Under RBA Alan's (RUSA #306) leadership, probably instigated by MikeD (RUSA #1609), but I don't actually know, I'm just guessing, the Raleigh Region has been doing annual RUSA Anniversary Brevets + Picnics since RUSA's 10th birthday in 2008. In PBP years, the Anniversary rides have been pushed back into September or October, and they've been RUSA brevets instead of ACP/BRM brevets, but any way one cuts it, 2018 was the eleventh consecutive year that Alan has put on a RUSA Anniversary ride + picnic.
200 Check-in and Start.
Alan's second most favorite thing about being the RBA, surrounding the brevet, is checking people in before the brevet / seeing everyone before the ride. [His most favorite thing is seeing each rider at the finish.] Alan's wife Dorothy always serves as his most able assistant during the check-in (and gear check) process -- well, Dorothy always assists (or maybe in some moments Alan is the assistant) unless she has fallen ill -- I can recall a time or two that Dorothy was not present for the check-in process, reportedly due to nasty head colds.
Lest anyone be concerned that there might be times when additional assistance is needed during check-in, there have always been riders willing to step-up to fill the need. The list of likely suspects to step-up when I started randonneuring  included the aforementioned MikeD, Jerry (#3525), Branson (#3752), and at the risk of hurting feelings of others that might like to have a mention, I'll stop there as regards the check-in process. These days, there are others that are also on the list of likely step-uppers. Alan has been the Raleigh RBA since about 1995 -- three years before RUSA was founded [and four years before any rides were conducted under the auspices of RUSA]. There are quite a few of us that will do whatever Alan needs help with, whether it be planned well ahead of time or is something that suddenly arises.
I wasn't really needed for the check-in process for this ride, but having nothing else I needed to do, having completed the worker's pre-ride, and I think that seeing and chatting with people before the start of the ride is a fun and useful thing, I arrived at the start location approximately 30 minutes before the scheduled start. About the first thing I heard was that MikeD had shown up and signed in, and then discovered that he had left his helmet at home -- and he headed back home only a few minutes before I had arrive to collect his helmet. I knew that it was likely a 20-minute drive each way to Mike's house from the start, so it seemed very likely that Mike and the couple people that had committed or decided to ride with him would be starting a bit late.
As hinted above, chatting before the ride start is a good time to renew contact with friends -- and if you're at the back of the pack, it may be the ONLY time to re-connect with some. I'm reasonably sure that I spoke or at least shared greetings with most of those present, but a couple contacts stand out:
- My recollection is that I was near Alan's registration table when new RUSA members Tommy and Greg checked in. Somehow / somewhere -- almost certainly on the NC-rando-Facebook-group -- I had seen that these two had signed up for the brevet and had joined RUSA, but as of a day or two before the ride, they did not yet know their RUSA numbers. However, by the time of registration, they did know: 12772 and 12796. [So Greg got the prize for having the highest RUSA # on the day. The prize? you ask. He got picnic food with the rest of us -- well, sorta'.]
- As I was wandering around chatting with people, perhaps being a nuisance (?), someone I did not recognize greeted me enthusiastically. Uh-oh, I didn't recognize them. I admitted I didn't recognize them. They re-introduced themselves. I commented that I was quite surprised that he would recognize me since I could only recall meeting him once before -- on the road at about the 85 or 90-mile mark of an "Alan 200 brevet" -- the 2010 picnic brevet. No, said the other, "we've met several times including at check-in when you hosted those brevets in Lumberton" -- for Highpoint Region RBA Tony - that would have been 2015. "Really," said I, "I don't recall that at all." [Later, I looked up the results for those brevets -- yep, Doug, RUSA #876, did two of those brevets, so he certainly had to check-in with me and sign waivers in front of me.] I asked and Doug answered my question as to how many times he had finished PBP -- see below for the answer.
A few minutes before start time, riders gathered in a motley shaped elliptical circle in front of the check-in table, and Alan joined the circle to make a couple announcements about the course and to remind everyone that the finish was not in the usual SR finish location, but was at the shelter in the city park. Then, after confirming the time on his watch, Alan let the riders go.
But no one moved.
Several riders had apparently committed themselves to riding with aforementioned MikeD, but Mike had not yet returned to start location. Everyone else, apparently without any verbal discussion, decided to wait for Mike. Too bad no one thought to take a photo.
A quiet settled over the group of riders, volunteers, and at least one spouse and child.
I pretend to be a patient person, but I'm not.
Looking around the oblong circle, my eyes settled on Branson who was at 9 o'clock to my 12.
"Branson," said I, "I think this would be a good time to steal an idea from Mike, and do something that we did a few years ago at a year-end party, when Mike got everyone in attendance to introduce themselves. That was a good idea and a good time, don't you agree?"
So, starting with me, and working to my left, we each introduced ourselves and maybe mentioned something regarding our rando careers.
I do not recall where most of the people were standing relative to me (or, if you will, the "clock," and I couldn't have told you three minutes after we completed the introductions around the circle) but a few items stand out in my memory.
Somewhere around 3 o'clock stood my Irregulars friend Paul "Mallet" S. He introduced himself, noting that he was not a RUSA member. I added that he had done this 200k a couple times and also asked what his longest ride ever was. I can't recall if we settled on a ride he did from Raleigh thru the Uwharries to Charlotte, or a ride from Raleigh to the beach, party at night, and ride back the next day.
Directly opposite me, at 6 o'clock, slightly hidden behind someone (whom I do not recall) were newbies Tommy and Greg. I called out Tommy (and Greg) to confirm that they were new RUSA members and why they had joined RUSA and were doing this ride -- the answer centered around a ride in France in late summer 2019.
At about eight-thirty on the oblong circle clock, was Doug. I recall Doug volunteered that he had been coming to these events for 20 years. In rejoinder (and perhaps thinking the newbies might like to know whom might have some advice for them), I asked, "and how many times have you completed PBP?"
Doug's reply came easily. "Eight." I recall hearing a bit of a murmur from the assembly.
Another rider or two along the way and then it was Alan's turn. Calling out to him, "and when did you do your first brevet?"
"1983." Another hushed murmur.
The 11 o'clock positions were filled by Luke and his sister Misha.
I don't recall what they might have said.
I finished the circle with something akin to "well, now everyone knows everyone else, and that should make striking up conversations on the road easier." [What nonsense.]
Mike's timing, returning after retrieving his helmet from his home, was good.
My recollection is that he returned to the fold just after we completed the introductions all around.
Mike thanked everyone for waiting while expressing that it hadn't been necessary.
Everyone set off together approximately 15 minutes after the official start time.
Like a good RBA should, Alan entered the times based on the official start time.
200-km brevet riders (includes the two pre-riders (and it was a hotter day when we rode!)):
|NC: Raleigh ACPB 200 km 2018/08/18 finishers=16 DNF=0|
North Carolina Bicycle Club / 933045
|647002||5843||B, Bob||Randonneurs USA / 933095||12:11|
|647003||12772||B, Tommy||Randonneurs USA / 933095||11:07|
|647004||1015||B, Chet||Randonneurs USA / 933095||09:14|
|647005||1609||D, Michael||North Carolina Bicycle Club / 933045||09:14|
|647006||11611||G, Dave||Randonneurs USA / 933095||09:14|
|647007||10597||G, Christopher||Randonneurs USA / 933095||09:14|
|647008||7069||H, Luke||Asheville International Randonneurs / 933011||09:14|
|647009||8502||H, Misha||Randonneurs USA / 951095||09:14|
|647010||3752||K, Branson||Carolina Tarwheels / 933047||09:14|
|647011||876||K, Doug||Randonneurs USA / 933095||10:05|
|647012||10866||L, Jon||Carolina Tarwheels / 933047||07:36|
|647014||6218||S, Martin||Randonneurs USA / 933095||12:11|
|647015||5350||S, Geof||Randonneurs USA / 933095||10:12|
|647016||12796||T, Gregory||Randonneurs USA / 933095||11:07|
|647017||8218||W, Bradley||North Carolina Bicycle Club / 933045||10:19|
|1 nonmember(s) also finished this event[, to wit, "Mallet," 7h36]|
Hmmn, this is WAY too long!
Part 3 to come?