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Reston Century - why are the rest stops so lame?(19 posts)

Reston Century - why are the rest stops so lame?nova
Aug 27, 2002 8:36 AM
Last Sunday was the 20th annual Reston (Virginia) century ride. It was my third year of participating.

I heard that approximately 900 riders participated. Entry fee was either $20 or $25 depending upon when you registered.

This was the first year in my experience that they supplied Gatorade (or any sports drink) at any rest stop. By the second stop, however, it was already too watery (and I like diluted Gatorade). By the third rest stop, it was merely water tinted with Gatorade.

Likewise, the last rest stop had *only* generic-brand loaves of white bread and "Squeezable" margarine in plastic bottles. What was that about?! Oh wait, they had orange wedges too.

All that money raised in entry fees - why are the rest stops always so lame? Or am I just being too demanding.....? ;-)

I started at 8:15AM, and was out of the last stop before 2PM, so more than three hours remained in the supported ride.
re: Reston Century - why are the rest stops so lame?novagator
Aug 27, 2002 8:44 AM
Can't answer your question, I was unable to ride the RBC this year - not enough miles in my legs since a broken collarbone. I was able to get out for a ride that afternoon before they took down the directional signs and it appeared that they had different routes this year, is that so?. I rode it the last 2 years and the routes were the same. If they did change the routes, was it harder this year?
re: Reston Century - why are the rest stops so lame?nova
Aug 27, 2002 10:37 AM
Sorry to hear about your injury. The route this year did not take 606/Old Ox out of Herndon into Loudoun County. Instead, we linked up with the W&OD trail just outside of Herndon, and took that West into Ashburn, where we jumped back onto the roads.

The rest of the route was the same, so it wasn't really any more difficult, unless you count dodging bladers, runners, and adults on hybrids w/o helmets on the W&OD to be difficult! ;-)
Oh they are crazy. An organized ride on the W&OD!MB1
Aug 27, 2002 10:51 AM
How many riders? Talk about overloading a facility the W&OD can't handle a big ride without really upsetting the normal users.

They do need your help.
Nah, not reallypmf1
Aug 27, 2002 11:10 AM
The ride typically doesn't use the W&OD that much. This year was more than in the past (I didn't do it last year). Mostly out beyond Herndon where there isn't much traffic anyway. The last 14 miles from around Leesburg to Reston were on the path. By then, riders were spaced pretty far apart. Of the 900 or so riders, I doubt more than 1/3 do the 100 mile option.

Since I end up riding the W&OD so much (I live in Vienna), I was a little let down that it was on the trail as much as it was.
Nah, not reallynovagator
Aug 27, 2002 12:09 PM
On my afternoon ride that day I was coming back toward Leesburg on Dry Mill Road and thought I saw signs for a turn off of Dry Mill onto - I believe it's Woodburn Rd (which joins up with Harmony Church Rd) - for the metric and century rides, is that correct? That looks like a pretty nice little climb, is it? Have to watch out for gravel out there, the next road up off of Dry Mill - Thomas Mill Rd - is where I hit a big patch of gravel and broke the collar bone.

I'm also a bit surprised that they used the WOD so much.
Nah, not reallypmf1
Aug 27, 2002 12:26 PM
I can't really remember. There were alot of pretty good climbs on that ride, especially between the 3-rd and 4-th rest stop.
My idea to use that road. Reston Century is noted for it'sPaul
Aug 28, 2002 4:49 AM
challenge. It's also a nice way to bypass some traffic. I do that hill, and Thomas Mill as part of my hill training. Thomas Mill is a 1.65 mile climb, and when they pave it, hmmm, maybe we can squeeze it in. a beautiful day, and nice country roads makes for a great ride.
My idea to use that road. Reston Century is noted for it'snovagator
Aug 28, 2002 5:24 AM
The 100 miler - which I rode in 2000 and 2001 is indeed a challanging ride, especially between Hamilton rest stop 1 and Hamilton rest stop 2. Couldn't ride it this year because of the injury, but I imagine that the Woodward Rd to Harmony Church Rd section could be challenging. I ride Thomas Mill for some hill training as well, I have to learn to be careful on the right hand turn when riding toward Leesburg on Dry Mill, that's where I crashed in June breaking my collarbone - I have issues with gravel and ice :-)
I go up Dry Mill so that Thomas Mill is a left turn, then goingPaul
Aug 28, 2002 5:54 AM
down, a right turn heading towards woodburn, then a right going down towards Leesburg. This is a safer approach as I almost lost it one time on the gravel, and you know how cars fly down Dry Mill. I have more problems (and others i know) with ground hogs on the W & OD, and my separated shoulder from an accidentwith one in July still hurts.

Woodburn to Harmony Church, then back to Dry Mill is really a nice ride on a weekend morning. Enough climbing to give you a good work out with killing you.

Hope you're feeling better.
I go up Dry Mill so that Thomas Mill is a left turn, then goingnovagator
Aug 28, 2002 7:12 AM
I am doing better, thanks. Been able to ride since the beginning of August, lost about 2 months of riding time this summer recovering. I was thinking of doing the metric route of the RBC, but decided that 3 weeks back in the saddle wasn't enough to get me back in proper shape. Probably not ride a century till the Cannonball in September. How is the climb up Woodburn Rd? Is it as long as Thomas Mill?
Woodburn:.7 miles, Thomas Mill: 1.65 miles. Doing Mt. WeatherPaul
Aug 28, 2002 8:03 AM
in Sept. starting from Purcelville. I hear it's a lot of fun with an 8 mile climb. Woodburn is straight up with no breaks till the top unlike Thomas Mill. Best to rest the shoulder then go back in a SAG wagon, plenty of chances to do other Century's. About 65 miles out, my shoulder started to pain me after I ran out of aspirin.

I'm not doing the Seagull this year as I'm really bored by the ride plus the cost. Reston Century is cheap compared to the Seagull, but the Seagull is well organized/supported. More of a love-in then a ride.
Woodburn:.7 miles, Thomas Mill: 1.65 miles. Doing Mt. Weathernovagator
Aug 28, 2002 9:21 AM
Thanks for the info, I hear that the Mt Weather ride can be quite interesting, especially from Bluemont on. Woodburn looked like it would be straight up, maybe not as steep as Thomas Mill right at the beginning, but without any breaks. It sounds like the hill on Meadowlark Rd.

I'll be doing my 5th Seagull this year. It has gotten big, but this year they reduced the max number to 6,000, I believe it was 7,000 last year. I actually rode the "new" 100 mile route last year, it was a pretty nice route. They aren't offering that one this year, however.

I'll have ride Woodburn soon, soon as I can drop the weight I gained while being off the bike for 2 months :-)
Maybe it is time to give something back.MB1
Aug 27, 2002 8:56 AM
Man it is so hard to put on an organized century. Sounds like they could use some help with their workload.

You have done it three times now, might be a good idea to volunteer for next years ride. See how the other half lives.

BTW I am not saying that you are being too demanding of the ride and support. Just sounds like they need help.

Good luck.
Aug 27, 2002 10:31 AM
I'm sure it is difficult to produce/support such an event. I tend to be easy going about such things, but they raised at least $20,000 for the event, with volunteers in the form of the Boy Scouts of America (they were great) and local bike shop employees on hand.

White bread and squeazable margarine? No excuse for that, no matter how difficult it is to organize. That has nothing to do with logistics of getting materials from Reston to Hamilton...
I agreepmf1
Aug 27, 2002 9:17 AM
I've done that ride 7 times and never have I seen such poor stops on that, or any other century. Did you see the Red Cross guy handing out gatorade in 4-oz cups at rest stop #2? And wonder bread with margarine -- what kind of food is that? We bought some food at the deli near rest stop #3.

It looks to me like the Reston Bike Club put the stops into the hands of the Red Cross (the recipient of your money) who either really went cheap (to keep more of your money), or were just ignorant of what is required food and drink wise. The t-shirt sucked as well.

The route itself is very good, scenic and challenging. I'll keep on doing it, but they gotta get their act together on the rest stops. There were only 3 stops total (two being visited twice). No reason for zero food or sports drink.

I wrote the club president and complained as nicely as possible.
I chaired the 99 and 2000 Reston Century's, here's my inputPaul
Aug 28, 2002 4:43 AM
I was lucky in some ways because I had Paolo's behind me putting on the main meal at RTC. Paolo's dropped out last year, and we haven't been able to find a major sponsor.

I've always said, the rest stops make/break a century. The volunteers at these stops are provided by the ARC, and it's hard training them to understand what a rider needs for food. When i ran it, I only used bottled Gatoraid and water, no mix as this stuff is terrible. In general, i was disappointed in how the rest stops were run this year, and have forwared your comments, and mine to the club president.

In the past 3 years we have given 20,000 to ARC. This year, due to the good weather, we had 1100 riders, our biggest ever. ARC should get a fat check. We spent about 3,000 on pizza's, and about 1,500 on subway sandwiches, so our costs our high, this excludes costs for t-shirts, rental equip., other food stuffs, and fees. Very expensive to do this,and very risky for the club as we front the money.

Maybe we get ride of the big splash at RTC, and put all this good stuff out at the rest stops like we use to. What's your input on this? This RTC thing was Paolo's way on contributing. It cost them over 5,000 do to this.

I agree putting those many riders on the trail is not a smart thing, but our concern is safety for the riders going through congested areas especially on the return leg. We are a medium size club, and really try our best but we do need improvement. I can't tell you how many hours I put in organizing this event.

So thanks for your comments, and coming out.

thank younova
Aug 28, 2002 5:38 AM
Thanks very much for the insight into the ride and the efforts that go into supporting the event.

Yes, the ARC does not seem to understand what a thirsty & hungry cyclist desires at a rest stop. There were some Clif bars this year, which I found to be a pleasant surprise, although the supply was exhausted almost immediately. As I mentioned previously, the Boy Scouts were great, their enthusiasm was fun to watch.

If that much money (~$4,500)is going into the post-ride event at the town center, I would think that a better use of the funds is to have desirable food and drinks available at the rest stops.

Perhaps the merchants in the town center could be made aware that 1,100 cyclists, their friends, and their families will be spending time in & around the town center on the day of the event, and they could each cough up a couple hundred dollars to substitute/replace the bike club's post-ride meal. It seems to me that their sales figures would spike just a bit on the day of the RBC century. I know that some riders stay overnight at the Hyatt.

In a way, it seems that the RBC is stimulating the businesses at the RTC, and RBC is getting nothing in return. Heck, if that is the case, let's think about moving the start/finish to the new YMCA in Herndon...
I chaired the 99 and 2000 Reston Century's, here's my inputpmf1
Aug 29, 2002 4:22 AM
Paul ... its a great ride, but the rest stops were really bad. In all the times I've done it, I've NEVER eaten at the "feast" provided at the end. This year was a first -- I had 2 pieces of pizza. In the past, by the time I get done with the century, all the metric riders have cleaned out the good food. When Paolo's did it, all there was left by the time I got done was some dried up veggie burgers.

Most rides either do not have end of ride food, or have it as an item you pay extra for. Since the end of the ride is so close to my home -- and probably everyone else's -- I prefer to go home, take a shower and cook my own food. If you want to cut costs, have better rest stops and dispense with the end of ride food. Its unnecessary.