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Want to ride 200km on Sept. 12?

Here's a ride that I'll be skipping this time, but some of you might be interested in it. San Francisco Randonneurs are holding a 200km ride from Novato to Guerneville. The route has about 5,700 feet of climbing, so it's moderately challenging (it includes the Cheese Factory hill but not the Marshall Wall).

If you've never tried randonneuring before, this would be an excellent introduction if you're currently in shape for such distance. The riding style is very similar to what we do on ALC, except that most brevets (randonneuring rides) are self-supporting, with no organized rest stops and usually no SAG vehicles. You collect proof of passage through controles (checkpoints) along the way, often by buying something at a store and collecting the receipt. At the end of the ride, you turn in your card, and some weeks (or months) later, you receive the card back in the mail along with a certification that you actually completed the route. If you're a member of Randonneurs USA (which I am), then you can usually spend a few dollars to get an official medal to certify that you've gone the distance.

The ride has a 13.5-hour time limit, which is fairly generous but still requires you to make steady progress. It's roughly comparable to an ALC Cat-2 pace. Although finishing times are recorded, it's very much a ride and not a race (just like ALC) -- some folks aim for personal bests, but others plan their days to use most or all of the allotted time.

And because there is minimal support during the ride, registration is ridiculously cheap -- only $10 for a 200km ride.

I've taken part in one brevet -- the Chualar 200k offered by Santa Cruz Randonneurs in 2008 -- and I really enjoyed the day. If you're looking for the "next step" after ALC, this might be up your alley.

Learn more about the ride at the San Francisco Randonneurs website.

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