DC Randonneurs


		
	

Come ride with DC Randonneurs!

Membership Renewal

If you join DC Randonneurs, or renew your current membership, after October 1, your new membership will run through the end of the following year. So renew now, and your membership will run through December 31, 2022.

This year's annual meeting will be held relatively early, on January 8, 2022, and meeting material only gets mailed to active members. So this is a particularly good year to renew early and not wait until the last minute.

Washington - Antietam Preride Report

First a warning. This is a challenging ride with numerous climbs that exceed 10 percent for significant stretches. It is also long for a 200 - essentially a half hour or so longer than a ride of exactly 200 kilometers.

The payoffs are some remarkable scenery, a tour of several Civil War battlefields, and quiet roads, many of them virtually car-less, once you get to Bretton Woods country club at mile 17.4.

The ride starts from Starbuck's Coffee at 5185 MacArthur Boulevard in the District, the same start we use for the Mountain Church 200. Those who live nearby can ride there; others may already have a favorite neighborhood parking spot for Mountain Church. In general, something between MacArthur and the river, preferably without any residential parking restrictions, should work.

River Road between Potomac and Bretton Woods (miles 8.9 - 17.4) will be quiet in the morning. What traffic there is will move quickly, but River Road is heavily used by cyclists, so drivers know to look for us. However, they do not take kindly to riders in the traffic lane. There is enough room to the right of the white line that riders shouldn't need to use the traffic lane except to avoid obstacles or cross one or two bridges.

Pavement varies from good to excellent until you get to Mouth of Monocacy Road at mile 31.5. There, things go from bad to worse as you descend towards the junction of the Monocacy and the Potomac: first a bridge with a very rough wooden deck, then an uneven railroad crossing, finally more potholes than road as you approach the boat landing and C&O towpath. The towpath itself is in good condition and will come as a welcome rest.

Before you get to the challenging back to back climbs up Marlu Ridge and Gapland, keep your eyes out for the very rough railroad crossing at mile 43.6 in Adamstown. That crossing has deteriorated badly in just the last few months. From Gapland to Sharpsburg is mostly downhill, but don't ride hungry past Battleview Market (mile 65.1) because Reno Monument is the day's toughest climb. From there you will again tend downhill to Middletown MD, which offers several food options.

A series of rollers on steroids then leads you to Jefferson MD, where you can choose between ice cream, donuts, and convenience store fare. Back over Marlu Ridge the easy way, with spetacular views west to Harper's Ferry and south along the Blue Ridge well into Virginia.

Miles 96.5 - 99.6 on Mt. Ephraim Road are gravel and cross the shoulder of Sugarloaf Mountain. The gravel is in good condition, with some loose gravel in the middle and on the sides but otherwise firmly packed by car tires. There is almost no washboarding and only a few potholes, but keep your eyes open in any case. Now that the bridge across the Monocacy on MD 20 has reopened, there is almost no traffic on this section. I counted a grand total of one pickup truck, one bicyclist, and four hikers when I rode it in glorious weather this past Saturday. It can, however, get messy if it rains, as it did for the Mountain Church 200 this spring. Wider tires and fenders, or at least an ass-saver, will help.

One more significant climb up Big Woods Road, and then you'll descend towards Poolesville and a chance to stock up for the final push. River Road (miles 115.1 - 125.0) will be a lot more active than it was in the morning, with people hurrying to get somewhere or just showing off their fancy cars. However, you will also need to keep an eye out for drainage grates that are below road level. You can get around them and still stay just to the right of the white line. But don't inadvertently ride into one, as doing so could destroy your front wheel and a whole lot more.

If you are struggling, there are numerous food options in Potomac at mile 124.6. From there, you'll descend Persimmon Tree road past the golf courses at Congressional (on your left) and Avenel (on your right) before the final time trial down MacArthur to the finish. The pavement going this way on MacArthur has deteriorated badly, so I recommend using the parallel bike path as long as it isn't too crowded with pedestrians, dogs, and other random stuff.

Harriet's Journey Home Ride

On October 16, DC Randonneurs will be running the challenging Washington - Antietam route as a RUSA brevet. However, if you are unable to participate in that event and live on the Eastern Shore, you may find the following announcement by Bike the UGRR of interest.

We're hosting a fundraiser cycling ride on October 16 near Cambridge, MD to raise money for the "Harriet's Journey Home Project". This project hopes to raise $250,000 to commission, purchase, and permanently install a bronze statue of our local hero, Harriet Tubman, in front of the Dorchester Country courthouse. Inspired by Harriet Tubman and her daring journeys to freedom on the Underground Railroad, the ride will travel along and near the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway on Maryland's Eastern Shore. We're planning 25-mile or 43-mile rides, and both will provide opportunities to stop at significant landmarks and sites along the UGRR Byway in Dorchester County to learn more about their historical significance.

Check out more information on our registration page, and we hope that you can make it out.

Old Rag 200 Preride Report

What new can you say in a pre-ride report for the Old Rag brevet? DCRand has run this brevet 12 times since 2008, with 304 finishers. It's a challenging ride, but there have been 13 finishes at 8 hours or less. That history is why we chose this wonderful route for the 100th anniversary ACP brevet on September 11, 2021.

This year we start at the Wawa at 510 Frost Ave. There is street parking on Waterloo Street/Bus 211, across Broadview Ave/Bus 17 from the Wawa. Because of Covid precautions we are using a show and go start window of 7:00 to 7:30, with your elapsed time counted from your start time within that window. Be sure to document your start time, and turn on your GPS if you using it for electronic proof.

After the short hill up to historic Warrenton, the route turns southeast into rolling horse country, with tended pastures and rock walls. Around mile 28 Reuwer’s Grocery pops up on the right. This may seem early to stop, but Reuwer’s can supply you to complete the leg to Syria. My egg sandwich had lots of bacon, and there are picnic tables 'round back.

Around mile 58 you reach Madison, which has several restaurants including McDonald's, and a convenience store close to the course. Soon after that you begin the gradual ascent to Old Rag, with the Syria Mercantile at mile 71 providing good food on the route. Have I said before you should get a milkshake there? I did when T and I stopped here on the pre-ride, and I’ll get another one on September 11. I find myself overdoing the food at Syria, so exercise some discretion with the mountain climb coming up next.

Old Rag is hardly our hardest mountain, and this route takes you up but not over the mountain. Hopefully on September 11 you’ll catch a little porch-front bluegrass on the way down, at South F T Valley Rd, where That Little Country Store was grilling some impressive chicken yesterday. From there some big rollers take you to the control at Laurel Mills (mile 94), where we stopped for a coke and some water. There are service further along at the Orleans Market at mile 114. There are only ten miles to go from here, but guard against the bonk because you still have to climb Piney (Puking) Mountain Rd. At least that provides an easy glide back down to the start. When you get there be sure to document your finish time.

The second half of this route is harder than the first, plan for that. This offers many fine views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with lots of farms, orchards and vineyards. T and I spotted a bald eagle, great blue heron, red-tailed hawk, swallow tail butterflies, a monarch butterfly, and a hummingbird. We also saw horseback riders, lots of cattle, and a couple of good-looking pigs. Another data point: I have ridden 52 different 200k routes, and created maybe a quarter of those. With that experience, Old Rag is certainly the very best.

Instructions for sending your proof of passage to organizer Robert Beatty will be on the ride documents. Because of Covid there is no official post-ride gathering, but Fosters across from the Wawa has some outdoor seating to meet up with friends.

See you September 11!

Cue Sheet Library Now Online

A complete library of DC Randonneurs' cue sheets from 2008 through 2019 is now available online at Cue Sheet Library. The library can also be reached from this site by clicking on About > Pre-2020 Cue Sheets.

Cue sheets starting with 2020 are stored with route maps in the club's RideWithGPS library.

South Mountain 600 Preride Report

Parking: if you’re not staying at the Hampton Inn at the start/finish, the side parking lot at the Weis a block east is a great place to leave your car.

Some general observations about the route: Lots of low traffic roads, lots of services along the way; really nice pavement (on day 1, lots of chip seal on day 2), and beautiful views.

Warning #1: Lots of new chip seal along the route, be careful of gravel in turns, or the gravel “quick sand” along the sides of roads that looks like chip seal but is actually loose gravel.

Warning #2 : Don’t count solely on your electronic device to record your ride. Have a backup plan, like photos of each control, or ride with someone who has a backup plan.

The ride itself:

Mile 10.0: Watch out for the metal bridge on Hessong Bridge Road. Very very slippery when moist, and you'll be approaching it downhill at speed. You’ll see it at the end of the route as well, but you'll be going a lot slower then.

The first significant climb of the day is Jacks Mountain, just before the Fairfield Open Control – Note that the SUNOCO is no longer there. You will have to use the Fairfield Mini Mart at mile 30.6 if you need refreshments or if you need to use the facilities. Bathroom is for paying customers.

If you do not need anything in Fairfield after documenting your control info, you will have another opportunity to fill up at mile 43.1 in Arendtsville. You will want to be well stocked before the climbing starts in Michaux. None of the three climbs are difficult. We rated them and Mike rated the first as more difficult because it was the first. Jack rated the last as more difficult because it steepened at the very top. The middle climb was wonderful – low elevation grade and fantastic downhill. The downhill after the last climb almost drops you into the second open control in Mt Holly Springs. Lots of good quick options. Sicilia Pizza (mile 68.5) has wonderful pizza and subs. Jack doesn’t tolerate pizza on long rides very well, so we controlled at Sheetz. This might have been the first ride ever in Mike’s life without pizza. You may want to fill up here because the next opportunity will not come until you get to around mile 90 in Newville or 104 in Shippensburg.

Your next control is an info control at a church at mile 84.9. Jack took a wonderful picture of the two of us which had an interesting question. It’s worth the ride to take that picture. Anyway the route turns south west at that point to get you to the open control at Mercersburg at mile 134.5. The route takes you through Shippensburg (mile 104) for those who do not stop in Newville. We had a wonderful tailwind all the way down. You have several options in Mercersburg including McDonalds and Rutter’s. We used the Rutter’s because it seems all the McDonalds were only drive though.

A little while after Mercersburg, we turned SSE towards Shepherdstown, after going through Williamsport. Lots of food options there also but we didn’t need anything. At the open control in Shepherdstown (mile 173), we rode past the Sheetz to get to the Dairy Queen for dinner. The bacon cheese hamburger was good but not as good a slice of pizza would have been.

From Shepherdstown, we continued south for the climb up into Gapland the easy way and dropped into Brunswick to cross the river to the open control in Lovettsville (196.8). We didn’t need anything here so we took our picture and continued to the next control in Purcellville at mile 212.6. Mike was needing a slice of pizza very badly here but alas no pizza. Thanks Jack. (Note from Jack: if I’d realized how beholden Mike was to pizza, I would have acquiesced to a pizza joint and gotten a sub. Assert yourself a little more next time, or let’s just go to two different eateries at the next control!).

After Purcellville, we took some unfamiliar road (to me) through Waterford and Taylorstown down to the Potomac Crossing at Point of Rocks. The roads from Lovettsville to Taylorstown felt like big rollers and I’m looking forward to riding those roads in the light of day. Traffic was light so no real issues crossing the bridge.

As you go through Point of Rocks – be very very careful crossing the railroad tracks at around mile 230.8. The worst crossing Mike has ever experienced. Please walk your bike if you’re tired or if traffic is oncoming. The info control at mile 231.6 is the Rocky Point Creamery. Try to get there before they close at 8:30 if you can because the ice cream is awesome.

The left onto New Design should bring some relief. You’re almost there. New Design will take you right back into Frederick and back to your hotel.

Hope you didn’t think the climbing was over day 1, because although there is nothing significant on the elevation profile the ridges/hummocks/stingers just keep coming. In particular the first 18 miles will remind your legs, liquefied from the day before, that it ain’t over yet. If you have to, swallow your pride and push your bike to the top of Gravel Hill Road (mile 258), a 240 foot wall that tops out at ~10% and may strike fear in your heart. Coppermine Road, just after it, is almost as challenging (but I managed to stay on my bike). Most of the day you will be grinding your way up steep but short ridges, flying down the back side, rinse, lather, repeat. A nice reprieve is the stretch from about 10 miles before Gettysburg until Emmittsburg, where you can motor along at a good clip in the flat or on gentle rollers and make up time. Services are plentiful along the way. The Rutters in East Berlin at mile 304 is a great lunch stop with a small seating section. Bring your ear plugs, the 17-year cicadas will blow you out with their song if the weather is nice.

RBA NOTES: I was amused that the "first significant climb" was Jack's Mountain, since the route runs up South Mountain from Thurmont to Sabillasville on the way to Jack's Mountain.

Jack originally reported that the first 18 miles on Day 2 are "sadistic." RWGPS counts about 75 feet of climbing per mile in that stretch, equal to more than 9,000' per 200k. That's not a great "breakfast" after a long Saturday in the saddle, and things stay spiky for a good bit after that, but the average climbing for Day 2 is about 50' per mile. I can see that Jack's speed picked up in the second half or last third of Day 2, so stay optimistic.

Four States 400 Preride Report

It’s tough to write a pre-ride report for a 400K. I can make a 200K sound like a pleasant stroll in the park with lots of beautiful scenery. And a 300K notches up the challenge and an author can wax poetic about terrain and weather influences. But a 400K, it’s always difficult. At no point, do you ever say “I wish this magical ride would go on forever” because well, it already does…

So I’ll stick to the facts. Gardner and I rode the course on Saturday May 1st and into the morning of Sunday May 2nd. It took the amount of time it took and I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon in a semi-zombie state.

Push is from the Hampton Inn in Frederick, MD. Much safer for your car and cleaner lodgings than prior Frederick launching points not to be named. We parked in the Weiss parking lot across the street since we didn’t pay for lodging, but I’d very strongly recommend a post ride room to avoid driving home after the 400K. Your loved ones will definitely approve this choice for safety’s sake.

Miles 19 and 23 – Sheetz and 7-11 for those of you that left the start underfueled or underbathroomed.

Mile 39.5 – Round Hill Grocery and Mini-Mart – 8 AM opening time, so very dependent on pace and start time. Most likely not an option.

Mile 46.3 – Bluemont General Store – Pies, Ice Cream, 7 AM opening time, super cute and the kind of place you want to support. Right at the base of your first real climb. Oops.

Mile 51 – Citgo country store – 6 AM opening time, warm breakfast sandwiches and a welcome respite after a pretty scary descent on Highway 7. Hopefully much less gusty wind on May 14th than on May 1st.

Nice rollers through the countryside heading North at this point. We cruise through Shepherdstown with it’s mix of “just off course” food options at Mile 78 and turn NW towards Hancock at Mile 113. Both Gardner and I wished we could just take the parallel railroad rather than the silly road that goes up and down 50 feet, over and over.

Speaking of railroads – This entire route traverses approximately 135 railroad crossings. All were safe. Only two, one right before Hancock, and one in the last bit, were other than perpendicular to the road and none had big, tire sucking gaps.

Mile 113 – Hancock - NO SUBWAY anymore. A very limited Sheetz and definitely a Sheetz where I didn’t feel super comfortable running in quickly to order food while my beautiful, precious, dearer to me than my children, newish bicycle is sitting outside. I kid, I kid. I love my kids. Most of the time.

Mile 130 – After passing a cute little campground with lots of cornhole, beer, and smiles in evidence, you get a pleasant little climb. It’s a DCR route so you knew that was coming sooner than later.

Mile 146.3 – St. Thomas Uni-Mart – If you need a snack or just a Coke on a hot day, this is a good spot for a quick respite.

Mile 166 – Shippensburg Sheetz – Like a little bit of dreamy Rando cuisine, you can put taters in your burrito. I mean, what is better than a potato wedge? Maybe a potatoe wedge? Might need to do a taste test. Definitely a good breaking spot since we head upwards after we cross I-81.

First peak is at 187.6 and the second is at 196.5. Since it’s likely dark and temps are rapidly dropping, I’d suggest bundling up for the descent if summer hasn’t arrived with a bang. The wind will cut through your clothes and evaporate your sweat regardless. And as always, only go as fast as you safely can with a dinky little headlight shining the way. I only had to come to a complete stop once for deer blocking my path, but your mileage may vary.

Mile 210 – Gettysburg 7-11 – I wish I could send you elsewhere, but the 7-11 is the only game in town after 9 pm. You’ll roll past seventy-three other establishments with dark windows though.

Mile 234 – NOTHING in Thurmont – If you’re like me and get sleepy at night, then some caffeine is needed at this point in the ride. Well, you better get it somewhere else because the 7-11 in Thurmont is closed from midnight to 6 AM.

Mile 248.6 – Roll back to the Hampton Inn! You may now lay down on the tarmac because you’ve done it! Even the snobbiest bike racer or triathlete will give you a well-deserved tip of the hat for doing a 400K. And your fellow Randonneurs will ask if you’ve signed up for the 600K yet.

Mountain Church Ride Preview

Not quite a pre-ride, but I have ridden Coffee Quest, the very similar permanent version of Mountain Church, the last two weeks and have the following to report.

The bridge over the Monocacy River on MD28 has reopened, but we're going to ride the route we road last fall which avoids it. That means you'll take the C&O canal towpath outbound, when it is more or less deserted and a pleasant respite from what little traffic you encounter until then.

On the way back, we'll take the Mt. Ephraim road over the shoulder of Sugarloaf Mountain. Several miles are on gravel, as noted on the cue sheet. Pending any last-minute work, the gravel is smooth and firm, with slight washboarding and only two or three large potholes, all on uphill sections where they are easy to spot and avoid. There is some loose gravel in the middle of the road and on the sides, but the car tracks are firm. Tires that are 25mm or wider will do fine.

But the big news is that with the reopening of the bridge and with Stronghold having posted no parking signs everywhere, there is almost no vehicular traffic on Mt. Ephraim -- a mere handful of cars when I've ridden it.

Otherwise, the road are in good shape except for some very rough pavement and large potholes on Mouth of Monocacy as it approaches the river around mile 38. The route features resupply points at fairly frequent intervals. Depending on whether you are vaccinated and what your comfort level is, there are a Burger King, Sheetz, and McDonald's all grouped together just before the route crosses US340 at mile 63. All are new and spacious and have tables for outside dining.

Mother of All 300s Preride Report

Bill and I headed out on Friday for the Mother of All Checkouts – the checkout of the hardest, and arguably the most beautiful, 300k the DC Randonneurs offer. The ride starts off from the Econolodge in Middletown, where I will be in the morning with some breakfast and on-bike food. If you arrive Friday evening, be sure to go to Shaffer's BBQ, just down US-11. Bill got the brisket and fries, I got the chopped pork and collard greens. Both options were EXCELLENT.

The route starts off with 18 gently rolling miles along Back Road until you make the right turn to Wolf Gap, where you will start your first significant climb of the day. Fortunately, you will be climbing slowly enough to admire the redbud trees, which were near peak bloom here and along most of the route. There is a spring towards the top of the hill at mile 33 with a white pipe. Be aware that the ground by the spring is muddy, but be sure to fill up water here since your next opportunity for water will be at mile 55. There are rocks to keep your feet dry.

The descent from Wolf Gap is relatively well paved, and the route gives you a nice reprieve along Trout Run before the next significant climb at Mill Gap.

After the fast descent from Mill Gap, you will arrive at a T at mile 52.7 where you have the option to turn left for a 1-mile detour to the Lost River Grill for breakfast or right to continue on the route. The Lost River General Store, which is along the route to the right, is closed for renovation, so I will be at mile 55 at Kimsey Run Lake with water and snacks. This is a lake to your right on Kimsey Run Road where there is a port-a-potty. Be sure to stop here since your next opportunity for water will be a fire station at mile 89.6, and your next opportunity for food will be in Slanesville at mile 107.1 after 55 miles of climbing.

The Slanesville General Store will be a welcome relief, where there is both a convenience store and amazing restaurant. This will be your best and only spot for lunch, so be sure to fuel up here. Bill and I both got burgers, and while we waited for them to come out, Bill quick-shopped at the store for more on-bike snacks. They have an indoor and outdoor eating area, and they were not too slow.

From here you have 22 relatively gentle miles, including the flattest 10 miles of the route along the Cacapon River. Be sure to look for the bison on the left around mile 119, shortly after the turn onto Capon River Rd, and also admire the Virginia Bluebells that are blooming in abundance along the river. The Capon River Store at mile 129.1 is currently closed, but the proprietor is selling seedlings and vegetables out front. He said that he would have a cooler outside for riders and sell canned drinks for $1 cash. But you should probably not rely on these canned drinks in your planning.

At mile 148.8 you have a decision point – either continue to Crossroads Grocery (which closes at 9 PM at mile 167.7) or stop at Shawnee Springs Market. Bill and I knew we weren’t making it to Crossroads before it closed, so we stopped at Shawnee Springs. To get to the store, simply continue straight on Cross Junction Rd instead of turning on Collinsville Rd and then turn right into the driveway for the market. They have sandwiches, pre-made goodies, and baked goods, so it’s a good dinner stop. Bill recommends the 6-inch apple pie.

At mile 155.4, the Siler Store is closed, so don’t be fooled thinking that you can restock here. They even still have a sign advertising all the goodies they no longer sell.

From Crossroads Grocery at mile 167.7, the route moderates significantly and we were able to make up for some lost time. Watch out for the intersection at mile 176.4. The GPS shows you going straight for some reason – but it’s a T and a stop sign, with a right turn from 620/Miller Rd to 622/Cedar Creek Grade.

I’ll be waiting for you at the Econolodge. Call when you are done and I’ll have your finishing sandwich ready. You will have earned it by finishing this DC Randonneurs classic!

Hotel Block for Frederick 400 and 600

Chris Readinger has secured for us a great group rate at the Hampton Inn Frederick we are using for the start/finish/overnight for the Four States 400 on May 15 and the South Mountain Redux Revisited 600 on June 5. Details on these rates are found in the ride description for these events on the this website. Thanks, Chris!

This group rate expires 2 weeks prior to the event, so the offer for the 400 expires on April 30th (2 weeks from now). The group rate for the 600 expires on May 21st.

Audax Brevets Are Coming

In 2022 RUSA is adding the opportunity to conduct audax brevets under the auspices of the Union des Audax. Below I have patched together some communications on this subject. I expect to include one of these on the DCR and schedule in the fall of 2022.

Audax brevets are group rides similar to the flechè. Riders start together, ride together, and finish together. Riders are never alone, the effort is constant, and controls are for rest rather than validating passage along the route. In addition to riding together, riders on audax brevets take sit-down meals together.

Audax is characterized by a common riding pace of 22.5kph (14mph) with stops of fixed duration (~15min. per 40-60km; 45-90 min. for sit-down meals). Homologated distances are 100, 150, 200, 300, 400, 600, and 1000km. PBP-Audax is every four years and next occurs in 2022.

The main differences are that riding willfully outside the peloton is forbidden and the peloton is led by organizer-appointed “route captains.” Route captains set the pace, navigate, and maintain the good order of the ride. Because controls are unnecessary to prove riders followed the route, it is not required to use the shortest route between controls. The maximum finish times are different for some distances: The 100km has a time limit of 7h (instead of 6h40), the 200km is 14h (instead of 13.5h), and the 1000K is 76h (instead of 75h).

The pace is part of the UAF rules -- 22.5kph rolling average (e.g., exclusive of stops).

Going off the front -- passing the route captains -- is forbidden and would result in disqualification.

Failing to keep the pace happens but it's surprisingly rare. If you're giving it your all and trying to stay with the group, then you're still official if you finish within the maximum time. So while the peloton time on a 200k is 11h40, riders have 14h to get in the door and still get credit. Those times I had riders fall off the back despite best efforts I dispatched captains or others to stay with them and help them in (or I did it myself, in one case).

The same happens with punctures or other mechanicals. The peloton does not stop. We take a few strong riders and help them get the flat changed or the problem sorted out and then those riders work together at whatever pace they can maintain to come back to the group.

Note, though, the difference between dropped riders or those with mechanicals and those, on the other hand, who are "just doing their own thing:" They've decided to stay longer at a control, ride their own pace, and are just wilfully not part of the group. That's a DQ in audax, even if they make the time limit.

My understanding is that RUSA will count UAF rides of appropriate length for R12 and P12 credit.

Mason Dixon 1200 June 9 - 12, 2022

DC Randonneurs is pleased to announce the Mason Dixon 1200 on June 9, 2022 starting and finishing in Leesburg, VA. The Mason Dixon 1200 travels country roads through places where US Civil War factories hummed, crops grew, slaves reached freedom, and critical battles raged. The route includes the Blue Ridge and South mountains, Shenandoah Valley, the iconic Antietam and Gettysburg battlefields, and Pennsylvania Dutch Country, all in the Mason Dixon region that functionally separated Union and Confederate territories. Our website is full of information about the Civil War history of this land, prominently including social history like the Underground Railroad.

There is also a 1000k option. Interested riders can add their names to the list at the ride website, or contact the ride organizers by email.

Soldiers Delight 300 Preride Report

G and I pre-rode the Soldiers Delight ACP 300k brevet on March 13, 2021. It was a very elevating experience, with almost every type of climbing you can name except mountains, and plenty of it. It is also a truly scenic route, with a great ratio of pastoral views to rural rusting cars. In the first half the rollers are pretty relentless, less so in the second half. RWGPS says there is 12,000 feet of climbing, G’s GPS says 15,400, and mine says about 10% less than that. If you like climbing and beautiful scenery, this is your ride.

The ride starts next to Maiwand Kabob, 839 Elkridge Landing Rd, Linthicum Heights, MD, near the BWI airport. Thank you, Mike Binnix for graciously allowing us to park in the parking lot of his office and allowing access to the building for restroom facilities, and being there at o’dark o’clock to do that. Please park at the top level, furthest from the building. Weather will change over the length of your ride, prepare for that. And don’t forget to have lights and reflective gear. You will be starting and most likely ending in the dark, and there is a bike inspection.

Gardner and I will be present at the start of the ride to provide refreshments. The ride will end at the Wingate hotel at 829 Elkridge Landing Road. The hotel is located right next door to the start location. Again, Gardner and I will be present to provide refreshments.

The ride starts by snaking around the roads near the airport, until you come to your first climb, Lawyers Hill at 3.2 miles. From the top you have a nice ride to Soldiers Delight Natural Environmental Area. There was a killer pothole on the overpass of I-70 just before the cue at 14.5, Old Frederick Rd. There are some services in this stretch that are not included in the route information.

The info control at Soldiers Delight is an historical marker on the left-hand side of the road. There is a large parking area so you can pull in and enjoy the overlook to Soldiers Delight. The site is designated both a Maryland Wildland (1,526 acres) and a Natural Environment Area (1,900 acres) and is part of the Maryland Wildlands Preservation System. The site's protected status is due to the presence of serpentine soil and over 39 rare, threatened, or endangered plant species along with rare insects, rocks and minerals. During the American Civil War, Soldiers Delight was the scene of minor short-term fights between the Maryland Volunteers of the Confederate Army and the regular troops of the Union Army.

The next 13 miles takes you through the neighborhood of historic Glyndon in northwest Baltimore County, until you arrive at Butler Road. The 6.3 miles to Velocino Bike and Coffee is a mixture of beautiful rolling hills and horse country. And at the end you can treat yourself to some really good coffee and pastry. The shop is owned by a fellow cyclist and the quality of Velocino coffee, I believe, would put a smile on the face of fellow randonneur Ed Felker.

The 22 miles from Velocino to the Stewartstown, PA control offers some of the hardest climbing. At 46 miles you cross the Gunpowder Falls River and twist around narrow, rising, and lightly traveled roads to Stewartstown. The climbing is moderately hard, relentlessly long, and quite pretty.

We skipped the Rutter’s in Stewartstown (EPP advantage) and headed for the one in New Freedom. When we got there we opted for Paesano’s Pizza, and were happy with the pizza and the view of the North Central Railway Trail, and it historic diesel locomotive train. For train buffs it is a treat to see. Paesano’s has indoor dining, with restroom facilities, and there is one park bench overlooking the rail line. The tables were socially distanced and everyone was wearing masks when not eating. The pizza was really good and very affordable.

The next 38 miles through Pennsylvania was hilly and challenging. At 106 miles you cross the Mason Dixon Line for the sixth and final time, and return to some more familiar roads. For your stops soon after that final cross into Maryland you have the McDonald’s or the new Dunkin (behind the Exxon Gas station) in Emmitsburg. Neither restaurant offers indoor dining at this time. If you have the legs and liquids in your bottles, you can ride to the control in Thurmont, a Sheetz, Burger King, or other spots in northwestern Thurmont. This route travels to Thurmont west of US-15 through Mt. St. Mary’s College, which has the benefit of being different, pretty, and never crossing the highway at grade. The route does not pass the southern end of Thurmont, however, so if you want Roy Rogers or McDonald’s, you will have to detour.

Around the halfway point of the route, you will notice the difference in climbing. While there is still climbing, you are descending overall, and we actually rode the second half faster than the first. If you need water, the Highs in Mount Airy at 147 miles is open and has a restroom. The last 40 miles encompass 3,500 feet of descending (and 2800 feet of climbing), and that stretch proved quite chilly in the low to mid-40s we experienced. Near the very end there are 3 miles on the BWI Trail. Because there are a lot of twists and turns on the trail, Gardner and I will mark the trail with chalk to assist in your navigation. The last bit is on Elkridge Landing Road, where we saw the worst pavement of the whole trip.

Stop by the Wingate Hotel for a welcome back and delicious food and you have a 300K in the books.

Enjoy the ride.

Gardner’s Notes: There are only four controls between the start and finish, but services are never a big problem. There is a temptation to ride the first 100k without stopping, but you will consume a lot of calories in that stretch and risk a big bonk in the last 22 miles with no services. We found it ideal to stop at Velocino at mile 39, New Freedom at 69, Emittsburg at 110, and Mt. Airy at 147. Mt. Airy is really a high spot, and the last 40 miles were COLD even with reasonable clothing for temps we were in. Pack a little extra warmth to finish this ride. We’ll see you at the end.

Lovettsville 200 Preride Report

This weekend D.C. Randonneurs moves the show to the scenic hills of Virginia horse country with the inaugural Lovettsville 200K on Saturday March 13.

This new route extends south from Lovettsville, a growing community set on the ridge high above the Potomac River, past Marshall and into the soaring hills below I-66. Riders return under the watchful eye of the Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center to Airmont and then back to the finish via Hillsboro.

The route includes three unpaved section in the early miles of the route and one in the latter half. This area is known for extensive gravel and dirt roads, so don't be surprised to see groups of gravel riders at times.

For this ride the unpaved miles are kept to a minimum but should still be approached with caution, especially on downhills, where potholes have yet to be repaired from the winter.

I rode it solo on Sunday, March 7 under clear skies and crisp morning temperatures.

Overall, there is a lot of climbing, some of it steep but not long. It feels much like the Old Rag 200K, in that you rarely get a flat road. Watch your pace, remember to eat and drink, and save energy for the second half of the ride.

Lovettsville-Leesburg-Marshall

The first half of the route to Marshall is a series of rolling hills and winding roads. The roads are generally quiet, though Snickersville Turnpike will carry some local traffic.

You'll encounter the first gravel segment at mile 10.8 VA 698/Old Waterford Road. The road is in mostly good shape with some loose gravel, but be aware of potholes. Be sure to slow on the downhill into Leesburg! There is a group of large holes at mile 15.6 that will cause pinch flats or worse if hit at speed. These are marked on the cue sheet.

After Leesburg, you'll find relatively fresh stones on Shelburne Glebe at mile 22.4. Again, watch your speed. North Fork Road at mile 27.8 was smoother.

Back on the pavement, the Philomont Store will pass by on your left at mile 31.4. Stop here or at Aldie at mile 39.4, if services are too far away at The Plains at mile 54 and Marshall at mile 59.

The route begins gaining elevation on New Mountain Road after Aldie with a steep short kicker on Waterfall Road before descending (with some rollers) into The Plains.

In The Plains, Happy Creek Coffee/Haymarket Bikes on Main Street welcomes cyclists and has coffee and other drinks and light lunch options. The are observing COVID protocols and nicely filled my bottle. I packed a lunch and ate outside on their bench with a coffee and sorted out my layers, as it had warmed up into the 40s.

They also stock bike supplies, though repair service is unlikely as it is mostly a fitting studio -- the main shop is in Haymarket. Marshall is ahead at mile 59 with the 7-11 that many of us know, along with other options (Hunt Country Coffee is just off route past the 7-11).There is a McDonalds, Subway and Food Lion on Business 17 headed out of town.

Make sure you eat and drink before leaving Marshall. There is a lot of climbing ahead!

Marshall-Airmont

Immediately after crossing over I-66, take care getting to the right turn on Carter's Run while watching for drivers exiting the interstate on your right.

The next 19 miles are among the most challenging and scenic of the day. You'll travel over quiet roads with tall climbs — and fast descents — that just keep coming. Keep eating and drinking!

The route returns to Marshall on the far edge of town where the terrain eases up for the run to Airmont, though you're still rising and descending. The next services are in Upperville at mile 94. You'll encounter the last gravel section, the lovely Trappe Road, which is mostly smooth dirt and gradually ascends. Look to your left to see the Mount Weather campus on the ridge.

On Airmont Road, the elevation trends downward past Ebenezer Church and cemetery on your left; it dates to 1755. You'll pass by the Airmont store at mile 105. It has been closed for some time, but you're not far now from services and the finish.

Airmont-Lovettsville

Round Hill, at mile 109, has an Exxon gas station, the Round Hill Mini Market on your left and the Round Hill Grocery on your right. Resupply here or in Hillsboro seven miles ahead.

One word of caution in the segment: there is local traffic on Allder School and Hillsboro roads, so stay alert. When exiting Hillsboro, take care to watch for oncoming traffic when making the left turn onto Mountain Road.

The terrain mellows out in the final miles and largely descends toward the finish, with a little rise into town. Entering Lovettsville, don't forget the right turn on Eisentown Drive and left on Town Center to bring you into the main square and the finish at the 7-11.

Have a great ride everyone!

International Women's Day Preride Report

The 2021 DC Randonneur’s International Women’s Day ride will take place on the Palisades Poolesville Populaire. The 63.6 miles (102k) route combines commercial sections of Northwest DC, the residential mansions of Potomac and the farm and horse country of Montgomery County. The ride has rolling hills, but the sights are picturesque and filled with history.

Because this route is new to some of our riders, this ride report may provide more information than some of you need to hear. Later this week, DCRand will publish a final GPS file and cue sheet. Registered riders will receive a control card. Please call me if you have any questions.

The ride starts at the Starbucks at 5185 MacArthur Blvd. There is plenty of street parking in the neighborhood and please don’t park in the Starbucks lot, it is small and crowded. I always park in the neighborhood across MacArthur Blvd from the Starbucks.

You can start your ride any time you want between 8:00-8:30 a.m. Because of COVID-19 we will not have a mass start. You will have 6 hours and 48 minutes to finish the ride. Ride your pace, drink frequently and stop to eat at Poolesville if you like, while observing COVID precautions.

The first 3 miles of MacArthur Blvd is a little rough on the side and there is no shoulder. Afterwards the road conditions improve and there are shoulders. However, throughout the ride there are roads with potholes. The route does have a few steep climbs. One is at the right onto Persimmon Tree Road, which climbs immediately. Another is Mount Nebo Road, which starts with a steep climb. The last steep climb, I recall is at 51.7 miles, S Glen Road, which again starts with a climb. RideWithGPS says there is about 50 feet of climbing per mile on average.

A convenient lunch stop is Poolesville at 36 miles. There is a Dunkin and a McDonalds on the right before you get to the shopping center. The route turns into the shopping center and cuts through to get back on the roads.

The balance of the ride is pleasant with more flats and downhills than up hills. Query Mill Road at 47.2 is marked and immediately after the bridge. Be careful of the traffic when crossing River Road at 54.5. When turning onto MacArthur Blvd from Persimmon Tree Blvd for the last 5.3 miles, ride on the side of the road, and stay single file. The walking path can get crowded and is not always easy to navigate with so much foot traffic, but please stop at the lights on MacArthur Blvd. Be safe and enjoy the ride.

The Lady and the Barons Preride Report

The Lady and the Barons is a gently rolling ride with many scenic views and concessions along the route. But at approximately 7394 feet of climbing there are uphills but also long downhills. The roads along the route are generally in good condition, with some weather-related potholes. But there were wide shoulders and traffic is not too bad. Now that the weather has turned warmer it is passable on the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail, which you will do for the first 5 miles at the beginning of the ride and the last 2 miles at the end of the ride.

Once you leave the trail and cross the Naval Academy Bridge, you enter the west side of Annapolis. From there you ride through Crownsville eventually enjoying the long downhill of St. Stephens Church Road. After approximately 10 miles of long rollers, you have a relatively flat 4 miles on Muddy Creek Road. The High’s convenience store at the intersection of Muddy Creek Road and Owensville Road has a nice bathroom and the service is always friendly. At approximately 44 miles you will ride through Fairhaven, a collection of homes that overlooks the Herring Bay. Chesapeake Beach at 49 miles is offers a waterview control stop. For lunch at 66 miles, both the 7-Eleven at 66.3 or the Bowen’s Grocery at 66.5 are possible stops. I would go for the Bowen’s Grocery, it has a really nice deli counter and a clean, spot-o-pot. The short ride from there to Lower Marlboro offers a picturesque view of the Patuxent River from Lower Marlboro Road.

Although the route is well marked, there are two spots you should be mindful of. Before you arrive at the Info control on Atlantic Ave and 9th Street, you need to make the right on 7th avenue, at Sweet Sue’s bakery shop, a nice place to stop for a bake goods, and go to the end of the road. When you reach Chesapeake Bay you will make the left onto Atlantic Avenue and ride along the water until you reach the info control. From there make the left on 9th Street. The next tricky spot is at 83.6 miles, where you are to make a left onto Franklin Gibson Road. It is unmarked and easy to miss, so slow down so you don’t miss the turn.

In Deale you will pass an active marina on the right and cross a charming bridge over the water. Thereafter, there are two services you can seek out. One is the South County Cafe, if you want to take a longer break, and second is the 7-Elevan further down the road. Both have bathrooms available. Regardless of where you stop, fill up your bottles. You are approximately 36 miles to the finish at this point. Although there is the Harwood Market on Harwood Road, it will be unnecessary if you fill up in Deale. But you have the choice. The last hill you have to climb is Veterans Highway. But at his point, although the legs may be tired, you are 7 miles from the end. Enjoy your ride.

Website Help

At the bottom of each page on the DC Randonneurs website, there is a link labelled "Webmaster". If you ever have trouble finding something on the site, or performing a task such as registering for a ride, clicking on that link will enable you to send an email to the site administrators, who will be glad to help you resolve your problem.

Who We Are

DC Randonneurs sponsors long-distance cycling events in the Mid-Atlantic region ranging from 100 kilometers to 1,200 kilometers (60 - 750 miles) in length. Rides start from the Baltimore-Washington region but travel as far afield as State College PA, Buchanan VA, and Warm Springs WV.

The terrain we ride ranges from the flatlands of the Eastern Shore to the rolling hills and valleys of the Piedmont and the sometimes steep flanks of the Appalachian mountain ridges to our west. Our routes, many of which we've ridden for years, take quiet back roads through gorgeous and varied scenery, with regular stops for supplies and rest.

Our rides are unsupported. There is no sag wagon, and help of any sort can be miles away on some of the more remote stretches of road we ride. But we ride together, creating bonds of friendship and camaraderie along the way. Our ride organizers and volunteers work hard to make sure that every rider is accounted for, from start to finish.

Our rides are timed, with riders required to reach intermediate control points, as well as the finish, within a set window of time. But our results are listed alphabetically. Our style of riding is know as allure libre, meaning riders ride at their own pace within the limits set by control opening and closing times rather than riding as a group at a steady pace set by its leaders, which is the audax style of randonneuring.

Randonneuring is non-competitive, but we challenge ourselves and each other -- to ride farther, to ride faster, to ride longer than we might have though possible. We aspire to relentless forward progress but take time to help each other when in need, whether that need is for emotional support, an energy bar to cure a bonk, or a cleverly improvised fix to broken equipment.

DC Randonneurs is affiliated with Randonneurs USA and operates according to the rules promulgated by that organization by adoption from the Audax Club Parisien.




Rides in our Club
Membership included for guest registrations

Click on ride name for details
  • Sat 30 Oct
    DCRand Dart The Pike Rest & Lounge - Gettysburg
    09:00
    RUSA Dart
    Mixed
    Members: $7.00
    18 registered
  • Sat 06 Nov
    Flatbread 200 Good Guys Pizza - Centreville
    07:00
    RUSA 200
    Flat
    Members: $7.00
    14 registered
  • Sat 04 Dec
    Iron Brigade 200 McDonalds Woodbine - Woodbine
    07:00
    RUSA 200
    Hilly
    Members: $7.00
    4 registered
  • Thu 09 Jun
    Mason Dixon 1200 Comfort Suites - Leesburg
    05:00
    RM 1200
    HillyMembers: Free
    None registered




Get me there