Fleche Weekend Tales and Pictures

UPDATE: Bill Beck has posted neat photos of the Sunday morning finish. See them at his Flickr page or check out a captioned slide show Here.

The traditional Easter fleche events took place this weekend, with D.C. randonneurs taking up the challenge all along the Eastern seaboard. Starting out, we have photos of the “Team Uncorked” organized by Steve Ashurst (sans Lynn Ho, who, like yours truly, could not ride this weekend). Steve recruited TDR’s own MG, James Houck, Mike Granger and Michael Rowny. They rode a modified circuit route from Arlington, Va. to Shepherdstown, W.V., Gettysburg, Pa., Frederick, Md, down to D.C. and back to Arlington.

Team UncorkedTeam Uncorked, courtesy Bill Beck: James, Steve, Michael, Mike, MG

Michael Rowny at the Gettysburg dinerMichael Rowny at the Gettysburg diner

Running short on time, but not on miles, they used a northwest D.C. McDonald’s as a finish control and rode the last four miles to the official finish as something of a non-optional cool-down ride. They fought through headwinds much of the day and a couple of freezing rain downpours, then subfreezing overnight temperatures, to finish with their team intact.

Steve has posted a Motion Based graph and map and his photos of the adventure.

MG has posted her photos at Ed’s Flickr page.

James plays with MG’s Bike FridayJames plays with MG’s Bike Friday

Two other teams controlled in Sunday morning, including the “Blue Minus Two” team of Nick Bull, Tom Reeder, Fred Robbins, Alex Sanchez and Mike Desmond. They rode from Arlington out to Purcellville, Va., then southwest to Madison, Va., then northeast back to Arlington.

Team Blue Minus TwoTeam Blue Minus Two: Game Faces Intact! Alex, Fred, Nick, Tom and Mike (courtesy Bill Beck)

The “Fleche Pedalers” team of Kelly Smith and Mary Crawley on tandem with Maile Neel, Lowell Grubbs, Lara Sullivan and Carol Bell had a fun ride from Buchanan, Va.

Fleche Pedalers TeamFleche Pedalers Team, courtesy Maile Neel

Carol and Lowell at the FinishCarol and Lowell, courtesy Bill Beck

Maile has posted a photo essay with comments at her Flickr page.

Here’s a quick roundup from Mary about the “Fleche Pedalers” team.

Hi all,

We had a great team and a great ride. The Fleche Pedalers were: Captain Maile Neel, Lowell Grubb, Lara Sullivan, Carol Bell, and Kelly Smith and moi en tandem. We took on the cold (it got down to about 30 degrees!) and the headwinds, to ride from Buchanan VA to Arlington VA, from 8 a.m. Saturday morning until 8 a.m. Sunday morning, March 22 and 23. Our total mileage was 237.91. We spent 16 hours 38mins on the bikes, and our average speed was 14.3 mph.

The “NC/DC Team” paired locals Lynn Kristianson & Bob Sheldon (on tandem) and Lothar Hennighausen with North Carolina Randonneurs’ Mike Dayton, Jerry Phelps and Byron Morton for a 240-mile jaunt Friday from Raleigh to Ocean Isle, N.C. For them, blue skies, warmer temperatures and fine dining. See the story at the Research Trailer Park blog.

Mark Vinette’s “Team Friday Night” finished Saturday morning. Here’s his report:

Hi All,

I am happy to report that Team Friday Night Fleche, consisting of George Winkert, Dave Goodwin, Ron Tosh, Craig Duck and myself sucessfully completed our Fleche at 0700 on Saturday. We had beautiful full sun all day Saturday, with highs in the low 60’s, but NW/WNW headwinds of ~ 15 mph for the first 10 hrs/100 miles from Chez Winkert to Shippensburg, PA. The wind died, the roads flattened and the rain never showed for the ride SE down the Cumberland Valley to Williamsport, MD. The full moon even came out for a few hours during the ride over Gapland and through historic Waterford, VA to the WO&D in Leesburg.

Low temps barely dipped into the 30’s as visions of the Amphora Diner danced in our heads. Alas, we were just barely too slow to take advantage of this 22 hr control and settled for her poor step-sister, milling around the restroomless Reston 7-11 until 0500. Motivated power riding brought us to our super secret Starbucks Re-Group spot where we enjoyed a 15 min coffee break before we finished.

Matt was at the Key Bridge Marriott to greet us and sign us in. Sadly, there was no sign of the NC Fleche Team, coming in from Lynchburg, VA and scheduled to finish at 0700 as well. Matt had seen them out on the roads of western VA during the day on Friday doing well and was hoping they had finish controlled at another location, although their planned route was not much over the min distance. (Editors note: this was the group of Branson Kimball, “The Unretourables.”)

The Rando Gods were smiling on our team for our one major incident: George’s rear Chris King Hub totally and catastophically failed in Gettysburg within a block of the only bike shop on our route, while it was open and at the beginning of a planned 1 hr lunch stop. The shop mechanic actually had a used King freehub, which failed to correct the problem, so George worked a deal to rent his personal DT Swiss rear wheel for the remainder of the ride! We ordered George lunch, lounged around the Perkins and got on the road only 20 min behind schedule. From that point on I knew we were going to make it.


Drew Roth gave the fleche thing another go this year as well, but with just three riders, “Team Torque” had to stop when one of them developed sore knees. See his report at the Vicious Circle blog.

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