This Saturday, I’ll be participating in Warrenton Cycling’s Great Pumpkin Ride, a 64-mile event in Fauquier County. This should be an interesting contrast to the Culpeper Cycling Century event I rode in three weeks ago. The Culpeper event was very forthcoming with information. They provided me with hotel, restaurant, and local shopping info (none of which was needed, but still nice) and the all-important route and cue sheet. So far, I have received nothing from Warrenton. I see on Bikereg.com that approximately 200 people have registered, making it about the same size as the Culpeper ride. The Great Pumpkin Ride has a presence on mapmyride.com, but the route information isn’t posted. Email correspondence over the past few months has been largely ignored. Sigh.
I did manage to find a route created in 2009 which claimed to be “the Great Pumpkin Route.” Lets hope this anonymous author is accurate and the route doesn’t change each year! Here’s what I found:
My first impressions:
– The route is pretty flat, with only 1,000 feet of climbing. The last 10 miles seem to be the largest climb of the day. That’s not exactly the nicest way to end things, but I guess the organizers are looking to end the day with a challenge!
– There are three rest stops, compared with the four stops offered at Culpeper. Just like Culpeper, the first stop comes fairly early in the ride at Mile 12. I’m not sure what the point of these early stops are, unless they give folks with mechanical problems an early opportunity to make adjustments.
– The route takes me very close to my familiar stomping grounds in and around Nokesville. In fact, I have already been on about four miles of road leading into Catlett. This was the scene of the “Tenerife Incident,” where I learned just how fast a Doberman Pinscher can run. I suspect I won’t meet my animal friend again, as we won’t be riding on Tenerife Road, but I will certainly be on the lookout for him!
– The weather forecast is fantastic: sunny with a high of 74 degrees. This is actually mildly disappointing for me as I have recently purchased a skull-cap, cold weather cycling pants, and shoe covers, none of which will be necessary on this ride. I’ve used my cold weather gear once or twice already and I’ll just have to wait to use them again in a few weeks. Still, I would have liked to see how they performed over a longer ride. C’est la vie.
So there it is – a flatter course with one less rest stop, great weather, and a mildly disturbing lack of communication from the ride directors. I had no time goals during the Culpeper ride and finished with the pedestrian pace of 12.7 mph (avg moving speed of 15.3 mph). I hope to get my overall pace over 14.0 mph and my avg moving speed over 16.0 mph. I’ll let you know on Sunday how things worked out!