Archive for February, 2011

ACP 300km brevet - April 9 - Middletown VA

Friday, February 25th, 2011

This is the same improved and reversed version of the original Mother of all 300k’s that we did in 2010. As shown in the elevation profile, it consists of fabulous scenery hard won by lots of climbing of hills of all variety (see Endless Mountains 1240km). Don’t forget to bring lots of low gears.

Map and elevation profile for Contrary Mother 300KMap and Elevation Profile (click for larger view)

From the Middletown Super 8 there is a relatively mild warm-up stretch to Green Spring Road where, after a long slow descent, there is a significant ridge and fast downhill into the volunteer control at Siler. There are more big rollers through Cross Junction and Whitacre on the way to the WV border in the orchards of the aptly named High View.

The route then descends to the control in Yellow Springs and the Cacapon River and follows the lovely Cacapon River Road to Capon Bridge on US50. Some serious climbing and descending through beautiful wooded and streamside terrain leads to a much needed break at the Slanesville General Store for pizza or subs. You will need the fuel — for the next 75 miles, between Slanesville and the summit of Wolf Gap, there is very little that is flat, and there are seven notable climbs averaging more than 600 feet apiece.

After continuing east along WV 3 - much easier in this direction - as far as Points, the route then turns south for some terrific long views from Jersey Mountain Road and then brings the riders back to US50. The Mountain Top Restaurant or Liberty convenience store offer a possibility for some calories in anticipation of the hard stretch to Lost River.

This section consists of many long slow climbs and descents with an occasional very steep section for distraction. The roads follow streams through farmland or forest and the top of each climb can be marked by the flow of water - you will be happy when it is going your way.

The control at the Lost River General Store serves excellent pannini, espresso drinks, milkshakes and various gourmet fare in an idyllic setting. Make sure you’re well supplied for the continued climbing back into VA and the rigors of Back Road. Coming out of Lost River, there are two roughly-800 foot climbs between you and the VA border; Mill Gap is moderately long and very steep in spots, then there is a fairly long downhill to catch your breath before the climb over Wolf Gap. Be very careful on the downhill, there is often gravel in the turns, and some are not well signposted. Once you are on Back Road, it is actually slightly downhill overall, but you might never notice given all the climbing. A few more moderate ups and downs and one big drop and climb at Cedar Creek bring you back to Middletown, the finish, pizza, and the well-deserved feeling that you’ve conquered a very tough brevet.

Lights and reflective gear are required as described in Article 10 of the RUSA rules for riders, and there will be a lighting inspection at registration.

ACP 200km brevet - March 26 - Urbana MD

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Note: Park at the Urbana Park’n'Ride.

The brevet begins at the Urbana Waffle House (8906 Fingerboard Rd, Frederick, MD 21704). Checkin starts at 6am and the brevet starts at 7am. Get there early and have a hearty breakfast to carry you through the day! The ride heads north through rolling hills in eastern Frederick County arriving at the Union Bridge 7-11. Turning roughly west, the ride is a little flatter, but that’s just so you can catch your breath before the SCENIC climb from Thurmont (altitude 500′) winding up MD77 through Catoctin Mountain State Park, topping out at about 1700′. A 3-mile descent ends at Smithsburg followed by some big rollers and finally a very gradual uphill into State Line, PA where riders can re-fuel with a quick convenience store stop or a leisurely sit down lunch. From here the terrain is flat to moderately rolling as the route heads south to Williamsport, through farmland and then along the lovely Conococheague Creek. After a little side trip to the control at the KOA (watch for gravel, cars, and children), there is more mildly rolling farmland into the Antietam National Battlefield and Sharpsburg, where riders can take a brief break at the Battleview Market control, before returning to the hills. These come in rapid succession with the next 20 miles containing many rollers as well as a 600′ climb over South Mountain at Gapland, big rollers and a 500′climb up Catoctin Ridge via Mountville Road. After a gradual descent, and ultimately a short climb away from the Monacacy River on Fingerboard Road, you’ve only got about 5 miles to ride, and you’ve ridden five miles before, haven’t you? The finish this year will be at Ledo Pizza. Estimated elevation gain: 8,200 feet.

Lights are not absolutely required, and there will not be a mandatory lighting inspection, but lights and reflective gear are required to ride in dark conditions. So we recommended that you bring lights in case you need to ride after it gets dark. Sunrise is at 7:05AM, so lights might also be needed at the start if it’s cloudy.

Group Order of DCR, PBP-Style Safety Vests

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Dear DC Randonneur,

Some of the information below has been posted to the DCR Listserve, but this blog entry consolidates it.

We are planning to place a group order for PBP-style safety vests with the DCR logo and club name.  These will be made by the same company that is supplying the PBP safety vests and they are identical with those vests, except for the DCR logo and name instead of PBP logos, etc.  We have ordered samples that will include all four colors (yellow, orange, pink, and green) and all of the sizes except XS.  The samples will include the DCR logo and name.  Photo-mockups of the vests are available here (colors may not be accurate–that’s part of why we’re getting samples):

All Vests

Yellow-Front.  Yellow-Back.


Pink-Front.   Pink-Back.


See below for more logistical details on sizing, the ordering process, etc.

Why get one of these vests now instead of just waiting until PBP?  The main reason I’m interested is that I’ve been burned too many times by making equipment changes at the last minute before a big ride.  Don’t want to do that again!  I want to get my “PBP safety vest” early enough that I can find out if there are any “issues” with it.  For instance, it has side-vents that you can use to get to your shirt pocket, but it might be really convenient to have a pocket on the vest, itself.  I’ll probably sew one onto my vest–but probably on the inside so that I don’t violate the EN1150 standard that the vest must comply with.

A second reason is that I think these safety vests look like they will be more visible than our current sashes or vests, so I’d like to buy one and improve my safety.

A third reason is to get a cool DCR-logo vest.  If I’m feeling rich, I might get a PBP-logo vest as well.

Some have asked how well the vests will work in our summer heat.  I have no way of answering until we see them.  They appear to have a vent at shoulderblade level as well as the side-vents.  So they may be cool enough for all but the hottest nights.  In any case, I expect they’ll be cool enough for at least 9 months of the year.  Maybe I’ll buy a somewhat-larger DCR vest for wearing over bulky clothing and a somewhat-trimmer PBP vest for warmer weather.

Nick Bull
President, DC Randonneurs

Logistical details on sizing, the ordering process, etc.

We expect that samples will be here in a few weeks, and hope to be able to bring them to the Dart on March 19 and the Urbana 200Km on March 26th.  Assuming we’ve seen samples by then, the ordering deadline would ideally be soon after.

Costs for the vests will depend on how many are ordered, but we expect that they will range between $32 and $37.

The final deadline for ordering vests will depend on when samples arrive.  We’ll post updates to the DCR listserve (and those who have indicated interest to as they become available.  This is a group purchase, so if you want to get a vest, you’ll need to place your order and pay in advance.  DC Randonneurs itself is not involved in the purchase and will not have vests “for sale” at any later date.  So it’s a “Now or never” purchase (unless someone else arranges another group purchase in the future).

Not every size is available in every color. Here are the colors and sizes available in each color:

- Yellow : XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL;
- Green : S, M, L, XL, 2XL.
- Orange : S,M,L, XL, 2XL.
- Pink : XS, S,M,L,XL,2XL.

Here is a sizing chart: See below for conversion into inches.

Dimension A is height and B is circumference of chest just under your arms.  Figure out which size is indicated by your height and which by chest circumference and then take the larger.

Sizing in inches:

HEIGHT: to top of head

XS= 52.8 to 59.8,
S= 57.5 to 62.2,
M= 59.8 to 69.3,
L= 67.7 to 72.4,
XL= 69.3 to 74.0,
2XL= 71.7 to 76.4,
3XL= 74.0 to 78.7

CHEST: circumference of chest just under your arms

XS= 25.2 to 29.9,
S= 28.3 to 34.6,
M= 31.5 to 37.8,
L= 36.2 to 42.5,
XL= 37.8 to 45.7,
2XL= 39.4 to 47.2,
3XL= 40.9 to 48.8

Keep in mind, you pick the larger of the size indicated by either the height or chest.  Also, if you want to be able to wear  bulky winter clothes under the vest, you’ll want to get a larger size.

Some more details on the vests:  These are made by the same company that is supplying the official vests you can order when you sign up for PBP, see

The manufacturer product brochure PDF is at

or see their website at

Dart on March 19, 2011

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

A DC Randonneurs Dart will be held on March 19, 2011. A Dart is a team event in which each team rides different routes toward a common finish location, like arrows toward a target. The minimum ride distance for a Dart is normally 180 km, which must be covered in a period of 12 hours. However, we have established a minimum distance of 200km for this Dart so that it will qualify toward the R-12 award. The allowed time is also increased to 13.5 hours for the 200km distance.

We have also scheduled a Fleche team event for the weekend of April 15-17. The Fleche is twice as long, with a minimum distance of 360km over 24 hours, and our Dart is scheduled approximately one month before the Fleche so that it can be used as a training and shakedown for that longer event. The Dart is ridden almost entirely in daylight and will be a much more forgiving event on which to discover problems with organization or rider pacing. So it would be a good idea for all Fleche teams to also ride the Dart, but especially any new teams.

The target for the Dart is Appalachian Brewing Company in Gettysburg, PA, where the teams will join together for a post-ride dinner at 7PM. Sunrise will be at 6:26AM and sunset at 6:11PM, so teams wanting to use the full 13.5 hours will include some night riding. For any riders that plan to stay in Gettysburg on Saturday night and ride back to the DC area on Sunday, there are many hotels within a few blocks of the Appalachian Brewing Company.

The Dart has its own set of rules that are somewhat different, and perhaps even 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.)
  • The traditional Dart/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.
  • As in a standard brevet, the routes must contain control locations chosen so that the shortest bicycle-legal route through the controls is equal to at least the minimum distance of 200 km. However, the Dart has an additional requirement that one of the controls must occur exactly 10 hours after the start and be at least 25 km from the finish. 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 12 hours to complete the ride.

Additional information about the 10-hour control will be provided to all registered team captains, since a full understanding of the rules for this control is essential for achieving a successful finish. And this will be excellent practice for the similar 22-hour control on the fleche.

Our schedule this year is quite short. Each team must have a captain who is responsible for designing the route and submitting it for approval. Captains should carefully read the rules first. The schedule will be:

  • March 4: Applications from captains due to RBA including 1) captain’s application form, 2) start date, time, and location, 3) map of route, 4) cue sheet, and 5) names, addresses, and phone numbers for the controls. The route information can be submitted electronically to in PDF, MS Word, or MS Excel format. Route files from DeLorme Topo, Garmin Mapsource, or MS Streets and Trips will also be appreciated, but not required.
  • March 10: Final rosters, rider applications, and waivers due from team captains to RBA. Deadline for final route approval.
  • March 12: Control cards sent to captains
  • March 19: Dart

The application form is available here. Team captains are responsible for collecting applications and waivers from their team members and getting them submitted on time. The information part of the application is a fillable PDF form that can be emailed to, but the waiver parts must be signed and snail-mailed to the address on the form.

Please contact Bill Beck ( ) 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.

Cue Sheet and GPS Files for February 19 Tappahannock 200K Brevet

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

The cue sheet for the Tappahannock 200K Brevet, starting at the Ashland Coffee & Tea at 7:00AM on February 19, 2011 is now posted at Cue Sheet - 20110219 Tappahannock 200K Brevet.

Registration opens in the parking lot behind the Ashland Coffee and Tea at 6:00am. There are a limited number of parking spaces behind the Ashland Coffee & Tea. Once those are filled, park along Railroad Ave.

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 at GPS Files - 20110219 Tappahannock 200K Brevet. Note: This GPS file has been revised and matches the cue sheet.

Minutes of the 2011 DC Randonneurs Annual Meeting

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Approximately 45 members in attendance, well more than a quorum.

Meeting started at roughly 4:08pm.

President’s Report: Nick Bull reported that last year went very well; this year–being a PBP year–should see even more riders; and our RBA, Bill Beck, is doing a great job.

RBA’s Report: Bill reported that 168 DCR members participated in rides in 2010, up from 128 riders in 2009.  There were 507 event completions, adding up to 131,572Km (up from 450 event completions and 124,000Km in 2009).  Bill described the ride schedule (see the calendar).  Bill thanked all of the volunteers who make our events possible, especially thanking our co-webmasters Bill Arcieri and David Ripton.  The webmasters do a considerable amount of behind-the-scenes work that makes it possible for members to get the information that they need and to conveniently pay online, while taking a huge administrative load off the RBA.

Volunteer Recognition: Mary Gersema, DCR’s volunteer coordinator, recognized our 2010 volunteers.  As a token of thanks, ride organizers were given Ibex wool balaclavas, and all other volunteers were given DC Randonneurs coffee mugs.  Outgoing Board members Steve Ashurst and Bill Clayton also received balacalavas — we will miss their good counsel.  And outgoing co-webmaster Jeff Lesperance also received a balaclava — it’s thanks to Jeff that we have online payment.

Budget:  George Winkert summarized the 2010 results.  Despite a 2010 budget that projected a small net operating loss, we ran a substantial surplus.  Our reserve fund is now somewhat larger than our projected annual expenses.  Nick Bull reported on the 2011 budget.  As we have done for the past several years, we will respond to the prior year’s surplus by reducing brevet fees again for 2011.  After looking at 2010 event income, we noticed that the 400Km event expenses are roughly the same as 300Km event expenses, so we have reduced the 400Km event fee.  We are keeping the fee for the 200Km at $5 and for the 300Km at $10, and reducing the 400Km to $10 and the 600Km to $15.  The membership voted to adopt the budget.

Kelly Smith asked what we plan to do with the reserve fund.  Nick Bull said that we had talked with another major randonneuring club, who thought that having a reserve fund about equal to expenses is reasonable, and that this is appears consistent with other nonprofits.  Further discussion ensued, including several suggestions that we have a large party later in the year.  Leslie Tierstein opined that it’s reasonable to keep a reserve fund roughly equal to expenses. Ed Felker suggested that we put the question to the listserve for broader input.

DCR Board Elections: The membership voted to keep Bill Beck as Club Brevet Administrator, and Paul Donaldson as an At-Large Board member.  Carol Bell will replace Bill Clayton as an At-Large Board member, and George Moore will replace Steve Ashurst as Secretary.

Member Accomplishments: Bill Beck reported on the new Super Rookie award, which is given to all new randonneurs who start randonneuring after the prior year’s DCR 600Km and who complete a Super Randonneur series in the subsequent year.  There were three Super Rookies in 2011, John Mazur, Cindy Piotrowski, and Charles Thomas; and there was an honorary Super Rookie, Cheri Grubbs, who would otherwise have qualified except that she rode one brevet before the 2009 600Km.

Mary Gersema presented member accomplishments for 2010–there were 48 members who completed SR series and 35 who completed an R-12 (many are multiple-R-12 earners).  Five members completed their R-5000 in 2010.  Thirty members rode a 1000Km and seven completed a 1200Km.  A PDF of the member’s accomplishments was prepared by George Moore and will be posted to the website.

PBP Preview: Ed Felker discussed the changes to PBP for 2011.  Key changes: Registration will be handled entirely through ACP.  Riders can pre-register according to a schedule depending on their longest 2010 ride.  Pre-registered riders must finalize their registration by June 19th or lose their pre-registration priority.  There are quotas, but we think that they will probably not prevent anyone from riding who wants to.  There are new vest requirements for PBP.  There is also a new sleep control.  All PBP aspirants should read the new brochure. posted on the PBP website

The meeting was adjourned at 5:02pm.