Portland, ME Team Events – Weekend of May 17th 2024

Come join NER and your fellow riders in the Spring for a weekend of Team Events!

The Spring Fleche is heading back to Portland, ME in 2024!

ACP Fleche:
Classic 24 Hour / 360+ kilometer team ride. Teams of 3-5 bikes pick start date, time, and their own route to Portland, ME. Maximum stop time is 2 hours. Teams may start anytime between Thursday, May 16th @ Noon and Saturday May 18th @ 10am. Once started, teams ride for exactly 24 hours.

Trace USA:
200-360 kilometer team ride. Teams of 2-6 bikes may start anytime after 12:01am on Saturday, May 18th and must finish before 10am Sunday, May 19th. There is no maximum stop time; Teams may sleep overnight.

Brunch Info: Teams and friends are invited to a celebratory gathering house in Portland on Sunday, May 19th. Details sent to dteams.


Team Captain: Please complete this Google Form. Team captains can start the from and resuming editing if they need to make changes. The form should be completed and finalized no later than May 13th.

All Team Members: Register on BikeReg for the Fleche/Trace. There is no cost. Make sure to note the team name or captain name in the box provided to do so. (Note: The Fleche team name is separate from the “Team” you can declare on BikeReg.)

General Info:

Teams may choose to participate in a Fleche and the Trace event.

Fleche rules in brief: Teams of 3-5 vehicles (tandems count as one) collectively ride to Portland, ME together using a route and start point of their choosing. The route must be at least 360km+ conform to standard brevet requirements of using the shortest distance been checkpoints (controls). The team must finish exactly 24 hours after they start with no stop may longer than 2 hours. The Fleche distance counts toward RUSA and ACP awards.

Trace rules in brief: Trace teams are 2-6 vehicles. Teams choose their own starting point and a route of 200k to 360k to Portland, ME. Teams may start anytime after Midnight on Saturday. They may stop for as long as they’d like, including overnight to sleep. Routes must conform to brevet rules with the shortest point between checkpoints (controls) used. A minimum of 3 controls, spaced at least 50 km apart must be specified however there is no requirement for a control exactly 25km from the finish. Traces do not count toward any RUSA awards, including R-12 and distance awards.

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 rides are the most enjoyable Randonneuring events.

Tip: Hotels in Portland fill up fast and can be expensive. Book accommodations as soon as possible if considering the Fleche/Trace. (Ride organizer will be staying at “The Inn at St. John”)

Fleche/Trace Cards: Riders may use traditional paper cards and have them marked by stores along the route. Teams may also choose to submit GPS/GPX files showing the time of day and position. If teams ride together, one route file is sufficient for the team. Photos (preferred) should clearly show all the team members or their bikes and a recognizable location (store sign, etc) that indicates the control.

General Rules:

  • See above for deadline to submit completed application..
  • The RBA & Team coordinator has final say in approving routes. Routes must be ridden as submitted.
  • 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 (Fleche) or 2 vehicles (Trace) 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.
  • Fleche: 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 the finish and teams must be at this point 2 hours before the finish of the event. (Not applicable for the Trace.)

Fleche 2h Max Stop Rule: Teams riding the Fleche must not stop for more then 2 hours at any location including any overnight locations. Plan accordingly.

Route Rules:

  • Teams determine their own route which terminates in Portland, ME.
  • The route must meet brevet guidelines and represent the shortest point between control locations.
  • Teams receive credit for the shortest distance between controls.
  • A point-to-point and loop routes are allowed; out-and-back style routes are prohibited.
  • Passage through control locations can be certified by: A clear timestamped (smartphone) Photo, a receipt from a store or ATM, a GPX track. (Links to a website not acceptable.)

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

Please contact the Fleche Coordinator with any and all questions! (jake kassen at gmail dot com)

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 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 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 team 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 locations, 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 Kilometers?

A: There is no length limit to a Fleche route. The Trace must not extend beyond 360km. The more ambitious the route, the more likely the team will finish 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 for Fleche teams, however the start times must differ by at least one hour. Teams may not ride with one another at any point. Trace routes must be unique to each team.

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 staffed 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 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.

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 spirit 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 a Fleche or 13.5 hours into a Dart?

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. (In other words, 22 hours after the start of a Fleche or 11.5 hours after the start of a Dart.) 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.

The below examples assume a finish location in Portland, Maine.

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.

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 Trace and 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 occasionally runs the New England Fleche out of Westfield, MA. The next closet Fleche is in the NJ/PA area.

Q: Who should I contract with additional questions?

A: Contact NER Team Coordinator Jake Kassen

Historic Finishes and Participation

“Shorter” Refers to a Dart, Dart Populaire, or Trace event.

2010: 1 Fleche (4 People) – Newton, MA
2011: 2 Fleche (9 People) – Somerville, MA
2012: 5 Fleche (20 People) – Portland, ME
2013: 3 Fleche (12 People) – Portland, ME
2014: 3 Fleche (12 People) – Providence, RI
2015: 5 Fleche (18 People) – Providence, RI
2016: 4 Fleche, 1 Shorter (22 People) – Portland, ME
2017: 5 Fleche, 1 Shorter (21 People) – Portland, ME
2018: 3 Fleche, 5 Shorter (27 People) – Portland, ME
2019: 3 Fleche, 2 Shorter (19 People) – Portland, ME
2020: What Happened?
2021: 2 Teams (5 People) *Fall Event – Brattleboro, VT
2022: 4 Fleche (13 People) – Medford, MA
2023: 2 Fleche (8 People) – Medford, MA
2024: 3 Fleche, 1 Shorter (16 People) – Portland, ME