Dart on March 19, 2011

A DC Randonneurs Dart will be held on March 19, 2011. A Dart is a team event in which each team rides different routes toward a common finish location, like arrows toward a target. The minimum ride distance for a Dart is normally 180 km, which must be covered in a period of 12 hours. However, we have established a minimum distance of 200km for this Dart so that it will qualify toward the R-12 award. The allowed time is also increased to 13.5 hours for the 200km distance.

We have also scheduled a Fleche team event for the weekend of April 15-17. The Fleche is twice as long, with a minimum distance of 360km over 24 hours, and our Dart is scheduled approximately one month before the Fleche so that it can be used as a training and shakedown for that longer event. The Dart is ridden almost entirely in daylight and will be a much more forgiving event on which to discover problems with organization or rider pacing. So it would be a good idea for all Fleche teams to also ride the Dart, but especially any new teams.

The target for the Dart is Appalachian Brewing Company in Gettysburg, PA, where the teams will join together for a post-ride dinner at 7PM. Sunrise will be at 6:26AM and sunset at 6:11PM, so teams wanting to use the full 13.5 hours will include some night riding. For any riders that plan to stay in Gettysburg on Saturday night and ride back to the DC area on Sunday, there are many hotels within a few blocks of the Appalachian Brewing Company.

The Dart has its own set of rules that are somewhat different, and perhaps even more arcane, than those for a standard brevet. Some of them are summarized here:

  • Each team must consist of three to five bicycles. (Note that a tandem counts as a single bicycle, so teams will sometimes contain more than five riders.)
  • The traditional Dart/Fleche route starts at some distant location and then heads for the target, but a loop route is also allowed, as long as the start location is far enough from the finish to be considered as a different postal jurisdiction.
  • As in a standard brevet, the routes must contain control locations chosen so that the shortest bicycle-legal route through the controls is equal to at least the minimum distance of 200 km. However, the Dart has an additional requirement that one of the controls must occur exactly 10 hours after the start and be at least 25 km from the finish. Note that this requirement, as well as the one that states that no rest stops can be longer than 2 hours, ensures that teams take nearly the full 12 hours to complete the ride.

Additional information about the 10-hour control will be provided to all registered team captains, since a full understanding of the rules for this control is essential for achieving a successful finish. And this will be excellent practice for the similar 22-hour control on the fleche.

Our schedule this year is quite short. Each team must have a captain who is responsible for designing the route and submitting it for approval. Captains should carefully read the rules first. The schedule will be:

  • March 4: Applications from captains due to RBA including 1) captain’s application form, 2) start date, time, and location, 3) map of route, 4) cue sheet, and 5) names, addresses, and phone numbers for the controls. The route information can be submitted electronically to cba@dcrand.org in PDF, MS Word, or MS Excel format. Route files from DeLorme Topo, Garmin Mapsource, or MS Streets and Trips will also be appreciated, but not required.
  • March 10: Final rosters, rider applications, and waivers due from team captains to RBA. Deadline for final route approval.
  • March 12: Control cards sent to captains
  • March 19: Dart

The application form is available here. Team captains are responsible for collecting applications and waivers from their team members and getting them submitted on time. The information part of the application is a fillable PDF form that can be emailed to cba@dcrand.org, but the waiver parts must be signed and snail-mailed to the address on the form.

Please contact Bill Beck ( cba@dcrand.org ) with any questions. We also have many experienced fleche captains in the club who would be excellent sources of advice. If you are thinking of forming a team or looking for a team to join, the dcrand listserve is one good way to connect with other riders.

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