The New England Randonneurs Present

The 2010 Boston Fleche!

The Boston Fleche

Fleche Start Times: Between May 20th (12pm) to May 22 (10am)
Finish Location: Newton, MA
Boston Fleche Organizer: Jake Kassen (me at jkassen dot org)
Cost: $35 per team.

Download the 2010 NER Fleche Registation form. Forms must be received by Fleche Organizer by April 20th, 2010!

Finish Info: Teams may finish anywhere in the town of Newton, MA.

For the uninitiated, a Fleche is team Randonneuring event where three to five riders (more if by tandem) plan their own route to a common finish location. The route selected must be at least 360 kilometers. The team may pick a start time ranging from Thursday at noon to Saturday at 10am. The entire route must be ridden in exactly 24 hours with the final 20k completed in the last two hours of the event. You'll need to keep moving as no stop may be longer then 2 hours. While you don't need to ride in tight formation, at least three members of the team must complete the fleche together in order to get credit for the event. Like normal Brevets, controls must be located at the outer edges of the route and each team member has their own control card.

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

Q: How to plan a Fleche Route?

A: Fleche routes may be point-to-point or circular. No road may count towards the 360k distance twice. If you're unfamiliar with the area we recommend looking at the Boston Brevet routes which all start at nearby Hanscom Field in Bedford, MA. Fleche teams may use parts of Brevet routes if desired.

Fleche routes are similar to Brevet routes in that they must have control locations at the outer edges of the route. This is to say that the shortest distance between control points using public roads and paths must add up to at least 360k for the route to be validated. RUSA requires us to be strict so add additional control points if you're unsure.

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.

Q: May different teams use the same route?

A: Yes, however the start times must differ by at least one hour.

Q: May we alter the route once submitted?

A: Once validated, the route is final and may not be changed. You are welcome to tweak the route and add milage between controls if you find a better route but the approved distance may not be shortened nor may you switch control locations.

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 -- 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.)

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.

If none of the above options are available you may also elect to take a digital photograph of the team and send it to the Boston Fleche organizer. The unedited photo must include all members of the team and have a timestmp (metadata) linked with it. The photo must include some geographic landmark in the background such as town sign or (preferably) an electric clock as found on many banks. A picture of a bike in front of a Dunkin' Donuts ain't going to cut it.

Q: How do we need to submit the route?

A: When you send in your registration you'll need to include a PRINTED 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. While you may send us GPX files they must accompany printed information.

Q: How do we know we're registered?

A: You'll first be contacted via email or phone upon receipt of your registation 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 registation 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 more then a month before the event?

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.

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 (or larger) 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 20k 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 fleche.

Q: What support is possible along the ride?

A: The team members may help one another but no outside help nor help from other Fleche teams is allowed.

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

A: In order for the fleche to be certified the team MUST get their control cards signed 22 hours after the start of the event. Furthermore, this 22 hour location must be at least 20k from the end point of ride as listed on the verified route. Keep in mind the time, not location, is what dictates the 22h control. Even if your team is running behind or ahead of schedule, you must stop at 22h and get your card signed.

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

A: You need to attempt to finish the ride 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.

Q: Can we ride fast and sleep at night?

A: 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.

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.

Q: Who should I contract with additional questions?

A: Contact the Boston Fleche organizer as listed at the top of this page.

Copyright 2010, New England Randoneurs. Page Created by Jake Kassen.