Archive for April, 2016

Frederick 300km ACP brevet, May 7, 5am

Friday, April 29th, 2016

Starting from the Frederick Days Inn (parking directions to be provided later), the beautiful Frederick 300km route–designed by Crista Borras–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. Along the way it climbs Jacks Mountain Rd, with its multiple false summits and swooping descent to a covered bridge.  From Arendtsville, it turns northwest and begins a long, stair-step climb with many steep sections, just to get you properly fatigued before the climb up Big Flat.  After turning left on Shippensburg at mile 59, you’re finally ascending the false summit before Big Flat (altitude 1650 feet) before a rapid descent to a stop sign at Pine Grove Rd, 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. By this time, you’ve done about half the climbing of the ride, so keep your spirits up, it does get a little easier, with the lovely sequence of Mud Level Rd, Oakville Rd and Red Shed Rd.  If you want to get back to Frederick, there’s just one more big climb over South Mtn on Whiskey Springs Rd, and then the terrain is rolling all the way home, with a stop in East Berlin for pizza, to get you ready for that long, long haul down to Thurmont for a final chance of resupply before the last miles in to Frederick.

Warrenton ACP 300km Cue Sheet, Route comments, and GPS Files, April 23rd

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

The Warrenton ACP 300km brevet, starts at the Warrenton Hampton Inn in Warrenton, VA at 5:00AM on April 23rd, 2016.  Be sure to park at the extremities of the parking lot.

Cue sheets are posted at 2016_dcr_warrenton_acp_300km_cue.zip (note the 2up version is intended to work well in the mapcase of a handlebar bag and prints better from the pdf version).

The main route is all paved road except for a 0.3 mile gravel section near the end.  There are three potential gravel road detours for riders who want to avoid a bit of traffic on F.T.Valley Rd &/or US522, and who have suitable tires for gravel.  These are clearly marked in the cue sheet and are also contained in the GPS file.  THE GRAVEL ROAD DETOURS HAVE NOT BEEN CHECKED OUT.  You should be prepared for very rough gravel, steep hills, etc.  If there is a bridge out or conditions turn out to be unsafe, turn around and go back to the road.

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.

We will have safety inspections the night before the ride, from 6:30 to 8pm Friday night.  Registration opens inside the Hampton Inn at 4:00 AM.  Here are some route comments:

  • There is now a control in Marshall at the 7-11.
  • 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 2016_dcr_warrenton_acp_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 gravel roads.  So an alternative RWGPS route is the ALL-DETOUR version of the route.

Climbing: All climbing is relative.  My best  measure of climbing on this route is that the Warrenton 300km has about 9500′ of climbing, not much more than Paul’s Paradise.  None of it is on “big” climbs (more than 400 feet) but some are steep.  The climbing is somewhat front-loaded, moderating notably after around mile 140 when you get on Algonquin Trail.  For a list of consistently-measured events, see Climbing.

Warrenton 300km ACP Brevet April 23rd

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Starting at the Warrenton Hampton Inn,  April 23rd at 5am, this Lynn Kristianson 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.

Checkin and safety inspection starts at 4am .  (Safety inspection is also available the night before, we think from 5pm to 8pm.)  Park at the far corners of the hotel parking lot, unless you are a guest.

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 an open control in Orange riders return to Warrenton through gentler terrain via Batna, Lignum, Kelly’s Ford and Remington.

The main route follows paved roads except for a brief section of gravel near the end before Warrenton.  Gravel-road Detours are provided for riders who would like to avoid some of the busier roads and who have tires suitable for gravel (which has sometimes been very deep and loose in places, and very steep in other places). I and several others had a great time riding the gravel roads a couple of year’s ago, but my tires are 650Bx42.  Riders with skinny tires had more trouble.  The gravel road detours will be on the back of the cue sheet, and will be provided as alternatives in the GPS/RWGPS files.

If you want to stay on paved roads, just follow along the main flow of the cue sheet and if you are navigating a GPS file do not navigate the “detour” routes.  Moreover, if you are just following some other rider’s rear wheel, make sure you know whether their rear wheel will be staying on the road or going on the gravel.

Here is some detail detail about the gravel detours:  There are two sections of the route that have gravel alternatives.  In the first (see map), the paved road is shown in pale blue and there are two gravel-road detours:2014_dcr_300km_warrenton_1st_and_2nd_gravel_section_and_detour.jpg

For the first gravel detour, 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 very 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 gravel road detours avoid 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 second area with a gravel-road detour is here:2014_dcr_300km_warrenton_3rd_gravel_section_and_detour.jpg

Again, the paved route is shown in pale blue; the gravel detour has a paved portion shown in light green and a gravel portion shown in dark green on 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.

Climb:  The Warrenton 300km has about 9,500 feet of climbing, about the same as the Urbana 200km.

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”:

Paul’s Paradise rescheduled to Sunday, April 10th

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

The ride still starts at the McDonald’s in Poolesville at 7am.

The forecast for Saturday has deteriorated somewhat.  Here’s the NWS forecast for Cascade, MD, near the mountains at the north end of the route:
“Friday Night

Rain and snow showers likely after 11pm, becoming all rain showers after 5am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 31. West wind 7 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Saturday

Snow showers likely, mainly between 8am and 5pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 39. Breezy, with a west wind 17 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 47 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

Saturday Night

A chance of snow showers before 8pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 22. Blustery, with a northwest wind 15 to 23 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Sunday

Mostly sunny, with a high near 44.”

With ground surfaces having been above freezing for quite awhile, It’s really unclear how much of this will stick to the roads even on Saturday.  But even a little bit of snow and ice, combined with gusts to 47, makes for conditions that I would not ride in myself, and therefore think the event should be rescheduled.

Overnight, Saturday night, we expect that any snow or ice will be scoured from the roads by the wind, and that by the time people get as far north as Cascade, it will have warmed up enough that roads should be in decent condition.  Winds on Sunday are forecast to be between 13mph at the ride start dropping to 5 to 7 as the day goes along.  It’s going to be a typical January ride with the temperature starting in the mid-20’s.  Hard to get psychologically prepared for that, given that it was 60 when I rode home from work.

My apologies to those of you who won’t be able to join us on Sunday.  The alternative is to wait a week, and with the wacky weather we’ve been having, we might be rescheduling right into the next snowstorm.  And there are some who won’t be able to ride with us next Saturday, either.  So I am hoping that the forecast Sunday weather is “a bird in the hand” rather waiting til next Saturday for “two in the bush”.

If it turns out that this Saturday’s weather is much worse than expected and members from the north are emailing to say that there is a lot of snow sticking to the roads, we may have to consider rescheduling again to the following Saturday.

But meanwhile I plan to see you Sunday morning.

Nick

Cue Sheets and GPS Files for April 9 Paul’s Paradise ACP 200km Brevet

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

The cue sheet(s) for the Paul’s Paradise 200km ACP brevet, starting at the McDonalds in Poolesville, MD at 7:00AM on April 9, 2016 are now posted at 2016_dcr_200km_pauls_paradise_cue_sunday.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)

Climbing cues are generally 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.

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 2016_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/3307558