Sunday, May 07, 2006

Bike Ride Report - Maryland 300k Brevet

Saturday was the DC Randonneurs Maryland 300K Brevet

As you can see, I got in just before dark. It took me 15:30 to go 187 miles.

This means you have to get going well before sunup.

As usual, I slept in Debra's Element the night before. I don't generally sleep in the Element in the motel parking lot where the Brevet starts. This time I slept in the movie theater parking lot next door. I got there about 10 PM on Friday night, and the theater was dark and the lot was empty. I went way to the back and went to sleep.

About 11 PM the bright light was shining in the window and the diligent young police officer was rapping on the glass. After he determined I was just sleeping he let me stay. He suggested I should ask permission from the movie theater first. "But they were closed," I babbled incoherently.

For the next half hour I was kept awake by the police officer hanging out with a bunch of girls at the other end of the parking lot. They appeared to be his friends. I seem to have inadvertently parked in the deserted lot where the police like to hide when they don't feel like working.

Anyway, here is the whole mob of randonneurs ready to set out at 5:00 AM sharp.

Somebody hollered "You're going the wrong way."
I hollered back "It probably won't be the first time."

The sun soon came up on a beautiful day. The forecast said chance of rain, but it turned out to be 60s and 70s all day with puffy white clouds. It cleared up in the afternoon, and a strong wind from the northwest came up. By that time, the road was mostly soutwest, so no biggie.

Here is the scene from outside the eagerly anticipated ORF on the climb up Maryland 77 in Catoctin Mountain Park. (ORF is "Outdoor Restroom Facility" on the cue sheet. Personally, I would call it a Porta-Potty, and abbreviate it "PP".) This is halfway up the first big climb.

Here is the scene from the top of the mountain at the secret control on Foxville-Deerfield Road. This is the start of the payback.

It's nice that you could still keep climbing some more if you wanted too. This is Foxville Church Road. Presumably that's Foxville Church in the picture.

Just after crossing the state line into Pennsylvania, there is a covered bridge at the bottom of a big hill. There is a traffic light since the bridge is one-way. I always wind up taking a picture of this bridge, because I always get the red light.

The highlight of this ride was definitely "Big Flat". Big Flat is indeed big and flat. It's the big, flat top of the very tall mountain with very steep sides.

This is looking down from the easy part of the climb up Big Flat. This is where I had to shed all unnecessary layers of clothes.

The road continues upwards through apple and peach orchards to a false peak. Then it goes up a whole bunch more that is even steeper. Over 20% for a quarter mile or so, according to my GPS.

There is a five mile coast down the other side into Shippenburg, PA, where my reward awaited in the form of Sheetz mac and cheese and a hot ham pretzel sandwich.

Shippensburg is in a wide, flat valley. The route takes you west of I-81 and north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76) for awhile. I've never been up there before. It's very scenic. There are a lot of Amish farms.

The limit of the route to the norther was Blosserville, PA. It seems the only store in town closed, so they had to make a "Question Control". You had to get the phone number and hours of operation from the sign on this garage. I took a picture in case my handwriting was illegible on the control card.

There was a little boy playing with toy cars in the garage parking lot. Next to him was a refrigerator-sized cardboard box with a door and windows cut into it and "Taylor's Clubhouse" written on the side in magic marker.

There was one more big climb. I got to sit and look at the mountain for a good while waiting for the train to go by.

I got to the last control, Rocco's pizza in East Berlin, PA, at about 2:20. I took a break and had a couple pizza slices. I was out of there by 3:00, and I decided to see if I could get to the end in Frederick before dark. That was 60 miles. I just made it. I got in at 8:20. There wasn't a lot of climbing for the last part.

Here's the map with the track as recorded by my GPS.

1 comment:

Cham said...

Nice ride, I like this time of year it is still cool and you get lots of hours of daylight. This book is worth a read if you don't wish to deal with the police. It's worth its weight in gold.