Thursday, April 19, 2018

2018 PA Randonneurs Flèche

The 11th Annual PA Randonneurs Flèche gets underway today (Thursday, April 19).  Most teams will be starting Saturday morning with one team starting at noon on Friday.  This post will be updated with stories from the road as they become available.

The Teams:

Escargot Volants Team Members
Janice Chernekoff, Captain
Dawn M Engstrom
Jonathan Levitt (T)
Christine Newman
Katie Raschdorf (T)
Paul G Shapiro

Fistful of Xanax, V3 Team Members
Michael J Gorman, Captain
Gil Lebron
Rajesh Nayak
Christopher C. Slocum
Steve Weng

Flèche Mob Team Members
Rudi Mayr, Captain
Mary Foley
Gregory W Forshey
Neal Lerner
Michael Povman

Fleshe Eating Rumble Ponies Team Members
James R Haddad, Captain
Zachary R Goodrich
George Michael Retseck

Les Chiens Errants
Team Members
Jimmy Aspras, Captain
Charles J Arayata (T)
Natalie Felice (T)
Ryan J Stanis

Les Chiens Errants, Deux
Team Members
Nicholas Manta , Captain
Alexander Manta 
Zachary Rachell

Now You've Gone Too Far Team Members
Eric Keller, Captain
De'Anna Caligiuri
William Huber
Greg Keenan
Steven J Schoenfelder

Sinister Nuts (now the 11th Edition, still all fixed gear!)
Team Members
William Olsen, Captain
Joseph C Dille
Guy Harris
Paul D Scearce
Bob Torres

Sins of the Flèche Team Members
James Bondra, Captain
Patrick Chin-Hong
Erica Jacobs 
Steve Yesko

The Fist of New York Team Members
Will Sherman, Captain
Mario Claussnitzer 
Cuneyt Eviner 
Vadim Gritsus
Simon Korzun

Monday, April 16, 2018

Water Gap 300k Results: What Happened to Spring?

Preliminary results for the Water Gap 300k have been posted on the website: . These will be submitted this week and become official pending ACP certification.

The roller coaster weather patterns continued with Saturday's ride occurring on a definite upswing in temperatures.  Saturday's high crested 80 F across most of the region accompanied by clear skies and bright sunshine.  Winds help cool riders, but also required more effort.

First finisher Jimmy Aspras sent this:

Just wanted to thank you and all of the volunteers for putting on the ride yesterday.

It was a pretty tough ride relative to last year. It was the first truly hot day of the year, and this coupled with a decent headwind on the way out and back made for slower times and a brutal ride. I rode most of the day with Chris Errico, and it was a blast. He was a bit faster than me especially after our attack on the headwinds on Route 209, and we ended up splitting off right before the climb up Old Mine Road. We joined forces again at the Citgo in Bloomsbury and made it back to the hostel together a couple hours later, exhausted and spent.

Of note were the wild temperature swings in the morning. It was hot taking off from the hostel, but the ups and downs left me shivering and wishing I had brought gloves. I also saw more deer on this ride than any other ride I've ever done. At one point right as the sun was starting to come up, we startled a group of 7 deer that ran alongside of us in a field for about 100 yards. It was one of the coolest things I've seen in awhile.

Another interesting element of the ride was the bridge that was unexpectedly gone on the way into Delaware Water Gap (picture attached). Fortunately, there was a temporary bridge that allowed
everyone safe passage.

Thanks again and I'll see everyone next weekend.

Gilbert Torres sent this picture from Flats Deli, allegedly "right before the heat started to beat us."

Thanks again to the volunteer team of Chris Nadovich, Bill Olsen, Jeff Lippincott, and Patrick & Cecile Gaffney.  This crew made sure that the cue sheet was spot on (missing bridge above notwithstanding), registration and results made it to me, riders were well fed, and the hostel cleaned and ready for our use next weekend.  Be sure to thank them next time you see them.

Next up is the PA Flèche.  Ten teams will make their way back to the hostel for a celebratory breakfast on Sunday.  After that is the PA 400k, the Blue Cinco de Mayo 400k on May 5.  Registration will open soon.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Monday, April 2, 2018

PA SR Series Round II: The Water Gap 300k

Update 2: Pre-Ride Report
 The course was sticky. Really sticky. The recent high winds littered the roads with sticks, branches, boughs, trunks, whole trees, even forests almost. Although I expect most of the fallen wood will be removed by the ride date, the armies of chainsaw wielding, chipper towing arborists will leave behind many sticks. Lots of sticks. A stick stuck in the spokes will stop your steed on the spot. Look out!

A really big stick blocking the road.
 Some of the roads are hopelessly blocked. Community Drive, specifically, is not suitable for a bike ride. There's a considerable distance covered by fallen trees that extend berm to berm. One of these might be a fun drag-over or crawl-under, but there are just too many. The DRAFT 3 cue sheet has a detour for Community Dr. It's 0.8 mi longer, but the section is downhill and passes a Turkey Hill, convenient for replenishment before the next 20 miles that have no services. 

A few of the sticks blocking Community Dr.
  One blockage I'm really puzzled about occurs on Cherry Valley Rd just before entering the hamlet of Delaware Water Gap. It seems this road is blocked by a pile of fallen "Road Closed" signs. Other than these hazardous signs, it's a perfectly fine bridge and road. My suggestion is to steer cautiously around these signs, but not to read them.

Road blocked by hazardous road closed signs.
Other than these sticky situations, the course is wonderful. Almost all the pavement is in excellent shape, with the usual exception of the climb on Old Mine Rd into Milbrook Village. Which reminds me: there is a very nice rest room at Millbrook Village. It's just to the left of the main gate. The rest room is open 24x7, has running water, and is heated! Keep this fact in mind on the 600K.

--- Chris N

Update 1: April 6
Course checkout rides are complete and the cue sheet has been updated.  You will find it on the website at: . Make sure you get the version noted as DRAFT 3.  The route map has also been updated and has a new link: . As always, riders are cautioned that use of the GPS files is at your own risk.  The cue sheet is the official route instruction.

Original Post
Registration details for the SR 300 in the Pennsylvania Randonneurs series have been posted on the website at:
Registration is open.  A pre-ride was conducted over Easter weekend which may require some minor course adjusting.  Be sure to watch this space for any announcement regarding an updated cue sheet.

Andrew Mead
Easter PA RBA

Registered Riders (as of 4/12/2018)
1 Jimmy Aspras
2 Marc Bernardo
3 Mario Claussnitzer + membership
4 Alfred Dolich
5 Chris Errico
6 Cecilie Gaffney  - volunteer
7 Patrick Gaffney  - volunteer
8 Michael J Gorman
9 Vadim Gritsus
10 James R Haddad + Fr
11 Doug Haluza + Fr, Sa
12 Guy Harris
13 Greg Keenan + Fr
14 Jeff Lippincott  - volunteer
15 Rudolf Mayr
16 Chris Nadovich - organizer
17 William Olsen - organizer
18 Joseph Ray + Fr, Sa
19 George Michael Retseck
20 Steven J Schoenfelder
21 Will Sherman + Fr
22 Ryan J Stanis
23 Gilbert Torres

Sunday, April 1, 2018

2018 PA Randonneurs Flèche

Update 1, April 5

Ten Teams have entered riding nine unique routes.  All routes have been reviewed and approved.  I am awaiting receipt of entry fees from several captains at this point, so those route approvals are pending completion of the registration process and receipt of registration fees.

You can check your registration status on the roster:

The RUSA Card-O-Matic control card generator will be used to create control cards.  I hope to have the control details loaded for each team by April 8.  If your team wishes to use a custom logo, please send those to me by April 12 and I'll include it on your cards.  Team member information will be loaded on or about April 13 and pdfs for the team cards emailed to the Captains.  Any captain lacking card printing capabilities should let me know before April 12 so I can make arrangements to print and mail the cards.

Captains and team members are reminded and encouraged to read/re-read the Flèche rules.  You will find them at: It is highly recommended that each captain print a copy of these rules and carry them during the Flèche since your mental faculties may be somewhat diminished after 18 hours on the road.

Original Post, February 2018

In keeping with tradition, PA Randonneurs will host its 11th Flèches-USA with riders converging on the Weisel Youth Hostel near Quakertown, PA on April 22, 2018.  Event details have been posted on the website.  All participants (captains AND team riders) should complete an entry form and waiver.  These should be mailed with entry fee to the RBA.

A few team captains have already started floating route ideas my way which is most appreciated.  Earlier is good as April is a busy time for brevet organizers.

Important Dates:

March 30    Team Captain registration closes
April 6        Route submission deadline
April 13      Brevet cards mailed to team captains
April 18      Rider registration closes
April 19      Noon: Earliest start time
April 21      8AM - 9AM: Preferred start time
April 21     10AM: Latest start time
April 22     7AM - 11AM: Brunch Banquet

Please contact me with any questions.

Team Roster  (as of 4/4/2018)
Escargots Volants, Janice Chernekoff, route approved
Fistful of Xanax V3, Michael Gorman, route approved pending captain registration
Flèche Eating Rumble Ponies, James Haddad, route approved pending captain registration
Flèche Mob, Rudi Mayr, route approved
Les Chiens Errants, Jimmy Aspras, route approved pending captain registration
Les Chiens Errants, Deux, Nicholas Manta, route approved pending captain registration
Now You've Gone Too Far, Eric Keller, route approved
Sins of the Flèche, Jim Bondra, route approved
The Fist of New York, Will Sherman, route approved pending captain registration
The Midnight Ride of the Sinister Nuts, Bill Olsen, route approved

Andrew Mead
-Eastern PA RBA

Monday, March 26, 2018

Lackawanna 200k Results

Morning Sky
Photo by Michael Povman
Preliminary results for the Lackawanna 200k have been posted at  These will be submitted to RUSA in the coming week and become official pending certification by the ACP.

The roller coaster weather of winter threatened once again and dumped well over a foot of snow on the area on Wednesday.  Spring thawing began in earnest but with overnight lows in the mid-20s each night, re-freeze remained a significant concern.  A delayed start to near sunrise allowed riders to see the slick spots in time to avoid them as well as melting any icy spots.  No cycling incidents were reported, though one group managed to find a ditch while driving to the start.  All 25 riders who clipped in finished.

Greg Keenan writes, "I wanted to mention what a great call it was to move yesterday's ride start time to day light hours.  Safety was greatly improved by being able to see the little ice patches from the melt that froze over night.  Thanks for another great ride."

From Steve Schoenfelder:  We were able to avoid scattered patches of ice due to the delayed daylight start.  My GPS read 23 degrees at the hostel, but reached a high of about 55 degrees in the afternoon.  The winds and climbs made it a challenging ride, but the usual randonneur camaraderie helped reduce the suffering.  It turned out to be a beautiful day to be on a bike.  The route was spectacular, crossing the Delaware four times; coursing through picturesque countryside and historic villages.  We meandered along the historic Lackawanna Cutoff railroad grade with its many tunnels, and passed under the impressive Paulinskill Viaduct.  Here are a few pictures:
Climbing Sweet Hollow Rd
Steve Schoenfelder & Brandon Detweiler crossing the Delaware

Relaxing at Portland
Congratulations to Brendan Detweiler for notching his first brevet finish to join the ranks of Randonneurs.

From Michael PovmanThanks again to Chris, Bill and all the other volunteers for another well-run Pa. ride.  Moving the start back an hour was a great call as any patches of ice were on the road were pretty easy to spot in the daylight.   The hills and the wind seemed relentless, but  I really enjoyed the snow-covered vistas on this very scenic route, not to mention the company of my fellow riders.  Here's a picture of Rudi Mayr and Neil Lerner.

Rudi Mayr writes, Many thanks to you, Chris, Bill, Jeff, Lenny, chili chef Joe, the hostel's staff, and everyone else who contributed to yesterday's ride! It was truly memorable.

Beautiful sunny day and a great scenic route that protected us from the winds most of the time.  There was always some snow in sight, but often only small patches here and there, on northerly hillsides etc. Spring has not yet come to the trees, so we could see a lot of stuff that's going to be hidden in a couple weeks.

The most spectacular thing I saw was something that can only happen to a cyclist (and perhaps only to a cyclist wearing black pants and a bright yellow windbreaker). I was cruising along at a good clip, having just come off a descent, nice smooth pavement with the warm sun over my right shoulder, my shadow to my left. A little cloud of shadows passed right through my own, and I realized a tiny flock of birds had just gone right over my head. So I looked up and there, almost within reach, were a dozen male goldfinches flying in tight formation, brilliant yellow in the sun against the blue sky. Just at that moment they separated like an explosion of sparks flying in all directions, and then they came together again. My road turned to the left, they went straight, I was alone again... bedazzled. 

A little while later there was a huge flock of blackbirds in the trees to the left, and as we rode along they all flew up and passed over us, dense clouds of birds above and their shadows below,  moving sideways as a unit, giving the illusion of a world torn into two planes... almost enough to confuse a cyclist's balance. And really loud!

Many thanks to organizers Chris Nadovich and Bill Olsen for handling details on the ground and to volunteers Jeff Lippincott, Pat & Cecile GaffneyJoe Ray, George Retseck, and Len Zawodniak for stepping up to make sure the route was navigable,  riders were well fed, and cleaning up after it was all over.

We will return to the hostel in three weeks (April 14) for the 300k.  Details and registration information will be posted soon.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

PA SR Series Begins - Lackawanna 200k

***UPDATE 3***
The Lackawanna 200k remains scheduled for Saturday, March 24.
The start time will be delayed by 1 hour to 7:00am.  This allows a little extra time for roads to warm up AND allows riders to start in daylight.  Historical performance on this route suggests that riders should finish in the daylight as well.

The Hostel parents inform me that only a very small portion of the parking area was cleared of snow. Parking will be extremely tight.  If you can carpool, please do.  When you arrive, please park efficiently so everyone can park.  I am also advised that the ground is quite soft, so keep that in mind when parking.

Everything else will be as always.  The hostel will be open; they even have power!  There is plenty of space for those wanting to stay Friday or Saturday.  Breakfast will be available 1 hour before the start.  The post ride food will be there.   The route should be pretty with plenty of snow-covered vistas and hopefully dry, black pavement.

***UPDATE 2 March 22***
Winter weather is to be expected in January & February and this winter has certainly challenged my play-calling.  The latest Nor'easter blanketed the area on the second day of spring.  Totals in my area range from 12 to 18 inches.  I'm certain northern New Jersey got at least as much.  Thankfully warm and windy conditions should melt and dry the roads.  I will be consulting with locals today to assess road conditions on the Lackawanna route.  Given the logistical complications of a hostel-based ACP brevet, my preference is for the brevet to occur on Saturday.  Stay tuned.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

***UPDATE 1***
Course checkout rides were completed over the weekend.  The cue sheet has been updated and posted on the website.
You'll want to make sure you have the 2018 edition or you may find yourself backtracking quite a bit due to bridge construction.

***Original Post***
With the worst (hopefully) of winter behind us, it is time to look toward the ACP-sanctioned portion of our 2018 schedule and the PA Randonneurs SR series.  Details of the first event, the Lackawana 200k have been posted on the website.  Registration is open.

At long last we are also moving forward with a non-wool option for the classic PA Randonneurs jerseys.  We will be using Ascend Sportswear to produce the jerseys.  Three options for materials are planned: Elevate, Volare, and Apex.  These may change slightly as I finalize the details with Ascend.  Sizing and material samples will be available at the March brevet for interested people to see first-hand.  Ordering is handled by Ascend.  You will have the option of having your jersey mailed directly to you from Ascend or you can save the postage and pick it up at one of our later events.  Ascend will create a "store" for us on it's website where you can order and pay for your jersey(s).  That store will be opened a few days prior to the brevet and remain open for approximately three weeks.  The jerseys will be produced at that time.  Delivery is expected 5-6 weeks after the store closes.  My morning ride group commissioned custom kit with Ascend last fall.  I ordered an Elevate jersey and am very satisfied with the quality and comfort.  There is a minimum order quantity for this project.  Hopefully you all saved a few cycling budget dollars for a new warm weather jersey.  The best aspect is that we can easily arrange for additional runs should the demand exist, even if that is next year.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Registered Riders (as of 3/21/2018)
1 Charles J Arayata
2 Jimmy Aspras
3 Marc Bernardo
4 Gavin Biebuyck
5 Shawn Bowles
6 Brendan Detweiler + Fr
7 Alfred Dolich
8 Chris Errico + membership
9 Matthew Farrell
10 Cecilie Gaffney  - volunteer
11 Patrick Gaffney  - volunteer
12 Vadim Gritsus
13 James R Haddad + Fr
14 Guy Harris
15 Greg Keenan
16 Eric E. Keller + membership
17 Neal Lerner
18 Jeff Lippincott  - volunteer
19 Nicholas Manta + Fr
20 Rudolf Mayr
21 Chris Nadovich - organizer
22 Rajesh Nayak + Sa
23 William Olsen - organizer
24 Walter J Pettigrew
25 Michael D Povman + Fr
26 Joseph Ray
27 George Michael Retseck
28 Steven J Schoenfelder + membership
29 Ryan J Stanis
30 Bob Torres + membership

Friday, March 16, 2018

PA Rando Jerseys: The Vegan Option

The PA Randonneurs "Store" is now open.

For anyone interested in jerseys made from modern synthetics, a reminder that PA Randonneurs is about to begin an ordering process for jerseys from Ascend Sportswear.  You can check out sizing a material options on the Ascend Website.  Jerseys will be available in Elevate, Volare Elite, and Apex materials.  You will also have the option for long sleeve, short sleeve, or sleeveless.

Ordering will be though a specific page on Ascend's website (our store).  The store will "open" on March 24 and remain open for 3-4 weeks or until we reach a minimum order point.  The jerseys will be completed roughly 5 weeks after the store closes.  You can opt to have your jersey delivered directly to you or save shipping and pick it up at a brevet later and save the shipping costs.  

The design mimics the classic PA Randonneur wool jerseys.  The rendering below is close, but I can confirm that the vertical positioning of the black band is the same as on the wool jerseys (the top of the band is at the armpit) which differs slightly from the rendering.  

You will find sizing guidance here.  Samples of the jerseys will be available at the March 24 200k for those wanting to confirm sizing and materials.  I recently ordered one of their jerseys and am very pleased with fit (sport cut) and material quality (Elevate).

While I do not yet have a link for the store, check back around the 24th.  I will update this post with the link when it is created.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA