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  1. #1
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Back Roads Century

    Has anyone here done any of the routes(25/40, 50/80, 65/104, 100/160) that the Back Roads Century has? I signed up for the 65mi./104km (metric) century. It will be in four weeks, and I am curious about the route for this year? I have been looking at last year's routes. I will have my cell phone with me, along with my ID. But how much are the police involved in traffic control or the routes marked apart from the cue sheets? I know I can ask on their website, but I want to hear from those who have actually done any of the routes and what their experiences are.

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    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    Hi Chris,

    I've done this ride 4 or 5 times now. As far as I know the routes have never changed, so this is probably correct.

    There are no police involved unless there's an accident All of the riding is out on the open roads, but it's all back farm country roads with very little traffic. I can't recall if there are markings on the road, but I'd be surprised if there weren't. This ride has LOTS of participation, so most likely you'll never be in a position where you won't see riders in front of or behind you.

    There are some nice rollers, but no major climbs.

    For the full century the ride is split into two parts, and the halfway point is back at the start. That makes it easy to dress for the cool weather in the first loop, and then drop the extra clothes for the second loop. I'm not sure what parts are cut out for the metric route.

    It's a great event. Have fun!
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  3. #3
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimF22003 View Post
    Hi Chris,

    I've done this ride 4 or 5 times now. As far as I know the routes have never changed, so this is probably correct.

    There are no police involved unless there's an accident All of the riding is out on the open roads, but it's all back farm country roads with very little traffic. I can't recall if there are markings on the road, but I'd be surprised if there weren't. This ride has LOTS of participation, so most likely you'll never be in a position where you won't see riders in front of or behind you.

    There are some nice rollers, but no major climbs.

    For the full century the ride is split into two parts, and the halfway point is back at the start. That makes it easy to dress for the cool weather in the first loop, and then drop the extra clothes for the second loop. I'm not sure what parts are cut out for the metric route.

    It's a great event. Have fun!
    While they still have the routes posted from 2012. The website says that different routes will be posted for 2013, at the beginning of next month. I did take a look at some of the roads, from the 2012 routes. My main concern with some of the back country roads is. While less traveled by motorized traffic, is the pavement.

    Seeing that you live in Northern VA, if you have ever been on Schaeffer Rd. and White Grounds Rd. that run along the edge of South Germantown Regional Park, some spots seem like real good 'tire poppers'. That is why I ask about the BRC routes having potential like that. A road less traveled, is also a road less maintained. Schaeffer and White Grounds Rd. certainly qualify for that definition.

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    Senior Member MattFoley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimF22003 View Post
    Hi Chris,

    I've done this ride 4 or 5 times now. As far as I know the routes have never changed, so this is probably correct.

    I can't recall if there are markings on the road, but I'd be surprised if there weren't. This ride has LOTS of participation, so most likely you'll never be in a position where you won't see riders in front of or behind you.
    I've never done the actual ride, but my wife and I went out for a ride in Berryville a few weeks ago and rode most of southern portion of the route and there were markings at nearly every intersection. The markings clearly had been there for a while, but to someone who has done a lot of organized centuries, it was obvious they were route markings for Back Roads.
    Cars man, whyyyyyy?!?!?!?!

  5. #5
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    I have ridden those roads in MoCo many times. The roads near Berryville are comparable. They are variable, but they are just country roads after all. That means some are good, but some are chip-sealed, and some have lots of pot-holes etc. You won't find any gravel, but you'll find just about anything else.
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    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    They posted the routes on the website. They made the metric too easy. They have segments of 12.7, 30.7, 43.6, 56.6, and 65. All have rest stops in between, with the third rest stop where riders can change for the weather and get provided food. If there weren't so many rest stops it would be more challenging. Can I skip a rest stop if I want to?

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    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    Can I skip a rest stop if I want to?
    Heh. I'd sure think so.

  8. #8
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
    Heh. I'd sure think so.
    Good.

  9. #9
    Cycling Skier songfta's Avatar
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    As somebody who has been involved in running the Back Roads Century (BRC) in 2010 and 2011 (and will volunteer again this year), some random facts about the ride:

    - The routes aren't changing from previous years, unless there is road construction that prevents sections from being used. The course crew does the markings and a trial ride the weekend before (i.e. this coming weekend) to work out and last-minute kinks.

    - No, it's not necessary to stop at every rest stop. I rode the route one year with just one stop (at White Post Restorations, where the tomato sandwiches are delicious). The stops are used for multiple routes, so the distance between stops caters to different groups from different rides.

    - The top rest stops in terms of use are Clarke County High School (i.e. the start, midpoint, and finish), Burwell-Morgan Mill, and White Post Restorations. All three are well-stocked.

    - The local constabulary along the route is well aware of the ride and does run patrols along the course, albeit unobtrusively. There is decent cell coverage along most of the course, and the cue sheets have emergency phone numbers if things go awry. SAG vehicles are always driving along the route to assist riders in need and coordinate emergency personnel, if needed.

    - That said, like any organized ride, the riders represent all cyclists while on the route. So it's best to be a good steward for cycling: ride respectfully; fall into single file if cars are behind or if faster groups of riders want to pass; don't litter (esp. pesky are energy gel packets - stash the empty packets under the leg of your shorts); don't urinate in public; and if there is a driver who tries to engage, don't engage back - leave that to the representatives of Potomac Pedalers.

    It's a fun ride through lovely, rural country - enjoy it! And say hi to the emcee at the post-ride raffle - that's me!
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  10. #10
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by songfta View Post
    As somebody who has been involved in running the Back Roads Century (BRC) in 2010 and 2011 (and will volunteer again this year), some random facts about the ride:

    - The routes aren't changing from previous years, unless there is road construction that prevents sections from being used. The course crew does the markings and a trial ride the weekend before (i.e. this coming weekend) to work out and last-minute kinks.

    - No, it's not necessary to stop at every rest stop. I rode the route one year with just one stop (at White Post Restorations, where the tomato sandwiches are delicious). The stops are used for multiple routes, so the distance between stops caters to different groups from different rides.

    - The top rest stops in terms of use are Clarke County High School (i.e. the start, midpoint, and finish), Burwell-Morgan Mill, and White Post Restorations. All three are well-stocked.

    - The local constabulary along the route is well aware of the ride and does run patrols along the course, albeit unobtrusively. There is decent cell coverage along most of the course, and the cue sheets have emergency phone numbers if things go awry. SAG vehicles are always driving along the route to assist riders in need and coordinate emergency personnel, if needed.

    - That said, like any organized ride, the riders represent all cyclists while on the route. So it's best to be a good steward for cycling: ride respectfully; fall into single file if cars are behind or if faster groups of riders want to pass; don't litter (esp. pesky are energy gel packets - stash the empty packets under the leg of your shorts); don't urinate in public; and if there is a driver who tries to engage, don't engage back - leave that to the representatives of Potomac Pedalers.

    It's a fun ride through lovely, rural country - enjoy it! And say hi to the emcee at the post-ride raffle - that's me!
    Thanks, Definitely, Food for thought.

  11. #11
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    What happens in the event of rain?

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    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    You'll get wet. These kinds of rides are always rain or shine. Only a hurricane or something like that would cancel it.
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    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimF22003 View Post
    You'll get wet. These kinds of rides are always rain or shine. Only a hurricane or something like that would cancel it.
    Lol I am laughing because your response made me think 'Rain or shine, is just fine. But hurricanes ain't mine'.

    The rain question, thinking back on it, was kind of stupidly obvious. Because I have seen the 'Big Three'(TDF, Giro, Vuelta) all run in the rain.

  14. #14
    Cycling Skier songfta's Avatar
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    It's a valid question, Chris, as Pedalers rides tend to err on the side of "we will melt if it rains!" in terms of canceling normal, scheduled, free rides.

    But for the BRC, it rolls regardless - save for the aforementioned hurricane, or a derecho, or a tornado, et al. The course isn't one that is overly technical - two crossings of train tracks (before and after the White Post Restorations rest stop that aren't in the middle of turns, luckily), but otherwise no tight turns on downhills. As long as you take it easy, no biggie.

    Only one paid century ride I've ever done has been rescheduled: the Civil War Century, about 3 or 4 years ago, due to a passing hurricane.
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    Cycling Skier songfta's Avatar
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    And FYI: if your bike lacks fenders, if you have clip-ons, use 'em if it rains at the BRC. At a social ride, it's a nice gesture, and it'll keep your posterior more dry, and keep some of the road grit from getting into the BB and chain.
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  16. #16
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by songfta View Post
    It's a valid question, Chris, as Pedalers rides tend to err on the side of "we will melt if it rains!" in terms of canceling normal, scheduled, free rides.

    But for the BRC, it rolls regardless - save for the aforementioned hurricane, or a derecho, or a tornado, et al. The course isn't one that is overly technical - two crossings of train tracks (before and after the White Post Restorations rest stop that aren't in the middle of turns, luckily), but otherwise no tight turns on downhills. As long as you take it easy, no biggie.

    Only one paid century ride I've ever done has been rescheduled: the Civil War Century, about 3 or 4 years ago, due to a passing hurricane.
    Lol
    Quote Originally Posted by songfta View Post
    And FYI: if your bike lacks fenders, if you have clip-ons, use 'em if it rains at the BRC. At a social ride, it's a nice gesture, and it'll keep your posterior more dry, and keep some of the road grit from getting into the BB and chain.
    No fenders, or clip-ons. But them keeping my backside dry makes sense. But aren't you referring to a chainguard like on a cruiser? My bike is a racing bike.

  17. #17
    Cycling Skier songfta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    No fenders, or clip-ons. But them keeping my backside dry makes sense. But aren't you referring to a chainguard like on a cruiser? My bike is a racing bike.
    I, too, have a racing bike - but there are clip-on fender solutions for our lot. Examples:

    SKS RaceBlade: http://www.sks-germany.com/?l=en&a=p...%20SET%20black

    Crud Roadracer: http://www.crudproducts.com/products/roadracer

    Both use rubber straps to quickly attach to your frame. While they don't provide exactly the same protection as a set of full-coverage mudguards, they do the trick. I have the SKS units, and they are most handy in questionable weather, adding a trivial amount of weight and a non-trivial amount of comfort in the damp.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    It's looking like rain at the start at least. Time to find out what we're made of

    I'll probably bring a fresh pair of socks and maybe shorts and jersey to switch into at the halfway point just in case.
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