ACP 600km Brevet - June 3 - Warrenton, VA

Many Rivers and Fords 600km

This year’s 600km is based on the Lynn Kristianson route that we last rode in 2014. I’ve made some revisions to substitute some of the nicer roads that we rode recently on Lynn’s Kinder-Gentler route for roads that have become notably worse in recent years, like VA230 which heads west from Madison and has been the topic of numerous complaints.  So old-timers, don’t just ride on autopilot and follow the old route.

But in broad outline the old and new Many Rivers routes are the same.  The new route makes a slightly bigger loop in northern Virginia (255 miles), returning to the start hotel for the overnight, then the second day is slightly smaller than in the old Many Rivers (128 miles), also in northern Virginia.  A preliminary route is posted here (but don’t follow the RWGPS cue sheet … always get one at the ride start).

Starting from the Warrenton Hampton Inn at 4 am on June 3rd, riders head south and west, down to Griffinsburg where the route turns south into Madison County down to Somerset. From there we head west for many miles on 609/Scuffletown Rd with wonderful Blue Ridge views and moderate terrain, to a control in Dyke. From there we ride the very scenic 810 through the foothills in Greene and Albemarle counties.

After Dyke, the terrain gets a little more hilly through Crozet and down toward the James River.  Brown’s Store at about the 200km point may provide welcome relief as riders near the turning point of the route a little southwest of Scottsville.

Moving east from the mountains, the terrain moderates through Fluvanna and Louisa counties. After a possible dinner stop in Louisa, the new route heads NNW toward a control in Orange.  This sets us up so that many riders can avoid US522 … your tires need to be suitable for 2-1/2 miles of flat, usually pleasant gravel. Either way, you end up heading east on the old familiar (and peaceful) Algoquin Trail. Bypassing the narrow, dark roads around Kelly’s Ford, instead it heads north to Brandy Station and then east to Remington. Crossing US15, 29 and 17 a number of times, riders return to Warrenton on the now-traditional Lunsford/Duhollow approach, eschewing all the ups and downs of Lover’s Lane and Lees Ridge.

The second loop of the route is largely based on George Moore’s (thank you George) Rappahannock Randonee in the reverse direction.  It heads due south from Warrenton through southern Fauquier and Stafford counties. Some of these roads can be  busy at times. There is a short section of suburban confusion and some increasingly built-up areas until the route intersects Bike Route 1 just west of I-95 and US1. A very quiet approach to Fredericksburg encounters a couple of tough hills, but almost no traffic until the Rappahannock bridge. There is no control in downtown Fredericksburg but breakfast or coffee possibilities are numerous, including Hyperion Espresso a few blocks of the route. After the commotion of old town Fredericksburg the route passes through the National Park Service Battlefield along serene tree-lined Lee Drive. A very short gravel section finishes the battlefield and resumes quiet suburban and then rural roads five miles further into Caroline County and the southernmost control at the road to Summit.

From here the route swings west and finally turns north to an open control in Spotsylvania Courthouse. Here the riders pick up the northeasterly return - through more battlefields - for the Wilderness Campaign and several other permanents, along Brock Road, Eleys Ford Road and past the Inn at Kelly’s Ford on Edwards Shop Road. Continuing east on Summerduck, the route takes riders up Elk Run to the Midland Store, a welcome source of respite, before heading to Midland and one of the more-relaxed approaches to Warrenton.

Climbing: Many Rivers and Fords (MRF) has about 18,500 feet of climbing; a third more climbing than the Kinder Gentler 400km and about twenty percent more than Four States. The climbing is comparable in nature to PBP climbing:  You are seldom on the flat or in the same gear for long, but there are no “notable” climbs of more than 400 feet, unlike the last ride which had several such notable climbs.

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