The Boston & Vermont Brevet Series
The Boston & Vermont Brevets are series
of long distance cycling events which are also training and qualifying
rides for other randonneuring events such as Paris-Brest-Paris (August 2011 near Paris, France).
This web site contains all the information about these
rides and a downloadable registration form. Contact NER President Tracey Ingle at "tracey 'at' bostonbrevets 'period' com" with questions.
New Vermont Brevets for 2010!
If you're new to Randonneuring, check out our comprehensive page of Question & Answers.
Here's a bunch of detail information (directions to the starts, preregistration requirements, etc).
All rides average about 3000 feet of climbing for each 100 kilometers.
Current cue sheets are available at the start of
every ride. Should you choose to ride a brevet using an old or preliminary
cue sheet and wind up off course as a result, don't blame us!
2010 Boston Series
All Boston rides start and end at Hanscom Field in
Routes are subject to change, but we're tentatively planning to use the same Boston routes used in 2009. Preliminary cue sheets for the 2010 series are posted below; final versions
will be posted once they're available, usually the week of the event. Preliminary cue sheets are subject to change without notice.
||New Boston, NH
||New for 2010, the Boston Fleche! Click Here for more info about this fun team event.
The Boston series include the following:
- Detailed cue sheets
- Entry fee includes water, fruit, cookies, etc., at all checkpoints. (All Checkpoints staffed by NER Volunteers.)
- Bag transport to some checkpoints for the 400k & 600k
- Shower, hot dinner, hot breakfast, and swimming pool on the 600k
2010 Vermont Series
Vermont rides start at Old Spokes Home in Burlington, VT.
Information (Cue Sheets, descriptions, etc) for Vermont rides is currently posted on a separate website run by Mike Beganyi. (Link to be posted when site operational.)
Vermont Riders should note the following:
- Not all controls are staffed, though all should have food options and restrooms.
- Ferry crossings will need to be paid for by riders. These crossing are on route and represent controls.
- Complimentary coffee and restrooms at Burlington start.
- Check the link above for more information about these rides as it becomes available.
Ride a full SR Series (200k, 300k, 400k, 600k) for just $110! ($120 for Non-Members.) You get the 200k & 300k events of your choice plus the Boston 400k and Boston 600k events.
You can Register Online or download the registation form below.
GPS Route Files
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER REGARDING GPS FILES:
GPS files posted on this site have NOT been created, verified, or even opened by the ride organizers! They are being provided here as a courtesy to aid riders programming their own GPS units and are not an official route publication. Deviating from the printed cue sheet distributed at the start of the ride is grounds for disqualification, even when following a GPS route downloaded from this site.
If you find these files helpful, be sure to thank the GPS file creator. If you've created a GPS file you'd like posted, please email it to the webmaster.
All riders are encouraged to join the NER Google Group and Mailing List to learn about last minute route changes and to discuss mapping, GPS files, ride tips, etc.
2010 Registations & Results
We'll post the 2010 registations and results when they start coming in.
Download the Registation Form (PDF) and mail it in to avoid paying the online registation fees.
Forms must be received at least one week prior to ride for preregistration.
Click here for information about the New England Randonneurs, Inc. including membership details.
Save Time! We'll ask all rides to fill out and sign the day-of-event form at the start of every event. If you'd like to save time at the registation table, download it now and bring it to the start signed.
Want to expand and extend your brevet season? Looking for more route choices?
Want to ride within days of deciding on it? Interested in riding new routes?
Going for a distance award? Want to own and organize a Permanent?
We now have a page of detailed information about Permanents -- Brevet length rides which the rider chooses the start date and time.
Thanks to Melinda Lyon, New England Randonneurs Jerseys are still available in natural (wool)
fabric. Men's, women's, long sleeve, and short sleeve available in most sizes. Synthetic jerseys are gone!
Bruce will be hosting a Charles River Wheelmen
ride in mid-February, starting at the Framingham town green, with options of
20 and 35 miles; non-members are welcome, and there will be a post-ride party afterward.
Other domestic events may be located using the Randonneurs USA website.
Click here for results back to 1993 and cue sheets back to 1995.
John & Jane McClellan's 400k ride report (2009)
The Blayleys' randonneuring stories
Chip Coldwell's randonneuring stories
Harriet Fell's 1975 PBP report
Jake Kassen's randonneuring stories
John McClellan's BMB 2005 report
Emily O'Brien's 2007 PBP report
Massimiliano Poletto's randonneuring stories
Sheldon Brown's technical articles
New Jersey Randonneurs
Planet Ultra's training articles
Google New England Randonneurs discussion group
Google Randon discussion group
The Ultramarathon Cycling Association (UMCA)
Peter White Cycles
Bike Maps: CT
The Boston Brevet Series is affiliated with:
The Charles River Wheelmen
Last Updated: 17-March-2010, by Jake Kassen.
Copyright 2010 New England Randonneurs, Inc.
quiet or full of everything from families to Quebecois to college kids
- but lots of cyclists stop in and take advantage of the tent sites
and proximity to town."
I have more questions! Where can I learn more?
The RUSA Website is a good place to start.
If you have other questions about NER/BBS, contact info is listed towards the end of the NER Info page.
Training & Preparation Questions
Q: What mechanical skills do I need?
You should be comfortable enough with the mechanics of your bike to fix any common problem that might occur over several hundred miles. There is no mechanical support. You should be able to fix a flat quickly. At night. In the rain. It is helpful to have a working knowledge of your bike's drivetrain, brakes, etc.
Tip: Brevets are not the best place to test new equipment. Ride the bike you plan to use a few days before the event so you have time to fix problems. Minor annoyances on short rides frequently become big problems on long rides.
Q: What should I do before my first Brevet?
Make sure your bike is in good working order. Shake or bounce the loaded bike. Does anything fall off? Ride-test any new components and accessories well before the brevet.
Download and look at one of the cue sheets. Do you understand how to read it? Do you have a way to attach it to the bike? Some riders like to enlarge the text or cut up the sheet to make it fit a holder.
Try to go for a longer (60+ mile) ride a week or two before the Brevet. Is the bike comfortable? Do you need to adjust anything? Your bike isn't going to get any more comfortable as the ride progresses. Do you feel comfortable with your speed?
Go for a night ride with your lights before the brevet. Are your lights good enough? Do you have enough batteries?
On the day before the ride, gather everything you plan to take so you aren't scrambling to find things early in the morning before the start. If you live close to the start, riding from home is a good way to get warmed up.
Q: Do I even need to ride a bike?
Nope. Any human powered vehicle is allowed. Just make sure that you have a reasonable chance of finishing within the time limits.
Q: What is the right type of equipment for Randonneuring?
The rules for randonneuring are flexible but it must be a 100% human powered vehicle. Other than that, observation of randonneurs of all speeds and abilities shows only two obvious consistent factors: good quality, reliable equipment is typically preferred and correct fit is important too. Beyond that, it's up to the individual.
We've had riders complete the series on fixed gears, tandems, recumbents, 3-speeds, old road bikes, and expensive lightweight racing bikes.
Q: How should the bike be equipped?
Here are some suggestions for bike accessories:
- A method of holding your cue sheet. (Handlebar bag, clips on cables, etc.)
- A basic cyclocomputer.
- A watch.
- 2-3 water bottles and/or a camelback.
- Some place to store tools, food, and cloths.
- Fenders -- it will rain on many rides.
- Two battery taillights or one battery & one generator taillight.
- Wider tires (26mm+) are preferred by some riders.
Q: What should I carry during the ride?
Here are some suggestions:
- Your Brevet card. (Don't Lose it!)
- ID, insurance card, etc.
- Cash and a Credit Card.
- Snacks to eat while riding.
- Spare batteries & bulbs for lights.
- Rain jacket and/or additional clothing layers.
- Ziptop bags for keeping brevet card and cue sheet dry.
- Pump, tubes, patches, and tire levers.
- Basic tools, a chain master-link, etc.
Q: How much to eat on a long ride?
While the advice from reputable sources is very consistent, polling experienced randonneurs suggests that it is a personal matter. So rather than making specific recommendations, we suggest one attempts to find an approach that works for the individual. Always attempt to eat enough to avoid bonking but don't eat a great deal while riding as the digestion can't keep up. And avoid water-electrolyte imbalances. If you bonk, stop and eat whatever you have available. Most riders recover from a bonk quickly if they get plenty of food.
Reading material for on nutrition and exercise physiology:
Q: How much to drink?
Varies according to weather conditions, rider weight and individual physiology and effort level. Typical recommendations are at least 1 oz of water per hour per 10 pounds of body weight but considerably more is needed in warm conditions. Some riders sweat more than others and just need more water. The references provided with the previous answer will explain how you can estimate your individual sweat rate. Take the trouble to figure this out because dehydration is dangerous, can be debilitating and takes a long time to recover from. Know its signs but avoid it in the first place.
Q: How fast to ride?
This can be a complex problem. One first needs to state the objective of riding in the event since the question of riding speed depends on that. Consider the differences among the following goals: 'have a safe, comfortable ride, enjoy the weather and scenery, and get some exercise', 'ride together with my buddies X, Y and Z', 'finish and get off the bike as soon as possible'. Clearly these lead to different approaches to riding speed. With the goal established, the answer to the original questions is: whatever achieves the goal for the individual. What that means in practice depends on the individual's talent, fitness, equipment, etc. Experience can
help a rider put a number on it. A typical brevet series offers rides of increasing length through the riding season to allow one to gain this experience.
Q: How to train?
As with the previous question, it's largely up to the individual and depends on his or her goals. But it's clear that being well trained allows one to ride in greater comfort. For long distance cycling, endurance is the primary training focus followed by climbing ability. More training is good but overtraining is not. With those points in mind one can turn to the
advice of the professionals:
- The Complete Book of Long-Distance Cycling: Build the Strength, Skills, and Confidence to Ride as Far as You Want by Edmund R. Burke and Ed Pavelka
- The CTS Collection: Training Tips for Cyclists and Triathletes by Chris Carmichael, Lance Armstrong and Jim Rutberg
- The Cyclist's Training Bible (Paperback) by Joe Friel
Many long distance cyclists have noticed that the adaptations of long-distance training and brevet riding accumulate year-on-year. This is especially encouraging because it seems to apply even into later life. To get the most out of this one should keep doing long distance rides after the brevet season closes through the fall and early winter and maintain some kind of a reasonable fitness program over the winter.
Q: What are common reasons for DNFing (Not finishing)?
Digestion and physical ailments are the most frequent causes of not finishing. Experienced riders learn what food works for them and know the early warning signs of problems. Physical ailments can often be minimized by fixing anything that is uncomfortable as soon as possible. Minor annoyances can become ride-ending problems within a hundred miles.
Mechanical problems account for a smaller number of DNFs. Use quality parts and check the bike before the ride.
I want to abandon the ride. What should I do?
If you can't continue, you MUST CALL the ride leader and tell them you are abandoning. Contact info is listed on the cue sheet distributed at the start of the ride. Then call a friend or a cab to pick you up.
Tip: Try to make it to the next control and rest for a few minutes before deciding to DNF. Sometimes a 15 minute break and some food can improve one's sprits.
What are Bag Drops?
On some Brevets riders can bring a SMALL bag of supplies (cloths, food, batteries, etc) and the ride organizers bring this bag to a specified control so riders can retrieve or leave items. Bag drop locations will be listed on ride webpage and on the cue sheet. Note: fast riders might arrive at the finish before their bags make it back. Not all events have bag drops.
On the 600k riders are encouraged to leave a sleeping bag and toiletries in their drop bag if they plan to stay at the overnight control.
How can I navigate from a cue sheet at night?
A helmet mounted light can be shone on the cue sheet and on road signage. Cheap LED helmet lights can be purchased form hardware and outdoor stores. Or you can use Bruce Ingle's trick and solder an LED to a used battery and strap that to your helmet.
Note: Be careful with helmet lights -- it's inconsiderate to point your light in other rider's eyes.
Can I leave the route or stop outside a control?
Sure. You're welcome to leave the route so long as you return the same location before resuming the ride. Some riders find a good cup of coffee at a nearby cafe well worth a few extra miles. However, bypassing any part of the route (intentionally or not) is grounds for disqualification.
What is a control?
Controls are mandatory stops placed at the edges of the route to ensure riders keep a steady pace and do not shortcut portions of the course. Controls are typically found every 40-75 miles. At the control you'll need to get your Brevet card signed by a brevet volunteer. In the event that a control is unstaffed, you'll need to get your card signed by a local merchant.
All controls along the Boston Brevet Series rides are staffed and have water & light snacks.
What's at the Control? Got at Control Tips?
You want to get through the control as quickly as possible. 30 minutes on a bike might seem like a long time but 30 minutes at a control can go by in a heartbeat and this time adds up!
Get you Brevet card signed ASAP once you arrive at the control. Forget this and you DNF the ride. Then fill your bottles, flip your cue sheet, and otherwise get your bike ready. Then it's time to eat. Most controls will have PB&J fixings, potato chips, cookies, and fruit. On longer rides the controls might also have energy drink mix, summer sausage (600k), deli meats (300k), or baked beans (400k). Those will special dietary needs will want to bring their own food.
How do I read the Cue-sheet?
To read the cue-sheet:
The first column shows the distance until the cue listed on the same line.
The second column shows the total distance to that cue from the previous checkpoint.
If a cue is not indented then it indicates a turn. Don't miss these.
If a cue is indented, then it is only a mile marker and not a turn. These let you know that you're still on course. A few people find these distracting and create cue sheets with turns only.
All distances are in miles. Tip: The cue sheet only helps if you can read it. Put it in a ziptop bag and attach it to the bars. The cue sheet will also tell you the opening and closing times of controls and lists the emergency contact info for the ride leaders.
Should I carry maps?
Some riders like to carry state maps or the Rubel bike maps. Not all roads will be on state maps and the rubel maps won't help outside of MA. If you're prone to getting lost you might want to carry a GPS with loaded maps. Even if you don't preprogram the route, GPSs can be preferable to paper maps. (Particularly at night when it's raining.)
Should I use a GPS?
GPSs are allowed and some riders find them helpful. However, they are no substitute for the cue sheet. Note: GPS files are NOT reviewed by the ride leaders for accuracy. We are not responsible if you go off-route while following a GPS.
The Cue sheet provided at the start of the ride is the only listing of the official route. Deviate from the cue sheet and you risk being disqualified. If using a GPS, double-check all turns with the cue sheet before turning.
What are the lighting & safety requirements?
The minimum lighting and reflectors required to meet RUSA's Rules for Riders and state laws for Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont (the states we may ride through at night) are:
- A white headlamp, firmly attached to the bike, visible from at least 500 feet to the front. High power LED lights are acceptable;
- A rear steady (non-flashing) taillamp, firmly attached to the bike, visible from at least 600 feet to the rear;
- In New Hampshire and Vermont on the 600k, a red rear reflector or red taillamp reflector attached to the bike and visible from at least 300 feet to the rear;
- In New York on the 600k, side lighting attached to the bike, visible from at least 200 feet to the side (forward or rear lights which emit light to the side are permissible);
- reflective ankle bands, visible from at least 600 feet front and rear;
- a reflective vest, sash, Sam Browne belt, or some other device that clearly places reflective material on the front and back of the rider.
Riders will not be allowed to continue the ride with inadequate or defective lighting -- it is recommended that backup lights be carried.
Note: The orientation of your lights is import. Please ensure that taillights are pointing at the road and not up in other rider's eyes. Headlights should be mounted to the frame and not to rider's helmets.
Pamela Blalock has a helpful page with lighting tips.
This page last updated on December 28th, 2009 by Jake Kassen.
Copyright 2009, New England Randonneurs