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General Information About Randonneuring

How much Climb can I expect on DCR Brevets?

Finding & Entering Events

How much Climb can I expect on DCR Brevets?

This table presents climb data on selected local rides (and a few that are in other areas).

Table of Climbing on DC Randonneurs and Other Events
Sorted by Name (See Note About Climbing Below)
Official Events (Brevets Permanents Populaires Fleche)
EventDistance (mi)Elevation Gain (ft)Elevation Gain per Hundred MilesRWGPS Climbing where Available
Bear's Den Day112353444342
Bear's Den Day312967655233
Bainbridge Island ->Pt Townsend->BI142104167333
BMB 1200km74138059513642308
Bridge to Bridge Permanent12881226339
Cacapon 200km12976795962
Chipped Pearl20527311335
Firefly 400Km25212765506114745
Flatbread 200Km128180114041030
Fleche (Blues)23111159483411855
Frederick 300K1871011953989867
Frederick 400K25114597582613905
Frederick 600K37721535571220466
Gappity Gap12711074870513165
Gettysburg Gallop12881956418
Horsing Around Sugarloaf13688556504
If You're Not Rich You're Not Welcome12594397538
Lost River 20012799777871
Many Rivers & Fords 600km (2010 route)384240796274
Many Rivers & Fords 600km (2012 route)38118568486821258
Mason-Dixon Permanent12687376923
Middletown (Mother Of All) 300K19115819826814604
Middletown (Shenandoah) 600K40121832543923847
National Road Lite133102117697
NC Lumberton Atlantic Beach Lumberton 600km37942921133
No Halfway Measures127558743825351
North by Northwest Checkout12759414696
Nottoway Ramble13031002384
Old Rag (Warrenton) 200K125878070258540
Over to Dover (w/Jan)127671153035731
Paul's Paradise126900371549285
PBP 1200km76442317553841341
Rappahanock Rhapsody12860784740
Reno 911 200K13094597298
Ride Around Massanutten (RAMM)129829064158457
Roaring Lion12793077334
Sailing Down to Solomons12951063966
Schuylkill to Susquehanna12691217257
SIR Border to Border 1000km63017649280316500
SIR Four Passes 600km 378206285454
Sowego w/Tom12972265619
Stone Soup12781586407
Tappahanock 200km130377329085100
Urbana 200K129948173698741
Warrenton 300K1899532505010556
Wild & Wonderful w/George M.12788776990
Wilderness Campaign 200km129550542615963
Woad Is Me13763154614
Woodbine Wallop1281038780909933
Woodbine-Dillsburg 200130731856087320
Official Events (Populaires)
Bristow Bop8134924331
Frederick Fairfield Food Fest6431154851
Gettysburg GoLightly w/Jan7445206074
Glen Echo Populaire67418762933868
Leesburg Lollygag6743426440
Lunch at Kelly's Ford6524523760
MarLuLu Populaire6552438129
Mason to Mason6538215836
On the Woad Again7523383127
Thurmont Thump7355137588
Training & Other Rides
EventDistance (mi)Elevation Gain (ft)Elevation Gain per Hundred MilesRWGPS Climbing where Available
All About Abbottstown10047914790
Arl Hill Ride #330314110610
Blue Hill Heaven10575697219
Bury My Heart on the Blue Ridge10395779337
Clippety Clop to Cross Creek10049284944
Cypress Swamp Century10044174398
General Reno's Revenge10198099698
Hamburg Heaven10090859070
Hollow Promises10069976979
Hornets Nest Hundred9879458147
Lovely Lovettsville9965416595
Lunch at Home9877877915
Paved With Good Intent (shortcut)9262786841
Pax River Wanderer13062924824
Pigeon Hills Century10269706812
Pilgrimage to Prospect Peak10173257225
Seagull Century9910871100
Spinning Wheel10070627062
Stepmother of All Rides9972437326
Variations on a Theme by Wm Sh Smith9943264363
Whiskey Springs Hunred10172717176
© Nick Bull 2009 and 2014

Note: While these measurements should be comparable and internally consistent they do not claim to be absolutes. There is no absolute measure of climbing without a definition of what constitutes climbing -- does rolling over a speed bump count? I guess most would say no. But most would probably agree that climbing MarLu ridge counts!

These figures are all based on analyzing actual GPS tracks, adding up all elevation changes between track points of more than two feet. The two-foot minimum step for counting climbing filters out some noise and maximizes the correlation with RWGPS climbing. The data are all based on the ride track made on my Garmin eTrex Vista Cx or HCx (which has a built-in altimeter and which I run with Auto Calibration set to On). Many of these rides have been ridden multiple times and averages are reported for those. Measured climbing is about 20 percent higher if the GPS is not protected by a handlebar bag that is in front of and well above the top of the GPS. The variation in measured climbing is around 5 percent when protected by a handlebar bag and 10 percent without. All climbing data has been adjusted if necessary to be equivalent to climbing measured with a handlebar bag.

Note that rides with similar amounts of climbing per hundred miles may nonetheless be wildly different experiences. Consider three rides that are very similar in terms of feet of climbing per hundred miles but otherwise are about as different as possible.

First the Over to Dover permanent is one of the flattest local permanent with 5303 feet of climbing per hundred miles. It has its ups and downs but it is very pleasant and has no climbs that that _require_ you to get out of your saddle. The biggest climb is a 300 footer and that's an outlier -- there are no notable climbs of more than 400 ft the distance at which I just start to wonder when the climb will ever end. The biggest climb is a 300 footer and that's an outlier -- there are no notable climbs of more than 400 ft the distance that makes me start to wonder when the climb will ever end.

Second and just slightly harder with 5538 feet of climbing per hundred miles is Paris Brest Paris (PBP). While PBP doesn't really have any major climbs -- the biggest is the Roc Trevezel at just over a thousand feet of climbing -- it has eleven notable climbs greater than 400 feet -- and quite a few climbs that left little choice but to be out of the saddle. And of course there is the minor issue that there is just so much climbing over so many days and that an easy climb at 50 miles becomes a tough climb at 700 miles. Still all told only about an eighth of the climbing is on notable climbs of more than 400 feet.

Third with 5454 feet of climbing per hundred miles is the SIR Four Passes 600Km. It has nearly the same climbing as PBP but it is as different as can be. It has seven notable climbs. Four of those are the namesake Four Passes all major climbs with an average altitude increase of 3700 ft apiece and all four of them up in the clouds with snow and ice and very cold temperatures at the summit (when I rode it in June 2008). I think I'm correct in saying that this 600K has the reputation of being the toughest one in the Seattle area. All told about 70 percent of the climbing on the brevet is on notable climbs. But by the climbing per hundred miles metric it's just as easy as Over to Dover!

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