The Flèches-USA are 24-hour randonnées held in various regions of the United States during the spring. The traditional event date is Easter weekend, but it may be held from one week before Easter until seven weeks after.These rides are patterned after the Flèche Vélocio held by the Audax Club Parisien (ACP) in France
The Flèches-USA are regional events whereby teams of cyclists all head to a common destination from various starting points.
Each team is limited to a maximum of five members and a minimum of three members. Each tandem or other multiple-rider vehicle counds as a single member. Members of the same team may assist one another. However, teams are expressly forbidden to aid each other, even teams from the same club. The one exception to this is in the event of a medical emergency. During the event, riders may not draft anyone except their flèche teammates.
Each team is to design its own route that is at least 360 KM in length. The traditional format for a flèche is point-to-point, like an archer’s arrow (flèche in French) flying toward its target. Though not a classic flèche route, a large circuit or loop may also be used, such as to make a scenic tour of a region.
A successful Flèches-USA team ride counts as 360 KM in ACP and RUSA Distance Awards, even if a longer distance was covered in the 24 hours.
Fleche also counts towards The Rusa Cup – Riding at least one of each type of RUSA events, accumulating at least 5000 km over a two-year period. I am not crazy about awards, but it is nice to have. It is also inspiring, keeping you fighting towards a goal !
First, I want to thank my teammates for accepting my request to join their team. One of their riders was unable to ride and I filled the spot.
Thank you Captain Jerry Seager, and team members Eric Pilsk, Jose Blanco and Steve Crum.
The plan was to meet at the White House at 6:40 am for a photo before getting to Starbucks at 6:50 am. I got there 5 minutes late due to Police closing streets around Capitol Hill. At least I was there at Starbucks for the start 🙂
We were met there by Mary Gersema and Ed Felker. They stopped to say hi before we departed.
First few miles upon leaving DC were typical for the city – path-holes, construction and lights, plenty of them .. . There was a feeling of relief when we left the city and started descending. I then heard a strange clicking noise. As if something was rubbing against the fender. Before you know it, I heard a loud bang. Flat tire 5 miles into my 240 mile ride! What a great start. My teammates were still unaware, and had to ride back a mile to rescue me. I was using brand new Conti Gatorskins with under 200 miles on them. Wow ! When the tire blew up, it came out and over the rim. I have never seen that before. That explains the rubbing noise.