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

April 17th, 2017

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.

Cue Sheet and GPS Files for April 15th Frederick 300km ACP Brevet

April 10th, 2017

The cue sheet for the Frederick 300km ACP Brevet, starting at the Frederick Days Inn at 5:00AM on April 15th is now posted in various formats at 2017_dcr_300km_frederick_cue1.zip

Parking:  Riders will need to park in the Days Inn truck parking gravel lot.  In the map that is linked to above, this is identified with a big arrow and the letter “P”.  The entrance is off of Grove Rd just a little down from the Days Inn.  Look for a sign that says Days Inn Truck Parking.  Park at the back of the lot.

Registration will be in the breakfast area of the Days Inn starting at 4am.  This is near the green exclamation park on the map.  Come early enough to buy breakfast at the Waffle House next door!

Lights and reflective gear are required for this ride so when you come to registration please be ready to pass safety inspection.

Note that there is a bridge out after mile 153.8 … the cue sheet has the detour … old-timers, don’t just ride on auto-pilot, here.

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 2017_dcr_300km_frederick-gps.zip.

A RidewithGPS version that may be useful for people using certain Garmin Edge GPS’s and/or other GPS’s is posted here.

Ye Olde Frederick 300km ACP brevet, April 15, 5am

April 3rd, 2017

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–including the sweetest descent on any of our routes–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.

Old Rag 200km Cue Sheets and GPS Files, April 1st, 7am

March 28th, 2017

The Warrenton (Old Rag) 200km ACP brevet starts at the Warrenton Hampton Inn in Warrenton, VA at 7:00AM on April 1st.  Be sure to park at the extremities of the parking lot. Lights and reflective gear are note required but are always a good idea, e.g. in case of morning fog or rain.

The cue sheet(s) are posted here: 2017_dcr_old_rag_200km_cue.zip  As usual, the “2up” cue sheet is for handlebar bags and the PDF version prints best.  The cue sheets include a probably-unnecessary detour around the low-water bridge at mile 47.8.  You can just ignore it if it hasn’t been raining a lot.

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.

Climbing cues are 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.

GPS files are posted at 2017_dcr_old_rag_200km-hiwater-gps.zip.  The RideWithGPS version is here.

Because there is a low-water bridge on the route, if there has been heavy rain, watch your cue sheet for a Detour and navigate the Detour route in the posted GPS file.

Warrenton ACP 300km Cue Sheet, Route comments, and GPS Files, April 1st, 5am

March 28th, 2017

The Warrenton ACP 300km brevet starts at the Warrenton Hampton Inn in Warrenton, VA at 5:00AM on April 1st.  Be sure to park at the extremities of the parking lot.

Cue sheets are posted at 2017_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.  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.

Registration and safety inspections start at 4:00AM.  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 2017_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 1st, 5am

March 19th, 2017

On April 1st, we are running two ACP brevets, the Old Rag 200km and the Warrenton 300km.   Both start at the Warrenton Hampton Inn, The 200km will start at 7am and the 300km will start at 5am.  If you register for one of these and later decide you want to switch, then you can do that.  If you switch from the 200 to the 300 you’ll need to chip in the extra $10 for the price difference; no refund switching the other direction.

The Warrenton 300km is a Lynn Kristianson route that 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.  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 (even what used to be a brief section of gravel near the end is now paved).  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 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”:

Warrenton “Old Rag” ACP 200km brevet April 1st

March 19th, 2017

On April 1st, we are running two ACP brevets, the Old Rag 200km and the Warrenton 300km.   Both start at the Warrenton Hampton Inn, The 200km will start at 7am and the 300km will start at 5am.  If you register for one of these and later decide you want to switch, then you can do that.  If you switch from the 200 to the 300 you’ll need to chip in the extra $10 for the price difference; no refund switching the other direction.

From Warrenton we head generally southwest on this Crista Borras route, passing through rolling horse farm country with the Blue Ridge Mountains as our backdrop. We parallel the Blue Ridge as far south as Madison.  Old-timers will miss the traditional stop at Yoder’s, which has moved to US-29 and thus a stop there would involve too much traffic for too many miles.  On the plus side, we can avoid Orange Rd, which was also a little too much traffic.  Instead, we’ll head directly to Madison where riders who need resupply can stop at the BP, McDonald’s or other restaurants in town.  The route is fairly gentle as we wind our way to Syria in the shadow of Grave’s Mountain. A steep climb followed by a 3-mile descent puts us up and over the Old Rag Grinder. A series of steep and unrelenting rollers–lovingly known as The Three Kings and The Meanies–will consume us for the next hour.  The Laurel Mills store was closed last time through, but water is available at the sweet spring that flows nearby. Country roads bordered by stone fences carry us through Ben Venue and into Flint Hill and the final control at the reopened Orlean Store. A final climb over Piney (”Pukin”) Mountain brings us back to Warrenton–we’ll ride right on past the HoJos detouring on side roads back to the Hampton Inn. Estimated total elevation gain : 8,800 feet.