2023 Announcements

Washington Antietam preride report

by Mimo DeMarco

August 27, 2023

It's a good thing I’m in “training” for the stupid hilly 600K in Ohio in a few weeks, or I’d be mad at Emily for putting this route on the September calendar. Yes, it’s gorgeous. Yes, it visits battlefields that are always awe inspiring. Yes, it has resupply points every two hours. And yes, it starts very close to my house.

But damn, did we have to go over Marlu (both ways), Gapland, and Reno? And what’s with the bonus climb over Sugarloaf. It was a good reminder to take my calorie tracking seriously over the next few weeks.

Not to be just a Debbie-downer, this ride does have some great ice cream. Right after you roll over the top of Reno, you pass South Mountain Creamery (yum) or three miles later you can stop at the LDS (not that LDS) store in Middletown which is the oldest seller of Hershey Ice Cream in the US. They were out of chocolate moose tracks during my pre-ride, but still had the regular vanilla-based version.

With over two weeks of recovery time, the returning PBP riders should crush this route. The rest of us might get crushed a little. But it’s character building, sorta fun, gives good bragging rights, and what Rando is all about.

An update from the DCR president

by Ed Felker

July 20, 2023

Greetings all! I hope you are enjoying the summer months on and off the bike.

Now that we are headed toward August and the fall, this is a good time to review our season and look ahead.

Congratulations to everyone who took on a club brevet and populaire this year. We've really had great rides and it's been special to see the new riders join in with the club veterans.

We had a successful spring brevet series as well as the Firefly 400K, and for that I want to thank our new RBA Emily Ranson along with our ride organizers and volunteers. It's no small feat for an organizer to preride and then stage the event, and for that we have a lot to be grateful for.

We have also had good turnout at the roleur populaire series organized by Gardner Duvall. Let Emily and me know what you think of these rides. They offer the randonneur experience in a shorter format, and the use of brewpubs as finish locations adds a welcome social opportunity.

I'm also happy to report that the club finances are strong. We are already close to our projected income for the year at this time. This is mostly due to additional events being added to the schedule. Raising ride fees for our longer events while keeping the shorter events at low cost has more closely matched  income to cost for each type of ride.

Expenses for 300K/400K/600K rides are largely driven by hotel costs, which have increased substantially in the last couple of years. An important part of DC Randonneurs approach is to provide a hotel room for our volunteers on long brevets, allowing them to be better rested before and during brevets and while in transit.

The club hotel also gives riders a place to shower, some limited opportunity to nap after they finish, and allows riders a place to to wind down with the group and eat and drink at the end of a big effort.

The club’s expenses have been lower than anticipated, largely because this year’s longer brevets have been in less expensive start/finish locations (which won’t always be the case).  

We'll take a close look at our 2023 expenses and projected expenses/income when we start budgeting for 2024 to see if this year’s ride fees were set correctly.

Stay tuned also for a member survey to inform our lineup of rides in 2024.

In the coming months we'll have a great program. After Labor Day, we have a 200K brevet and Audax-style 200K in September, a 200K brevet and the Dart in October, and a 200K each in November and December.

The board has decided, however, to forgo the planned PBP sendoff party. We were unable to arrange a suitable venue and we all have lots of plans for the summer weekends.

We'd like to organize a fall gathering to celebrate our PBP riders and everyone who has participated with DCR this year. More to come on that.

I'll finish with a hearty bonne chance to our PBP riders! We've been a presence at the big ride over the years and I'm glad to see DCR riders will be there again.

As always, reach out directly with any suggestions.

Ed Felker
DCR President

Liberty & Union Populaire Pre-Ride Report

by Gardner Duvall

There is an area in western Carroll County and eastern Frederick County, MD, where everything seems to be named for liberty and union: Libertytown, Uniontown, Union Bridge, Liberty Road, Uniontown Road. That’s where we’re riding July 8.

I rode this 70-mile populaire on Saturday. The event starts and finishes at Frey’s Brewing Company, which has a Mt. Airy address, though it is closer to Libertytown. The route is almost entirely in Carroll County, and it’s true to what that implies. That means rolling terrain, lots of dips and rises around creeks, streams, gullies; lots of farms and forests; and stunning views from ridge lines and of Catoctin Mountain off to the west. Most of the roads are small and lightly traveled, and the rest have full shoulders.

In addition to the usual cows in fields, I saw three fawns crossing roads (beware), a great blue heron in a little creek, a mule, newly planted tobacco (this old country boy has never seen that in these parts), goats, three cows wading in a farm pond, and lots of woods. This route is constantly switching between scraps of favorite rando routes and lovely unfamiliar roads.

Given the distance, it is probably best to plan on eating or re-supply at Taneytown, the halfway point. The route goes by Sheetz, McDonalds, High’s, and Dunkin there. Further on, there is a 7-11 in Union Bridge a few miles from the end, and occasional gas stations along the way.

Frey’s Brewing is an excellent spot to start and finish. I sampled the limited menu, trying the charcuterie and pale ale – the things I do for you! There also looks like excellent soft drink choices, including mocktails. The charcuterie features very nice cured meats and local cheese, and it will easily satisfy two to four hungry randos. There is ample seating outdoors, and with A/C inside.

See you July 8, G

Firefly 400

Coming up this weekend is the Firefly 400 - registration closes on Friday at 15:30. If you still need a 400 for PBP or want to practice a night start, this is the ride for you!

Here is a description from Bob Counts:

The Firefly 400k is a route designed by Nick Bull back in 2011 and it has been run every PBP year since then.  I have ridden this beautiful route twice before as a night start Brevet and find it to be excellent training for those of us doing a Sunday afternoon/evening start for PBP.  The night start provides for some quiet roads that would otherwise be busy during the dark hours through the morning.

The route starts from the Warrenton Hampton Inn at 7:30 p.m. on June 24th.  Lights and reflective gear are required and there will be a safety inspection just prior to the ride start.
Starting in Warrenton, you head north through hilly terrain to Purcellville, then back south to Marshall. From there you traverse gradual rollers and a long climb to Linden, there is a nice 24 hour convenience store past Linden which is a turnaround control.  After you retrace a bit, you head south along quiet roads and encounter some of the tough rollers of Crest Hill Rd.  The terrain moderates from Flint Hill to Madison and on down to Charlottesville.   I can recall an excellent napping location on Fort Valley Road when I last rode this in 2019.  There was a nice picnic bench there, hard to miss, approximately at mile 118.  I think we got a nice 30 minute nap here.  From just north of Charlottesville, you go northeast towards Orange on less undulating terrain but still very scenic.

The route is well controlled with good overnight supply locations.  There is a Sheetz in Madison (mile 140) and another Sheetz in Ruckersville (Mile 166), D’s Market (Mile 179) and then yet another Sheetz in Orange, VA (mile 191).  In fact, I think I recall thinking “this could be called Tour De Sheetz”.  We will have fluids and snacks at the closed-on-Sunday Elk Run Store.

After Orange, you take Twin Mountains Road to bypass 522 and replace a trafficky road with a gentle, low speed one.  After that is the excellent payoff of the lovely Algonquin Trail.  The terrain may get tougher through Kelly’s Ford but will moderate by the time you reach the Elk Run Store. From Elk Run it is about 20 miles on nice roads back to Warrenton.