About the Coulee Challenge Sponsoring Randonneur Groups
Minnesota Randonneurs has offered brevets since the early 1990s, based in Rochester, 90 minutes south of the Twin Cities. In 2008 we formalized a relationship with the Twin Cities Bicycling Club and started developing brevets in the Twin Cities area. This has grown our membership exponentially over the years and we now offer events and permanent routes throughout the state of Minnesota, Western Wisconsin and Northern Iowa. A few years ago we helped to start the randonneur group in South Dakota that became an independent group in 2016.
Rob Welsh has been the Minnesota Randonneurs Regional Brevet Administrator since 2009.
Minnesota Randonneurs typically offers 25-35 events a year, from April to October. This includes two full Super Randonneur series plus a variety of shorter urban rides and gravel populaires. We also do some special interest events such as our Fargo populaire that visits several movie locations from the iconic movie and our popular City Slickers 200k brevet that circles the Twin Cities Metroplex on city streets, paved trails and rural roads.
The 2018 Coulee Challenge is Minnesota Randonneurs first 1200k event but we plan to continue to offer grand randonnee events on a regular basis with the Coulee Challenge concept and our popular Northwoods Ramble 1000k format. We believe the road and trail infrastructure in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin are ideal for randonneuring events in both rural and urban settings.
The Driftless Randonneurs is a region of Randonneurs USA (RUSA) that was created in August 2014. We hosted our first brevet in October of that year and have hosted numerous ACP and RUSA sanctioned events since then.
The Regional Brevet Administrator (RBA) for the region is Greg Smith who lives near Richland Center. Greg started the region because he felt the area of SW Wisconsin is ideal for cycling with a wide network of paved and lightly traveled roads and he wanted to share some of his favorite rides and routes with others. Greg has the additional goal of increasing the interest and participation in randonneuring within Wisconsin.
We offer a full brevet series each year that showcases the beauty of the area and also offer shorter rides that have something for everyone from the most seasoned anciens to those new to randonneuring.
Additionally, we've hosted our annual "Dart-Pop" weekend with a 125 km Dart Populaire on Saturday with a BBQ in the evening followed by a 100K Populaire on Sunday. These are low key rides at a relaxed pace where the emphasis is on camaraderie and enjoying the ride with friends.
Other Support and Credits
Webmaster: Ahi Bennuri
Photos: Dawn Piech, Greg Smith, Rob Welsh