Archive for March, 2014

Warrenton 300km April 12th … now with gravel

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Starting at the Warrenton Hampton Inn, the route explores the rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont from Warrenton to Old Rag, to points south. The first 120 miles are somewhat hilly and the route becomes more rolling for the last 70-80 miles.

This year we  will try something new.  The route takes several miles of gravel roads.  What if your tires aren’t suitable for gravel?  No problem, you can ride the same paved roads as on last year’s route.  The cue sheet will make it very clear where you will need to detour to avoid the gravel roads. The overall route description is shown below, but because the gravel sections are new, I’ll describe them, first.

The first two sections with portions that are gravel and the associated detour are here:2014_dcr_300km_warrenton_1st_and_2nd_gravel_section_and_detour.jpg

For the first section that has gravel, the light-green is paved and the dark green is gravel–Quaintance Rd–4.2 miles and a fair amount of up and down, some of it steep, about 460 feet of climbing.  For the second section that has gravel, the dark blue is gravel, two roads–Sharp Rock Rd and Emmet Rd–totaling 3.3 miles, pretty flat, with 160 feet of climbing; the light blue is paved.  The detour is cyan and much of it is on ten miles of FT Valley Rd, which is one of the busier roads on the brevet–we’ve used it many times, and I’ve never had problems here, but it is a road where you have to watch carefully in the mirror to make sure cars coming up from behind are slowing and/or moving over.

The third section that has gravel is here:2014_dcr_300km_warrenton_3rd_gravel_section_and_detour.jpg

Again, the paved road is light green and the dark green is the gravel portion of Twin Mountains Rd–4.2 miles, pretty flat, with 100 feet of climbing.  The cyan section is the paved detour, which spends 3.3 miles on Zachary Taylor Hwy, US522.  Again, one of the busier roads on the route, we’ve used it for years and I’ve never had problems but you do have to keep an eye on who is coming up behind you.

That’s it for the gravel sections, if you have questions feel free to ask.

Now back to the route description: Leaving Warrenton, after a brief stretch on VA17, we take the “back” way out of Warrenton on Blantyre Road and then riders will head west to Marshall and ride the many ups, downs, and stunning early morning vistas on Crest Hill Road all the way into Flint Hill. More hills and more terrific scenery await the riders on the way to Washington VA. Turning west toward the foot of the Blue Ridge, the scenery just keeps getting better on a long rolling stretch which brings the riders toward Old Rag and a control at the Syria Mercantile. Continuing south, the riders skirt Madison, crossing US29, and pick up the route to Elly, Aroda and Old Somerset. Returning to route 231, riders head into Gordonsville and then continue farther south. The route then turns east through the more mellow terrain of Louisa county on VA22. After heading north for a control in Orange (don’t miss the great milkshakes!), riders return to Warrenton through gentler terrain via Batna, Lignum, Kelly’s Ford and Remington.

Climb:  The Warrenton 300km has just a little more climbing than Paul’s Paradise, about 500 feet more.

We’ll have some light snacks at the start–there is a Sheetz and McDonald’s nearby for something more substantial.  At the end, we’ll have the usual pizza, drinks, and a few snacks at the finish.  The club has also rented a hotel room for the finish.  Please bring your own towels (etc.) if you want to shower there. 

Three ride reports from prior years are posted on the DCRand Stories page under “300K”:

Cue Sheets and GPS Files for March 29 Paul’s Paradise ACP 200km Brevet

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

The cue sheet(s) for the Paul’s Paradise 200km ACP brevet, starting at the McDonalds in Poolesville, MD at 7:00AM on March 29, 2014 are now posted at 2014_dcr_200km_pauls_paradise_cue.zip.

Registration opens in the McDonalds at 6:00am. Park in the nearby shopping center as far from the stores as possible as shown on the map. The ride will end at Cugini’s Pizza in the shopping center.

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 2014_dcr_200km_pauls_paradise_gps.zip.  A RideWithGPS version that could be more useful for some Garmin Edge devices is also posted at: ridewithgps.com/routes/3452969

Paul’s Paradise 200km: March 29, 7am

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

This brevet is based on Crista Borras’s permanent route of the same name, and will be organized by Mike Binnix.  Starting relatively close to DC from the McDonalds in Poolesville, MD, we head north into Frederick County to the first major climb over Marlu Ridge. Our efforts are then rewarded by the panoramic view of the beautiful Middletown Valley as we descend into Jefferson. Continuing north through the hilly and very scenic valley, we control in Middletown, and then it’s not long before we encounter the formidable climb up Harp Hill. After descending to Wolfsville the route starts an (easy!) climb on MD17 over South Mountain. Next, a delightful, swoopy descent takes us down into the Cumberland Valley and we head into Pennsylvania on bucolic country roads, eventually arriving at our turn-around control at Paul’s Country Market just north of Waynesboro. Paul’s has a good deli, a wide choice of foods to round out your lunch, and a hard-to-resist selection of bakery items. The grounds are lovely, with three picnic tables in a shaded grassy area, and a small dining room (”Paul’s Lunch Bucket”) is available in case it’s rainy and/or cold and riders prefer to eat inside. After lunch, we’ll climb back over South Mountain on Old 16 and Buena Vista, “working” our way over to a wild ride down Spruce Run Road to the next control at Delauter’s store on Wolfsville Road. The return route continues through Middletown and follows familiar roads back to Poolesville. While this ride features several very steep climbs and low gearing is highly recommended, the last 9 miles are some of the easiest riding there is in this general area and you’re sure to finish with smiles on your faces! The final control is at Cugini’s, where we’ll feast on truly fantastic pizza.  The RideWithGPS route for the permanent is posted here, and we’ll provide cue sheets, GPS files, etc in a couple of days.  Around 9000 feet of climbing–that’s a few hundred more than the Old Rag 200km and a little less than the Urbana 200km; but about 4500 feet more than Wilderness Campaign.

Wilderness Campaign is a go!

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Wilderness Campaign 200km will depart on schedule from Bristow, VA at 7am, March 8th. Sounds like nice weather: Forecast temperatures rise from just below freezing at the ride start to mid-50’s by the afternoon. Mostly sunny and a bit of a headwind in the afternoon.

One of our new members, Tim Copeland, drove the whole route today. And Bill Dennen drove a part of it last night.

The battlefields are clear so you won’t need to use the detours. And … since half the point of this route is to ride through those battlefields I am confident that no one will skip Spotsylvania Battlefield to save themselves a tiny bit of riding

Road conditions … this is still a winter ride, so there is always a possibility that runoff will have seeped over the road during the night and may be frozen. Bill says there were a few spots last night on Courthouse Rd and Razor Hill Rd that still had snow all the way across the road, though covered with lots of sand. There are plenty of potholes, sand, and salt. There are a few branches down, but not presently obstructing the road. Keep your wits about you, and keep plenty of space and visibility ahead of you to give time to react. And it goes without saying that you should be wearing high-visibility clothing. Safety triangles are highly visible even in the daytime, always a good idea.

Please be aware of cars around you and if you’re riding two abreast, get in single file. Much of the route is on low-traffic roads with no shoulders. But there are a few places with more traffic, noted on the cue sheet. At mile 39.9, VA-3 has an intermittent shoulder that disappears as you are riding downhill toward a bridge. There are two lanes in both directions and I have never had a problem in a dozen rides of this route. Your best strategy is to take the lane (by riding about three feet in from the white line): Drivers have excellent sight lines and can clearly see you and have a lane to move over into. Do not hug the side of the road: that makes them think that they can pass safely without changing lanes–and then you end up with people passing too close to you. As you take the lane, you will need to be keenly aware of traffic from behind, to make sure they are slowing or changing lanes, either by checking your mirror &/or glancing over your shoulder frequently. Mirrors make it easy to simultaneously scan the road ahead and behind. UCI rules (anti-mirror racing rules) do not apply!

A second place that is noteworthy is after the first control, a three-mile section of Constitution Hwy that has shoulders that are too narrow. Don’t bunch up, and pay keen attention to traffic from behind while scanning for obstacles in the shoulder.

Coming toward Spotsylvania and away from Spotsylvania, on Brock Rd, there can be somewhat more traffic within three or four miles of town.

See you tomorrow! I have ridden this route about a dozen times, including permanents and a couple of brevet checkout rides; but never as a regular brevet, so that’ll be a fun change.

Nick Bull

Cue Sheet and GPS Files for March 8 Wilderness Campaign 200km ACP Brevet

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

The cue sheets for the Wilderness Campaign 200km ACP Brevet, starting at the Caribou Coffee in Bristow, VA at 7:00AM on March 8, 2014 are now posted at 2014_dcr_wilderness_campaign_200km_brevet_cue.zip. (The cue sheets and GPS files include detours in case there is still too much snow to traverse the unplowed battlefield roads. )

The ride starts from the Caribou Coffee at 7:00am. Registration will also be inside the Caribou Coffee starting at 6:00am.  We’ll have coffee available but for pre-ride eats there are excellent goodies at the Caribou Coffee :-)

It’s a good idea to bring lights and reflective gear to this ride–the total distance is just short of 130 miles and many riders will finish in the dark.  Some years have been quite foggy–riders without lights and reflective gear would have been held at the ride start for several hours.

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 2014_dcr_wilderness_campaign_200km_brevet_gps.zip.  A RidewithGPS version is here.