It is indeed Brevet Week!, at least in the sense that we are just days away from the Saturday running of the D.C. Randonneurs’ Shenandoah 600K from Middletown, Va.
MG and I are appropriately excited and nervous about this big loop. See the club’s description here.
On Monday we celebrated the upcoming finale of the brevet season by picking up a 1992 Bridgestone MB-4 in terrific condition. A generous acquaintance offered it to us and we accepted it readily, in part to get a Bridgestone. The company’s USA operations at the time were managed by future Rivendell Bicycle Works founder Grant Peterson, who helped modernize MTB design through his Bridgestone models.
The MB-4 has a reputation of being the best of the Taiwan-made Bridgestones, with a smart mix of Shimano, Sugino and Ritchey parts. See more in the 1992 Bridgestone catalog here.
Our friend told us he no longer rode it and wanted it go to a good home. We promise to treat it well. Thanks Dean!
The good news is that if fits us both pretty well, so it will get plenty of use. It must be right between our preferred sizes. I’ll install a slightly shorter stem so MG has a better reach, but that’s about all it needs.
Getting back to the 600K — a 4 a.m. start sends us south and west over big gaps (or, little steep passes, for you folks out West) and many rollers to Buchanan — pronounced BUCK-anan.
We make the turn there and head north to an overnight at Raphine, Va. just west of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
On the second day we continue north on undulating country roads mostly parallel to I-81 back to Middletown. It is the first time this course has been used by the DCRs since 2007, when I rode it solo while MG was busy with graduate school. We previously rode together it in 2005 when temperatures hit the high 90s and it took all of our patience to slow down and not overheat.
The term “brevet week!” is not to be confused with the staging of multiple brevets in one week. It is mostly a longtime inside joke with a few close friends signaling that I’m anticipating one of our beloved ACP qualifiers this weekend.
This week the anticipation is mixed with a little bit of sadness, however. The spring qualifier season is just about over and with it the fun of seeing everyone out riding together.
DCR is not done, however — there is still a July 8 ACP 400K with an 8 p.m. start from Warrenton, Va. But the 600K completes the traditional season and ushers in the hot summer months.
Speaking of actual brevet weeks, our pal Tom Rosenbauer recently staged the Pennsylvania Randonneurs own brevet week from May 14-22, with a 200K, 300K and 600K ridden. See a wrapup at the PA Randonneurs Message Board. Our buddies Crista Borras and Chuck Wood rode the 200K and had a good time — see Chuck’s pictures here.