, he opted for a “flatter” 600K. We had one rider who recently took interest in randonneuring and joined RUSA. Although the rider thought I had underestimated his ability to ride distances, despite warnings that one should “train” for a 600K, ride some shorter brevets, decided his first brevet would be the 600K. He did not have a successful outcome. What we do is much harder than some people think. Maybe we’ll see him in the Fall for our “Introduction to Randonneuring, Randonneuring 101 Populaire”. Paul Bacho rode with the new rider for the first 200K of the 600K. They were last to the turnaround at the 200K Control. That is significant when I reveal that Paul then went on to ride his pace and finished the entire 600K first. Way to go Paul and thank you for caring. Another veteran on the ride was Jim Logan, the former RBA for the Pittsburgh area Randonneurs. He seemed to have a good time and admitted that we had some interesting routes into towns he had used on his brevets in Pennsylvania. Thank you for joining us Jim, and sharing your stories and experience.
I try to get volunteers to man the controls whenever I can. It helps me, it improves rider safety and morale, and it results in my volunteers hosting controls and coaching the riders along their way. It always provides for some great stories. Manning every other control on the 600K were: Debi Orr, Cindy Watkins, Jared Swartzentruber, Stephen Glowacki, and for two secret controls, Andrew Clayton. I asked him to man one secret control, he saw two spaces on the brevet card, and asked me if he could have a second secret control. That was a long day for Andrew, and to top it off, after the second secret control, he drove out to SAG our newest randonneur in to the finish. Andrew assured the new rider he had been in similar situations himself, and shared some wise advice on the ride back. It seems our volunteers had an unofficial contest going on who could supply the best support. All of them had parts, tools, water, food, and other things they knew riders might need. We want positive outcomes. Dave Miller usually ends up getting drafted to man a control, then ends up staying up all night with me on “lobby patrol” manning the finish control. During the series he did drive up from Columbus on a moment’s notice to do just that. I was glad to let him stay home this brevet since I had so many volunteers. I did text him rider times as they made their way through the brevet. That gave rise to MY best story of the 600K. Sunday evening, as I was on “lobby patrol” after Debi and all my other volunteers had gone home so they could work the next day, Dave Miller texted me that there was going to be a pizza delivered to me in the lobby, and that I might want to tip the driver. I thanked him, and after the last rider finished, I texted him……………..”We did it.”
“I surround myself with good people, and we have successful outcomes”. “We did it.”