Full 200k WITH dirt sections like is HERE.
Full 200k WITHOUT dirt sections link is HERE.
125k (78 mile) WITHOUT dirt sections link is HERE.
There is water at store stops at the following locations.
Mile 21.2 Ashland Public Library (outdoor fountain)
Mile 35 7-11 Doswell / Kings Dominion
Mile 46 Exxon at Hanover Court House
Mile 67 Immanuel Episcopal Church (behind church with cemetery) (200k only)
Mile 91 Citgo at Providence Forge (200k only)
At mile 113 you are back on the Cap Trail and there are places to stop.
Six Rivers 200k Part 1; The Return.
After a two year Covid hiatus our 200k ride series is BACK.
The last time we did these rides (all the way back in 2019) we rode the 6 Rivers, West Point, and Jamestown Nocturnal 200. This year all three are back (with some fun updates) and we’re kicking things kick off with the 6 Rivers 200.
Sunday the 22nd we roll out around 8am and head north towards Doswell then east through Caroline and New Kent County's before heading back south-west through Providence Forge and Charles City, eventually picking up a bit of the cap trail to put it on autopilot for the last leg of the ride.
Along the way we will cross the James, Chickahominy, South Anna, Little, North Anna, and Pamunkey rivers (some several times).
In total the route is 131 miles long and has about 5200 feet of climbing.
Part 2; Top 5 reasons to do the 6-rivers 200k
5.You’ve done it before and want to go faster.
For most people that have already ridden a 200k (or longer) the motivation to go a bit faster or finish a bit sooner (and there can be a difference) often comes up. Sometimes it’s about actually moving the bike forward faster. Other times it’s about improving your gear or nutrition to better deal with the challenge. It could just be having a plan for store stops to avoid getting bogged down and wasting time. After all, official sanctioned brevets are timed and if a ride is timed, some of you are going to want to have that final number be as low as possible. Totally valid and frankly I fall into this category most of the time.
4.You’ve done it before and want to go slower.
Sometimes you want to stop and smell the roses (or maybe get a great photo for the socials). Regardless of reason, slowing down a bit can be just as rewarding as beating your personal best. I have fallen into this category as much as the former. Both have merit.
3.You’ve never ridden this far north east of the city.
It’s easy to get stuck in the same loops riding from your door or driving to some of the many well known riding destinations in the region. Usually when we draw up a 200 route we are seeking out roads that are often overlooked. Maybe they are just a bit further out than you normally would go on a typical ride. But when you travel just a bit more it’s often remarkable just how empty and peaceful many backroads become. A good bit of this route goes through New Kent county which is simply a great place to ride. Nothing quite beats riding places you have never been before.
2.You plan on doing mountain cat (or dirtbags 100).
Long rides are always hard. No matter how much you ride there really isn’t a substitute for putting in some long days on the bike when preparing for an all day challenge. For most mortals a ride like Mountain Cat or Dirtbags 100 means being out on the bike for over 10 hours. In my experience a ride like the Six Rivers 200 should take you 2-4 hours less than MC/DB100. The perfect warm up, to remind the body how to keep those pedals turning.
1.You’ve never ridden 200 kilometers before.
The best reason. Metric makes it sound bigger for sure, but even when you list it as 125-130 miles, it’s still quite a bit. For most riders the difference between a 200k and a 100 mile ride is somehow greater than than the difference between a 100 mile and 75 mile one. A benchmark distance that frankly most bike riders will never check off the list. May as well do it, right?
Part 3; How to have a good ride by not dying.
Every time I do a big dumb ride I learn a little. Here’s the rundown on a few things that I have picked up along the way.
Heart rate - this one isn’t for everyone, but having an heart rate monitor (or a power meter for true nerds) can be a huge benefit if you take the time to learn how to use it. Knowing your body response to effort and what that correlates to in your heart rate can be a huge help in metering your effort. This makes it easier to follow this next one.
Chill out (don’t go too hard) - The beginning of a ride usually feels great. Ideally you are feeling fresh and motivated. This makes it way easy to go way to hard early in the ride. I definitely make this mistake on the regular and pay the price late in the ride. Focusing on relaxing in the first 25% of the ride rather than giving in to the urge to hit the gas will almost always make the difference between suffering a bit during the last 25% or finishing strong. You’re going to be doing this a while. So yeah, relax.
Store stops - keep ‘em quick or sometimes skip - food and water is key and the siren song of a rural gas station should rarely be ignored. But beware, store stops can suck you in and disrupt your flow. While it’s great to a take a break, sharing a hot parking lot with cars is not the ideal place. Baking in the sun while you fiddle around with snacks and wait for everyone to get their stuff absolutely disrupts your riding flow. Plan ahead. Think about what specific stuff you want to refuel and discuss with your squad. Why get a bunch of bottles of water when you can usually find a gallon jug and share? Are there 5 people with you? Maybe only one of you needs to get in line and grab all the food. A proper store stop should be brief. Get your water, get your snacks, get moving. Also, don’t think you MUST stop. Got enough water to make it to the next stop? Did you pack enough snacks that you are still equipped with calories to go? Just keep rolling.
I can promise you that you will find a much better place to take a proper break. Why cook in the hot sun when you can find a nice shady tree a bit down the road?
Food/water - This is a big one. Eating on a 6+ hour ride is a very different thing compared to a 2 hour ride. Putting those calories back that you are burning is key. Start snacking early. Diggin a caloric hole gets harder and harder to climb back out of. Bring things that are easy to pull out of you pocket and chow down on. The harder things are to access, the more likely you are to put off or skip eating. One of my all time favorites to bring are small cooked sweet potatoes. Microwave one and wrap it in a paper towel. Easily stored in a jersey pocket and can be eaten like an apple. Nutrient dense and tasty too. If you are bringing stuff with packaging, it sometimes makes sense to pre-open things so you are not fussing around as much when it’s time to eat and you can keep pedaling. Drink those calories too. A electrolyte drink with a couple hundred calories per bottle makes a huge difference. Most people are going to burn 300-400 calories per hour on a ride and that adds up.
My go to items:
- Sweet potato (cooked with the skin on) - simple, portable, easy to chew.
- Egg mcmuffin - savory, packed with salts, carbs, fats and protein. Glued together with cheese and contained by an english muffin that won’t crumble like a biscuit.
- Gu Roctane - my go to for drink mix. Calories and electrolytes. Not to sweet.
- Can of coke - the ultimate late ride reward. Grab one at the Providence Forge store stop
- Honey Bun or bag of chips - my store stop snack of choice. Both can be quickly scarfed down and are just plain delicious.
Big bottles - Speaking of fluids. Grab the big bottles. The difference between a 22 and 26 oz bottle of water is greater than it sounds. Especially for hotter rides. The math is so simple it’s easy to overlook but between to bottles you’re carrying an extra 8 oz of fluid. Many routes can have long enough gaps between store stops that this can make a big difference.
Tires and other marginal gains - OK, time to get nerdy for a second. Tires matter. Like, A LOT. When someone starts talking about tire efficiency it’s easy to think “that’s for racing, what do I care about fast tires?” But heres the thing, unlike aerodynamics, rolling resistance still makes a pretty big difference even at lower speeds. You don’t have to be crushing it to get gains. The difference between “slow” tires and “fast” tires can often equate to a mile per hour or more. 130 miles at 16mph is a bit more than 8 hours rolling time. Tires that save you 1mph can mean knocking almost 20 minutes off that. All those little things that racers geek out about matter more the longer you are riding. A clean chain is more efficient than a dirty one. A bike jersey is more efficient than than a t-shirt. Spending some time in the drops is more efficient than than not. When you combine marginal gains with things like a more organized approach to store stops and food you can literally knock over an hour off a ride like this.
“Oh, but I don’t care about going fast”. Sure, that’s 100% fine. But here’s the thing. Efficiency is way more than speed. Faster at the same effort is cool. Further for the same effort is cooler. More time to spend checking out cool stuff. Even cooler. I could go way down this rabbit hole, but before I go completely off the rails, I’ll just say you can always come bug us at the shop about this sort of thing.
Chill out literally (cold water is your friend) - if you have access to cold water put some in your bottle. Duh. But while you are at it, splash some on your face or rinse out your helmet. A quick cooling of the head feels amazing and can be exactly what you need. If I have the chance, I’ll get the salt/sweat off my head, face, and arms and immediately feel better than I did before. The ol “helmet in the ice chest” at the store stop is one of my all time favorites as well.
The buddy system - I can’t stress this one enough. It’s always best to go into a long ride with a few friends and a plan. Our 200k rides are self supported and self guided. That means you need to be prepared. If your gps fails, you have a buddy who still has the route. Feeling bad, how about some words of encouragement or a snack handup? Drafting is real. Take turns pulling when it’s windy or you are in an area with less shade. Share resources at store stops. Grab that gallon jug of water and some ice to share. Generally have a better time all around. This may seem obvious, but if your friend is falling off, don’t wait til the next turn to stop and wait. Waiting sucks. Sit up and coast, let them catch back on and draft. Reducing their effort is key. Not standing around waiting is a nice bonus too. Conversely, if you are starting to feel bad, let your friends know. Easing the pace so you can take on some food and water and recover a bit will likely mean you can bounce back. “Trying to hang on” usually just means feeling worse and worse until you get dropped or bonk. Don’t be a hero.
A wise person once told me:
“When you ride alone, you ride with the slowest and dumbest version of yourself”.
Routes go live on our calendar and on the facebook event page Saturday evening.