Archive for May, 2015

ACP 600km Brevet - June 6-7 - Middletown, VA

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

This is our final test for PBP qualifying. It is a spectacular loop tour of the Shenandoah Valley and some of the surrounding National Forests.

The ride starts at 4AM from the Econolodge (formerly Super 8)–rooms are available at 540-868-1800, $70 under DCRand).  From the Econolodge, there is a long downhill to US340/US522. The route then turns east on 55 just short of Front Royal and heads into the peace and quiet of early morning Fort Valley. After the climb over Edinburg Gap, there is a short easy section on US11 before turning onto 620 that rolls along the base of Massanutten Mountain. The route slips below Harrisonburg, heading west to Bridgewater and then south on lovely back roads that climb steadily through Augusta county. Several big rollers finally bring a long descent next to Walker Creek and the confluence with the Maury River at Rockbridge Baths and the spectacular, shady Goshen Pass. The riders then turn south for a slow climb along Bratton Run and short hop over North Mountain. From here, the ride continues south through hilly terrain, including the aptly name Big Hill Road. The riders finally arrive at the frontage road for I-81 and the turnaround in Buchanan, where the route turns north and east to a control in Buena Vista. From Buena Vista the riders continue the return trip north along the South River to Raphine, where many will take a sleep break at the Comfort Inn before proceeding.

This year’s 600 does not have food at the overnight–for that, you’ll need to stop at the truck stop down the hill.

Drop bags will be available in the conference room.  (Drop bags will be transported down to the overnight at Raphine and back.  Make sure your bag is distinctive and clearly labelled with your name.  Weight limit is fifteen pounds.  Overweight bags face a surcharge of five dollars per pound to encourage merciful treatment of our volunteers.  We expect that the drop bags will be back in Middletown between noon and 3pm.)

A club room is available for riders who want to shower and have brought their own towel.  You can take a short nap (e.g. fifteen or twenty minutes) in the club room or conference room, but if you plan to sleep, make arrangements to get your own room.  Call 540-377-2604 before 3pm and ask for Pat–$89 under DCRand–if the phone doesn’t pick up, keep trying, they seem to have a flaky phone system.

Continuing on with the ride … after Raphine, the route heads northwest to Churchville, and then begins the final march up Scenic Highway 42, 613 to Broadway (where there is a 24-hour 7-11). The hills continue as the route proceeds north on State Road 42 and finally Back Road as the finish draws near.The route has about 22,000 feet of climbing, a little more than either the Frederick 600km or last year’s Many Rivers 600km (19,000 feet). However, most agree that the Middletown 600km is the toughest 600km on our schedule. The first day averages 6800 feet of climbing per hundred miles, a little more than the second, which averages 5900 feet of climbing per hundred miles. The first day has about half a dozen significant climbs (see profile). The second day is nearly all downhill — but it’s unlikely that you’ll ever notice in the midst of the incessant rollers.

Middletown 600K Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile (Click for larger version.)

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, as well as the night before, from 7 to 9.

A preliminary RWGPS route is posted here.

Northern Exposure 400km Cue Sheet and GPS Files, May 16th

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

The Northern Exposure 400km starts at 4:00AM on May 16, 2015 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 (note the 2up PDF version is intended to work well in the mapcase of a handlebar bag).


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.  Almost always there’s no problem with the bridge.  If you think weather conditions might have resulted in high water, feel free to take the 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  The official route is also posted to RidewithGPS.

Climbing cues are often provided in the GPS file for climbs of more than 400 feet.  To read them:  A cue like C7.8m59to151 means “From here, you’ll be climbing for 7.8 miles for an altitude change of 590 feet, ending up at an altitude of 1510 feet.”

Northern Exposure ACP 400km brevet - May 16, 04:00 am - Frederick, MD

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

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 USGS answer to that question is that the Cumberland Valley is part of what it 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.  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 14,000 feet of climbing.