Members of the of Severna Park will embark on a 250-mile, 24-hour ride on Saturday when three teams of five cyclists depart at 7 a.m. from the coffee shop.
Their destination is a Marriott in Arlington, VA, where the group will meet six other local teams, also sponsored by the DC Randonneurs an endurance cycling club. There is a record 50 cyclists participating in the event, according the Randonneurs website.
The early spring ride is called a Flèche, a team cycling competition originating in France—and signals the official start of the spring professional cycling season, said Pastor Earl Janssen of . Janssen is captain of the Chain Reaction team of the Peloton Club. His team will be taking the 3-Mile Island route to Virginia.
This is the fifth Flèche for Clint Provenza, the founder of the Severna Park Peloton Club. He said marking the route beforehand is the most time-consuming aspect. Each route must be driven and mapped out, then approved by a regional board administrator.
"The controls are important from a navigation standpoint so nobody takes a shortcut," he said.
Establishments along the route are contacted ahead of time to let them know the teams will be arriving and are part of the documenting process along the route.
Several of the riders are veterans but this will be a first for 10 of them, said Janssen. Other team captains are Chip Adams of Team 4: Guys and Another Guy and Jeff Shultz of Team True Grit.
Upon arrival at 7 a.m. in Virginia, the teams will gather at the hotel.
"We will eat because we'll be hungry and we'll congratulate the other 49 people. It is a big accomplishment. It's true grit," Provenza said, adding that its the first Fléche for the Peloton Chain Reaction team.
Janssen said there are specific rules surrounding riding a Flèche, including:
- No stop can take more than two hours, which keeps the teams on their feet (or bikes) for the entire 24 hours.
- No external support is permitted and each team must ride and finish together within the allotted time.
If you would like to wish them a good trip, stop over to the Big Bean for a cup of coffee at 7 a.m. Saturday, otherwise, you can follow the ride by visiting Janssen's blog at http://revrider.wordpress.com/.