Portland Maine Team Events – May 17-20, 2018

Come join NER and your fellow riders for a weekend of team riding in 2018! All events finish in Portland, ME.

ACP Fleche:
Classic 24 Hour / 360+ kilometer team ride. Teams pick start date, time, and route to Portland.

RUSA Dart:
13.5 Hour / 200+ kilometer team ride. Teams propose a start time and route to Portland. The ride must take place on Saturday, May 19th.

RUSA Dart Populaire:
8 Hour / 120k+ team ride. Teams propose a start time and route to Portland. The ride must take place on Saturday, May 19th.

Application Form – Due by May 5th! (Note: Application form has dates from 2017 but otherwise is identical. Please note the dates for the 2018 events above.)

General Info:

Team randonneuring events are those in which riders forms teams of 3-5 vehicles (bikes or HPVs) and collectively ride to a location together using a route of their choosing. (A tandem bike counts as a single vehicle.) These team events offer many unique and enjoyable challenges: Plotting a route, helping one another during times of difficulty, and feeling the reward of accomplishing a monumental ride together. Many riders feel the team events is the most enjoyable Randonneuring event of the year.

The Fleche is original Randonneuring event and is the longest at 24 hours. Teams completing the Fleche receive a certificate from ACP in France and are eligible for international awards such as the R-5000. Teams may choose to start anytime between Noon on Thursday and 10am Saturday and finish 24 hours after they start.

The Dart & Dart Populaire are newer RUSA events which feature similar rules with a shorter minimum distance and event time. Unlike the Fleche, the Dart events must start on Saturday. Teams choose start location and route to Portland.

All rides count toward RUSA awards. Riders completing the Fleche receive credit for the actual distance completed. Riders receive exactly 200k/120k credit for the Dart events irrespective of actual distance completed.

General Rules:

  • A completed application including signed waivers and a detailed route are due no latter then May 15th, 2017.
  • The RBA has final say in approving routes. Routes must be ridden as submitted.
  • Teams consist of 3-5 vehicles. A designated team leader is the single contact person for the entire team.
  • Credit is only given to those finishing together. Failure for at least three vehicles to finish together result in no finishing credit for the entire team.
  • Riders must follow all traffic laws. While paceline style riding is allowed it is not required.
  • Teams may not receive assistance (including drafting and follow support) from any other team or person while on route.
  • At least 25 Kilometers must be completed within the last two hours of the event. A control location must be selected which is 25k+ beyond portland and teams must be at this point 2 hours before the finish of the event.

Fleche Specific Rule:

  • Teams riding the fleche must not stop for more then 2 hours at any location including any overnight locations.

Route Rules:

  • Teams determine their own route which terminates in Portland, Maine.
  • The route must meet brevet guidelines and represent the shortest point between control locations.
  • Teams receive credit for the shortest distance between controls as determined by the RBA.
  • A point-to-point and loop routes are allowed; out-and-back style routes are prohibited.
  • Control locations are documented by a receipt or card initials — stores, ATMs, restaurants, etc are acceptable. During overnight hours a postcard signed by the team and postmarked in the control town is an alternative.

Here are the official rules for the Fleche, Dart, and Dart Populare.

Brunch Information:
On Sunday, June 5th all the Fleche teams are encouraged to meet for Brunch in Portland to discuss our rides. This is an annual tradition which is fun to stick around for. Details on the Brunch will be sent to all teams and announced on the homepage for others who wish to join. Friends and family are invited but we’ll need a headcount for the reservation.

More information is listed in the Q & A below or by reading the Rules on the RUSA website.

Q: What are acceptable routes and how to plan?

A:Routes may be point-to-point or circular. No road may count towards the 360k distance twice and out and back segments are not allowed. Teams may use parts of Brevet routes if desired.

Routes are similar to Brevet routes in that they must have control locations at the outer edges of the route; the shortest distance between control points using public roads and paths must add up to the minimum for the route to be validated. RUSA requires us to be strict so add additional control points if you’re unsure.

The RBA has final approval on all routes and may ask for changes to be made. The RBA will determine the shortest distance between control points which may be shorter then route the team has selected.

Example 1: A minor highway directly connects two control towns with a distance of 50k. A team selects a route using backroads which is 55k. The team will only receive 50k of credit for this leg BUT must still follow their backroad route if this is what was submitted.

Example 2: A major highway directly connects two control towns with a distance of 50k. The team and RBA agree this highway is prohibitive for cycling. (Bikes are outright banned or high speeds with no shoulder make it overly dangerous.) The team selects a backroad alternative which is 55k; they will receive credit for this distance.

Example 3: Small roads connecting two control locations with a distance of 50k. A team nevertheless selects a route of 60k between these points. The RBA will reject the 60k leg and ask the team to add an additional control location or use the shorter route.

Good Fleche routes are those which can be successfully navigated by the team. Some teams will prefer to keep things simple and use only numbered state roads while others teams will try to pick little-used dirt roads and bike paths. Being able to select the roads which are best for the team is part of the fun of a Fleche.

Read the guide to creating a NER route for more advice and regulations.

Tip: Historically the more control location, the more likely a team is to DNF. Teams using 10+ controls often report they regret using so many stops. It is good practice to not plan on more then a single control every 40-50k.

Q: Can the route be longer then 360/180/120 Kilometers?

A: Yes, there is no limit to how long a route can be. However the ambitious the route the more likely to complete outside the time limit. It is recommended that team events do not considerably exceed the minimum distance.

Q: May different teams use the same route?

A: Yes, however the start times must differ by at least one hour. Teams may not ride with one another at any point.

Q: May we alter the route once submitted?

A: Once validated, the route is final and may not be changed without re-verification and approval. The RBA may not have the time to re-validate a route once approved.

Q: What makes for a Control? Do you need to select a 24 hour store for overnights?

A: Control points can be anywhere within a small geographic region in a town (eg. Main Street) — we don’t need exact store names. You can be creative with control locations — Park ranger stations, landmarks, police stations, and ATMs all make fine controls. Many teams will try to select 24 stores on the overnight so they have a place to refuel however a maned control is not required.

We highly recommend teams do some scouting before submitting a route to verify there will be something in town that can act as a control location. Not all towns have stores or post offices! (Tip: Don’t trust google! The gas station it lists as being 24 hour might not still be around or have changed hours.)

Q: How do we deal with unmanned controls?

A: Try to get a timestamp if at all possible. For example, visit an ATM and save the receipt or keep the paper from paper-based parking meter. If none of these are available you may also send a postcard to the ride organizers with the signatures of the all the riders. However, the stamp on the postcard MUST be the same one as your control location — no mailing the post card from the town over. The post card option may only be used for overnight (10pm-8am) controls.

Q: How do we need to submit the route?

A: When you send in your registration you’ll need to include a map with your general route highlighted and control locations indicated. You’ll also need to include a rough cue sheet which lists control locations and distances. Remember, we’ll only consider the shortest possible milage between controls even if your team decides to take long way around.

A link to a RideWithGPS or other online mapping service is strongly preferred if at all possible.

Starting in 2016 the waiver may be physically signed, scanned, and emailed.

Q: How do we know we’re registered?

A: You’ll first be contacted via email or phone upon receipt of your registration packet and again if your route needs modification. About a week before the event you’ll receive pre-printed Brevet cards for each member of the team. If you need to change team members after submitting your registration forms, you may do so at least two weeks prior to the event by sending the organizer a signed waiver and a note of the change.

Q: What do we need to submit to register?

A: Read the registration form! You’ll need to include the route statement, signed waivers for all team members, and payment for event plus brunch if you’re planning on joining us on Sunday.

Q: Why do we need to register so far in advance?

A: It will take us time to verify your route and give you time to tweak your route if it doesn’t meet our requirements. The Fleche/Dart cards need to be mailed to the team leader.

Q: What defines a team?

A: Teams consist of three to five vehicles with a vehicle defined as an entirely human powered device. A tandem (two riders or more) counts as a single vehicle.

Q: Does the team have to ride together?

A: The team doesn’t need to ride close to one another but at least three vehicles must finish the last 25k within the last 2 hours together in order for the team’s ride to be certified. Team members not completing the ride with the group will not be considered to have finished the event.

The spirt of the event is to have the team ride in formation and not spread out over miles.

Q: What support is possible along the ride?

A: The team members may help one another but no outside help (follow support, etc) nor help from other Fleche teams is allowed. Riders may not have support crews meet them at controls but they are allowed to stop at motels, buy snacks, etc.

Q: What must the team do 22 hours into the ride?

A: In order for the team to be certified the team MUST get their control cards signed 2 hours before the end of the event. Furthermore, this 2 hour location must be at least 25k from the end point of ride as listed on the verified route. Keep in mind the time, not location, is what dictates this control. Even if your team is running behind or ahead of schedule, you must stop at 22h and get your card signed.

Example 1: Fleche Team “Hot Fleche” starts at noon on Friday and plans to be at a store in Saco, Maine (~28k from Portland) at 10am on Saturday. They arrive at 9:50am so they wait until 10am to have their cards signed then depart for Portland. This is ideal.

Example 2: Fleche Team “European Ramblers” also starts at noon on Friday and plans to be at a store in Saco, Maine at 10am on Saturday. However, at 10am Saturday they have fallen behind in their schedule and are only in Kennebunkport, ME (~40k from Portland). While not a previously planned stop, they go to the LL Bean store to have their cards signed. They gain time in the last two hours and arrive in Portland at Noon on schedule. This is acceptable.

Example 3: Fleche Team “Broken Chain” also starts at noon on Friday and plans to stop at Saco, Maine at 10am on Saturday. However, at 10am they are behind schedule and do not stop until 11:20am when they are in Saco. By not stopping at 10am they have disqualified themselves and do not receive credit, even if they sprint to Portland and arrive at noon.

Example 4: Fleche Team “Way-2-Fast” rides fast and arrives at Saco, Maine at 7:45am — 2.25 hours ahead of schedule! They should have slowed down earlier as they must either wait in Saco for more then 2 hours OR arrive in Portland well before 24 hours have elapsed. They do not receive credit.

Q: Do you need to complete the Fleche in 24 hours? Can you go faster or slower?

A: You need to attempt to finish the Fleche exactly 24 hours after starting. Early finishes are not acceptable so pace yourselves accordingly. Teams finishing considerably outside the 24 hour window will not be certified.

The same rules allow to the Dart with the respective finishing times.

Q: Can we ride fast and sleep at night?

A: For the Fleche, Nope. No stop may be longer then 2 hours. Since this includes nighttime riding, all vehicles MUST have full lighting and reflective equipment as if they were on a solo brevet.

On the Dart events a longer stop is allowed. It is theoretically possible to sprint for six hours @ 16Mph, sleep for four hours, and ride at 10 Mph two more hours in order to arrive in Portland in 12 hours and 180k completed.

Q: Are there other Fleche’s in New England?

A: The Berkshire Brevet Series runs the New England Fleche out of Westfield, MA. The next closet Fleche is in the NJ/PA area.

While each RBA can only host one Fleche per year, riders are allowed and encouraged to participate in multiple events in different regions. A late season RUSA team event can be added to the calendar if demands warrants — contact the RBA.

Q: Who should I contract with additional questions?

A: Contact the RBA as listed at the top of this page.