“Mother of All 300’s” ACP 300km brevet, 5am, April 29

The “Mother of all 300’s” 300km, is a Lynn Kristianson route starting from Middletown, VA.  We’ll ride it in the original, clockwise direction, as it was ridden for the first time in 2005.  The subsequent year’s ride description on the website described it as the “appallingly hilly but GORGEOUS 2005 West Virginia 300km.”  On the plus side, quoting from a check-out-ride report from 2006 posted by Chuck and Crista “The pure serenity, mountain roads and sensually stimulating vistas in this route are like a dream and are unmatched by anything anywhere else that I have ever ridden.”  The RWGPS route is shown here: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/7519066

Controls with services are almost 100km miles apart and there are few conveniently-located services in between.  Bring extra food and extra water bottles.  Fair warning!  For more detail, see below …

The ride starts at 5am, April 29th, at the Middletown Econolodge.  Park at the extremeties of the parking lot.  There will be safety inspection before the ride, starting at 4am.

The ride starts south from Middletown, working its way to the endless rollers and stunning mountain views of Back Road. The riders then climb the 3 miles over Wolf Gap into WV (there is a delightful spring on the left, it’s on the cue sheet; look for a white plastic pipe about chest height).  After the summit, there is a long, streamside descent and then a long, gradual climb over Mill Gap through the GW National Forest. A second fast descent brings riders to WV259.  You can control either at the Lost River General Store, but it doesn’t open til 10am, or at the Lost River Grille, a mile down 259.  It’s a Grille, not a convenience store, so it has excellent breakfasts, lunches, pies, etc, but not gatorade, bottles of water, or candy bars.  A piece of pie might be your fastest way out if you’re in a hurry.  Your first opportunity to resupply on-bike-eats is either mile 91 or mile 109.  So whatever you want to eat on the bike for roughly the first century needs to be carried from the start.

The course then proceeds north and west as it follows the streams up and down through many small valleys on its way to Romney.  Thirty-six miles into this leg, we avoid a 1.3 mile uphill climb on busy and shoulderless US50 by taking Sand Hill Rd instead.  The downside is that we miss some resupply points on US50 at the top of Jersey Mtn.  But these are only a mile off route at mile 91, and it’s a nearly-flat mile, so not a very big deal if you’re low on water or food.  The terrain moderates somewhat until a climb before the Slanesville control.

Coming into and out of Slanesville, riders face a moderate climb, but then get a respite for the next fifteen miles, riding along the beautiful Cacapon River to Capon Lake and Capon Springs. Climbing back over North Mountain, the riders will pass through apple orchards, gaining elevation up to High View, VA.  Riders are now on a gradual descent punctuated by short, steep climbs.  About 42 miles into this leg, the Shawnee Springs Market is about a half mile off route.  It closes at 9 but if it were a control, the control would close at 9:12, so most riders should find it open if they need it.  Another twenty miles later, the penultimate control is an INFO control at the Crossroads Grocery.  The store closes at 9pm, but the control is open until 11:16.   READ THE NEXT PARAGRAPH TO DRAW OUT THE IMPLICATIONS!  More orchards form the scenery for the return to Middletown–though many riders will pass them in the dark.

Riders who arrive at the mile-131, Yellow Springs control after 5 are at risk of arriving at the mile-169.7 Crossroads Store after it closes. But there is an off-route store at mile 151, Shawnee Springs Market, that closes at 9pm.  HOWEVER, riders who arrive at Yellow Springs after 6:50pm are at risk of missing even the Shawnee Springs Market.  The best advice:  Load up on water and food at mile 131 to make it to the end.  That way, when you get to mile 151 you can evaluate whether to stop for more food and water, or just continue on with what you have.  If you get to Shawnee Springs after it has already closed and you are desperate for food and water, call to see if a volunteer can come out to the Crossroads Store.  But plan to mark this down in your lessons-learned book: You shoulda carried more food and water from Yellow Springs.

Total climbing by my measure is around 14,600 feet, roughly fifty percent more than the Frederick or Warrenton 300km.

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