Archive for April, 2014

Northern Exposure 400km Cue Sheet and GPS Files, May 3rd

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

The Northern Exposure 400km starts at 4:00AM on May 3, 2014 at the Frederick Day’s Inn (near the Waffle House shown on the google map — you’ll see it when you get there — for parking, park at the “P” on the map in the gravel truck-parking lot, unless you are staying in the hotel),  Cue sheet(s) are posted at 2014_dcr_400km_northern_exposure_cue.zip (note the 2up PDF version is intended to work well in the mapcase of a handlebar bag).

SEE NOTES ON LOW-WATER BRIDGE and DETOURS BELOW.

Lights and reflective gear are required for this ride so please be prepared for the light and safety inspection:  bring your reflective gear and ensure that you have the required front and rear lights mounted to your bicycle.  You can get safety-inspected Friday night between 7pm and 9pm, or at registration on Saturday morning.
Registration opens inside the Day’s Inn Saturday morning at 3:00 AM.  Please park in the gravel parking lot, see link above.  Here are some route comments:

  • There is a low-water bridge on the route, crossed at mile 14.6 and again at mile 234.0.  We expect that by Saturday there will be no problem with the bridge.  We will scout it out on Friday afternoon.  But there is always the chance that it might rain on Saturday and you will have to use your best judgment about whether to detour.  The detours do not add mileage, they just don’t take Blacks Mill Rd, which is very pretty, but which most riders will traverse in the dark.
  • The cue sheet follows the main route and crosses the low-water bridge.  If you think the bridge might likely be flooded then follow the DETOURs as indicated before the bridge and as shown at the end of the cue sheet.
  • Do not blindly follow the GPS file, ignoring the cue sheet, and then arrive at a flooded bridge and decide to risk crossing it to avoid bonus miles.
  • Instead, follow the cue sheet and at the point where it indicates the possible DETOUR, take it if appropriate.
  • The first detour point is in the morning after you cross the metal bridge on Hessong Bridge Rd.  Hundreds of miles later, the second detour point is in Thurmont a little before the 7-11.
  • GPS users, your GPS should beep when you near the detour points.
  • The GPS provides the same DETOURs as the cue sheet.  Once you start navigating either of the DETOUR routes on the GPS, you can follow it to the next control.
  • Regardless of whether you are taking the second detour or not, you’ll have to navigate a new route from Thurmont to the end,   Either navigate “Detour 2…” or navigate “Ct06zThurmont …” (crazy name chosen so that it is in the right alphabetical order in your route display).
  • The road out of Frederick has some rough spots–keep an eye out
  • There are two OPEN controls — Newport and East Berlin.  GET RECEIPTS!
  • Usually GPS files do NOT break at INFO controls, but for this route they do (to avoid the 50 viapoint limit).

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_400km_northern_exposure_gps.zip.  The official route is also posted to RidewithGPS.

Climbing: All climbing is relative.  My best guess is that climbing on this route is roughly 50 percent more than the Warrenton 300km and maybe 1000 feet more than our traditional Frederick 400km.  Let us know what you measure and with what instrument (and if you can, send along the track so I can analyze it).  For a comprehensive list of consistently-measured events, see Climbing.

Northern Exposure ACP 400km brevet - May 3, 04:00 am - Frederick, MD

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

The Northern Exposure 400km brevet, designed by Crista Borras, is a beautiful and challenging expedition to Newport PA on the Juniata River. Many of our brevets ride through Cumberland Valley, e.g. in the region of Shippensburg, PA, leaving us to wonder what is in the mountains to the north and west of the valley?  This brevet answers that question.  (Alternatively, the Cumberland Valley is part of what the USGS defines as the Great Appalachian Valley and the mountains to the north and west are part of the Ridge and Valley Appalachians.)

Starting from the Frederick Day’s Inn (park at the “P” on the map in the gravel truck-parking lot, unless you are staying in the hotel),  we ride north on familiar and easy roads to Thurmont.  We cross Catoctin Mountain on Sabillasville Rd heading into the Michaux State Forest, one of the more beautiful and easygoing crossings.  This is the same route that the Frederick 600km takes on the first day, as far as Sabillasville–but here the routes part, with the Northern Exposure route climbing over South Mountain, here, and into and across the Cumberland Valley.  From Roxbury, riders climb over Kittatinny Mountain into the Path Valley, with its picturesque Amish farms and long mountain views.  The route continues northwest through the Path Valley and Horse Valley to East Waterford, followed by a gentle climb over Tuscarora Mountain and then a scenic cruise to Newport.  After a stop in Newport (open control) riders climb over Blue Mountain, back into the Cumberland Valley.  After passing Children’s Lake in lovely Boiling Springs, riders return to familiar roads, joining the route of the Frederick 300 for the return over South Mountain on Whiskey Springs Rd, eventually passing Lake Meade, controlling at East Berlin, continuing on through Thurmont and the relatively easy terrain back to Frederick.
There are many stop-lights going through Frederick. Please respect these as the cross traffic is sometimes fast and hard to see. The roads in Frederick are rough–showing the effect of a long winter plus construction; exercise suitable caution.  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.

A preliminary draft of the route is posted at RidewithGPS

Oh yes, climbing: This brevet has about the same amount of climbing as our usual Frederick 400, maybe a little more;  it has maybe a sixth more climbing than last year’s Firefly 400.  Relative to the Warrenton 300 or the Frederick 300, it has about fifty percent more climbing.  How many feet is that?  It depends who you ask :-)  By my measure, consistent with the climbing chart on the website, it has about 15,000 feet of climbing.  Crista reports climbing of 14,000 feet, consistent with how she has reported climbing on her permanents.  RidewithGPS has recently revised their climbing numbers down sharply.  This ride used to show around 16,500 feet of climbing but has now been revised to show roughly 11,000 feet of climbing (now 12,500–they revised it again). I think RWGPS has revised its numbers down way too far:  On the recent pre-drive of the Appalachian Adventure 1000km, we measured 43,300 feet of climb on a Vista Cx and 42,900 feet on a Vista HCx.  RWGPS used to show 45,700 feet of climb, a small overestimate, but now shows only 36729 feet of climbing.   Let us know what you measured on your ride (and let us know what device you used and with what settings)!

Warrenton 300km Cue Sheet, Route comments, and GPS Files, April 12th

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

The cue sheet(s) for the Warrenton 300km ACP Brevet, starting at the Warrenton Hampton Inn at 5:00AM on April 20, 2013 are now posted at 2014_dcr_warrenton_300km_cue.zip (note the 2up version is intended to work well in the mapcase of a handlebar bag).

Note the cue sheets include a version suitable for riders who plan to take all possible detours away from the gravel roads, contained in 2014_DCR_Warrenton_300km_Cue.All_DETOURS.doc and pdf.  Even if you plan to take all detours, you should still carry a copy of the official cue sheet (which matches the official brevet card).  And note that all cue sheets include a 0.3 mile section of gravel road on Lunsfod Rd near the end of the brevet.

Lights and reflective gear are required for this ride so when you come to registration please be prepared for the light and safety inspection:  bring your reflective gear and ensure that you have the required front and rear lights mounted to your bicycle.

Registration opens inside the Hampton Inn Saturday morning at 4:00 AM.  Please park far from the hotel entrance.  Here are some route comments:

  • The official route includes sections with gravel: For two of these there are detours on paved roads.
  • The Orange Control is an OPEN control — GET RECEIPTS!!
  • The GPS files do NOT break at INFO controls.  Be careful not to miss them.

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_warrenton_300km_gps.zip.  The official route is also posted to RidewithGPS.  However, I do not know of any way to post to RWGPS the official route plus the detours on paved roads.  So what is on RWGPS is just the official route that follows the gravel roads.

Climbing: All climbing is relative, and of course, while each has 1000′ of climbing, a route with a 1000′ climb at 25 percent grade is very different than a ride with ten one-hundred foot climbs, each at a two percent grade.  My best  measure of climbing on this route is that the Warrenton 300km has 9500′ of climbing, Paul’s Paradise 200km has 9000′ of climbing, the Urbana 200km has 9500′ of climbing, and Wilderness Campaign has 5500′ of climbing.  For a comprehensive list of consistently-measured events, see Climbing.