Somedays you just cant win. There is this funny email list called "Ridefinder." Now I tell everyone that they have to take most cyclists with a grain of salt. Trust me, most of us are just plain jerks. I'm not sure if we have more jerks than the general population, but somedays it sure seems like it.
So, yesterdayRidefinder sends out a post about the Farms of New Kent Century. The Farms is a development that will have horse farms, a vineyard, stores, and housing. The developers are trying to draw in people with money. Cyclists have money, so they do a kind of a fair, and put on a "free" ride. Problem is, they dont mark the roads, have few rest stops, and aren't real good on details like having the cue sheets be correct. The first year we all did it we got lost, the cue sheets were wrong. Ok. We managed to get back in, no muss no fuss.
Last year, I did it with my friend Paul. The cue sheets were really bad. We kept making wrong turns, would end up 4-5 miles in the wrong direction, but would figure it out from the map, which was very hard to read as they had xeroxed it several times, and then apparently highlighted the route. At the final rest stop, a volunteer told us that there were cyclists lost all over the road, and many were making their way back to her to try to get back. She wasnt a cyclist, she was from a church group.
Needless to say, Paul and I got very, very lost. I figure we ended up doing about 150 miles. The cue sheet would have you turn right or left onto roads that didnt intersect with the road you were on. It was awful. We didnt have food or water for over 50 miles. We'd retrace and retrace and try to figure out where we were, and where we needed to be. Finally, it was really, really getting dark and we were running out of options. I took a chance, saw a major road and figured that it had to go close to where we were parked. So in the dark, we were riding with no lights on a 55 mph road with no shoulders. It was very, very scary.
So, when I got the email from Ridefinder, I put out a reply about what happened. This is the reply that I got from Bud Vye:
Karen ---As I recall, they issued excellent maps for all of the routes at thestart every year they have done the event.Perhaps you should have looked at yours.As I can attest from the Heart of Virginia, marking the roads is a tremendous amount of work (plus being illegal, if you were to ask VDOT,who owns the roads, so its pretty obvious that a county wouldn't do it)and it really shouldn't be necessary, but unfortunately, you are far from the only one who can't or won't read a map or cue sheet.I'm afraid you won't get much sympathy from me for getting lost.Bud Vye
Nice. Some guy came to my rescue on the email list. I'm a big girl. I dont need rescuing.
This was my reply.
Thanks Tim. I was using the cue sheet. Problem was, they would have you turn left or right onto a road that did not intersect with the road that they had you turn off of. I race bikes, currently #1 ranked in the US Masters woman (tt). Do many centuries every year. Ride about 7000 miles this year. 2 years in a row, my group got lost on the Farms of New kent rides due to errors in the cue sheets. I’m not stupid. Graduated Magna Cum Laude. Last year, my ride partner was the COO and Senior Vice President of the Richmond Fed. He’s not stupid, either. Both of us can read maps, both of us know how to use cue sheets. Surprisingly enough, we both were trying hard to use the map and cue sheet. The year before, it was me, Cliff Pleasants, Julie Smith and Les Newman. Cue sheet was wrong then as well, but it had a slightly different route.
From the volunteer at the last rest stop- there were riders lost all over the road. I’m not from New Kent, I’m from Goochland. Since I am not familiar with the roads I had to rely on their information. And of course a map which has been Xeroxed and then had a magic marker over it usually isn’t much good. We did about 150 miles that day, most without water.
So thanks for the kind words Bud. I hope when you go out of town you never have a cue sheet that is inaccurate. If you do, please be sure not to tell anyone about it. We wouldn’t want them to miss the fabulous experience of being lost with no help available.
Ron I did this off the ride finder list.
Im not kidding when I tell people that most cyclists are jerks. I'm doing a century the same day in Powhattan and have invited select nice people. The jerks can stay home. Or go to New Kent and get lost.