Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Revised 2009 Brevet Schedule

April Fools Day is tomorrow, but this ash isn't a joke. 

Due to the persistent, residual ash on the brevet courses, and the related health concerns, this season's brevet schedule has been revised.

Since last Thursday, I’ve received numerous e-mails from riders voicing their concerns about volcanic ash on the roads. Initially it was difficult finding a definitive answer regarding ash exposure, as most of the advice from local and federal agencies only addresses exposure typical to a residential cleanup scenario, not an all-day athletic event. However, after discussing the situation with several physicians, other cyclists, state health officials, RUSA officials, as well as hearing from an occupational medicine physician, I believe it's prudent to let this stuff settle down for a month.

Notwithstanding another volcanic eruption, there are two areas of concern specific to ash exposure to cyclists. First, is increased lung ventilation during prolonged vigorous exercise; in our case for periods exceeding eight hours for a 200K ride. Second, is the risk to the eyes. One of the official recommendations was for all riders to wear goggles. I can’t imagine riding 200K while wearing an N95 facemask and goggles.

While the real-time air quality readings, according to state officials, in the areas of our rides are currently not showing any immediate problematic levels, state officials confirmed that they are not taking into account the ash and dust that street-level, long-distance cyclists are exposed to by 1) stirring the ash up themselves when riding on the sides of the roads where ash accumulates with gravel, dust and other debris, 2) cars and trucks passing cyclists and kicking up clouds of ash dust that riders ride directly into, or 3) simply by winds on the course.

The good news is that we still have a big variety of new rides available. I haven't canceled any rides from the schedule. I've just moved them around and pushed them together, trying to be as accommodating as possible while minimizing conflicts with other events on the calendar.

Please see the new, revised, ash-free ride schedule HERE.


George Swain said...

OK, you guys win the award for weirdest weather-related brevet schedule change. I will officially stop complaining about the weather (at least for the time being) here in the cold northeast. Seriously though, best of luck for a great brevet season. I look forward to keeping track of your progress this year. Anyone from Alaska heading over to London-Edinburgh-London this summer? If so, let me know, I'll keep my eyes out for you.

All the best,



Kevin T said...

Hi George!

Thanks for checking in w/ us up here. Stop by often. Maybe we can tempt you in coming up to join us on one of our rides...sans volcanos.

Have a great ride on LEL. I don't know if any of our riders are going. No one has mentioned it to me yet, if they are.

Let us know how it turns out.