The annual D.C. Randonneurs 300K brevet from Frederick is generally considered a “fast” brevet, because all of the climbing is over after about 200K, followed by easy farmland roads back to the finish. Get up MD77 from Thurmont and over the infamous Big Flat ridge, boogie over a few rollers to Mount Holly Springs and conquer the return climb over South Mountain, and the rest takes care of itself.
This year a big gusty front from the west decided to join the ride. That changed everything. We were hit by a torrential downpour at mile 36, then big winds — gusting into the 40 m.p.h. range — blasted us eastward until the turn south around mile 107. After the wind-protected climb to York County into open country, every westward section felt like a steep climb and every turn south felt like the bike was getting pushed hard from the right.
We burned calories like mad all day and ended up spending a lot of time refueling — 2:26 off the bike out of our 14:51 total time. We had to make a “crucial stop” with just 18 miles to go in at the Liberty station in Thurmont for water, Gatorade, Coke, chips and ice cream — all the junk food that hits the spot when the tank is empty. Chris Mento rolled up for the same and we finished the ride with him at an easy pace in fading light. Chris nicely led us through the new route into Frederick that avoids the busy feeder road we take on the outbound leg.
We’ll have a special writeup of the ride from TDR’s own MG tonight. For now, see our photos here and here and RBA Bill Beck’s photos here. All 37 starters on Saturday made it back to the finish, including three over the time limit who nonetheless pushed in rather than bailing out on the course. See the results here.
Well done to all and thanks to organizers Nick and Jan Bull and their volunteer helpers — George W., George M., Lisa C. and Tyler B.
Next stop: the DCR 400K, also in Frederick, on May 22. Here is Bill’s report of Saturday’s ride:
WIND!!! That was the major theme of the Frederick 300K on Saturday. And just to make things more interesting, Mother Nature threw in a soaking rain shower in the morning. But, as Nick described in his organizer’s message, all 37 riders who started made it to the finish under their own power. Adding the 4 riders who did the checkout ride on the week before, and subtracting 3 riders who were over the time limit and one who had a missing control, there were 37 official finishers.
That wind was certainly the strongest that I have experienced on a bicycle. It was moderate in the early morning as we rode through Thurmont and over Big Flat, but really got cranking by mid-morning. Our group actually had a good tailwind most of the way from Shippensburg to Blosserville. But the entire final third of the ride from East Berlin to Frederick was a combination of vicious headwinds and cross winds, including gusts that made many riders feel like they would be blown right off the bike. Congratulations to all 37 riders who battled through to reach the finish. And special congratulations to Dave Judkins and Christian McMillen who both completed their first brevets – and did it on a difficult 300K at that!
Thanks to Nick Bull for organizing the ride. Nick already mentioned his other volunteers, but they deserve to be mentioned again. Jan Bull worked at the entire ride from Friday evening to early Sunday morning. Tyler Bronder and George Moore staffed the rainy secret control (and provided great cookies!). And Lisa Catino and George Winkert handled registration and bike inspection for the big crowd of riders at morning registration. Thanks to all of these members who made the ride possible. If you would like to volunteer for a future ride, please contact our volunteer coordinator, Mary Gersema.
Preliminary results are now posted at http://www.dcrand.org/dcr/results.php?page=display-results&year=2010. A GPS track of the route is at http://connect.garmin.com/activity/32732695.
My photos, along with some very nice ones that George Moore took at the secret control, are posted at http://www.flickr.com/photos/wabeck/sets/72157624025278580/.
Next up is the 400K, also starting at the Motel 6 in Frederick. Hopefully, this time without the wind.