Category Archives: Permanents

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Kit’n Kish 540K: Good Honest Pennsylvania Countryside

Working the fields in Pennsylvania
Working the fields in Pennsylvania

To complete our final mileage build before tapering for the upcoming Appalachian Adventure 1000K, Felkerino and I set out with our friend Jerry to ride an abbreviated version of Crista B.’s Kit’n Kish 600K Permanent, which she describes as follows:

Very challenging route north through the mountains of central Pennsylvania, with spectacular scenery. “High”lights include climbs over Catoctin, South Mountain, Kittatinny Mountain, Tuscarora Mountain, Blacklog Mountain, Stone Creek Ridge, Stone Mountain and Blue Mountain.

Some other points of interest include the Michaux State Forest, Greenwood Furnace State Park, the Kishacoquillas Valley, the Juniata River, Tuscarora State Forest, and the Children’s Lake in lovely Boiling Springs.

For a more detailed look at the route, see the Ride With GPS route here.

Kit'n Kish GPS

Felkerino, Jerry, and I agreed to a shorter 540K version (336 miles) of the ride, riding 192 miles on Day 1 and 144 miles on Day 2. This lopped off the flat to rolling stretch between Frederick and Thurmont, Maryland, and positioned us at the base of the first climb of the day. Perfect.

To really work the climbing legs, we’ve found it works best to put the bike on the car and head directly to the mountains. Good rides can be had from home, but to tackle big hills and reduce the frequent stop and go traffic flow, away from the city is best.

Felkerino and me. Photo by Jerry

Originally, Felkerino and I planned to ride further south and cover roads near the Blue Ridge. However, the weekend forecast pushed us north and into new-to-me parts of Pennsylvania.

We exchanged large manicured horse farms for “good honest countryside,” as Jerry put it. We clawed our way over one spiky hill after another, and spent many miles drifting through the mountainside, bike and body responding deftly to our every push. It was awesome.

Jerry!
Jerry!

Weather was close to ideal. The sun kept us toasty (making the shaded climbing segments a pleasant reprieve). It descended in a small burst of fiery red, and the moon (a supermoon!) lit the way for us in the evening hours. Tall ripe cornfields flanked many roadsides.

As we rode quiet Pennsylvania country roads toward Greenwood Furnace the first night, we passed families in horse-driven buggies returning from their evening activities. The clip-clop sounds of the horses’ gaits and the moon’s bright company helped me savor the evening miles. Hardly a car passed.

Tall corn here
Tall corn here

The combination of easy company, a beautiful route over unfamiliar roads, the gorgeous moon and sun, and the delicious summer weather left me feeling like this ride was a gift. A difficult gift, but one I was lucky to receive.

It was also a confidence-builder. I needed to tackle a difficult ride with steady hills to feel mentally and physically ready for what we will be doing next. I needed to reacquaint myself with arriving in darkness to the overnight stop and hauling myself out of bed the next morning before the sunrise.

I thought I would have difficulty rising early for our second day’s ride, but I looked forward to continuing our exploration.

Obligatory cow photo
Obligatory cow photo

I’ve always preferred to ride in Virginia and West Virginia, finding parts north to be more unforgiving and somewhat forlorn. Towns once grand and bustling are mostly bedroom communities for neighboring cities now. Miles go by and there are no stores or people about.

Final rest stop of the ride
Final rest stop of the ride

But this lack of population brings a beauty to this part of the country that I overlooked. It’s quiet and lush in the summertime, and you have the mountains mostly to yourself. The good honest Pennsylvania countryside is divine.

Full set of ride photos here.

Devil’s Daughter 210K Permanent

Devil's Daughter 210K Permanent. Jerry and Andrea

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.

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Old Rag 200K Permanent: Hills, Vistas, and Math Word Problems

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.

Co-Motion

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.

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Repast at Rocco’s 200K Permanent: A Winter Ride that Felt Like Spring

Heading toward the stone bridge over the Monocacy River
Heading toward the stone bridge over the Monocacy River

With temperatures taking an unusual leap into the 50s this weekend, Felkerino and I committed to our first 200K distance of 2014, meeting up with a few others in Urbana, Maryland, on Saturday for the Repast at Rocco’s RUSA permanent.

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Trail Ridge Road on Tandem

There’s nothing that kicks off a bike tour better than riding the highest continuous paved road in the United States.

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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.

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Rides for All Seasons

Or so it’s felt the last three days. From temperatures in the 60s, 40s, and today’s dip into the 30s with snow, it’s been quite the climate roller coaster here in the Mid Atlantic.

Alec rounds the bend on Last Train from Clarksville
  • Saturday – Last Train from Clarksville 201K Permanent

Saturday’s too-good-to-be-true weather had anybody who ever pedaled out and about. Felkerino and I, along with a few friends, decided to carry cards and ride Crista B.’s “Last Train from Clarksville” 201K permanent. The route took us through Maryland rollers, up to Fairfield, Pennsylvania, and back.

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Wild & Wonderful West Virginia RUSA Permanent

I am so lucky to live in Washington, D.C. Despite the large metropolitan area in which Felkerino and I live, we are a stone’s throw away from beautiful cycling (with mountains, yay!) on quiet back roads.

This weekend, Felkerino and I headed out to the Shenandoah and the mountains of West Virginia to work on our climbing legs. This particular ride was the 203 Kilometer Wild & Wonderful RUSA Permanent #713, designed by D.C. Randonneur George Moore.

Making the trip out was a bit of a haul (about a two hour drive), but the ride was stunning and lots of the riding was shady (always a plus  in the summertime). Here are a few highlights to share.

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