Looking past the fact that D.C. Randonneurs has already staged its first ACP 200K, this weekend’s Old Rag 200K in Warrenton, Va. marks the beginning of the ACP season for MG and me.
This route was my first 200K, way back in 1996. These days, I get a nostalgic feeling when I think of the Old Rag 200K. (It is named for Old Rag Mountain. For more information click Here.) Back then we were not a formal club, just a group of riders organized under the Potomac Pedalers Touring Club. We rode just the four Super Randonneur brevets, making each one extra special. It helped that they were perfectly organized by then-RBA Jim Keuhn.
I was the new guy among seasoned, hardy randonneurs who had ridden PBP as far back as 1987, and I am still riding with most of them today.
I rode that first 200K with absolutely no idea of what I was doing. I had never ridden that many hills in my life. I bonked with five miles to go and could barely sit on the tiny, hard racing saddle by the end. I finished, somehow, fully exhausted and massively saddle-sore. I didn’t ride another brevet that year, but I thought about the brevets all summer and winter and came back for more in 1997.
I’ve ridden at least one ACP 200K a year since, usually this route. The rides are even more fun now that MG and I are seeing them together by tandem. The Old Rag 200K is best run in mid-April when the dogwood and redbud are in bloom. They make The Three Kings, The Meanies and Piney “Pukin” Mountain Road — tough, steep hills in the second half of the ride — practically enjoyable.
MG and I, with Maile N., organized this ride last summer as a RUSA brevet, but we’re really looking forward to seeing it in its spring glory. Plus, we expect conditions to be s—ny and w–m! (No jinxes.) If you want to see some pictures of the route, Maile joined Crista and Chuck, Lane and George W. for the volunteers checkout ride in rain and wind last Saturday. See her photoset Here.
See you Saturday!