04 April, 2013

Pleasures of the Fleche

By Scott

The DC randonneur fleche 24 hour event is this coming weekend. I'll be taking part as one of the four members of Team The way we W &OD'd (we use part of the Washington and Old Dominion trail for the last part of the ride). This will be my 6th fleche- I've completed 4 and failed to finish one. 

The Fleche is a unique randonneuring event. Here in the US, they are organzied by Randonneurs USA. The basic premise is that it is a team event- at least 3 bikes per team, but no more then 5 bikes per team. You must ride at least 360 km (223 miles) in 24 hours and you cannot stop in one location for longer then 2 hours. For full rules, you can go to the RUSA site and read through them-

Due to the nature of the ride- you must use up all 24 hours and you can design your own route- rides tend to be flatter then a regular brevet. So one can end up eating/hanging out in restaurants/cafe's to kill time. In some places, this is easy. In Northern Washington state, there are small town cafe's where one can have a long dinner or breakfast. Wide, cushy booths are great to sit on after 20 hours of riding as is the waitresses with endless cups of coffee or tea. On the other hand, in small town Australia, where no 24 hour facilities exist, we had the son of the team leader cook up spaghetti in the village green late at night to help stave off hunger, as nothing was open.

(photo by Bill Beck)
One of the common themes is the breakfast after the event. In British Columbia, we would all finish at the Harrison Hot Springs resort for a banquet. Some teams would finish on the Saturday night and relax in the hot springs after finishing their ride. In Australia, our ride ended in Rochester,Victoria, the birthplace of Sir Hubert Opperman, one of the greatest endurance riders of Australia and winner of PBP back when it was a professional race. There the cycling club used the local Football (Australian Rules) club house for the breakfast and for us to clean up. My club mates in San Francisco have rented out a crepire as a meeting point for the riders and here in DC, we use the Marriott hotel by the Key Bridge, just across the Potomac from Georgetown as the end point for all the teams

 (the Oppy statue in Rochester Vic, Australia)

What is your favorite food stop during a ride?


Anonymous said...

Great title!

Niebylski said...

Great post - very much looking forward to riding with you tomorrow!