2020 Archive

December 24 - End of 2020, on to 2021

The GLR Board met for the last time this year to review the year.  Our consensus and at the heading of the minutes was "Not bad for a plague year!"

In all seriousness, this has been a challenging year for everyone.  The pandemic, violence in the community and economic peril have touched all of us.  But with great adversity also comes the possibility of rising above it and bettering ourselves.

This year, Great Lakes Randonneurs refocused its purpose to be more involved with the community.  We started up relationships with the Bike Lane and The Bike Doctor, ran our first gravel rides, and started a practice of donating a significant portion of our funds to The Night Ministry, supporting the homeless of Chicago.  All totaled, we donated $1495.  That's something all of should be very proud of.

The final statistics for the year were really quite impressive. 

  • Our club went from 42 members to 84 members, doubling in size from 2019.
  • We had 203 riders participating in our rides this year.  That's more than last year (which was a PBP Year).  It reversed a downward trend in ridership that has been going on for 5 years.
  • We unveiled a new logo and club kit.
  • We had 8 Super Randonneurs, who all received special GLR trophies.
  • We unveiled Imperials, do-it-yourself rides from 25-100 miles that we can share with each other.  There were about 40 Imperials ridden this year by our members with one Imperial Dozen Award going to a new member.
  • We held the only 1200k of the year to great success.  It set the standard for safety in the pandemic.  Volunteering for this event was extraordinary - we had over 20 people who volunteered to be onsite for the event!
  • Our pandemic plan was copied by many RUSA clubs and, though it may never be acknowledged, we probably gave RUSA an example and increased confidence for them to re-open in September.

For 2021, we have a large slate of events including a 4th of July weekend in Green Bay with a new 600k and a 1000k.  We are also looking at expanding our shorter rides and gravel options.  The pandemic will be ongoing and we will continue to offer all the social distancing options that made us so successful this year as well as being very transparent about our safety and planning.  Your safety was and will continue to be a central focus of our rides.  I'll get the schedule up as we make decisions on routes.  As with previous years, we are looking at new areas and roads to explore.   

We are also looking at options for an expanded Mac & Cheese event in 2022 which will be more open and longer as we expand the kinds of rides we embrace.  A big shout out to long time GLR member Mike Nichols for spearheading this idea.  It's in its infancy so more on this later next year.  This will be along the lines of the Great Divide Ride instead of the traditional 1200k.

Finally, a major thank you to outgoing club secretary Regina Schurman who reorganized our board communications and brought all our procedures up to speed.  While people don't normally think of the secretary as a big job, not having a good one is a major hinderance.  Jennifer Danhaus is taking over some big shoes.  The GLR Board for 2021 will be myself (president), Kingston Smith (treasurer), Jennifer Danhaus (secretary), Mike Welsh, and Paul Danhaus.

There are so many other exciting things going on - too many to list here!  Everyone should feel free to contact me at any time for more details.  Or consider volunteering!  There are lots of options for volunteering even if you don't ride.

This has been the year of the bicycle.  Let's continue it in 2021.  

Happy Holidays!

Michele, Mike, Kingston, Jennifer and Paul


October 7 - Farewell 2020!

The closer in Evanston was an amazing time with 21 riders on the course leaving from 4 different starts at 6 different start times.  Temperence Brewery has converted to all outdoor tailgaiting and that worked really well for us.  In the 20 mph, we even got to enjoy some farewell pizza.

Last weekend was a last gasp 400k from Barrington on a new route, The Barrington Cow.  Going from Barrington to New Glarus and returning via Rockton, this ride was epic in weather (hours of rain in the 30s at night).  6 intrepid riders started and 5 made it to the finish.  Major congrats and kudos to new randonneuse Lena Chon who finished her first brevet.

The new schedule for next year has been set up.  We will have a big combination of rides including a continuation of our new gravel rides out of Oregon.  We will also be reduxing the Dark Chocolate Cow for July 4th weekend and other excellent rides.

Super Randonneur Trophies went out to Mike Nichols and Kingston Smith.  We also have the first completion of an Imperial Dozen for Kevin Maag.  Congratulations and thanks so much for all the new rides and routes.

As a final thank you, we had unbelievable volunteers this year.  There were so many on the Iron Porcupine that we had as many volunteers as riders.  This year's Volunteer of the Year Award was a super tough choice.  But in the end, 2 people stood out: Paul and Jennifer Danhaus were key volunteers contributing to routing for several of our rides.  They also did a major amount of work (as well as the pre-ride) for the Iron Porcupine.  Both will be joining the GLR Board next year as Regina Schurman is swamped with work and taking a break.  So both of them are sharing GLR's highest honor.

Thanks so much to all of you who have made this year an unforgettable (and safe) adventure.  There is still time to get in a few Imperials as well.

August 21 - Best GLR Season EVER!

So much has gone on in last couple of months!  We had a great time on The Reversed Puff 600k, Reversed Cow 400k, the Fox River Ramble 200k and the Chonkey Kong Redux.  All that was warm up for our second 1200k, the Iron Porcupine 1200k in the UP.  Hands down we have had the best weather year ever with barely a raindrop, sunny skies and some fickle winds that nonetheless helped us get thorugh a tough year.

GLR is one of the few clubs to embrace social distancing and our system has worked well letting us continue our rides despite some very adverse conditions.  We've donated over $1000 to the homeless of Chicago and our club has gained some new members!  We met some really excellent new volunteers on the Porcupine in Paul Ehlers and Claudia Barsness and next year, we will be holding rides up near Cornucopia, Wisconsin as well as a new 600k to Gills Rock in Door County and some new adventures in places we have never been.  We will hopefully get back to a better place too but will continue to do what we need to so that we all feel safe, no matter what happens.

The season isn't quite over yet!  We still have Labor Day Weekend and 3 rides.  The My Hip is Bleeding 200k and the new Dancing Jellyfish 600k will be Saturday September 5 and the Sterling 300k will be September 6.  You can mix and match as you like in Oregon, IL.

We hope to see you there for some really awesome routes.  This is the year that we explore new places and find new ways to adapt to changing times.  It's the year of the bicycle!

June 24 - New 400k and 600k rides!  Plus the Chonkey Kong returns in July!

It's hard to believe the longest day of the year has gone by.  First, huge congratulations to everyone who attended the new Chicago Loops Weekend on June 13-14.  The Psychedelic Turtle 300k made a return and once again has proven that it is possible to have a route with almost no cars.   James Johnson, Chuck Judy and visitor Jonathan Boyd all had a run on the Turtle.  We continued our awesome social distancing by having all three riders never see each other.

The new Chicago Loops 400k/600k also went off that weekend with 2 loop for the 400k: a new one to Brodhead, Wisconsin and a second one to Lake Forest.  With about 8,000 ft of climbing, it was an acheivement!  Congrats to Paul Kellog, Kevin Maag, Kingston Smith, Sam Kling and Michele Brougher for the first 400k and to Mike Nichols, and Paul and Jennifer Danhaus who hit the full 600k!

This coming weekend will be the Reverse Cow and Reverse Puff along with the new Fox River Ramble 200k.  Reverse Cow is a lovely full 400k loop from Woodstock north and west to New Glarus and then south to Brodhead returning via Marengo.  For the 600k, we add the new Fox River Ramble to it which heads west to Kingston early than to Elgin and up the Fox River Trail back.  All these routes are new.  Weather is looking up!

Finally, we have a redux of the Chonkey Kong 200k and Chonkey Chimp 100k gravel rides as well as an all road option, the My Hip is Bleeding 200k on July 11.  Fun weekend in Oregon with a lot of options, short and long.  Make reservations at the Paddlewheel Inn.  These are in conjunction with the Bike Lane and we are lucky to have great partners.

GLR will continue to practice the same social distancing we have for all our rides this year.  There will be Zoom meetings to review routes and make introductions, everything is electronic in terms of paperwork and tracking.  We welcome riders to ride in small groups but let's keep to 5 or more starting in the same place or time.  It's important for all of us to have good habits.

The Iron Porcupine 1200k will run in August and many of you are volunteering.  We will potentially have some RUSA rides in September over the Labor Day weekend.  We are looking at all kinds of options so if you have a favorite, let us know.

May 19 - Floods and Wind are not match for GLR, plus the 400/600k are back on for June!

11 riders set out on the new Fox and Rock 300k this past Saturday.  A last minute switch due to safety concerns after the mass opening of Wisconsin, the route had a quick emergency drive by James Johnson but we still had to do quite a bit of detouring around various flooded places on the Fox River Trail.  Nothing we couldn't handle and we all got a glorious treat of a 20mph tailwind for almost 50 miles out to Oregon.  Thanks to Kathy Metzker for providing our sanitized water stop in Afton Center.

The hills in Oregon were a nice change but the last 66 miles against the wind were a killer!  One comment was, "I've never seen a wind so strong that there were waves in the ditch".   We all made it in just before the rain hit!

I'm happy to report GLR is just as strong this year as last year and for that reason, we've decided to put the 400k and 600k back on the schedule.  We have a brand new Chicago Loops 400k and 600k.  There will also be a special GLR Super Randonneur trophy for those completing the 200/300/400 and 600k rides. Design should be coming soon!

May 13 - Chonkey Kong/Chimp finished, Imperials have started, Psychedelic Weekend in Woodstock May 16-17!

18 socially distant riders enjoyed some really awesome tailwinds (after the equally awesome headwinds) this past weekend at our first ever gravel event.  Weather was all blue skies in Oregon, IL.  Big thanks to Brian Lewis Jones for a great set of routes and Max Hertz from the Bike Lane.  We are looking to repeat these two routes perhaps in June.

Imperials are going in earnest.  If you don't want to ride with people at all, this is the club option for you.  Imperials are maintained by the club and you can schedule and ride them yourself at any time.  You need to attend one of our weekly Introduction to Imperials meetings to ride them, but they are free and unlimted to all members.  Create one yourself and share your favorite training ride with others in the club.  We can still share the roads in a different way during this time.

Finally, it's the 300k/200k weekend!  Minor modifications to both routes for construction and safety but the weather so far looks sort of dry for Saturday at least.  Sign up goes on until the Zoom meeting on Friday night.  These rides are socially distanced, you can start anywhere along the route from 5:00 am to 9:00 am.  Have your start place and time ready at the Zoom meeting.

May 5 - Lots of firsts!  Happy Opener, First Imperials, First Gravel Ride coming up!

What a weekend!  Despite much doom and gloom, 23 people made it to the first ever all-electronic EPP, BYOS brevet.  A fabulous route by Kingston Smith, riders started anywhere on the route from 6:00 am until 10:00 am.  Routing was validated by GPS which allowed us to pull out all the stops on a safe and scenic trip through Chicagoland.  I could get used to sleeping late and just running rider support.  Many solo riders and a few pairs but social distancing was on everyone's mind - the hand sanitizer flowed freely.  All the results are in and you can see them here GLR 2020 Opener 200k.  Our new system automates everything from waivers to submission of the GPS Track.  Zoom meetings before and after did a lot to really allow some rider sharing of ideas and thoughts.

Sunday was the first running of GLR's replacement for permanents - the Imperials.  We already have 6 routes submitted by 4 different owners - the first Imperial was an awesome 26 mile route full of hills in Barrington (along with some of the most expensive chateaux this side of the Atlantic).  Thanks to Mike Nichols for submitting a worthwhile route and to Tony Wilkins who rode it along with Michele.  A new training session on Imperials is coming up soon - it will be short and focused on procedures and safety.  

Coming up this weekend is GLR's first ever gravel rides - The Chonkey Kong Country 200k and the Chonkey Chimp Country 100k Masterminded by Brian Lewis Jones, these are challenging rides from Oregon, IL out to the driftless.  If you have never climbed on gravel on a steep but super scenic grade, now is your big chance.  Bananas, water and hand sanitizer a must.  There will be a pre-ride Zoom meeting Friday at 7:30 pm.  The start is any time from 6:00 am to 9:00 am.  We will go over where and when people are starting in the Zoom meeting, as well as a QA with Brian.  This is just a fun ride, no GPS track or time limits - just lots of socially distanced fun.

Finally, in order to ensure that rides are properly supported and that people are spread out, the schedule has changed slightly.  Psychedelic Turtle 300k will be on May 16 (Saturday), Psychedelic Eagle 200k will move to Sunday May 17.  You can do either or both.  Michele will be out again with water and hand sanitizer - rides will continue to be socially distanced, but it doesn't mean you have to be totally alone either.  This will be covered in the pre-ride Zoom Meeting.

All rides are donating $5 per rider to the Night Ministry to aid the homeless of Chicago.

Please read all of our materials on social distancing and ride procedures.  We want to have fun within the current situation, but your safety is very important.  So much of your safety is within your own abilities, be aware and be informed and we can continue to enjoy the roads.

April 25 - GLR New Awards and Riding Programs

Tomorrow night will be the first ever GLR Club meeting via Zoom.  We will be discussing new rules including:

  1. BYOS - Bring Your Own Start.  Riders will have their choice of starting places along the route and when they start the ride
  2. Electronic Proof of Passage.  No more controls or brevet cards.  Submit your GPS track after the ride for proof of passage.  Stop where you like.
  3. Imperials.  A new type of small/solo group ride to make it easier to train, socially distance and participate in the club.

The Zoom meeting will be at 7:00 PM CST on Monday, April 27th.  Details have been sent to all current and former GLR members for the last 2 years.  If you would like to participate email Michele at rba@greatlakesrando.org for the password. 

Topic: GLR Member Spring Meeting
Time: Apr 27, 2020 07:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 526 088 3688

April 4 - GLR Jersey Sale Complete - Thanks to everyone for supporting those who have nowhere to shelter

Our jersey sale is complete.  Our club spirit came through.  The board was able to secure funding to donate 30% of the total sales to the Night Ministry, suggested by GLR volunteer Brian Lewis Jones.  The donation wound up being $750 including matching funding from the Jamf Nation Global Foundation.  The jerseys should be coming later in May (the factory they are made in is currently limited due to the coronovirus).

This is not a time to forget about our club.  Keeping the focus on our community can help alleviate stress and remind us that everyone is in this together.  Please read our 6 ft safe cycling guide, "6 ft" has become a catch-all phrase but even if we are not riding as a club, we need to stay healthy until we can ride together.  If you are riding solo now, please be careful and take precautions, we all need to be on the same page on May 2 (or whenever we can ride).  We will be continuing to support our community moving forward as much as we can.

Many people we meet during our travels ask why we ride.  Let's add, "to help those less fortunate" to the list of reasons in this challenging time.  

March 30 - New Riding Rules/Procedure, 6 ft Safety Guide, and Code of Conduct

All three of these new documents can be found on this site under a new menu item call "Procedures and Code of Conduct". These will be updated frequently so that you have the latest information with regards to GLR and our rides.  If and when we do get to ride, your understanding of them will be both expected and enforced.  Our ability to come through this depends on all of us working together.  Cycling is a great sport.  We are working on many alternatives to keep things safe for everyone.

All the shelter in place orders include exercise, but recent situations in Chicago and other places have shown that without education, it's hard to know what to do.  Education is vital in halting the spread of the virus.  Practice good habits while solo riding not only to protect yourself, but to protect others later this summer.   Safety is something you plan way ahead of time.

6 ft Safe Guide

GLR Code of Conduct

Ride Procedures

March 28 - GLR Moving Foward

This is an unprecedented time. An email will shortly go to all our members. Considering the current situation in the Chicago area and in both Illinois and Wisconsin, the GLR board has voted to disaffiliate all rides from RUSA until at least mid June. They may or may not eventually be cancelled, but the decision to do so will be made by those closest to the situation.

We feel that our decisions must be congruent with Illinois/Wisconsin law and respond to the growing need for rider education and resources in our region. By doing this, we open up the possibility of running rides with an emphasis on social distancing and personal responsibility.  Our feeling is that we should always be in lock step with Governors Evers and Pritzker.  The safety of our GLR members is paramount and they have the very best data available.  We trust their decisions and guidance.   We still love randonneuring and will still plan on giving everyone the opportunity to do an ACP series affilated with them later in the summer when things are different and our focus returns to their goals.

Years ago, I lived through the AIDS crisis. Back then, those that adapted and created new habits fared much better.  Though the situation is different, there are lessons to be learned from that time.  GLR will be publishing its own new Code of Conduct so that whether we are riding solo or together, our club is showing people how to be safe in what is likely a long tern situation. We want everyone already practiced and aware when we get back to riding whether it is May 2 or farther out.

Our jersey sale is now donating 30% of the proceeds to the homeles.  When we do ride, we will be taking the funds that would have gone to RUSA and instead donate them to the Night Ministry. We hope that you will join us in riding for a reason greater than ourselves come the summer.  If you can, buy a GLR jersey and make the final amount even higher.

This weekend, our rules will be updated to show the new approach we are taking.  These will include embracing expanded rider choice for proof of passage, procedures for safety at controls and new procedures for the ride start and finish.

Later in the summer, we will get back to RUSA, once things have calmed down and we have the luxury of worrying about mileage awards that are nationally scoped.  In the meantime, GLR will be expanding its own awards emphasizing local participation at whatever distances we can safely ride.

We will get through this together as a club and as the friends that we are.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at rba@greatlakesrando.org.

Regards and stay safe!

Michele and the GLR board

March 23 - Club News - We definitely have some

This is one of the strangest years I have ever seen.  First, we had our first ride of the year on March 21st.  This is the earliest start GLR has had in at least 13 years.  2 riders finished on a cold and windy day that nonetheless had some sun.  Many people were outside and waved.  Very little traffic on the roads and what there was was polite.

GLR runs rides now in 4 states.  We are adherely to law in all of them.  Today, March 23rd, Wisconsin joined Illinois and Michigan in having a "Safer At Home" policy be announced.  The one in Illinois is scheduled to go until April 7th (currently); Michigans is at least until April 14th.  I will find out tomorrow what the end date is.  In accordance with out club policy, GLR will not run rides if there is a legal reason not to (whatever they are calling it). We will also continue our existing policy of allowing you to move your registration to any other 200k if we have to cancel one or reschedule.  You will have your choice and can decide any time until the end of the year. 

So far, this has NOT impacted any of our rides.  Our next two are in Le Claire, Iowa in an effort to help out the Quad Cities Randonneurs.  Volunteer Matt Levy has been working on those rides.  So far, the governor of Iowa has indicated she will not shutter the state, but that could change easily so please stay tuned.  Our system will be posted with any cancellations you might have.

For now, I encourage you to post and discuss your current solo training and and efforts on our Facebook group.  Also, buy a jersey!  We won't get this chance again of a while and these are not expensive and might help give something to look forward to.  We will get through this.  I am working with the vendor to see what option might be.  Many of you asked for this sale.  We can stick together even if we can't ride together.

Our official ACP opener is not until May 2nd.  That's good news.  I am hopeful that all will work out well.  Please everyone, stay healthy and fit.  Stress is just as much an enemy as the pandemic.  Even if you spend time on a trainer, clean your lawn, or take a ride on your bike solo (legal in all the edicts I have read so far), you will be better off mentally and physically.  Do what is best for you and those around you.

When we can ride, we will!

Welcome to the 2020 Ride Year!

We all hope you have had a good winter and are ready to ride. While brevets might be far from your minds in the middle of January, the RBA and the board literally never stop. We've been busy all this time. Our new GLR Kit sale is now open. We can all show our colors. The store is now open! Great Lakes Randonneurs Jersey Sale. It will be open until March 25 so that we can have them by the May 2 opener and get a cool GLR club photo. The vendor is Hincapie Sportswear from North Carolina. They run a bit small so size up. Shorts and bibs are super nice - I only use these and Assos myself.  Go to GLR Jersey and Kit Sale.

Our official Chicago opener is May 2 (ACP), but we will be having a number of events starting March 21st in Whitewater, a new start in Le Claire, Iowa on April 4 and 18, our gravel weekend in Oregon on May 9, and a Memorial Day Fleche/Dart. See the calendar for details and sign up early - it helps to know who's coming early.

There are some changes for sure.

First off, I have added some advice on the website for the current pandemic situation. Please review here Riding a Healthy Ride. While there are major concerns, we can still enjoy our sport and perhaps become more conscientious riders long term.

Second, we need volunteers to make our rides happen. So far Robert Booth, Brian Lewis-Jones and Ted Fay who have all made contributions (as well as our board). You don't have to do major things to help make rides happen. Offering to do the following will get way more rides on the calendar.

  1. Pre-drive a route and report on the conditions! This is SO helpful since Wisconsin has had so many pavement issues. Almost every major accident GLR has had in the last 4 years has been because of pavement problems. We need eyes on the road in advance. It takes an afternoon to drive a 200k. Even doing a high risk part of a ride helps a ton.
  2. Volunteer at the start! All you have to do is come early, say hi to everyone and help others get paperwork finished and bikes checked. Maybe pick up the bananas the night before? This is really helpful.
  3. If you aren't riding, volunteer to be on call to do SAG. We have few sag requests, but they really help the safety of our ride and help our insurance situation. In all liklihood, you won't have to do anything, but it helps the whole club
  4. RUSA is being forced to impose a new fee of $5 for every rider. We are keeping our fees flat and not increasing them. We broke even last year so this will be a stretch. Our club room is the biggest expense we have. If you have space for the RBA the night before rides, that will offset fees for about 20-30 riders. 5. Want to design and run your own ride. Totally awesome. Just contact Michele and think about volunteering at the start of another ride to get your feet wet.

Contact Michele if you even have a few hours. A list of jobs and rides is available at Volunteering.

Third, we need advertising! Talk up our rides, put up a flyer at your LBS. Share with Facebook friends. This is a club about camaraderie. One of the reasons that randonneuring has the no support between controls is that your fellow riders ARE your support, the more people the better the ride. You will find all kinds of fun and interesting people on our rides. Don't be afraid to just come out and ride, however you can make it it.  

GLR will be expanding its own awards program this year. Look for the return of "Best Picture", "Queen of the 200k" and Volunteer of the Year. All GLR awards are in concert with our values of Camaraderie and Perserverence. They will be a little different every year and will be announced at the closer. You never know what you might be awarded with!

This is a great club. It's so awesome that I drive 20,000 miles a year to be a part of it. And it's worth every minute. Major thanks to our board too when you see them. Kingston Smith, Regina Schurman, Mike Welsh and Mike Hauptman all deserve thanks whenever you see them. See you soon!

Rides in our Club
Membership included for new riders

Click on ride name for details

Jul 05

Fond du Lac
Members: $80.00
Guests: $100.00
1 registered

Jul 06

Fond du Lac
Members: $15.00
Guests: $40.00
None registered

Jul 06

Fond du Lac
Members: Free
1 registered

Sep 07

Members: Free
None registered

Sep 07

Members: Free
None registered

Oct 20

Members: Free
None registered
Ride Leader(s):


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