Tomorrow morning we are loading up the van and heading east towards Leesburg, Virginia. Myself, Mark Olsen, and Rob Welsh are slated to start the Shenandoah 1200 kilometer grand randonnee early Thursday morning (June 7th). The route distance is somewhere around 750 miles and riders have 90 hours to finish the course. The Shenandoah route is reputed to be extremely scenic and very hilly. The route starts in Leeburg, Virginia and passes through a couple of Civil War battlefields before entering the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains. The ride is advertised as having around 50,000 feet of climbing.
The official ride website describes the route as follows:
The route begins heading north from Leesburg, VA to Gettysburg, PA with a climb
over the Catoctin Mountains in Maryland. It then heads west, once again climbing
over the mountain to the Antietam Battlefield. Once in the Shenandoah Valley the
terrain moderates with views of the Blue Ridge and Allegany Mountains. As the
route proceeds south skirting Winchester, VA, the terrain becomes continually
rolling as Massanutten Mountain replaces the Blue Ridge on the east. As the
route progresses up the valley the rollers increase and the valley narrows.
Finally the route climbs up the Blue Ridge parkway and visits Floyd, Va and Mt
Airy, NC (Mayberry) before turning around and heading north. After passing thru
Roanoke, VA the route follows US 11 (the Mother Road of the Valley) to
Harrisonburg, VA. A turn to the east gives riders a gentle route out of the
valley over Edinburg Gap to the finish in Leesburg.
I also found a link to a map of the route. The map is a couple of years old so I would assume its not exactly accurate for this year's version, but it looks pretty close.
I think that I am in reasonably good shape for the ride. I didn't realize how tough it would be to get in shape for a 1200km ride by the first week of June. Fortunately, we had a good spring for riding. I have been able to get in about 2500 miles. Included in that total is a 400km ride, 3 300km rides and 6 200km rides. That is about as good of preparation as I could hope for to prepare for a ride this early in the season. We'll see what happens.
I hope to do some e-mail posting to this site from my iphone during the ride. We'll see how my energy levels hold up. I will also be using my Spot locator to post location updates. A link to the Spot map can be found on the upper left of the blog page.