Dear Friends,

We're only able to ride one day this weekend, so Saturday it is!  We'll be joining Bill Shakespeare Smith and his merry band of FredPeds on the annual Frederick Pedalers century.  Bill has come up with a beautiful new route starting from Monocacy Middle School.  Hope to see you there!  Here's the scoop, straight from the bard's pen:

September 26 (Sat) 7:00 AM ALL 100 Monocacy Middle School
Rolly Atkinson Memorial Century

Pick up your cue sheets and maps from the website or at the start. We will meet at 7:00 AM at Monocacy Middle School and all leave for Emmitsburg at 7:15 AM to meet the metric century riders. The route overlaps the metric century route for 62 miles after Emmitsburg.  Lunch in Biglerville at either Mamma's Pizza or (wow!) the 7-11.
  Terrain is gentle with a couple of hills - only about 2,000 feet of climbing.  Goes through Emmitsburg, Fairfield, Arendtsville, Biglerville, Bonneauville, Emmitsburg (again) and back.

Cue sheet can also be found here:

Directions to the ride start:

MONOCACY MIDDLE SCHOOL, FREDERICK, MARYLAND, 8009 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick MD  21702

From D.C. Beltway (I-495), take I-270 north 31 miles to Frederick.  Continue north on US15 3.7 miles.  Take Exit 16, Motter Ave exit (sign for Frederick Community College).  Turn RIGHT at the traffic light onto Opossumtown Pike.  In about 1.5 mi. turn RIGHT into Monocacy Middle School parking lot (just after Frederick Community College on the left). 

If you have any questions about the ride, you can contact Bill directly at  Note that the meeting time for this ride is 7:00 a.m., not our usual 7:30!



Dear Friends,

This Saturday we'll be riding the DC Randonneurs Civil War Tour 200K Brevet.  We're not scheduling a ride for Sunday this weekend. 

The Civil War Tour will start from the Pizza Hut at 5420 Urbana Pike in Frederick, Maryland at 7:00 a.m.  Registration opens at 6:00 a.m.  Visit the DC Randonneurs website,, for additional information.  To further entice you, here is Bill Beck's ride description:

The Civil War Tour is a 200km trip through three years of the U.S. Civil War and four significant battlefields. Starting at the Frederick Pizza Hut, the route first heads south to the Monocacy Battlefield. General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia camped there in September of 1862, during their first invasion of the north. It was at that site that Lee issued his famous "Special Orders No.191," which ordered his army to be divided into multiple pieces. When Union soldiers later occupied the same area they found a lost copy of the orders wrapped around three cigars. Union General George McClellan recognized the significance of the find: he now knew that the Confederates were divided into relatively weak pieces as well as where he could attack them. So he ordered his Army of the Potomac to cross the passes of South Mountain (the Battle of South Mountain) and attack the main piece of Lee's army that was situated on the other side. Our brevet route follows rolling terrain and a steep climb over Catoctin Mountain at Mar-Lu ridge to the southernmost of these passes at Crampton's Gap, and to our second battlefield, South Mountain. Passing through the town of Burkittsville, the route climbs to the crest where it passes the only monument in the world dedicated to journalists killed in combat before plunging back down into Pleasant Valley.

The Confederates were pushed out of the passes in South Mountain but they delayed the Union advance long enough for Lee to set up a defensive position along the Antietam Creek near the small town of Sharpsburg, MD—the site of our third battlefield, Antietam. On September 17, 1862, Union forces attacked that defensive line in what is still the bloodiest single-day battle in US history, resulting in over 23,000 casualties. The battle was also a major turning point in the war since the Union victory permitted President Lincoln to announce the Emancipation Proclamation, which changed the reason the war was being fought from a war against states rights to a war against slavery. Our route descends South Mountain, follows Antietam Creek past Burnside Bridge, passes through the town of Sharpsburg, and arrives at the first control at the Battleview Market. It then makes a loop past the Cornfield, which was the site of intense fighting in the morning, and Bloody Lane, a sunken road that was the focus of fighting in the middle of the day. Leaving the battlefield, the route passes through Boonsboro, heading north before passing back over South Mountain on the last major climb of the route, and approaching our fourth battlefield at Gettysburg, PA in the year 1863.

Gettysburg was the battle with the largest number of casualties in the Civil War, and is often described as a major turning point of the war. Gettysburg ended Lee's second invasion of the north, as Antietam had ended his first invasion in the previous year. Our route enters the southern end of the battlefield and turns north along what was the Union defensive line on Cemetery Ridge. The route passes a spot sometimes called "the high-water mark of the confederacy" because it was the spot of the deepest penetration by the Confederate Army of the Union Army's lines during the battle, and also perhaps the best chance the Confederate Army had of achieving victory in the war. Then, after a stop at a control in the town of Gettysburg, the route passes the historic Lutheran Seminary, and heads south along the Confederate battle line on Seminary Ridge. After passing the section where the disastrous Confederate attack known as Pickett's Charge was launched on the third day of the battle, the route loops around the southern end of the battlefield where Confederate General James Longstreet launched the attack on Little Round Top on the second day of the battle, finally exiting the battlefield near Little Round Top itself.

Heading south again, the route enters the year 1864 and follows fairly gentle, rolling terrain back to the Monocacy Battlefield. At that time Confederate General Jubal Early had marched north through the Shenandoah Valley and was under orders to turn southeast and attack Washington, DC. Until reinforcements arrived, the only thing standing between the Confederate army and DC was a ragtag group of 2,300 men commanded by Union General Lew Wallace. Reinforced by a few thousand additional men arriving by train from Baltimore, but still outnumbered by a ratio of nearly 3:1, Wallace set up defensive positions near the strategic railroad junction at Monocacy. Although the South won the resulting battle (the only Southern victory in the North), it delayed the Confederates long enough that reinforcements could reach DC. Therefore it is often called "the battle that saved Washington, DC." Our route stops at an information control near the rail junction before finishing at the Pizza Hut.

 (Thanks to Brian Baracz of the US National Park Service at Antietam National Battlefield for reviewing the text and suggesting improvements.)

WEEKEND RIDES, September 12 & 13, 2009

Dear Friends,

Here's what's up for this lovely fall weekend:


"MONUMENT TO MONUMENT," starting from Hains Point, Washington, D.C. MEETING TIME 7:30 a.m.  We are repeating this ride that we scheduled back in August because Chuck and I turned around early that day and now we want to do the ride in its entirety.  The route is adapted from a Baltimore Bicycle Club ride that was led a few months ago.  The route is ALMOST identical to the BBC's ride except that their ride started in Baltimore and turned around at the Washington Monument in DC.  This ride will start from Hains Point, pass the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument in the first mile, and turn around at the Washington Monument in Baltimore!  We'll be traveling on lots of city streets, with many stop signs, traffic lights, some  funky neighborhoods, and a couple of bike paths.  Those who did the entire ride in August really had fun, as you can see from the photos that Maile took that day:   We will have lunch at the hoppin' Little Havana in Baltimore.  Some points of interest include the Jefferson Memorial, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington Monument, National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Lake Artemesia, Baltimore's Washington Monument, American Visionary Arts Museum, Peabody Institute, and Catholic University.  99 miles.  No cued shortcuts but you can turn around at almost any point on the ride and pick up the cues for the return route.   This will be a touring ride, not a training ride, and we won't be getting anywhere fast. 

Here are the directions to the ride start:


1100 Ohio Drive, S.W., 202-619-7222

Take I-395 north into Washington (over 14th Street bridge) and take the first exit for Potomac Park/Park Police.  Turn left at the T intersection (Buckeye Drive, unmarked), then left into the parking lot near the tennis courts.



"PAVED WITH GOOD INTENT," starting from Silo Hill Parkway in Emmitsbug, Maryland.  MEETING TIME 7:30 a.m.  The first half of this ride features some beautiful climbs up to Mount Hope and South Mountain PA, a gorgeous stretch through the Michaux State Forest, and some very scenic riding through the high orchards of Adams County.  It's a little early for apple harvesting up there but the trees are beautiful to look at nonetheless.  After lunch at Claudio's in Aspers, the terrain gradually moderates and we'll visit a part of the Gettysburg battlefield that isn't included on many rides before an easy cruise back to Emmitsburg on very familiar roads.  101 miles, with short options of 53 and 86 miles.  The 86-mile ride follows the century route all the way to lunch and then shortcuts back.

Here are the directions to the ride start:


From DC Beltway go North on I-270 about 31 miles to Frederick.  Continue north on US15 for about 25 miles, then exit onto MD140 West (AFTER the Seton Ave/Bus.15 exit).  Turn left at the stop sign onto MD140 West.  In about a quarter mile turn right onto Silo Hill Rd at the traffic light (McDonald's on R).  Make your 1st right onto Silo Hill Parkway and park beyond the car wash.








Dear Friends,

As noted in early August, this Saturday and Sunday we're resurrecting Jim Kuehn's EPIC "Ain't No Breeze to Breezewood" overnighter. We're scheduling an easy "recovery" ride from Thurmont for Monday (Labor Day). If you're not able to join us for the overnighter, feel free to come out and beat up on us on Monday. Info and description of Monday's ride is way down at the bottom of this long email. Sorry for the wordiness, but there's a lot of information. Please read it carefully if you're planning to ride to Breezewood with us.

"AIN'T NO BREEZE TO BREEZEWOOD," starting from Williamsport High School in Williamsport, Maryland. **MEETING TIME 7:30 A.M.**

We have 12 riders signed up for the 2-day ride to Breezewood, PA and back. If you haven't advised me that you intend to participate but would like to do so, please let me know right away, as I need a headcount ASAP. Unlike our typical weekend rides where you just show up unannounced and I distribute cue sheets and maps indiscriminately, for this ride I am only planning to have enough cue sheets and maps for those who have notified me in advance. Having said that, we would be delighted if you can join us for this 2-day bicycling adventure. Jim first led the ride for PPTC way back in 1993, so that qualifies it as an antique. We've been doing it every other year or so since then, and it remains on our list of top 10 favorite rides! We'll spend Saturday night at the Best Western in Breezewood, PA and return to Williamsport on Sunday. Both days feature an extravaganza of challenging climbs, delicious descents, and fabulous views.

Although my previous notice indicated that the ride would be completely unsupported, Kathy Dean has volunteered to transport our overnight gear to the Best Western in Breezewood (and back to Williamsport on Sunday). But to take advantage of this perk you must let me know in advance that you're coming and be at the ride start in Williamsport before we depart Saturday morning. And please pack lightly! Also, if you're staying somewhere other than the Best Western, note that Kathy will not be carting gear all over Breezewood. You can pick up your bag at the Best Western and carry it to your choice of lodging, and you'll be responsible for bringing it back to the Best Western Sunday morning before you leave.

Saturday's ride to Breezewood, starting from Williamsport, was designed by Jim Kuehn and is a MASTERPIECE! Heading west out of Williamsport, we pass Fort Frederick and then ride through the hilly and very scenic Indian Springs Wildlife Management Area. Next, after a particularly gnarly and notorious climb on Dyer Road, we'll swoop down into Hancock for a well-earned rest stop. The climbing resumes as we head north into Pennsylvania, and we'll tackle the first MAJOR climb over Town Hill before lunch. A long, fast descent into Crystal Spring follows, where we'll have lunch at the Cornerstone Café. After lunch, a few miles on Pleasant Valley Road will lead us to the next major climb over Sideling Hill. And no rest for the weary, as Kimber Mountain follows soon thereafter. After Kimber Mountain, a very long and luscious 6-mile descent takes us down into Hopewell, where we'll sit a spell at Linda's Little General Store. Then the terrain merely rolls for a few miles before our last major climb on Bunker Hill Rd, followed by a series of what Jim lovingly refers to as "little annoyances" on the way into Breezewood. Fact is it ain't over til it's over. 103 miles, with close to 10,000 feet elevation gain. There is a 10-mile optional shortcut on the way to Hancock (via the Western Maryland Rail Trail) that omits several nasty climbs. And leaving Town Hill there's a humongous optional shortcut that yields a 66-mile ride (or 56 if you take the rail trail to Hancock). But you'll be missing the best of it if you take these shortcuts.

Sunday's ride back to Williamsport is yet another scenic torture-fest. We'll ride through the historic Jackson Mills Covered Bridge soon after leaving Breezewood. A very steep short climb follows immediately, but the first real eye-opener is the climb over McKee's Gap at mile 17. Another climb over Sideling Hill will take us down into Warfordsburg for a rest stop. Several noticeable ups and downs follow as we work our way up to Pleasant Ridge and eventually climb over Scrub Ridge before descending into McConnellsburg for lunch. There will still be plenty of climbing after lunch, but it will be somewhat less intense. And those who have done this ride in the past will probably be relieved to learn that we've replaced the painful grind over Hanging Rock Road with the kinder and gentler climb over Fairview Mountain on US40. If this modification offends you, Hanging Rock is still there and you know the way. 102 miles, with a metric century option that eliminates all the major climbs after Warfordsburg. As Sunday's route has been revised since we last rode to Breezewood, I don't know the elevation gain, but it's certainly over 8000 feet, maybe 9000.

As indicated above, we'll be spending Saturday night at the Best Western in Breezewood. There are plenty of additional lodging options in Breezewood, a few of them listed below for your convenience. So, if you want to opt in for this weekend of spectacular riding (the more the merrier!), please make your reservations NOW and advise me that you're going to join us!

Breezewood motels:

Best Western Plaza Inn
16407 Lincoln Highway

Holiday Inn Express
16503 Lincoln Highway

Quality Inn
16621 Lincoln Highway

Wiltshire Motel
140 S. Breezewood Road


Directions to the ride start:
From DC Beltway, take I-270 north approx. 32 miles to Frederick.
Take I-70 west 28 miles to Exit 26 (I-81).
Take I-81 south (toward Roanoke) for 1.5 miles to Exit 2 (US11).
Take US11 south toward Williamsport.
In 3/4 mile, turn left onto S. Clifton Drive (traffic light)
Proceed 1/4 mile to parking lots on right.
Total driving time from Beltway approx. 1 hr. 10 min.


"ALL ABOUT ABBOTTSTOWN," starting from the McDonald's in Thurmont, Maryland. **LATE MEETING TIME 8:00 a.m.** Aaah, a mellow ride today, one designed by our beloved bard, William Shakespeare Smith. The route is a slight revision of one of Bill's old Frederick Pedalers Century routes--I think it was 2004. It's a delightful valley ride that heads east into Carroll County, MD and north into Adams County, PA, passing through Taneytown, Littlestown, and New Oxford on the way to lunch at Rigo's Diner in Abbottstown. On the way back we will have a brief encounter with Mt. Misery Rd but will elude the "miserable" molehill! We'll also pass through Taneytown a second time, so you'll have two opportunities for a Sheetz fix on this ride. 100 miles, with short options of 40 and 72 miles.

Directions to the ride start:
From DC Beltway, go north on I-270 to Frederick. Continue North on US15. In 14.9 miles, take the exit toward MD806/Thurmont (the last of three exits for MD806, the FIRST Thurmont exit). At end of ramp turn right @SS, then QR @ traffic light onto Catoctin Furnace Rd, then QL at "Weis Entrance." Park in the first lot on the left, across from McDonald's.