Archive for January, 2013

Tappahannock 200km Brevet - February 16, 2013

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

The Tappahannock 200km, Feb 16th, will be organized by Paul Donaldson.  It is one of my favorite rides, with lots of interesting place names in King and Queen County.

Starting from the historic town of Ashland, VA, (The Center of the Universe) at Ashland Coffee and Tea, the ride heads east toward river country. Leaving Ashland, the first few miles pass through signs of modern times: gas stations, truck stops and fast food joints. When the route turns at the antique store Two Frogs on a Bike the surroundings seem to go back to the time of quiet roads and rural atmosphere. The rolling terrain levels out as the route approaches the Rappahannock River and the town of Tappahannock. Tappahannock will give a choice of two controls (don’t forget to get a receipt!!!)–either the Sunoco or Arnest Seafood and Cafe (the successor to Java Jack’s) where I am assured you can still get sweet potato fries, plus new menu items like crab cakes.  The route leaves Tappahannock and the rolling hills continue with an occasional short, steep climb. We’ll end back at Ashland Coffee and Tea.

Estimated climbing is around 4900 feet, only a little more than the Glen Echo populaire.  More details about the ride, plus cue sheets and GPS file, will be posted after the checkout ride.

Hotel info for upcoming brevets.

Friday, January 18th, 2013

(We hope to have registration available fairly soon for our upcoming brevets — there is a fair amount of website re-coding that has to be done each year to implement registration.  That work has to wait for the annual meeting for final decisions on prices, etc.  Our website volunteers are scrambling …)

Meanwhile, here is the hotel information associated with our brevets:

The most important ride to make reservations for is the Warrenton 400km, Saturday May 18th, because the hotel is nearly full and we couldn’t set aside a block of rooms.  The ride starts at the Hampton Inn, 540-349-4200.  However there are quite a few hotels near there, most a little less expensive than the Hampton.  In general, you can make hotel reservations and then cancel them with little notice, so even if you’re not sure you’re going to do the ride, there is little cost to making reservations …

There is no start hotel for the Tappahanock 200km, Feb 16th; Wilderness Campaign 200km, March 9th; or the Urbana 200km, March 23rd.

The two Suffolk to Skippers rides, 200km, April 13th; or 300km, May 11 do not start at hotels.  However, there is a nearby Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront where we have set up a block of rooms.  (Keith Sutton (ride organizer for those two brevets) says there are other nearby hotels that don’t get such great reviews.)  Since riders may possibly want to stay both before and after the event, the block provides for both nights–make sure to be clear about what night(s) you are booking for.  Rate is $105 plus taxes.  Reservations for the event will be made by individual attendees directly with the Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront reservations at 757-925-1300 or online at  The group code is DCRA for the April ride and DCRM for the May ride.

The start hotel for the Warrenton 300km, April 20th, is the same Hampton Inn as for the Warrenton 400km.  We have a block of 15 rooms under reservation code “DCR”.  You can reserve on their website or at 1-800-Hampton but if I were you, I would call the hotel directly at 540-349-4200, rather than talking with their call center in India.  You must reserve before March 20th to get the group rate.  The block is reserved for Fri and Sat nights, but you do not have to book both nights if all you want is Friday.

The start hotel for the Frederick 300km, May 4th, and Frederick 600km, June 1st, will be the Days Inn Frederick.  We have set aside a block of 15 rooms before the 300km and 20 rooms before the 600km under the reservation code “DC Rand”–the rooms are $70 plus tax.  Their phone number is 301-694-6600.  For the 300km, the block is only for the Friday night, though availability is probably good for Saturday, too.  For the 600km — which is a double-loop route so you come back to the start hotel for the “overnight” — the block is for Friday and Saturday nights.  The Days Inn did not give me a drop-dead date, but I would still reserve early.

Let me know if you run into problems reserving rooms.  I’ve never done these block reservations before.  The quantity of rooms is assuming that riders will be staying two to a room, and then guessing how many will be riding and how many of those will want to get a room…

Any updates to this info will be posted to the website’s blog, so if we get blocks of rooms for the Suffolk to Skippers rides, the relevant info will be posted there.

Nick Bull

Fleche on April 4-7, 2013

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

The DC Randonneurs fleche will be held on the weekend of April 4-7, 2013. 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. The minimum ride distance is 360 km, which must be covered in a period of 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. This year we have scheduled the fleche for a week after the Easter weekend. The target this year is again the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington, VA, where the teams will meet for a hearty post-ride breakfast.  There is some street parking on Nash St and possibly elsewhere, otherwise, the hotel parking is very convenient.

Note that although teams can start their rides at any time between noon on Thursday the 4th and 10AM on Saturday the 6th, most teams will want to start at about 7AM on Saturday morning so that they can finish at 7AM on Sunday morning and join together for the celebration breakfast. The cost of the Sunday-morning breakfast is included in the fee for teams that finish on Sunday morning.

The fleche 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.)
  • Teams can start at any time between noon on Thursday and 10AM on Saturday, and must finish 24 hours later. (However, as stated above, we encourage teams to finish 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.
  • 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 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 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 24 hours to complete the ride.

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.

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:

  • 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 23: Final rosters, rider applications, and waivers due from team captains to RBA. Deadline for final route approval.
  • March 29: Control cards sent to captains
  • April 4-7: Fleche

The application form for captains is available at 2013-fleche-registration-captain.pdf, and for team members at 2013-fleche-registration-member.pdf. Team captains are responsible for collecting applications and waivers from their team members and submitting them on time. In other words, team members should send the forms to their captains, and then the captains should submit them as a group. The information part of the application is a fillable PDF form that can be emailed directly, but the waiver parts must be printed, signed, and then either scanned and emailed, or snail-mailed. The application fee of $15 includes the post-ride buffet at the Marriott.  Riders can pay that fee online or can send a check to their team captain, if that is what the team captain prefers, or send a check to the address on the application form.

Please contact Nick Bull ( ) 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 200K (or even 300K) permanent route.

We have a 200km scheduled for the weekend after the fleche, so it will not be possible to reschedule in the event of inclement weather.  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, team captains will be contacted, and they will in turn 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.

Glen Echo Populaire Results

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Results are now posted for the Glen Echo Populaire, see:  Fifty-two riders set out on what turned out to be an unusually warm, winter day.  Everyone finished safely, though there were a few DNQ’s who did not turn in a brevet card at the end.  Results can only be posted for current members.  Membership was not required on this ride, and 9 riders were not current members.  Most of these 9 are former members who may just have forgotten to renew, so if you rode and you think your results should be posted but they aren’t, please check the membership roster to see if you are a member:

Thanks to Andrea Matney for organizing this ride, to Greg Conderacci who checked in riders at the beginning and end, to Mike Wali and Nick Bull who helped check in riders at the beginning so that Andrea and Greg could go out and ride, to Bill Beck for doing the checkout ride, and to Bill Arcieri for keeping the website data up to date so that you can pre-register and so that I can post your results.

Mike Wali has some photos of the ride and the annual meeting, here:   Mary Gersema’s video of the presentation of the American Randonneur Award to Crist Borras is here:

I can hardly improve on Bill’s eloquent email about why Crista Borras so richly deserves the American Randonneur award.  But on a personal note, without encouragement from Crista and Lynn Kristianson after the first running of the Mother of All 300’s in 2005, it’s not at all likely that I would have continued as a randonneur.  I’m sure that the sense of welcome and encouragement that Crista provides has kept many a discouraged randonneur going.  And of course, her cue sheets set the mark to which many ride organizers can only aspire.

Nick Bull

Crista Borras receives American Randonneur Award

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Once a year, the RUSA Board of Directors present an award to a member of the organization who has made a significant and outstanding contribution to randonneuring in the United States. As described on the RUSA web site , this is a most prestigious award, and a high honor of American Randonneuring.

This year, the RUSA Board selected our very own Crista Borras! Crista received the award in front of a cheering crowd at the DC Randonneurs general meeting on Saturday, January 12. If you missed it, you can see Mike Wali’s photos here and Mary Gersema’s video here.

Crista was recognized for her long participation in randonneuring, her many contributions to DC Randonneurs, her embodiment of the spirit of randonneuring, her leading (along with Chuck) weekend centuries on both days of most weekends throughout the years, and her tireless dedication as “permanista” of the RUSA permanents program . Congratulations, Crista. Well deserved!

Crista AR Award

Cue sheet and GPS Files for Jan. 12th Glen Echo 106km

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

The Glen Echo 106km populaire starts from the Glen Echo Town Hall at 9:00 AM on January 12th, 2013.  HOWEVER, please park in the Glen Echo Park parking lot, NOT in residential streets in the neighborhood. Details about how to get to the Glen Echo 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 sheet is now posted at 2013_dcr_glen_echo_106k_populaire.doc and 2013_dcr_glen_echo_106k_populaire.pdf

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

DCR 2013 Elections Notice

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

The DCR 2013 Elections Notice was sent out recently to all members.  A PDF version is here

An announcement about the populaire and the annual meeting agenda was also sent to all members.  A PDF version is here.