(Note that the start location of this ride was changed on April 20, 2012.)
Starting from the Frederick IHOP, we follow almost the same route as last year. The ride heads north, skirting South Mountain as far as Thurmont and then turns west to climb the ridge on MD77 through Catoctin Mountain State Park. Just short of the summit, it heads roughly north-north-east into Pennsylvania and through the rolling apple and peach orchards of Adams County. From Arendtsville, it turns northwest and begins a long, stair-step climb with many steep sections, ascending the false summit before Big Flat (altitude 1650 feet) before a rapid descent to a stop sign, followed by the real climb to the summit of Big Flat (altitude 2040 feet). Nine miles of mostly downhill brings riders to a much needed rest stop and control in Shippensburg. The terrain moderates in the Cumberland valley to the northeast to Plainfield, heads east and south through Mount Holly Springs, then recrosses South Mountain (by a noticeably easier route) and takes several miles of easy rollers to East Berlin. The final miles remain mellow, heading southwest to Thurmont ending with a few rollers paralleling US15. After crossing US15, we’ll take a new route into town on Opposumtown Pike.
Note: This year’s route has the following sections with major changes from last year, so you will need to turn off your “auto-pilot” in those sections and follow the cues.
- The first and last five miles through Frederick.
- The control location in Shippensburg.
- The part from Newville to the next control in Plainfield, along Creek Rd (skips Blouserville).
- The part after Mt Holly Springs (after climbing over South Mountain the last time) to East Berlin.
There are many stop-lights going through Frederick. Please respect these as the cross traffic is sometimes fast and hard to see. Going out through downtown Frederick in the morning is especially nice. Watch for traffic when you return to Frederick as it will likely be heavier that going out.
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 from 4AM to 5AM on the morning of the ride. (No Friday evening registration or inspection.)
Controls: Frederick, Shippensburg, Plainfield, East Berlin, Frederick.