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Climbing Series (Last of 2013)-Catoctin'­s Revenge -70 miles- 7500 ft of climbing

To close out the 2013 Climbing Series where else would we be but the Catoctin Mountain range. It'll be a long day in the saddle as we cover 70 miles and over 7,500 feet of climbing, including 5 primary climbs and few wee bumps (but hey no Coxey Brown).

This time we start at Thurmont Park, in Thurmont, MD, about 20 min north of Frederick. This is the same start location as the Civil War Century.  There will be two full rest stops @ miles 42 and 54 as well as a water/restroom stop at the park visitor center @ mile 15-16 (if needed)

While not mandatory it is highly recommended that if you attend this ride that you have previously attended one of my longer Climbing Series rides (so you know exactly what you are signing up for).  This ride is not for the flatlanders but rather for the person that likes to climb, and climb, and climb....

Please note that due to the amount of climbing & distance this ride will naturally split apart.  While some regrouping may occur at the rest stops, I typically want to spend no more then 10-15 min at the rest stops, so full regrouping is not a given. Hopefully everyone will be able to keep in smaller groups but if you plan on riding you must be comfortable riding alone (i.e. self sufficient) as most areas are very rural with limited/no cell phone service.

General Ride description

we will be up and down all day long as there is rarely a flat road along the route.  The most flat is probably the 5.5 mile warm up from the start before the first climb of the day at mile 5.5 (please note on warm up there is a 1/2 mile stretch on Route 15, take caution crossing Rt 15 and stay on the wide shoulder).

Climb 1 - Catoctin Hollow Road - Start @ mi 5.5 - 5.4 miles, 1,276 ft climbing, 4.6% avg grade (deceiving due to a couple quick downhill/flat sections)  - a few quite steep sections, easily in mid to high teens grade

A nice long descent follows before

Rest stop 1 at Visitor Center at entrance to Park Center Road - Water & Restroom only. Then its back to climbing

Climb 2 - Park Center Road @ mile 15.5 - 2.8 miles, 934 ft, 6.3% avg grade, 

this is followed by another nice long descent on Foxville Deerfield Rd (take note because we will be going up it later in the day)

then comes our first wee bump of Elyers Valley Rd @ mile 25 - 1.4 miles, 351 ft, 4.7% avg grade

and another wee bump @ mi 28 - .9 miles, 205 ft, 4.3% avg grade; then

Climb 3 - gradual Sabillasville/Fort Ritchie climb to Raven Rock - start @ mi 30 - 4.3 miles, 718 ft, 3.2% avg grade -some gradual areas & some kick up areas including Fort Ritchie Rd (Ft Ritchie Rd section is about 1 mi and avg 7.3%), hey, we've gone down Fort Ritchie Road so many times, eventually we had to climb it, right?

another wee bump on Ritchie Rd @ mi 35.5 - .5 miles, 210 ft, 8.0% avg grade; then

the 6 mile descent down Raven Rock, what? going down Raven Rock, that's unheard of, and into our favorite rest stop - the Dollar Store at mile around mile 42. 

then its straight back to climbing.  Since we enjoyed it so much early in the season, its a repeat appearance of 

Climb 4 - Wolfsville in reverse @ mile 42.5 - 2.1 miles, 655 ft, 5.9% avg grade

Then onto a wee bump along Pleasant Valley @ mile 45.5 - 1.3 miles, 250 ft, 3.6% avg grade 


some call it a climb but its only a mile or so in the Catoctin rides its only a WEE BUMP of HELLS DELIGHT @ mile 49 - 1.0 miles, 425 ft, 8% avg grade  (eventually you knew I'd add it)

we stay on the ridge line for a few miles, including back onto the top of Raven Rock, before we hit the last rest stop at around mile 53.7. 

from there its a couple mile descent down to 

the last long climb Climb 5 begins at mile 58.5 - Foxville/Deerfield & Park Central - 5 miles, 896 ft, 3.4% avg grade

Then its all down hill from mile 64 to the end, including a great fast 2.5 mile sweeping descent down Park Central to the visitor Center.

Total distance:approx 70 miles

Total elevation climbed: approx 7,500 feet
Pace: Medium: 14ish avg mph (including CLIMBING, not avg mph on a flat course) Category B/B+ ride

Terrain: hills, hills, and more hills - lots of up, lots of down

Start/Finish: Thurmont Community Park, Thurmont, MD - carpooling recommended.  Closest metro is Branch Avenue off I-270 for those that want to co-ordinate carpooling from metro
Highlights: Catoctin Mountain range, from many different vantage points, Camp David (at least via cycle by, secret service/police don't like it when you stop to take photos)

Word of caution - while climbing is difficult, there is more risk descending so you should be comfortable descending at speed.  There will be long descents, with traffic, some road will be narrow and/or with some technical cornering involved. Know your skill and comfort level when descending.  

The route/cue sheet can be viewed at the link below (subject to change):


I will have cue sheets available but it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the ride route prior to the ride as the group will split up.



ID, spare tube, tools to repair flats, are required (you should be able to change you own tires).
- Snacks and liquids can be purchased at the rest stops.
- The event will be cancelled/postponed if it rains.
- Email me if you have any questions

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  • Michael K.

    Matt, thanks for yet another great ride, and thanks for a challenging climbing season.

    October 20, 2013

  • Norman

    Great ride...great climbs! My only disappointment is that this is our last climbing ride of the year. Thanks Matt for a super ride and all your efforts this year to push up the hills!

    1 · October 19, 2013

  • David Q

    Matt, thank you very much for plan and organize such wonderful ride. Especially thanks for waiting at the parking lot to make sure everybody safely return.

    1 · October 19, 2013

  • Tom A

    It's over - no more hills this season!
    Well maybe 2 tomorrow....

    2 · October 19, 2013

  • Scott

    Fantastics route... great ride! Thanks Matt!

    1 · October 19, 2013

  • Joseph T.

    I'm not going to be able to make it this morning having car problems

    October 19, 2013

  • Keith

    Matt, Following up again on car pooling. Are you able to meet in the usual area? Thanks, Keith

    1 · October 18, 2013

    • Keith

      Waiting for a train at Rosslyn. Now 7:11. Maybe 15 minutes.

      October 19, 2013

    • Keith

      Still waiting for metro. A little slow this morning.

      October 19, 2013

  • Chan L.

    Sorry to bail, friends arrived from out of town.

    October 18, 2013

    • Chan L.

      You're better off, I would just slow you down.

      October 18, 2013

    • Michael G.

      Dang. Was looking forward to riding with you. Enjoy your friends and your day.

      October 19, 2013

  • bud

    Hey Matt, how does this rate with the ride in Sept? Thx

    October 18, 2013

    • Matt

      bud, these hills are typically shorter but steeper then Skyline. Most are less then 3 miles long but will have pitches in the mid teens+ grade for portions

      October 18, 2013

  • Andres L.

    I have to bring the bike for repairs and the parts only arrived yesterday. I doubt it will be ready for Saturday.

    October 17, 2013

  • Steve M.

    I had to cancel. My son is performing in a pre-school Fall Fair and that's just too much fun to pass up. See you all Sunday at the BBQ!

    October 17, 2013

  • Matt

    POTENTIAL ROUTE CHANGE (still same starting location) - Thank your government

    Because Catoctin Park is a National Park and the govt is still closed, the visitor station is currently closed (planned to be a rest stop) as is potentially Park Central Road (knowing NPS they probably have it barricaded), which we were planning to ride both up and down. I will work on potential alternate route and will post the alternate Garmin route by Friday. Will have both original and alternate route cue sheets on Saturday. The ride start location in Thurmont is still the same - this is a community park

    See everyone on Sat

    October 16, 2013

    • Norman

      Matt is a true law abiding citizen...I would go around the barricades like I do at Haines Point...good to have a ride leader lime Matt!

      October 16, 2013

    • Keith

      And we won't have to worry about it because the shutdown done.

      October 16, 2013

  • Keith

    Matt, Are you able to do car pooling on Saturday?

    October 16, 2013

  • Clifton

    sorry I have a conflict. Wish me luck as I chaperone 32 first-graders on an overnight camping trip.

    1 · October 16, 2013

  • LDMay

    Dagnabbit. I am already committed to be pampered w the gourmet food and post-ride concert of the Best Buddies Challenge. What does it say about me that this makes me sad? (Other than you guys have fixed my hill-o-phobia in one awesome season!) Coxey is STILL on my must-do list.

    September 21, 2013

  • Haider H.

    And I'm Best Buddy-ing

    September 21, 2013

    • Haider H.

      So I can't come... what is it with this Coxey climb and me?

      September 21, 2013

  • Heidi G.

    Hi Matt - I'd love to do this ride but I'm going to be out of the country w/o internet on 10/4 when RSVPs open. Can you please save a spot for me? Thanks!!

    September 19, 2013

    • Matt

      will do

      September 19, 2013

    • Heidi G.

      Could you add Colin too? He'll be incommunicado as well. Thanks Matt!!

      September 19, 2013

  • Mac

    Can't wait! This should be lots of fun!

    August 23, 2013

  • Ted ".

    When will RSVP open?

    August 11, 2013

  • Haider H.

    Open street map so access for all... paced at 15.5mph

    August 7, 2013

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