How do you pronounce brevet?
bruh vay. Literally, "certificate", "patent", or "diploma" in French. In randonneuring, it means two things: certification of having successfully done a randonné, indicated by a small numbered sticker placed on a completed brevet card, as well as, by extension the long-distance event itself.
What are the distances in miles?
- 200km: approximately 124 miles
- 300km: approximately 186 miles
- 400km: approximately 248 miles
- 600km: approximately 373 miles
- 1000km: approximately 621 miles
- 1200km: approximately 746 miles
How do I convert from kilometers to miles?
A kilometer is approximately 6/10 of a mile - a little more than half. A quick conversion method is to add 1/2 the distance plus 1/10 the distance, e.g. to convert 100km add 100/2 + 100/10 = 60 miles.
I've never ridden with GLR. Will I be welcome?
Yes, all riders are welcome at these events.
What is the GLR Brevet Series, GLR, ACP, and RM?GLR Brevet Series: A brevet series is a collection of four rides in the following distances: 200k, 300k, 400k, 600k. Riders completing all four riders are considered 'Super Randonneurs' and are eligible for entry into longer events.
GLR: Great Lakes Randonneurs. We organize the Great Lakes Brevet Series and other endurance cycling events in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.
ACP: Audux Club Parisian. The worldwide body sanctioning brevets and Fleches. ACP hosts the Paris-Brest-Paris grand randonne every four years. PBP and other international events require ACP certified results for qualification. The GLR 200k, 300k, 400k, and 600k brevets are certified by ACP.
RM: Randonneurs Mondiaux. The international organization which sanctions 1200k+ events and establishes rules for the sport.
Why should I join and/or volunteer for GLR?
Membership is always optional, but membership costs only $5 per year and allows you access to extra features of this website and provides extra resources for us to provide snacks and other amenities.
Great Lakes Randonneurs is also a volunteer organization and depends on assistance from its riders to make events happen. If you enjoy the rides then please consider joining and volunteering for a ride or two. Volunteering is a great way for non-riders to become involved with the event. Volunteers for day-of-event duties can pre-ride the course and receive credit for the distance.
How many people are in GLR?
What is PBP? What about 1200ks closer to home?
PBP is Paris-Brest-Paris, the premiere international 1200k. PBP is held every four years. This ride has a long history going back more than 100 years. The Great Lakes brevet series was originally created to train and qualify riders for PBP.
There are a number of domestic 1200k rides of the same challenge as PBP. These are hosted by clubs around the country and vary from flat to mountainous and everything in between. Most are held either every 2 years or every 4 years. One of the biggest differences between domestic 1200k events and events such as PBP are the number of riders: PBP has upwards of 5,000 riders while a very large domestic 1200k may have slightly more than 100.
Refer to the RUSA site for the list of domestic and other 1200k rides.
Where do I go for more questions?
This site is an excellent first step. Also feel free to use our Contacts section under Our Club to contact the RBA.
Where do rides start?
Unless noted, rides start from the parking lot of the Super 8 Motel, 518 Borg Road, Delavan, WI. Riders not staying at the hotel have been asked to park in the shopping center lots across the street on the east side of Borg Rd. to relieve congestion.
I don't want to drive, how can I get to the start?
From Chicago, METRA offers Bikes on Trains service to Harvard IL on the UP-NW line. A maximum of 20 bikes can usually be accommodated on friday trains leaving Chicago before 3:00 P.M. and after 7:00 P.M. Harvard is 18 miles from Delavan via this route.
Where can I stay the night before and during the brevet?
Our host motel, the Super 8, 518 Borg Road, Delavan, WI. (262) 728-1700, offers a discount to GLR members that cite the club when making advanced reservations. Nearby lodging includes: Comfort Suites, 313 Bauer Parkway, Delavan, WI. (262) 740-1000 (0.25 miles from start) Lake Lawn Resort, 2400 E Geneva St, Delavan, WI. (800) 338-5253 (1.5 miles from start) Lakeview Motel, 3532 Wisconsin 50, Delavan, WI. (262) 728-4487 (2.5 miles from start) Delavan Lake Resort, 1505 South Shore Dr, Delavan, WI. (262) 728-2200 (3 miles from start).
Are there places to eat near the start?
Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Perkins Restaurant are within walking distance of the start on the east side of town. Other restaurants are about a mile away in downtown Delavan. We recommend verifying their hours of operation before planning late night or early morning meals.
What can my family do while I am riding?
For non-riders there are a number of historic and family attractions such as swimming, fishing, and boating at Delavan Lake Community Park (2.5 miles). Lake Geneva, a popular resort town, is nearby. Madison is also only an hour away and has many attractions. The Wisconsin Dells are about 2 hours away.
Who can participate?
Rides are open to the public and do not require membership in any organization. You will be required to sign a liability release and pay the event fee before starting. There is no minimum age however those under 18 will require a parent or guardian to co-sign a release.
Do you need to qualify for events?
No qualification is needed for any of our rides, nor do you have to ride the shorter events before attempting the longer ones. That said, each ride is good training for the next so you're encouraged to complete the series in order.
How do I register for an event?
To pre-register, use this site by clicking on a ride from the Upcoming Rides sidebar or from the list of current rides. You do not need to be a member to register but we encourage you to do so. You may register using this site up until the start of the ride using your phone, a tablet or any PC. All transactions are secure.
Can I get a refund if I can't make it?
We do not offer refunds for any reason except in the rare case of a ride cancellation.
It's raining hard. Is the ride canceled?
No. Rides are not canceled due to weather conditions except in extreme cases, e.g. tornado warnings or severe flooding. In the rare case that a ride is canceled a notice will be posted on the home page and pre-registered riders will be contacted.
I will not arrive until after the scheduled start time, can I still register?
Ride-day registration does not close until one hour after the scheduled start time, by which all riders are expected to be en route. Note that the finishing time limit is based on the scheduled start time, not your start time.
Are helmets required?
Yes, a helmet must be worn while on the bike.
Can I ride any kind of bike?
Yes, any human powered vehicle is allowed. We've had riders complete the series on fixed gears, tandems, recumbents, and 3-speeds.
Can I use aero bars?
Yes, however for safety reasons we ask that you refrain from using them in a paceline.
What is a control?
Controls are verification stops to ensure riders keep a steady pace and do not shortcut portions of the course. They are typically placed every 30-50 miles. At the control you'll need to get your brevet card signed.
What are the control time limits?
Control time limits are based on a formula established by Randonneurs Mondiaux. The opening time calculation is based on an average speed of approximately 22 miles/hr (35 kph) and the closing time calculation is based on an average speed of approximately 10 miles/hr (15 kph).
I missed the control cutoff time, what should I do?
If you were delayed temporarily and will be able to regain lost time the cutoff time requirement may be waived by contacting the ride organizer and soliciting their consent.
Can I have a personal support crew?
Personal support is only allowed at controls. Follow support is prohibited.
What are the time limits?
The time limits are:
- 200k: 13.5 hours or less (14.8 km/hr average)
- 300k: 20 hours or less (15 km/hr average)
- 400k: 27 hours or less (14.8 km/hr average)
- 600k: 40 hours or less (15 km/hr average)
What do I get if I finish?
RUSA members can purchase a medal from the RUSA store.
How do I view my results?
The results will be forwarded to RUSA in two to three weeks. RUSA members can view their results in the member's results database. Members of GLR will have a link to their RUSA results under "My User Information and Results". Brevet cards will be mailed to all participants in the fall.
Do I need to ride the events in order?
No. You can complete the rides in any order and skip events.
If you are going for an SR (Super Randonneur) award you'll need to complete a 200k, 300k, 400k, and 600k in one season. You can substitute a longer distance for a shorter one if desired, e.g. two 400k events instead of a 300k and a 400k. You can also mix and match rides from other brevet series if you like.
How are brevets different from a organized centuries or charity rides?
Unlike centuries and charity rides, brevets are largely unsupported - there are no sag wagons or rest stops with cheerful volunteers stocking tables of snacks. The character of a brevet is more like a club ride with small groups of riders making their way from convenience store to convenience store.
Can you describe a brevet?
The rides begin with a mass start at the scheduled time and are usually preceeded by announcements from the organizer. They often begin at a modest pace as the group winds its way through town. Not long afterwards riders progress at their own pace and smaller groups are formed. These ad hoc groups usually dissolve and reform at controls and throughout the ride as riders experience good and bad stretches. If you've ridden with a bike club you're likely to find that brevets have a similar character.
I don't know if I can ride the distance. Should I start?
Before considering an event keep in mind that riders are expected to be self-sufficient. That said, most cyclists who can comfortably ride a century in less than 10 hours can complete a 200k.
The only way you can find out if you can finish within the time limit is to try. Note that randonneurs:
- Have a wide range of body types;
- Have a wide range of ages; and
- Are not necessarily active in conventional sports.
- Everyone who finishes within the time limit succeeds!
Is this a race?
These events are not races - you only compete against yourself and the time limit, not other riders. Some people try to complete the ride as quickly as possible whereas others build up enough time to stop for coffee and local cuisine. Friendly camaraderie, not competition, is the hallmark of randonneuring.
How fast does everyone ride?
Most riders maintain an average pace between 12 and 18 miles/hr. The speed is usually a little faster until the first control.
How fast should I ride?
At an intensity that will enable you to complete the event in a manner consistent with your goals and conditioning. In general, it's better to moderate your pace in the early part of the ride so that it can be maintained in the second half.
How many riders are there?
The first 200k of the series has had approximately 70 riders with about 40 of them going on to ride the 300k two weeks later. The following 400k can have 25 riders with 15 of them going on to the 600k. Other brevets average about 5 - 15 riders per distance.
What are road conditions like?
The roads we use are generally good however you should be prepared for the full range of surfaces, from newly resurfaced to under construction. We do not ride off-road but occasionally encounter short unpaved sections with gravel or dirt surfaces. Rides may have short sections that require portage.
Do you provide food?
We usually have a small selection of fruit and snack bars at the pre-ride check in.
Are there opportunities to purchase food and water along the route?
Yes. Most controls are located at convenience stores and routes routinely pass near optional food stops such as restaurants and grocery stores. Food service options can be more limited at night so pre-planning is recommended.
Is there cell phone coverage on the route?
For the most part, yes. Depending on your provider coverage can be spotty in rural south-western Wisconsin west of Hwy. 104 however. What should you do to try and regain service in an underserved area? The best options are to move to higher ground to establish line-of-sight to the closest tower, try alternate providers, or move to a more heavily populated area. Note: don't forget to charge your phone before the ride.
What are the lighting & safety requirements?
At any time between sunset and sunrise, each cycle must have two securely mounted non-blinking lights: a front light with clear lens and a rear light with red lens. Each light must be sufficiently bright to be seen by traffic approaching from the front or rear from a distance of at least 500' in accordance with applicable state law. Riders must wear a reflective vest, sash, Sam Browne belt, or some other device that clearly places reflective material on the front and back of the rider and a reflective ankle band around each ankle. Other reflective devices on clothing, shoes, helmets, and cycles are encouraged for increased safety.
Whenever cutoff times extend past sunset riders should carry lights and reflective gear If there is any possibility, e.g. rain, flat tires, wind, etc., that they could be riding at night. Riders without evidence of adequate lights and reflectors will not be permitted to begin the longer brevets and riding without adequate lights and reflectors is cause for disqualification. Backup lights are recommended.
Help! I lost my brevet card.
We feel your pain. A good habit is to establish a single location for your brevet card and check it before leaving each control.
If your card is lost please contact the brevet organizer immediately to report it, in some cases they have been recovered. If you're still in the area, initiate a search of the location where the card was last used.
Record the rest of the ride on your cue sheet. If the card can not be located the RBA may accept this alternate form of certification if it is signed by riding partners and merchants. Awarding credit without a full brevet card is solely at the discretion of the RBA.
What are common reasons for not finishing?
They fall into two categories, those that can be attributed to inadequate preparation and those that are the result of ride-day exceptions.
Underpreparation can manifest itself as:
- gastrointestinal problems;
- physical ailments;
- mechanical problems;
- improper navigation; and
Ride-day exceptions include:
- extreme weather conditions;
- accidents; and
- poor decision-making.
I want to abandon the ride. What should I do?
First, try to make it to the next control and rest for a while before deciding to abandon. Sometimes a short break and some food can improve one's spirits.
If you can't continue you must contact the brevet organizer and tell them you are abandoning. A phone number is listed on the cue sheet distributed at the start of the ride.
Do you offer SAG support?
Not in the traditional sense. No one will be left stranded but it could be some time before a rider is recovered. Riders will be expected to make every effort to get to a control before requesting assistance.
How much should I drink?
A typical baseline is 1 oz. of water per hour per 10 pounds of body weight, i.e. one small water bottle per hour for a 160 lb. rider. This amount varies as a function of weather conditions, rider weight, individual physiology and effort level. Considerably more is needed in warm conditions when sweat rates are elevated.
How much should I eat?
Most riders should attempt a minimum of 0.3 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weigh, i.e. 40-60 grams per hour. This won't meet your energy needs completely but will help sustain performance. It's possible to train your digestive system so don't be discouraged if you're not able to achieve the minimum rate initially.
What form of energy? Solids (real food or energy bars), liquids and gels all work, so it's your choice. If it tastes good, chances are that you'll use it on a more regular basis. Some riders find solids difficult to eat while riding wheras sport drinks containing 6-8% carbohydrate have the advantage of meeting fluid and energy needs at the same time. A standard water bottle of sport drink provides about 37-50 grams and a large bottle about 45-60 grams. It's possible that after 6-8 hours, sports drinks may no longer be appealing, so getting some variety throughout the ride is advisable. Controls are a good place to eat some solid food and satisfy your cravings.
How do I stop cramps?
Although the prevailing electrolyte-depletion hypothesis of cramps is being challenged, anecdotal evidence suggests that electrolyte pre-loading is probably still effective for some, including those that have a history of cramping.
New evidence indicates that crampers tend to be those who set faster time goals and start faster relative to their fitness level. There is some evidence that crampers also have trained more in the week prior to the event, especially the days before, thus leaving their muscles fatigued. This suggests that realistic goal setting and an appropriate taper will help to minimize your risk of cramping from fatigue.
There's also evidence that stronger muscles are more likely to resist fatigue. Chronic cramping may be reduced by a strength training regime that targets cramp-prone muscles.
Stretching is an effective means of treating cramps and may also help reduce the incidence of cramping. Riders predisposed to cramps should develop and practice a routine that targets the affected muscles both before and during a ride.
There's some interesting research that suggests that pickle juice / vinegar / mustard can be effective in relieving cramps. Something in the acidic juice, perhaps even a specific molecule, may be lighting up specialized nervous-system receptors in the throat or stomach, which, in turn, send out nerve signals that somehow disrupt the reflex melee in the muscles.
It's hot. How can I avoid both dehydration and hyponatremia?
The American Medical Athletic Association recommends that you develop your own hydration program using these tips:
You're unique, so don't copy other riders. Some people need less fluid than you, while others will need more. Learn your individual hydration needs. Fluid needs vary widely and slower riders need to be very cautious with their fluid intake while faster riders may need to drink more to replace higher volume sweat losses.
Keep your urine a pale yellow color like lemonade, neither dark like apple juice (dehydration) nor clear like water (overhydration)
Recognize the warning signs of dehydration like feeling faint or light headed with standing, rapid heart rate, sunken eyes, dry mouth, feeling very thirsty, or dull headache. Try some fluids to see if you improve.
Recognize the warning signs of hyponatremia like water sloshing in your stomach, severe and worsening headache, or feeling puffy or bloated in the hands and feet, nausea, upset stomach, or wheezy breathing. Stop drinking until you begin to urinate and the symptoms resolve.
If you are not feeling well during or after the ride and simple changes do not make you feel better, seek medical attention.
How do I prevent saddle sores?
Saddle sores are caused by friction from the skin under the ischial tuberosities (a.k.a. "sit bones") rubbing against your shorts. The best way to prevent them is to decrease or eliminate abrasion. Here are some suggestions:
- Adjust your saddle height to minimize rocking. If your saddle is too high your sit bones will rock over the saddle as you pedal, causing friction.
- Reduce saddle friction. Your saddle should be wide enough to support the sit bones; smooth, so it doesn't cause friction; and it shouldn't be filled with shiftable gel, which can move around, increasing friction.
- Make sure you're as clean as possible before a ride to help prevent organisms from growing in the first place.
- Lubricate your skin and/or chamois with chamois creme. Cover under your sit bones and any place that might rub or has been a problem in the past. Note: petroleum jelley can be used however it can clog pores and be hard to get out of clothing.
- Wear seamless-chamois cycling shorts. Seams in cycling short chamois tend to be flat and most cause no problem, but if you find yourself irritated by them, get shorts with a seamless chamois.
For long-distance rides, cyclists might consider changing shorts at various points to help cut down on possible infections and chaffing. The longer you're on the bike, the more you will need to apply chamois crème. Reapply when you stop to help decrease friction and keep a barrier from the potential salt crystals. Most crèmes work pretty well, but try a few and see what works best for you.
Too late. How do I treat saddle sores?
Begin treatment with Bag Balm or other soothing cream (there are many). This old fashion medication, designed for a milk cow's sore and irritated teats is available at many pharmacies and animal supply stores. Applying Bag Balm to irritated areas immediately after showering will usually result in recovery overnight. This will help heal the superficial wound and prevent its worsening while you're off the bike.
Prescription strength topical steroid ointments such as Temovate can also be used. There are side effects and dangers with frequent usage, and it costs ten to forty times as much as Bag Balm. Antibiotic ointments, e.g. Polysporin, can be used to help fight infection.
Whether you use Bag Balm or prescription steroid ointments, apply it in the evening and cover it with Vaseline the following morning.
Help! My feet are burning!
'Hot Foot' or Metatarslgia is caused by the compression and inflammation of nerves and joint tissue in the metarsal heads, which is the area of the foot often directly above the pedal spindle. It is characterized by pain and a sensation of burning as well as numbness.
There are several potential remedies when you're riding. In some instances it's possible to refocus the pressure by altering your pedaling style, e.g. dropping your heel or pushing forward from the 11 o'clock position. Another option is to create additional space for your foot, this can be done by: loosening shoe straps across the forefoot, removing the insole, removing socks, and moving the cleat rearward.
Preventative measures include:
Re-focusing pressure. Many riders solve hot foot by moving their cleats to the rear by as much as 8 mm. Endurance riders may go back as far as the cleat slots allow. They might even drill new rearward holes. Note: after using this remedy, lower your saddle by about half the amount the cleats were moved.
Adding metatarsal buttons. These foam domes are placed on insoles (or are built into them) just behind the ball of the foot. They spread the metatarsal bones so the nerves running between them aren't pinched by pressure or swelling. You can find these products in the foot-care section of drug stores.
Switching to larger pedals, for the reason mentioned above.
Wearing shoes with a wider and higher toe box.
My knee hurts, what should I do?
Knee pain is generally the result of an overuse injury. Where and when does it hurt?
- Pain below and under the patella (kneecap) that occurs near the top of the pedal stroke is usually the result of pushing big gears or the saddle being too low or too far forward, e.g. patellar tendonitis caused by increased tension.
- Posterior discomfort is usually the result of over-extension near the bottom of the pedal stroke and can be relieved by lowering the saddle.
Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can often provide relief from acute discomfort.
How do you change a flat tire?
Learn by practising in a comfortable setting to insure that you are familiar with the procedure and your tools. Here are some tips: carry at least one new spare tube that has been pre-talced, shift to the smallest cog before removing the rear wheel, inflate the new tube slightly before installing, seat the tire bead near the valve last, and brace your wheel and pump against a solid object to inflate.
It's important to make every effort to identify and resolve the cause of the flat during repair. Common types include:
- Tread puncture: the most common puncture, especially on a worn rear tire, occurs when debris is pushed through the tread. In most cases the cause can be identified by inspecting the tire tread and/or casing for foriegn objects.
- Pinch flat, a.k.a. snake bite: is usually identifiable by two adjacent holes on the inner tube circumference. These usually occur when the tube is pinched by the tire casing due to underinflation or object impact.
- Rim strip failure: single punctures along the tube's inner circumerence are usually the result of a failed rim strip. Burrs and other sharp edges inside the rim can easily puncture tubes and sometimes spoke ends can actually poke through the tape.
- Valve failure: failed valves can produce slow leaks due to seal leakage or sudden deflation due to shearing or tube separation. Note: the lock nut on presta valves should be tightened to insure that the valve remains closed.
- Cut: results in immediate deflation and usually requires a tire boot to partially restore the integrity of the casing. Boots can be purchased or made of any flexible but non-elastic material.
Note: there are two last-resort options to create a marginally rideable wheel if you've exhausted your supply of tubes and patches. They are better-suited to larger tires and are likely to ruin the tire casing. The first is to cut the tube apart at the punctured section and tie the two ends together with a square knot; the second alternative is to remove the tube and stuff the tire with grass. Both options are likely to produce a bumpy ride but are better than riding on the rim.
What are the optimum tire pressures?
Optimum tire pressure is a function of at least a half-dozen variables and there isn't a single source that addresses them all. The Michelin Tire Pressure chart recommends pressures as a function of rider weight and tire width. This data provides a useful starting point for rear tire pressure. Frank Berto's research suggests that optimum front tire pressure is lower by 10 lb. - 15 lb. since the front wheel load is typically less than the rear.
Other variables that effect optimum tire pressure are usually only discussed in generalities, e.g. wet or poor road surfaces, ride duration, etc. On wet roads it's common to reduce tire pressure by 5 lb. - 10 lb. to increase traction. The Vittoria pressure calculator takes road conditions and tire construction into account but overlooks width.
How can I check the condition of my chain?
It's always a good idea to check the condition of your chain at the beginning of the cycling season. Chain wear, not stretch, causes the chain to elongate which increases wear on other drivetrain components.
From SheldonBrown.com: the standard way to assess chain wear is to measure a one-foot length, placing an inch mark of a ruler at the side of a rivet, then looking at the rivet 12 full links away. On an unworn chain this rivet will line up exactly with an inch mark, with a worn chain the rivet will be past the inch mark. Note: this can be done with the chain on or off the bike however for accurate measurement the chain should be under some tension.
Chain length is a direct measurement of chain wear and an indirect measurement of the wear to the sprockets as follows:
- If the rivet is less than 1/16" past the mark, all is well;
- If the rivet is 1/16" past the mark, you should replace the chain, but the sprockets are probably undamaged;
- If the rivet is 1/8" past the mark you have left it too long and the sprockets (at least the favorite ones) will be too badly worn. If you replace a chain at the 1/8" point without replacing the sprockets it may run OK and not skip, but the worn sprockets will cause the new chain to wear until it catches up with the wear state of the sprockets; and
- If the rivet is past the 1/8" mark, a new chain will almost certainly skip on the worn sprockets, especially the smaller ones.
- If you replace your chain, don't toss it. All four Chicagoland REI stores (Lincoln Park, Oakbrook Terrace, Northbrook and Schaumburg) accept chains and inner tubes for recycling.
I just dropped my chain, what should I do?
We feel your pain. There aren't too many things more frustrating than dropping your chain - especially when going up hill. Fortunately, most of the time you won't have to dismount to affect a recovery. If the chain has dropped to the inside and is not jammed, recovery can be attempted by shifting to big ring and soft pedaling until it catches. If it doesn't catch after a few revolutions, try leaning the bike to the right as you pedal. Dropping the chain on the outside of the big ring is less common but the recovery procedure is similar, shift to the small front chainring and soft pedal.
Note: frequent chain drops are usually an indication of improper drivetrain setup or adjustment and should be referred to a mechanic. A lightweight grocery store produce bag can protect your hand if it becomes necessary to manually remount the chain.