DC Randonneurs Old Rag 200K — Spring Arrives!

UPDATE No. 2: Event co-organizer Chuck Wood has uploaded his photos from the roadsides. See them here.

UPDATE: Bill Beck’s summary is now posted below and MG has posted a scintillating story and photo essay at Chasing Mailboxes. Lastly, check out the photos by retro-rider Ritchie R. at his Flickr page.

The D.C. Randonneurs’ Old Rag 200K brevet is an annual rite of spring, and this year did not disappoint. The timing coincided with the blooming of the dogwood along the course in north-central Virginia, just east of the Blue Ridge. We even coaxed Mr. Sun to come out by late morning, chasing away the last clouds of a rainy Friday night and lifting temperatures into the high 70s. After last weekend’s heavy rains, the day was an Easter basket full of cycling candy.

A total of 43 riders started in Warrenton, Va. for the clockwise loop south to Madison, Va., then north to Old Rag Mountain, with the return over a series of steep rollers to Flint Hill and Orleans before the return via the unbeloved Piney (Pukin’) Mountain climb, aptly named because it comes just before the finish.

MG and I had a fine ride with a lot of our pals new and old. Not much to report, which is good. We enjoyed the day and our fellow riders. What more can you wish for?

See our photosets from the captain and stoker compartments of our tandem. See MG’s here and mine here. See even more photos (and videos!) from RBA Bill Beck, whose full report is below.

Thanks to Crista and Chuck and their cheerful volunteers for another fun running of this classic brevet.

Next up: the lovely Frederick, Md. 300K on May 5, starting at a nice new location.

Here is Bill’s report:

43 riders came out to Warrenton on Saturday for the Old Rag 200K ACP brevet. It had rained all night, and most people were prepared for several more hours of rain, covered in jackets and helmet covers. But it turned out that the rain stopped shortly before the start and never resumed. Temperatures were in the 40s at the start, but soared into the middle 70s when the sun finally emerged. Riders kept peeling off layers until most arrived at the finish in short sleeve jerseys and shorts. There was concern that the low-water bridge around mile 48 would be underwater, so three cue sheets were prepared — one with the normal route, one with a detour around the bridge, and a third that combined the first two into one sheet. But it turned out that the bridge was above water. The route itself was at its’ floral peak. Dogwoods, redbud, and cherry trees were all in full flower. And many places were covered with tulips. and daffodils. The second half of the route includes most of the climbing with Old Rag, itself, the Kings and Meanies, and finally Piney Mountain. 41 of the original 43 riders reached the finish and enjoyed pizza in the club’s motel room.

Thanks to co-organizers Crista Borras and Chuck Wood for organizing the ride and preparing not one, but three (!) cue sheets for low-water, high-water, and all-weather. They were also out on the route greeting riders and taking pictures, including at the top of Old Rag. (Crista thought it was cold up there, but none of the riders who had just climbed to the top seemed to agree.) Thanks also to Keith Krombel and David Ripton who registered riders at the start and also at the secret control.

Preliminary results are posted at http://www.dcrand.org/dcr/results.php?page=display-results&year=2011. There were almost as many cameras as riders out on the route. Mary Gersema’s pictures are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/gersema/sets/72157626443389833/ and Ed Felker’s are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/8193389@N06/sets/72157626445350191/. Mine are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/wabeck/sets/72157626566123972/.

Chuck was taking photos along the route, so we’ll look for those to appear later.

We ramp up the distance over the next weeks with the Frederick 300K on May 7, the Frederick 400K on May 23, and then the big one — the Shendandoah 600 on June 4.


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