D.C. Randonneurs Saga Continues

UPDATE Feb. 29: The club has called for nominations for a new RBA. See my post about it Here.

UPDATE Feb. 26: New club President Nick Bull wrote to club members today, on behalf of the DCR Board, with hopeful news. He said the club plans to move forward by nominating a new RBA and seeking to schedule RUSA-sanctioned brevets this year and a regular schedule of ACP and RUSA brevets next year. See his newsletter at the DCR site Here.

yesterday’s post:

Washington D.C. RBA Matt Settle ended his affiliation with the D.C. Randonneurs (more Here) on Monday and announced he will run his 2008 brevets through a new club, Randonneurs of the Mid-Atlantic.

In case you haven’t been following, this split was long in the making. Relations between DCR (of which I am a member and former secretary) and Settle had been strained since he took office in 2006 over whether he would abide by democratic principles, mostly in the area of budgeting and accounting, but also in the general area of consultation with the elected club board. Matters came to a head in January over Settle’s decision to schedule and set entry fees for the Shenandoah 1200K without club backing. This led the club board to vote against sponsorship, in large part to protect the club treasury if the event lost money.

To assert its authority in areas involving club dues, the membership in January approved the creation of an elected president in addition to the RBA, who would remain as a board member. On Saturday the election ended with Nick Bull winning over Settle, who also ran for the job. Election results are Here.

Settle on Monday rolled out ROMA as the organizer of the brevet events that formerly were sponsored by DCR, and informed the DCR board that he would no longer affiliate with the club. This was not altogether surprising, as Settle had said previously that he would leave DCR if he was not given full authority over the administration not just of the brevets but the club itself.

The fact of the matter is that Randonneurs USA does not recognize randonneur clubs; it recognizes RBAs as its sole agents. They can affiliate with clubs as they see fit, or act as independent organizers. See RUSA’s information about RBAs Here.

Put simply, unless an RBA runs afoul of RUSA rules, clubs have no standing before RUSA. (If anyone knows differently, I’ll be glad to note that in an update). A club may do all sorts of things for an RBA, such as maintaining a web presence, handling money, building membership and email lists and other things that promote randonneuring. Yet at any time, the RBA can take their brevets and leave.

It is too soon to say what will happen next for DCR as a club. However, I don’t expect it to fold anytime soon. It is composed of very passionate and capable people who are committed to randonneuring in the Washington, D.C. area. More updates to come as developments occur.

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14 thoughts on “D.C. Randonneurs Saga Continues

  1. I feel like the world is crumbling around me. I’ve spent a significant portion of the last year enjoying the Brevets and the Crista rides. Everything seems so unclear now. ROMA? What is that all about? So I guess people will have to belong to both organizations if they want to complete a series this year. I’ve already paid my dues to the DCR so I’m good with them for a full calander year. I am proud to claim the title of a DC Randonneur. A group of racey type roadies passed us on the Crista ride last weekend and they took the time to slow down and chat with us. One of them yelled “It’s the DC Randonneurs” and you could hear the respect in his voice. Now we’re a club that can’t perform the function that it was built for. I’m trying to not be pessimistic but watching all this from the sidelines is breaking my heart.

  2. Hang in there, Russ. All is not lost. For now, yes, you can plan to complete your super randonneur series with ROMA or drive to some of the ACP brevets in the greater East Coast. But I fully believe that DCR will be back with its own rides in due time. Nick would not propose reviving our brevet rides if he did not have a lot of confidence that we can get going again soon.

    I too am saddened by this disruption, but we can and will come back as a stronger, more unified club.

  3. Well, the structure is a little confusing to us, it does not follow our American percetion of democratic institutions. In that model, clubs would elect RBA’s who whould then liaise with RUSA, and or ACP. If you look a little closer it becomes clear why this does not apply. I too had arrived at the notion of the similarity with the Catholic church. The RBA is essentially the local extension of the Randonneuring structure, although I’m not inclined to refer to the RBA as “your holiness”! In the Church, the parishoners don’t elect their local priest.

    At first I had a little trouble with it but given all the duties, responsibilities, requirements etc of the RBA I can certainly accept that the organization needs to have the control over who performs the duties of RBA. You wouldn’t want to be married by someone who really didn’t have the authority.

    So what I think is confusing is the relationship between the RBA and the club. When it is good (the relationship) the club works well as a vehicle for implementing the activities (brevets, events etc) and when not so good, well, it’s interesting, if painful to watch …. from the left coast.

    An RBA obviously cannot run all the events by his or herself, brevets take volunteers AND volunteer managment. The more volunteers and the better the organization, the better and usually more plentiful the events. I’ve ridden brevets that were pput ion just by the RBA who handed out control cards at the start, and all the controls were at convenience stores or other business establishments. At the finish you either dropped the card in the open window of a car that was left at the finish or mailed them to the RBA. A lot different from what I am used to at SIR. And of coure, in that structure there were very few events.

    SIR has a large membership but we don’t put on the most events of all clubs. We could probably put on more but it takes more people to step up and say, “I’ll volunteer to help at that control”, or “I’ll take responsibililty for putting on that brevet.”. We do have a pretty active board so the big decisions, like will we have one or two series, or will we put on a 1200,a training camp, a fleche etc. get an appropriate amount of discussion.

    Having been involved with the first edition of the C-1200, I can say that it takes a number of people to pull off a successful 1200K event. I am hoping the Shannodoah works out for y’all.

    On a lighter note, I was wathcing a CD I received in the mail from France last night and caught a cameo appearance of a famous DC personality, woo hoo, I know somebody!!

    Hang in there, in no time at all this will be ancient history.

    Yr Pal DrCodfish

  4. It is confusing to us as well. I can see the practicality of both arguments, and maybe the idea of recognizing an individual over a club stems from the early days of RUSA, when there were few randonneuring clubs.

    Still, I would like to see RUSA revisit the issue — there are a number of crestfallen riders out here wondering how it is that the RBA’s get to be the sole owners of brevets (separately from permanents), while RUSA’s language talks about clubs designating a representative to RUSA.

    In practice, it appears to us, the club is irrelevant as long as the RBA runs the rides and submits the results and nobody brings forward a complaint about administration of RUSA rules for riders.

  5. Well it takes alot to get me upset but all this bickering sure has done that to me. It’s now almost 2 AM in the morning and I can’t sleep now after having recieved the latest email from the DCR club. Here’s what I see so far.

    1. The DCR and Matt can’t get along or don’t want to get along.
    2. It didn’t take long to make changes to the website on these issues.
    3. The DCR has no problems stating article XI or whatever it is about Matt sending out emails to the old email list but has no problem keeping the $20 that they receive from members that thought they were paying the $20 to DCR for the upcoming Brevet series.
    4. This should have all been worked or ironed out back in Dec. or Jan. not a few weeks before the Brevet series are suspose to start.
    5. After reading some comments I can see both sides of the story. Matt’s is he feels he should be able to run the Brevets. The clubs is that they should be some accountability there on the financial end and it’s a shame the 2 sides can’t get together on this.
    6. The only ones to lose on this are the riders not the DCR board or the fact that there are now splits in the rando scence in the Mid Atlantic region.

  6. 7. BTW I have some new buds that I have introduced to the rando scene in the last year or so and they are totally confused as I’m and are not happy campers that they paid the $20 to DCR and sure can’t make them all warm and fuzzy all over now as newbie rando riders.

  7. Larry- bet we both have spent $20 on worse things. Think of it as funding a revolution. Besides- the 20 bucks made you a member- it wasn’t to ride a brevet series. (Which you’re still able to do- just without the RUSA stamp of approval.)

  8. Just to clarify, the dues are $10 per person per year. Also, if DCR gets a new RBA and stages a series this year, riders will still get RUSA credit, just not ACP credit. If ACP credit matters, riders can still do the ROMA series of ACP rides or other ACP brevets all over the country.

    It is an unfortunate situation, but for all sides it could represent a fresh start. DCR’s plan to get a new RBA, if approved, would give DC area riders even more choices and more rides. Matt Settle can run his new club as he wishes, which he made clear to DCR was his bottom line. DCR can continue with a new RBA who is comfortable with shared decision-making.

    Personally, I’m proud of DCR for coming down on the side of being a club that is member-driven and not a personal club of a particular RBA. This will ensure the club’s future.

  9. A few comments on Larry’s post
    4. The Board has been trying to resolve the issues with the RBA for some time (Jan 2007, comes to mind). I am pretty sure the delaying tactics were on the part of the RBA. And it might be noted that ROMA seemed to spring from Matt’s head fully formed. It only took an election loss to make it appear from nowhere, calendar dates, locations, times – everything that seemed impossible for Matt to produce before the election. ROMA is also registered with LAB AND has insurance coverage, not the work of a moment.

    5. I would also like to point out the the DCR board are indeed cyclists and will miss out on the ACP series, the same as any other rider.

  10. Gladly the brevet series is on, just without the politics, let’s all just get out there and ride!

    Here’s to hoping all are successful and leave the politics to those downtown.

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