Northern Neck 200 km – First 200 km brevet under 7 hours !

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On the last Saturday of March, I completed the Northern VA Randonneurs 200 km. They offer Full SR Series in 2019 plus 1000 km. Everything is designed to get a rider prepared for Paris-Brest-Paris. The region new RBA is Hamid Akbarian with assistance from his wife Shab.  They need no introduction but Shab has earned the American Randonneur Award (as a volunteer) and Hamid is a legend of this sport and 11th in the world with 27 x 1200 km finishes, most recently 7 in 2018 on 5 different continents ! ! ! Don`t hesitate and come join the next event. More info can be found on this link .

I had rough day at work end ended up walking about 10000 steps the day before the ride. The plan was to leave at 5am and arrive by 6:30am in Kings George, VA. I was so tired that I didn’t get up until 6am and arrived at 7:40am at the start. Everyone was already gone, but Hamid was still waiting on me. All paperwork was signed, I had cup of coffee and launched myslef at 7:59 am.

Two hours later I caught up to Regina. There was a bit of headwind at the time. She was in good spirits , i chatted with her briefly and took off. She was so surprised that I was on a TT bike!  Its really the only bike I have at the moment, mainly used for flat 12h and 24h races. I am in the process of building something for PBP, perhaps Bianchi, Specialized or Giant.

The pace was still very nice and my moving speed – 20 Mph after 50 miles of riding. 30 miles later, we were at a church info control and I caught up to the big group of four – Mimo DeMarco, Patrick O`Connor, Chris Readinger and Bob Counts.

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Photo Credit Hamid Akbarian

The control was fully supported with many options to drink and eat. It was perfectly timed as the temperature hit 80 F. Very nice to see most of the other riders there except Damien and Andrea. I had a nice tuna salad, cornichon pickles ( reminds me of home ), Ensure, Gatorate and few treats to go as I was not planning on stopping until the end. Manned controls remind me of my 600 km ride in New Jersey or even the way we do it in Europe. It is so nice and motivating to pedal towards a manned control and you are definitely saving time while eating healthier food.

After few nice group pictures and laughs , I was on my way to the next control – George Washington Birthplace.

all smiles with hamid
With Hamid.                             Photo Credit – Bob Counts

Few miles after I left, I caught up with Mimo. He was looking strong and making advancement towards the finish line. After dealing with some increasing traffic in the early afternoon , I was closing in on the control. There was no sign of Andrea and Damien, so their one hour advantage was probably less, but they were not to be caught today.

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George Washington Birthplace

From here, I was smelling the finish line and pressed on. Twenty miles to go!  My riding time was 6h35min and total time of 6h50min, my fastest 200km. However, per RUSA rules, my start time still remains 7am, therefore official finish time 7h50min.

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They had a bar at the pizza place and I enjoyed  nice cold beer while waiting on the food. Thanks Hamid! Andrea and Damien were already there enjoying well deserved rest. Their moving average was 19.4 Mph. Simply Amazing ! We chatted for a while until everyone else showed up. Bob Counts was next  with impressive finish after only 2 hours of sleep. Then Mimo, Chris, Pat O`Conner and lastly Regina.

Thank you Hamid for the one man show and great organization. He was at every single control, providing food, drinks and some laughs. I am truly grateful.

Next up is the ACP 300 km event on 4/13 out of Stephens City, VA. More info can be found by clicking here.

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