We did it! MG and I, with David Lippke, were the first riders to complete Lynn Kristianson’s brand new Double Middletown 600K permanent from Haymarket, Va. this weekend. Watch this space for a more complete report, with data from our GPS units. We have a photoset at my Flickr page and a Slideshow.
UPDATED: David has merged our two GPS tracks together (we both lost some tracking, but not at the same points) and has uploaded the data to MotionBased. See it Here.
We started at 4:30 a.m. with David meeting us with his wife Tina, who thoughtfully provided bag drop service for us to the overnight control in Harrisonburg, Va. at mile 265. We all agreed we had not had enough sleep and were drowsy. But, a plan is a plan and off we went into the night.
The route took us south through the Shenandoah Valley, ascending most of the morning to VA42 to Singer’s Glen, where we stopped for lunch under heavy clouds. The skies opened up and poured as we sat inside. The storm moved past within 20 minutes or so, and despite forecasts of scattered showers, we had only one more light rainfall for the rest of the day. Since this was a permanent we needed receipts at each control, which meant we had the opportunity to buy lots of caffeine drinks trying to stay alert.
As an aside, when two drowsy people ride a tandem it makes for some interesting handling. Luckily neither of us fell asleep in the warm, humid afternoon!
We made the turnaround in Clifton Forge around 9 p.m. and began a slow five mile climb up North Mountain, followed by a tremendously fun descent to Goshen. Each turn on the way up had an arrow sign and near the top Mary said if she saw one more arrow we were going to stop so she could chop it down.
Few cars were out on VA42 to Harrisonburg and we rode under mostly clear skies with light, warm winds. We felt like we were crawling due to the sleep cravings, but we made pretty good time and got to the hotel at 2:30 a.m. I delayed our arrival by a few minutes when I became convinced a large farmhouse with a few trucks might be our hotel, but David got on his cell phone and confirmed we had a little ways further to go…about an eighth of a mile. MG and David were very gracious about my little snafu.
Up and out again at 7:30 a.m., we encountered a sparkling clear morning. With 110 miles to go and lots of time, we stopped as we felt. MG and I had our first decent meal of the ride in Woodstock, and later talked with a homeowner along the route who was selling an excellent condition custom Schwinn Paramount tandem, which he said was built in 1978. It had kind of a crazy geometry, as if it was built for a child stoker. With vintage Phil Wood hubs, Phil’s CHP pedals and Suntour components, it was tempting.
David had gone ahead but we found him at a 7-11 cooling off 13 miles from the finish at Marshall, Va., and we rode to the end together.
We found this ride to be challenging, but the climbing was rewarded every time with broad views of the Shenandoah Valley and fast downhills. Services were limited at night but we managed with our Camelbaks and food on board. Thanks Lynn for this ride!