Nokesville Nomad 200km ACP Brevet - March 4, 2018, 7am

February 17th, 2018

The Nokesville Nomad 200km is a moderately-challenging first-brevet-of-the-year route through beautiful northern Virginia.

The ride starts in Nokesville.  We will gather in the parking lot near Carini’s Pizza.  Park along Fitzwater Drive or across Hwy 28 on Minute Ln, not in the Carini’s or 7-11 parking lots.  We’ll have the usual pre-ride snacks, plus there is a 7-11 that has a rest-room.  Plan to pay rent by buying something for the road.

Leaving Nokesville, riders have an easy warm-up on largely-level terrain, heading to Warrenton.  With the climb up through old-town Warrenton, the ride becomes a little more difficult, and coming out the western side, on Waterloo/Old Waterloo Road, the rolling starts.  Piney Mountain Road will make sure you change gears a little bit before dropping you to cross Carter Run, climbing out again on Cliff Mills Road.  You’ll pass the Orleans Market as you find your way to the first Information Control.  After the big rollers on Crest Hill Road, you’re eventually rewarded with an open Control in Marshall.

Heading out on the John Marshall Highway, it can be a bit busy and fast along this two-lane highway, although for this year we’ve found a side-road detour that cuts out 1-1/3 mile of John Marshall.  The Plains, for your second Information Control, is a respite, and if you have banked some time, this is a nice place for a look-around.  Soon, the route turns south again, with some more rolling terrain eventually taking you to a low-gear exercise as you pass the Sheetz and head up Alexander Pike into old-town Warrenton.

Leaving town is a nice descent to the Rappahannock River and, of course, what goes down must go up.  At the Brandy Station control you can get some country store short-order fare at AJ’s.  The terrain moderates for a while, but returns to bumpiness in the Kelly’s Ford area and up to the Elk Run store, after which  the terrain flattens to the end.   Riders are rewarded near the end with a very pleasant five mile section traversing Hazelwood and Carriage Ford.  Finally, sooner than you might expect, you’ll be enjoying a sit-down meal at Carini’s Pizza!

Last year’s cue sheet etc is here … subject to revision after the checkout ride.

Hotel info for spring 2018 SR series

February 10th, 2018

(FYI, the Calendar should be updated and registration opened by the end of the weekend … note that the April 14th 200/300 will now be out of Middletown, VA)

I have arranged blocks of rooms at the two hotels that will be our ride starts for events 300km or longer. Generally the blocked rooms are two beds. But for the Middletown, VA hotel they ran out so there are some king-size beds. All prices are pre-tax.

For each block, I show the date(s) and event(s), the hotel and its phone number, and then a line that shows info about the block of rooms, specifically the date of checkin and checkout, # of rooms in block, block name, and block release date if any

Book early! But if you book a room and later decide you don’t need it, please contact me. Don’t just cancel, because that potentially loses a room that someone else might want.

Let me know if you run into problems reserving rooms. Here are the events/hotels/blocks …

Hotel blocks for the 2018 spring brevet series.

March 31 200km/300km Frederick, MD:
Days Inn: 301-694-6600
Riders: March 30 to March 31, 20 rooms; book by March 16th

April 14 200km/300km Middletown, VA: Cacapon 200 & Mother of All 300’s;
Econolodge: 540-868-1800
Riders: April 13 to April 14, 16 rooms in Middletown — DCR, all doubles $69 cutoff April 1st, cancellation 14 days before

April 28/29 400km Frederic, MD: Four States 400;
Days Inn: 301-694-6600
Riders: April 27 to April 28, 25 rooms; book by April 13th

May 12-13 600km Middletown, VA: Shenandoah 600;
Blocks for Fri night before (Middletown), Saturday overnight (Raphine), Sun night after (Middletown)

Econolodge, Middletown: 540-868-1800
Riders: May 11 to May 12th, 25 rooms in Middletown — DCR1, 18 doubles, 6 kings, $69 cutoff April 25th, cancellation 14 days prior
Riders: May 13 to May 14th, 12 rooms in Middletown for Sunday night — DCR2, 12 doubles, $69 cutoff April 25th,  cancellation 14 days prior

Comfort Inn, Raphine:  540-377-2604,
Riders: May 12 to May 13th, 25 rooms in Raphine, $109, cutoff date April 15th.

Fleche on April 5 to April 8, 2018

January 28th, 2018

Many randonneurs consider the fleche to be one of the most fun (and often challenging) events on the schedule.

What makes it fun? You’re riding with friends and team mates, all working together toward a common goal.  Plus there is the fleche breakfast, which all who have registered for the fleche are welcome to attend, regardless of whether they rode or finished.

What makes it challenging? It’s a 24-hour, 224+ mile ride.  You may be on a team whose route is more or less challenging.  And … the timing of the fleche is determined by the week after Easter, which of course is variable.  So some fleches are characterized by bitterly cold weather; for others, heat may be a challenge.  Sometimes the weather is lovely, others the weather is appalling.

Most teams will want to start riding the fleche at around 7am on April 7 so that they can finish 24 hours later at the fleche “target,” the Key Marriott, and join other exhausted and elated riders for the celebration breakfast and to share stories about their adventures.

Critical deadlines for forming a team, getting a route approved, or becoming a team member are shown further below.  But first …

What is a fleche and what are (some of) its rules?

A fleche (French for “arrow”), is a team event in which each team rides different routes toward a common finish location, like arrows toward a target. Minimum distance is 360 km, which must be covered in 24 hours.  Most people who have done a fleche consider it to be one of their favorite randonneuring events since riding together as a team for 24 straight hours builds strong bonds between team members, and is great fun.

Fleche target:  the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington, VA, where on Sunday April 8, teams will meet for a hearty post-ride breakfast.  (Note that the target does not have to be the team’s final control.)  Breakfast is included in the fleche fee.  If you would like to bring a guest, their breakfast will cost $20.00 which includes tax, tip and parking.  There is some street parking on Nash St and possibly elsewhere; otherwise, the hotel parking is very convenient.

Allowed start times:  Most teams will want to start at about 7AM on Saturday morning so that they can finish at 7AM on Sunday morning and join other exhausted and elated riders for the celebration breakfast.  Teams are allowed to start between noon on Thursday the 5th  and 10AM on Saturday the 7th.  Team members are welcome at the fleche breakfast whether or not they successfully completed the fleche.

Fleche rules:  The fleche has its own set of rules that are somewhat different and more arcane, than those for a standard brevet. Some of them are summarized here:

  • Each team must consist of three to five bicycles. (Note that a tandem counts as a single bicycle, so teams will sometimes contain more than five riders.)
  • Teams can start at any time between noon on Thursday and 10AM on Saturday, and must finish 24 hours later. (However, as noted above, we encourage teams to finish around 7am (between 6AM-8AM) on Sunday morning so that they can join together for the brunch.)
  • The traditional fleche route starts at some distant location and then heads for the target, but a loop route is also allowed, as long as the start location is far enough from the finish to be considered as a different postal jurisdiction.  You may not use the same road twice in the same direction.  And only small out-and-back sections are allowed, for control purposes.
  • As in a standard brevet, the routes must contain control locations chosen so that the shortest bicycle-safe, bicycle-legal route through the controls is equal to at least the minimum distance of 360 km. However, the fleche has an additional requirement that one of the controls must occur exactly 22 hours after the start and be at least 25 km from wherever that team  finishes. Note that this requirement, as well as the one that states that no rest stops can be longer than 2 hours, ensures that teams take nearly the full 24 hours to complete the ride.
  • The 22-hour and 24-hour control rules (Articles 10 and 11) have recently been changed to allow an exception in case you are unable to obtain on-the-spot control verification.  But … we suggest that you use this exception as a last resort, since its use requires ex-post route validation, which inherently increases the possibility of disqualification.
  • For the complete fleche rules, click: here

A full understanding of the rules, especially for the 22-hour control is essential for achieving a successful finish. Team captains are welcome to contact me with questions. And many experienced captains even recommend bringing a printed copy of the rules on the ride since they can be hard to recall at 4 in the morning.

Fleche Team Deadlines

To participate in this special event, riders should start forming teams now. Each team must have a captain who is responsible for designing the route and submitting it for approval. The schedule will be:

  • Sunday, March 4: Applications from captains due to organizer.  See “Fleche Captain Application” below for details on what must be provided.
  • Saturday, Mar 25 : Final rosters, rider registration forms, and waivers due from team captains to organizer.
  • April 5 to 8: Fleche

Captains, see “Fleche Captain Application” below.

Team members, fill out the registration form and send it to your team captain! 2018 Fleche team member regform

Captains and team members must register online at http://dcrand.org/dcr/member/order/, entering all of the information requested–especially phone numbers and emergency contact–and following the payment instructions there.  Note: RUSA membership is not required to ride a fleche, but because DCR will be charged $5 by RUSA for any fleche riders who are not RUSA members, DCR will pass those charges through.

Team captains are responsible for collecting applications and waivers from their team members and submitting them on time, the second deadline noted above. In other words, team members should send the forms to their captains, and then the captains should submit them as a group.Please contact Bill Beck (william.a.beck@gmail.com) with any questions. We also have many experienced fleche captains in the club who would be excellent sources of advice. If you are thinking of forming a team or looking for a team to join, the dcrand listserve is one good way to connect with other riders.  Planning and training are essential for finishing and enjoying a fleche. So I encourage all new teams to schedule at least one or two shakedown rides together, perhaps on a 200km (or even 300km) permanent route.

In case of Inclement Weather:  We have a 300km scheduled for the weekend after the fleche, so it will not be possible to reschedule in the event of inclement weather (but we can all still go to the fleche breakfast, regardless!).  Because each team rides its own route, weather conditions might be acceptable for some routes while unacceptable for others.  If the weather forecast looks questionable for the region, team captains will be contacted, and they will be required in turn to contact their team members.  For this event as for all events, it is up to each individual randonneur to decide based on the best information that they have available whether they think it is safe to proceed.  Whether or not you ride (or complete) your fleche, you are welcome at the fleche breakfast, which will proceed as long as the hotel is open.

Fleche Team Captain Applications

Fleche captains will submit four items.

1) Registration form by, March 4: 2018 Fleche team captain regform,

2) Route application form, by March 4: 2018 Fleche route application form, and

3) Fleche Team Tracking Sheet, by Mar 25: 2018 Fleche tracking spreadsheet.

4) Also by Mar 25, captains will submit the registration forms with properly-filled-out waivers for their team members.  Confirm that all of your team members have registered online and note that in the tracking sheet.

Routes that do not include a completely-filled out DCR Fleche Route Application will not be considered.  Note that if your proposed route has been approved within the last three years, you will not need to fill out the detailed Route Justification section.  All other routes will require detailed route justification.  This is no more and no less than what is required when you submit a route to RUSA for approval.  So … if you’ve submitted a route to RUSA, you know what to do; and if you get a fleche route approved, then you’ve had good practice for submitting a route to RUSA!

It is up to prospective fleche captains to take the time to justify the route.  The organizer’s job is to review the justification — typically that can take an hour per route — not to work out the justification for you.
The route information can be submitted electronically to william.a.beck@gmail.com in PDF, MS Word, or MS Excel format. Ideally you will include a route file created in Garmin Mapsource; RideWithGPS is also acceptable; either of these will be much appreciated, but not technically required.

Cue sheet and GPS Files for Jan. 20th Glen Echo 106km

January 16th, 2018

The Glen Echo 106km populaire starts from the Glen Echo Town Hall at 9:00 AM on January 20th, 2017.  HOWEVER, please park in the Clara Barton Park parking lot, NOT in residential streets in the neighborhood. Details about how to get to the Clara Barton Park parking lot, and how to ride your bike to the Town Hall are here

Registration  starts at the Town Hall at 8:00 am.

The cue sheets are now posted at 2018_dcr_glen_echo_106km_populaire_cue.zip

NOTE:This year’s route is substantially changed from last year.  We now take River Rd, outbound.  We no longer control at Denise Bakery, though riders who need supplies can make a little side trip (with caution, it’s a twisty, high-traffic road).  We no longer return all the way down River Rd, instead taking Esworthy Rd->Query Mill Rd->Glen Rd->Piney Meetinghouse Rd->River Rd (take caution around the self-entitled 0.1 percenters who don’t want to share the road).

The link to the GPS files is posted below. But please read this information before downloading them. Always get a copy of the final cue sheet. That final cue sheet contains the official route, so in case there is a conflict with the GPS file, you should resolve the conflict in favor of the cue sheet. Use the GPS as a handy-dandy adjunct. Keep your wits about you, as the GPS cannot notify you of road hazards — it is up to you to ride safely.We strongly recommend that you set your GPS to the settings below. We cannot guarantee that these will keep you on the official route, but if you have your GPS set some other way, it is entirely possible that it will take you off route, possibly onto unsafe roads. Go to the Setup->Routing page and set as follows:Guidance Method: Follow Road
Follow Road Method: Shortest Distance
Next Turn Pop-Up: On
Follow Road Options:
Off Route Recalculation: Prompted
Calculation Method: Best Route
Calculate Routes for: Car/Motorcycle
Avoid: (set to none – the route itself should control this)

By the way … make sure that your GPS either has maps already downloaded, or select the relevant maps around the routes. The GPS files are posted in a zip file at 2018_dcr_glen_echo_106km_populaire-gps.zip

The route is also posted to RidewithGPS.  Don’t use any “cue sheet” generated by RWGPS … use the official cue sheet posted above.

2018 Glen Echo Populaire, January 20th, 9am

January 8th, 2018

Like last year, the populaire will start from the Glen Echo Town Hall, 6106 Harvard Avenue, Glen Echo, MD.  Parking is at the Clara Barton Historical Site at the “P” on the map.  The ride start is at the red circle with the bicycle.  The neighbors will complain if we park in the neighborhood or the Town Hall and then we might not get invited back … don’t be that person!

Starting time is January 20th at 9 am.  There is no ride fee, but please pre-register so that we can plan for the correct number of riders.  DCR membership is not required, but your results will not be posted to either the DCR website or to the RUSA website if you are not a DCR member.

The route heads up roads that start in suburbia but eventually become rural, to an info control at mile sixteen at what used to be Poole’s Store at Seneca Creek State Park.  This store was founded in 1901, and until recently was the oldest continuously operated country store in Montgomery County.

After Poole’s Store, there is a sharp but brief climb, after which the terrain moderates and the roads become very rural (and increasingly hilly).  Some of the roads are also quite shaded, so watch carefully for icy spots.  The next control is at Denise Bakery and Deli (formerly Hyattstown Deli), which is your first lunch opportunity.  (Alternative: grab a quick something at Hyattstown and eat a more substantial sit-down lunch at Cugini’s in Poolesville.)

Returning to Peach Tree road, the route passes its high point, 700′, at about mile 46, just south of Comus Road, and enters the town of Poolesville. A final stretch along River Road will return riders to the DC Randonneurs meeting in Glen Echo, starting at 4pm.  The final twenty miles have a net descent of around 600 feet, helping them go by more quickly, though there’s enough up and down to keep your attention.
(About 4600 feet of elevation gain, which is a fairly typical rate of climbing per mile for DCR brevets.)

This year’s cue sheet is here.

Schedule for 2018

December 21st, 2017

Here is the schedule for 2018.  Events for which we have ride organizers are noted.

January 20 100km & DCR Annual Meeting; Tom Reeder
March 3 200km Nokesville, VA: Nokesville Nomad 200km; Pat O’Connor
March 17  200km Severna Park, MD: Pastries & Coffee 200km; ???
March 31 200km/300km Frederick, MD: NNW? CWT? and Frederick 300; Bob Counts
April 6/8 Fleche weekend; Bill Beck
April 14 200km/300km Warrenton, VA: Old Rag 200 & Warrenton 300; Emily Ranson
April 28/29 400km Frederic, MD: Four States 400; Roger Hillas
May 12-13 600km Middletown, VA: Shenandoah 600; ???
May 31 Start of BRB 1200km and 1000km; Nick Bull
Jun 4th End of BRB 1200km
Aug 18th 200km RUSA 20th Anniversary Ride; ???
Sept 8 200km; ???
Sept 15 300km; ???
Sept 29 400km; ???
Oct 13 600km; ???
Oct 27 200km; ???
Nov 10th 200km; ???
Dec 8 200km; ???

Woodbine Wallop looks like a go despite a dusting of snow.

December 15th, 2017

Bill Beck reports that Woodbine only got a dusting of snow.  That’s what we got here in Arlington, too.

So as of now, we think the Wallop is a go for tomorrow.

Will report again later if there are any adverse developments.  And

Bill will take a look at road conditions early tomorrow morning.  RUSA rules allow us to delay the start, which we could do if it seems advantageous to do so.

All that said … if you don’t hear from me or Bill again, it means the Wallop is a go.

Nick