Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The die is cast, the route is real.

The die is cast, the route is real:

-H’burg Court Square to Briery Branch via Mole Hill.
-Briery Branch to Stokesville via the usual.
-Stokesville to West Augusta via GWNF.
-West Augusta to Scotchtown Draft via Deerfield Valley Road.
-Scotchtown Draft to Rt. 39 via Williamsville, Flood, and Rt. 609.
-Rt. 39 to Douthat State Park via Rt. 629.

About 108 miles. Some gravel, some moderate climbing; otherwise, a fairly mellow route, lots of quiet country roads, no ugliness anticipated. Don’t ride too fast or you’ll have to sit around in the damp waiting for the sun to come up.

We'll provide cue sheets and rough maps at the departure. Leaving at 22:00, estimate 7.5 hours riding at 15 mph plus 1.5 hours stoppage and you’re at Douthat at sunrise. Adjust to taste, results may vary.

Light my fire.

Plan to burn lights the whole way, even if you don’t end up needing them. Moonlight should help a lot, but it’s no fun playing redneck roulette with potholes if it clouds over and you find yourself alone on Scotchtown Draft. Last time I saw someone cheat on this calculation, he ended up in the hospital after hitting a moonbathing bear at 20+ mph. A separate little headlight is handy for repairs and map checks when your bike isn’t moving and your dynamo isn’t cranking (or, more likely in this fallen age, to save main batteries).

Burn a steady red taillight so we’ll be legal, in case anyone should take a policial interest in our lark to the Park in the dark, and so everyone behind you won’t have a seizure watching your blinky blink blink blink. But bring the blinky, too, for when you take your turn at the back of the pack and need to scare off the four (six? eight?)-wheeled coffins with people inside.

LED bike lights are great for battery life, but not very powerful when it’s just you and the dark. HIDs and big halogens put out the watts, but don’t usually come with 9 hours of battery life. Dynamos are great for longevity, but nothing is free and they don’t put out much if you’re not moving. Camping headlights are too small for riding, but do the job for repairs and map-checks. A combination of some/all of the above is ideal. If you need lights, geek out at, then check the local bike shops or write We can arrange short-term loans at good rates and provide free CIC (confidential illumination counseling).

Reflective gear lets the cars do the work for you. Those little ankle-biters are the bomb—reflections revolving at 80 RPM = highly visible, plus they keep your socks up above your shoes and your ankles warm. Bring ‘em if you’ve got ‘em, otherwise we’re trying to get some freebies from VDOT as party favors. Maybe we’ll have a competition for the MORD (Most Offensively Reflective Dynameur) and publish some pics.

Stay tuned for more. RSVP to 434-242-3693 or if you want to reserve return transportation or volunteer your spouse or best friend to drive.


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