Past Meetup

Rescheduled VeloDCity Challenge-Ride#6 - Catoctin from Thurmont - 52 mi, 6000 ft


RESCHEDULED FROM JUNE 1st - With a few warm up Challenge rides under our bibs, we should now be ready to tackle a does of heavy climbing as we ride the Catoctin range for the 1st time this season (at least as a club).

NOTE: A LIABILITY WAIVER WILL NEED TO BE SIGNED BEFORE THE RIDE - If you don't sign one you will not be allowed to participate in the ride - I will have waivers at the ride start.

This ride is meant for those that like to climb as we will be covering approximately 6,000 ft of climbing over 52 miles. Consider it a B/A ride. There will be 4 primary climbs along with a few wee bumps. As we will be starting from Thurmont there will be no Coxey Brown on this ride (that's saved for later in the year).

The start is 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 a water/restroom stop at the park visitor center @ mile 15 (if needed) and one full rest stop @ mile 25 (the Dollar Store rest stop).

While not mandatory it is highly recommended that if you attend this ride that you have previously attended one of prior rides (so you know exactly what you are signing up for - idea of amount of climbing, pace, ride grouping, etc). 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 - 5.3 miles, 1,279 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 some rolling terrain before a descent on Foxville into the Dollar Store rest stop at mile 25.5. its then off to

Climb 3 - Wolfsville - 2.1 miles, 655 ft, 5.9% avg grade

then comes more rollers along Pleasant Valley Rd

before...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 32.5 - 1.0 miles, 425 ft, 8% avg grade

we then ride along the top of the ridge before descending down Fort Ritchie Road into Sabillasville. Then onto the last climb of the day.

Climb 4 begins at mile 40.5 and comes in two parts, the first Foxville/Deerfield is about 3 miles long - 535 ft, 3.4% avg grade; then a short reprieve before the 1. 5 mile climb on Park Central - 355 ft, 4.8% avg grade

Then its all down hill from mile 46 to the end, including a great fast 2.5 mile sweeping descent down Park Central to the visitor Center.

Total distance:approx 52 miles

Total elevation climbed: approx 6,000 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 Shady Grove 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

See all Meetups from VeloDCity: a Washington Area Bicycling Group