The emerging warmth and green of spring days tempt us. Long days at the office interrupted by relatively brief spates of outdoor time urge us to spend weekends actively exploring.
This weekend Felkerino and I joined bicycling friends Andrea and Jerry to revisit the Devil’s Daughter 210K permanent, a ride carefully crafted by RUSA permanista Crista Borras.
This weekend Felkerino and I hightailed it out of the city to escape the crowds that have descended on Washington, D.C., and arranged to do the lovely Old Rag 200K out of Warrenton, Virginia, with bicycling buddies Andrea and Mike.
The D.C. Randonneurs site describes the Old Rag 200K as follows:
From Warrenton we head generally southwest passing through rolling horse farm country with the Blue Ridge Mountains as our backdrop. We parallel the Blue Ridge as far south as Madison where we begin our return to Warrenton after a stop at the friendly, well-stocked Yoder’s Country Market.
A summary by the miles of the D.C. Randonneurs Wilderness Campaign ACP 200K Brevet.
You, too, can lead the glamorous life of a randonneur.
Growing up in rural Iowa, the harvest was always an intense and busy time. Tractors constantly moved through the fields, and it was not unusual to catch sight of the lights of a tractor shining over the dirt clouds raised up by someone working into darkness. Kids missed school to help their families. Crops had to come out before the cold winter days arrived.
Living in D.C. now, I’m pretty removed from that life. Instead of cornfields in the backyard, someone else’s backyard is my backyard and I have to ride about 40 miles in any given direction for a glimpse of the country.
Gavin and Bill in the early miles
This weekend, the beauty and busyness of the harvest came back to me during Felkerino’s and my ride with the Pennsylvania Randonneurs on the Silver Spring 200K. This brevet spends many miles in Lancaster County, the heart of Amish country.
There’s nothing that kicks off a bike tour better than riding the highest continuous paved road in the United States.
Felkerino and I spent yesterday riding our Co-Motion Java tandem on the Trail Ridge 200K, a 134-mile RUSA permanent that starts in Louisville, Colorado, and takes the rider to Estes Park, up Trail Ridge Road, down the mountain, to Grand Lake, Granby, Hot Sulphur Springs, through a canyon that has a name I don’t recall Byers Canyon, and over to Kremmling.
We had a good ride, the highlight (and lowlight) for me being Trail Ridge Road which ascends to a height of 12,200 feet.
This past weekend, Felkerino and I broke the tandem in two and took off for the Eastern Shore to ride the D.C. Randonneurs 200K Flatbread brevet. While I’ve ridden this brevet once or twice before, this time was unique because instead of the usual tandem routine, I rode it on my Rivendell Romulus.
Riding the Rivendell Romulus on the D.C. Randonneurs Flatbread 200K
Felkerino and I made the decision to ride singles after riding last weekend’s dirt road ride on our “back-up” Cannondale tandem. (Our regular tandem, a beautiful Co-Motion Speedster, has gone to tandem heaven, or wherever it is that tandems that are no longer rideable go.) While a fine bike that performs well on dirt roads, the Cannondale is NOT comfortable for me when riding distances of over 100 miles because the handlebar reach is too short.
The Flatbread 200K was the first time I’ve ridden my single bike on a brevet since 2008. Seriously! Even though I ride my trusty Surly LHT every day to commute, and do several weekend nondonneuring rides throughout the year on my single, I felt nervous about attempting the brevet on a single.
I was not confident about how I would do riding on my own. What if I went too slow? What if I missed a cue and got lost? How does this steering thing work again?
Alec, Eric, and Mike on the Urbana 200K
Ride summary: Ride the rollers out of Urbana. Whee! First control in Union Bridge, Maryland. Pedal pedal. Climb 77 in Catoctin National Park. Climb. Climb climb climb. Descend. Grind through the rollers out of Smithsburg. Stop for a couple pics. Pedal through the fragrant countryside. Whoah, stinky! See eight cats in someone’s driveway. Eight! Control in State Line, Pennsylvania. Eat half a sandwich. Hello rider. Hello rider. Hello rider. Pedal pedal pedal. Kemp’s Mill Road, a friendly zippy stretch. Control at KOA. Hello Lowell. Hello Severna Park. See end of cooking show about brownies. Depart control. Mosey to Sheetz. Eat an almond butter and jam sandwich. Drink a latte. Meet up with fleche teammates Lane, Mike, and Eric, as well as Scott G. and Alec. Chat and laugh. Ride. Information control in Antietam. The question is… just kidding! It’s a secret! Ride ride. Bonk. Battleview Market control. Eat chips. Contemplate life. Pedal pedal pedal. Trego, bleah. Climb climb climb. All alone with Ed. Gapland finally! Lane waited. Thanks! Descend whee! Pedal pedal pedal. Eric waited. Thanks! Marlu Ridge the easy way! Group ride with Mike, Eric, Lane. Chat. Listen to Mike. Fingerboard. Slog slog slog. Finish. Photo op by Bill. Pizza pizza pizza. Yeah.
If you were in the D.C. area over the weekend, you know that we had some choice cycling weather. A pinch brisk in the mornings, giving way to sun and warmth in the afternoon. Long-sleeve, no-jacket temperatures.
With weather like this, who can stay inside? Not me.
I know Felkerino will be doing a roundup of this brevet on my favorite news source, The Daily Randonneur, but until he does, here’s a quick summary from the stoker.
Charlie and Scott on the Warrenton 200K
I had a tough time kicking myself out of my house at 5 a.m. to run off to Warrenton, Virginia, for the D.C. Randonneurs Old Rag 200K this past Saturday. It rained most of Friday, and Saturday promised more rain. Yippee.
Oh well. Felkerino and I had pre-registered, our legs felt good, and we thought we’d give it a go. We packed up the Gore-Tex and off we went. Continue reading
I had a great time this Saturday, making my way 128 miles from Urbana, Maryland, around the Catoctins and South Mountain on the D.C. Randonneurs Urbana 200K (full route description here). Felkerino and I had not ridden a brevet since November so it was fun to carry a card around on an official event with 67 other people.
I know Felkerino will be doing a summary of this brevet so I’ll leave most of that to him over at The Daily Randonneur. I’ll simply say that: Continue reading