DC Randonneurs


Washington Antietam10-16-2021 07:00None Registered

06-15-2021 16:49
10-15-2021 12:00
RUSA 200
Sunrise at 7:19:59 AM Sunset at 6:27:58 PM

Email Roger

Get me there
Palisades Starbucks
5185 MacArthur Boulevard #104
Washington, DC 20016


Washington Antietam is a challenging ride from our nation's capital to the site of the bloodiest single day in its history. Bring your climbing legs, or be sure you have a bailout gear.

After five mellow miles on MacArthur Boulevard, the climbing starts as soon as you turn onto Persimmon Tree Road. After Potomac at mile 9, the McMansions slowly give way to a mixture of woods and argricultural land. You'll face a steady succession of rollers as you cross one stream after another headed towards its mouth in the Potomac River to your south.

After Dickerson at mile 35, you'll be able to rest your legs for a few miles riding parallel to the Potomac on the O&OD canal towpath, then heading northwest across flat land to Adamstown at mile 45 . . . as long as the wind isn't blowing out of the north.

After that, you'll climb three steep ridges—Marlu, Mountville, and Reno Monument—in thirty miles, all of them ridden the hard way. The latter two were the site of heavy fighting during the battle of South Mountain, which preceded the main engagement at Antietam / Sharpsburg. The fighting in the gaps slowed the Union advance under McClellan enough that Lee was able to reunify the Confederate forces he had earlier split by sending troops to Harper's Ferry.

You'll be able to recover some on the mostly downhill route from the second climb, Mountville, to the turnaround point at Sharpsburg. If you're lucky, the turn eastward there will gain you a tailwind as well as a quick tour through the main battlefield. After the hardest climb of all, over Reno Monument, you be able to coast much of the way to Middletown.

Be sure to eat in Middletown, if you haven't already done so at Battleview Market in Sharpsburg, because the fun isn't over yet. A series of rollers on steroids will take you south to Jefferson and back over the Marlu Ridge, very much the easy way. Be sure to obey the traffic light for US 15 at the bottom of the very fast descent off Marlu Ridge. You wouldn't want to end up in traffic court.

You'll recross the flat section between Adamstown and Lilly Pons water gardens, then jog north to Mt. Ephraim Road over the shoulder of Sugarloaf Mountain, some gravel, and an information control. After that, you'll descend through farmland to Dickerson, climb right back up to Beallsville Road, then descend to Poolesville.

You still have some work to do, so grab something quick at the Crown station or Bassett's restaurant on your right, or look for McDonalds and Cugini's Pizza on your left as you go through town on Wootton Ave.

After you rejoin River Road at mile 115, you'll retrace the outbound route, but the climbs are gentler, the descents longer, than they were on the way out. By the time you reach the finish, you'll be ready for some ice cream at Mac Market or pizza at GoPopolo SPK.

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