The “Contrary” Mother of All 300Ks Brevet: Nine Magnificent Climbs

D.C. Randonneurs rides are generally hilly, but the Mother of All 300Ks brevet from Middletown, Va. through the hills of eastern West Virginia has a special place. It features nine (!) major climbs, all of them coming in the middle 125 miles.

Saturday a total of 37 riders undertook this year’s edition, run as the counterclockwise “contrary” orientation. The weatherman played a cruel trick on us, telling us that temperatures would rise to the upper 50s. But they stayed stubbornly in the mid-40s, with fog and damp air adding to the challenge. We were robbed of many wonderful vistas from those high points by fog, but at least the forecast for morning showers did not come true.

I’ve posted a set of photos here and Mary’s is here.

Here is RBA Bill Beck’s summary of the ride. Stay tuned for a special MG report on Saturday’s ride!

On Saturday, thirty seven riders signed in to challenge the Contrary Mother, a scenic route designed by Lynn Kristianson. This 300K is one of our toughest rides, coming in at number 2 or 3 on the basis of elevation gain per mile ( My GPS and elevation profile are at The barometric altimeter on my GPS indicated 14,040 feet of climbing at the end.

This year, the ride was a little tougher still because of temperatures in the forties and a mist or fog over most of the route. Thick fog at the top of Wolf Gap forced riders to descend much more slowly than usual, especially those rider who reached the summit after dark. Scott Gater found the ride really really tough when he was broadsided by a deer in the morning darkness. His bike and clothes were covered with deer hair, and he sustained some road rash and bruising, but finished the ride in good shape. In the end, all but one rider finished the ride, including three who were over the time limit but still rode in under their own power.

Thanks to organizer Maile Neel for putting on a smooth running event. Thanks also to to Lynn Kristianson, who co-organized, did the cue sheet, rode the checkout ride and helped run the start and finish. And many thanks to Gary Dean, who helped with the checkout ride, Mike Wali and Alex Burney, who registered riders on Friday and Saturday, Randy Mouri and Scott Gater, who registered riders on Saturday, and Mark Brewer, who staffed the Siler control. Alec also helped at the finish.

Preliminary results are posted at Maile was out on the course taking pictures, which you can see at

My pictures are at

After the ride, we found a pair of full-fingered Pearl Izumi gloves and their fingerless cousins, as well as a tub of Assos chamois creme. If these sound familiar, let me know and I will bring it to you at an upcoming ride.

The fleche is next weekend, followed by the Old Rag 200K on April 23. DC Randonneurs has eight fleche teams this year each of which will be riding at least 360km over 24 hours and converging on the Key Bridge Marriott, where they will join together for breakfast. I believe eight teams is a new record for the club. Good luck to all of the fleche riders!


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