Armed Forces Cycling Challenge

Is anyone planning to do this ride / race this year? It’s basically a three-hour event to see how many laps you can complete. This year’s route should be similar to 2019, so 6.8 miles (10.9 km) and 209 feet (63 m) of elevation gain per lap. You can start at any time you like, but I’m trying for 9-10 laps in the full three hours.

Has anyone done it in the past? What tips and advice do you have? Logistics? Tactics? Head unit setup? Training (Plan Builder laid out Sweet Spot Base, General Build, and Rolling Road Race)? Thanks in advance!

Saturday, June 5th: The route is approximately 10km (6.5 miles) in and around the Pentagon, Crystal City and Rosslyn, closed to traffic. Participants can complete as many laps as they can, for up to 3 hours, either as a Standard Registrant (no requirement to be in the military) or as part of a Corporate Challenge Team. We will also track the performance of all those participating from our military in the Armed Forces Cycling Challenge. You do not have to start at 7am, as you can check in up to 8am - it just all depends on how many laps you want to complete by 10am.

IMPORTANT: Please keep an eye on your lap times! Due to Arlington County road closure permits, we have to be strict with the 3 hour time limit. Therefore, we will not allow participants to begin another lap if there isn’t enough time remaining to complete a full lap. The fastest riders take approximately 20 minutes to complete a lap. To facilitate this, we will send out the pace car and a broom wagon, traveling at the pace of the fastest lap. If the pace car catches you, you will be asked to leave the course or board the broom wagon which we will bring you back to the S/F line.

I did this back in 2012 when I was an expat in DC. I live in Norway and we really don’t have the crit scene you have in the US, nor any races in urban areas like the AFCC. BTW, I think it was the Air Force back in 2012 when I did it. So the urban style was new to me, and kind of fun. Note sure what they are planning during C-19 but it was a cool atmosphere, with a lot going on. Well organized.

The route was slightly different back then, but it’s basically flat as a pancake… So finding a suitable group is key. The good thing about this ride/race is that you could ride it however you want. Some guys really competed on getting the “gold medal” first, while others were simply happy to achieve the bronze within the time limit. I used it as a fun experience and as a “hard long ride” before my main event “The Diabolical Double” a couple of weeks later. This was before I started using TR so didn’t follow a specific TR-plan before this race.

My goal was simply to ride as many laps as possible during the time frame, and I think I ended up with top 3 most laps overall. Not beacuase I was the strongest rider, but that was my goal of the day. It was hotter then h**** on that day, so a lot of people called it quits quite early. The still air at Crystal City was like hitting a wall. Even though I was drinking a lot on that day I cramped big time on my last couple of laps and was basically a walking statue of salt in the end. All in good fun though :slight_smile:

Downside og my plan was that they had run out of medals when I finished… They said they would mail it to me, but alas I got no proof of my accomplishment :crazy_face:

Ride on Strava:

Great info, thanks for sharing.

This ride is local for me, but I’ve always skipped it tbh. Based on stories (and a couple of broken collarbones) from my friends, the crowds and speed differentials can be challenging from a safety perspective. You will see a few groups riding 24mph-average laps and many who aren’t competing at all riding 14mph. Hard to say if it will have fewer participants this year due to COVID, or if it will benefit from being the only game in town (with most other events canceling).

I am definitely more risk-averse than others re choosing events (I have no interest in crits e.g.), so this is only one perspective and I’m sure the vast majority of participants have nothing but great memories.

Thanks. I’m local also after moving back to the area this summer. I’m also risk adverse so I appreciate the heads up. Guess I’ll have to train to be able to hang with the 24+ mph groups!