Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ride Report: Fall Classic 150k/200k

PA SR Recipients Bill O, Gil L, Bob T, & Michael G. along with former RBA Tom R.

Preliminary results for the 150 k have been posted at:

Preliminary results for the 200k have been posted at:

Results will be submitted in a couple of days to RUSA, and then become final pending ACP certification.

Just when everyone thought summer weather might carry through the entire month, autumn arrived just in time for the Fall Classic.  Instead of temperatures of 60 to 80 and sunny skies we had seen all week, riders were greeted with starting temperatures in the mid-40s, persistent drizzle, and a strong northwesterly wind.  A few registrants looked at the forecast and reconsidered.  Of the 32 riders originally registered for both events, only 19 riders rolled out on Saturday and slowly made their way upwind and into the cold dampness.

Riders Taylor Brown, Jon Fox, Ryan Stanis, and Aleksey Vishnyakov all persevered in tough conditions on one of the most challenging 200k routes in the PA Randonneurs catalog to join the ranks of randonneurs.  Congratulations!  Grace Pineda and Eoghan Barry claimed first finisher distinctions in the 150k and 200k, respectively.  The rest of the field trickled in throughout the evening. 

The Fall Classic event, now in its eleventh running, was started during the very first year of PA Randonneurs.  It has been held every year since and continues to attract many new randonneurs to the sport.  While it may have originally signaled the end of the season prior to the R12 Series, it continues to provide a late-season fun event and provides a chance to distribute the coveted PA SR awards. Six hardy PA Randonneurs earned the honor this year.  Two of them even finished the 200k before collecting their hardware.  Congratulations to Michael Gorman, James Haddad, Greg  Keenan, Gil Lebron, Bill Olsen, and Bob Torres for their accomplishment this season.

This year we also honored PA Randonneurs founding RBA Tom Rosenbauer as he steps down from the role.  Tom's vision, dedication, and high standards in brevet organization have made PA Randonneurs one of the top regions in RUSA and introduced many individuals to the sport.  Riders and quite a few non-riding guests stopped by throughout the afternoon and evening to offer congratulations and thanks, share stories, and welcome returning riders.   If you did not get a chance to stop by, just post a comment below or drop Tom an email. 

The Welcoming Committee
 Grace Pineda writes: 
Tom, it was great to see you today.  I've a feeling you will be joining us again, maybe for a ride or perhaps simply to share randonneuring stories.  Either or both would be welcome.  And if the ride is a short ride, count me in!
Andrew, thanks for arranging everything.  I was really reluctant to go out there given forecast for all-day rain and winds, but it was fine after all.  It's a terrific route and a beautiful one regardless of the weather.
See you in the spring, maybe sooner.

I would like to thank volunteer Chris Nadovich for his tireless contributions to not only this event but for the entire season of events staged out of the Weisel Hostel.  He rode the course checkout in the sweltering heat of early October, somehow managed to find time between important personal engagement to open the hostel Friday evening, prepare breakfast and send riders on their way Saturday morning, and retrieve a delayed rider late Saturday evening.  Regular grill-master Bill Slabonik traveled down Saturday afternoon in what has become an annual volunteer event for him and offered up his truck to retrieve the delayed rider.  The weekend would have been impossible without their help. 

Next up is the Le Retour de Stillwater 200k and the Milford 100k on November 5.  Event details have been posted on the website and registration is open through November 3.

Andrew Mead
-Eastern PA RBA

Friday, October 7, 2016

Fall Classic: PA 150/200k

*** Update 2 ***

The registration deadline for this brevet is Thursday, October 20.  The event page previously indicated registration closure on the 15th which was last year's registration deadline.  If you're planning to clip in, please register by 5pm on Thursday so I have time to get all that brevet cards prepared.

*** Update 1 ***
A pre-ride was completed by Chris Nadovich on 11 October. He writes...

"This classic course is in good shape and there should be no significant cue-sheet changes needed.

Many of the roads have new or near-new pavement making for very enjoyable riding, especially on those rare stretches of relatively flat country road.  A notable exception to the smooth riding is the final descent down to the closed bridge on Headquarters Rd (mi 111). This section of road is poorly maintained. The many hazardous bumps, cracks, potholes, and downed tree branches will be hard to see in the dusk.  When you are cruising pleasantly along on the smooth, early part of Headquarters Rd, enjoying the lack of traffic because of the closed bridge, let those "Road Closed Ahead" signs remind you that the last quarter mile downhill is in bad repair.

A widespread hazard also prevalent in the final 50 km are the plethora of deer. I began seeing them after the Lommanson Glen climb. I had an ultra low speed encounter with one as I was crawling up Tunnel road. It seems that deer are also hypnotized by single, dyno powered bike headlights wobbling up a hill, even in the daytime. I had a serious talk with her about this behaviour and she moved out of my way, but I can't be sure she'll educate her friends.  Please be on the lookout for deer, especially on descents near or after dusk. Montana, Sweet Hollow, Javes, Tinicum Church, Headquarters, etc...

There is some road construction at a bridge near the base of the Fox Gap climb on Rt 191 at mi 53, but don't get your hopes up. It doesn't seem likely that they will close the road. You'll still have to climb Fox Gap, which seems to be taller than I remember -- maybe the construction has raised the mountain a few hundred feet."

*** Original Post ***

The PA Randonneurs fall series kicks off on October 22 and you have a choice of either a 150k or 200k course.  Hopefully we will see some fall colors.  The start/finish will be at our rando clubhouse, the Weisel hostel, with breakfast served 1 hour before the start  We'll also have the traditional post-ride BBQ, where we can recap the accomplishments of the past year and look forward to the challenges of the coming year. Registration and other event details are at:

With only about 10.5 hours of daylight available, 200k riders will need lights and reflective gear, unless you have previously finished  the course in less than 9.5 hours.  All riders are encouraged to get into the winter habit of riding with lights and reflective gear.  You never know when your ride will be delayed and you'll find yourself returning in the dark.

Outgoing RBA Tom Rosenbauer will be on hand at the hostel in the afternoon for those wanting to thank him in person for all that he's done in creating the Easter PA Randonneurs.  So even if you can't ride, plan to stop by and wish Tom well.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

200k Roster (as of 10/20)
1 Charles J Arayata + Fri Nt
2 Eoghan Barry
3 Gavin Biebuyck
4 Joe A Brown
5 Taylor Brown
6 Timothy T. Creyts
7 Matthew Farrell
8 William Fischer
9 Jon Fox
10 Michael J Gorman
11 Nigel Greene
12 Vadim Gritsus
13 Dmitry Gudkov + Fri Nt
14 James R Haddad + Fri Nt
15 Eric  K Hannon Ford + Fri Nt
16 Guy Harris
17 Greg Keenan
18 Gil Lebron
19 Rudi Mayr
20 Chris Nadovich - volunteer
21 William Olsen
22 Joseph Ray
23 Edward T Schantz
24 Ryan Stanis + Fri Nt
25 John van Stekelenborg
26 Aleksey Vishnyakov

150k Roster (as of 10/20)
1 Shawn Bowles + Fri Nt
2 Jane M  Brown
3 Steve Harding + Fri Nt
4 James P. Holman
5 Althea Grace Pineda
6 Anna Shipp + Fri Nt

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ride Report: A Victory to Remember

Preliminary results have been posted at:
Results will be submitted in a couple of days to RUSA, and then become final pending ACP certification.

HOT!  That is the one words spoken by most riders as they entered the air conditioned cool of the Victory Brewing Company finish.  It was indeed.  Temperatures at the start were in the mid-70s with very high humidity.  By noon the temperature had climbed into the 90s with high humidity pushing the heat into the triple digits.  There were reports of temperatures on the road as high as 108F.

While the heat was likely attributable to one DNF, wheel failures claimed two victims. George Metzler managed about 50 miles on the pre-ride before a spoke let go and sent his rear wheel into all sorts of mis-alignment.  He limped to E-town where a kind friend rescued him.  The second failure occurred mere minutes into the ride when Gary Rollman broke a spoke in his rear wheel and returned to the start.  He didn't feel comfortable riding on the compromised wheel for another 124 miles and didn't have a spare in the car, so his day was over.  He may have been secretly thankful to be spared from the oven.  The irony of two wheel failures is that the roads on the route were in some of the best shape ever for Lancaster County.

The rest of the riders covered the course in good order and appeared to be in decent shape at the finish.  Strong reminders about hydration as well as a shopping list of water available on course may have helped.   Good food and beverage options at the finish were a big hit with all.

Once again, a new to PA Randonneurs rider started and managed to be among the first finishers.  Rider Brian Ignatin rolled in with the always fast group of Gavin Biebuyck, Patrick Gaffney, and Greg Keenan to notch his first brevet finish.  Congratulations to Brian who may have set a record for the longest interval between joining RUSA and earning the randonneur distinction; he has a 3-digit RUSA membership number.

The remaining riders trickled in for the rest of the afternoon and joined our group that had set up camp in a corner of the brewpub.  Riders Peter Bakken and Paul Weaver added their names to the growing list of first-time PA finishers.  Congratulations to these two who rose to the challenge and finished a typically PA tough course with smiles on their faces.  Most riders hung around for a while after finishing sharing stories and generally enjoying being inside where it was cool.

Special thanks to my co-organizer George Metzler who first mentioned the idea of finishing at the VBC brewpub nearly two years ago and to the management at VBC for enthusiastically welcoming a bunch of sweaty cyclists. Every year George and I work to dream up something new and different.  We're particularly pleased with how this year's event turned out and hope everyone else enjoyed it and found it to be truly memorable.

Michael Povman writes:  Andrew, I just wanted to thank you and the other volunteers for organizing a terrific brevet around Lancaster County. I had never ridden in that area before and the combination of wonderful scenery, rolling hills, well-maintained roads and low traffic made for a special day on the bike, despite the heat.  I must say this ride was the first time I ever had to pass a horse and buggy!   I also enjoyed hooking up with some of the other riders in the second half of the ride and sharing a post-ride meal at the Victory.  My one regret for the day was not seeing anything at mile 49.8. 

George R. & CJ at the Finish (photo by Michael P.)
Chris Nadovich who normally goes to great lengths to avoid riding when the thermometer climbs above 90 wrote:  Although I severly "wilted" in the hot weather, I could not help noticing how pretty the course was. It was excellent Type B fun and the cool beer at the end tasted delicious. I look forward to riding that course again on a cooler day to better appreciate the beautiful scenery and relatively flat terrain. During the ride I noticed at least a half dozen farmers at different locations clearing trees and making bonfires in the heat of the day. Bonfires? On one of the hottest days of the year?

Lancaster is farm country where work on the farm takes few holidays.  Sundays are a different story.

Grace Pineda finished strong and smiling (I think she was smiling because it was over) and commented:  Looking back a day later - what a great ride!  Thanks for organizing.  Thanks too for that email where you listed locations for refueling and restocking on fluids.  Meant everything in those last controle-free 50 miles!

We return to our Rando Clubhouse in October for the always enjoyable Brevet/Populaire on October 22.  Check the PA Randos website and this message board for updates.

Andrew Mead
- organizer

Friday, September 2, 2016

September R12 200k: A Victory To Remember

*** Update 2 ***
Given the predicted hot and humid conditions for the ride, please make note of the following locations where water is available.

Mile 24.8 Info Control is at a convenience store.
Mile 33.5 Blue Rock Bakery & Grill where route crosses SR999/Blue Rock Rd

Mile 66.1 Turkey Hill convenience store in Campbelltown
Mile 97.9  Turkey Hill convenience store in Ephrata identified on cue.  There is also a Wawa ~1/4 mile off course north on 272 just past the Turkey Hill (turn left at the TFL and you will see it)
Mile 106.9  there is a Sheetz, McDonalds, Wendys ~ 1 mile to the east along SR23 (the route turns right, but the Sheetz is to the left)
Mile 118.4  there is a Speedway convenience store at the intersection with US 30.

You DO NOT want to leave the Silver Spring (mile 38.4) or Annville (mile 72.2) controles low on supplies.  Options for replenishing along the route are very limited. 

*** Update 1: Pre-Ride Notes (9/4) ***

A course checkout ride was completed on September 3.  An updated cue sheet has been posted at:
http://parando.org/VictoryCueSheet.pdf  Be sure to refresh your browser and confirm that you have the 9/3 Draft version.

The routing remains unchanged though it appears that we are threading the needle between a host of construction projects.  You will see what I mean when you happen across all the orange warning signs along the route.  The good news is that there are many sections of recently repaved asphalt that are an absolute joy to ride and the miles on rough roads are relatively few.  While no one got lost on our pre-ride, the cue sheet updates better depict with the way you will be perceiving signage, not necessarily the "official" road names, and make the cue much clearer.

Course Notes:
The first and last 2 miles travel along Lower Valley Rd between Atglen and Parkesburg.  The pavement in both directions in this section has many longitudinal cracks in the outboard wheel track which are wide enough to swallow most road bike tires.  Since you will be leaving in the dark and returning tired after 120+ miles, please remain alert to these hazards.

There are a couple long descents with T intersections at the bottom.  You might want to conduct a brake check at mile 14 and mile 25 to be on the safe side.

The descent at mile 37.5 is wide open and best enjoyed without braking.  As a bonus, the pavement is very smooth.

There is a three-mile descent along US 322 beginning at mile 83.1.   A full-width shoulder exists but be aware of debris in this path.  Complicating matters is sunlight filtering through trees which makes spotting these hazards a bit difficult, especially at 25+ mph which is easily obtainable.  

Somewhere in the first 40 miles is a pothole sufficiently nasty to break a wheel.  Just ask George Metzler.  With this in mind, you should scroll down and re-read the general rules Chris Nadovich so generously provided in the YARRR announcement.  We will be starting in the dark, so lighting and reflective gear IS REQUIRED.

Finally, the route offers wonderful scenery.  We saw micro breweries, interesting wood sculptures in old tree stumps, beautiful vistas (it was a very clear day for us), and a few other interesting items tossed along the roadside.  One such article was spotted around mile 49.8.  See if you can identify it assuming it remains there this week.

Andrew Mead
- organizer

*** Original Post ***

The PA summer series concludes on September 10th with a another new 200k route: A Victory to Remember. This route takes a looping tour of Lancaster County.  You will have a strong incentive to finish since the final controle is at the Victory Brewing Company brewpub in Parkesburg.  Long time riders may recognize bits and pieces of this route, but it has been at least seven years since we took a clockwise tour around Lancaster county.  Event details have been posted at http://parando.org/R12ClubVictory.html  To join the roster, use the electronic registration by 5PM on Thursday, September 8.

A course check-out ride is planned for September 3.  No less than 4 detours have been considered as this route came together.  Pennsylvania's bridge rehabilitation efforts make many routes a moving target.  As of this writing, it appears as though only one detour will be necessary and you might not even notice it.  And as always,  be sure to monitor the PA Randonneurs website and this blog periodically for updates.

Please make note that the start time is 6:00am.  This will provide more time for socializing at the finish.  We will be parking in the employee parking area at the brewery which is the first lot on the left as you enter the main driveway to the brewpub.

 Registered Riders (as of 9/7)
1 Charles J Arayata
2 Peter Bakken
3 Gavin Biebuyck
4 William Fischer
5 Patrick Gaffney
6 James R Haddad
7 Eric  K Hannon Ford
8 Guy Harris
9 Brian Ignatin
10 Greg Keenan
11 Andrew D Mead - organizer
12 George Metzler - organizer
13 Chris Nadovich
14 Althea Grace Pineda
15 Michael Povman
16 George Michael Retseck
17 Gary Rollman
18 Edward T Schantz
19 Paul G Weaver Jr

Andrew Mead
- organizer

Monday, August 22, 2016

August YARRR 200K Ride Report

Preliminary results have been posted at:
Results will be submitted in a couple of days to RUSA, and then become final pending ACP certification.

The refrain at the YARRR finish was "That was too harrrd", referring, no doubt, to the four, significant climbs in the last 50 miles. Particularly detested was the hot, exposed Country Side Lane over the top of South Mountain, and the (uncalled for, gratuitous, unnecessary, sadistic...)  High Street climb across the hill in South Side just 2 miles from the finish.

Despite the hot conditions and tough climbing, all 15 out of 15 riders finished in good time for a 100% completion rate -- congratulations and well done to all!  Of note, Joe Dille completed his first PA Randonneurs brevet, leading the field, and setting an initial course record that will be harrrd to beat.

Unfortunately, the Weyerbacher brewery was closed for an unusual, unanticipated private event, so the anticipated "free beer" stop was unavailable. By way of apology for this, Weyerbacher donated a case of beer and a pile of free beer coupons to PA Randonneurs. Most of these were distributed to riders at the end of YARRR, but we still have several more. If you missed getting one of these coupons, We'll have them to hand out at future events.

The start/finish at Jimmy's Doggie Stand seems to be a good place to finish a brevet. The picturesque site alongside the Forks of the Delaware had a beach like atmosphere in the warm summer sun. Many riders lounged on the picnic tables and napped on the grass after the ride -- occasionally waking up to order another ice cream or to complain yet again to the organizer that the High Street climb was too harrrrd.

Stephen Schoenfelder writes: 

Thanks to Chris for hosting a great ride! In spite of all of the whining at the finish, it was a fun, but challenging course, with just a hint of sadism near the end as the course veered sharply from the Lehigh River to climb over a steep ridge???twice!

Recently, someone told me that redemption is only a ride away. My R-12 attempt, started last September, came to a screeching halt when I waited until the end of July to DNF on my own 200K perm. Pretty embarrassing, right? So this YARRR 200K was my redemption ride.

We headed south with lights ablaze along the Jersey side of the Delaware through moist, but comfortable temperatures. As promised, we spotted herds of deer grazing in the morning mist. It was great to hit Milford early before the town woke up and to race across the bridge into PA (sorry-must have missed the ???walk bike??? cue). Shortly afterwards, my lungs announced their presence as the grade grew ever steeper during the climb up aptly-named Red Cliff Road. My energy level always seems to be high at the start of brevets and I tend to maintain a spirited pace near the front of the pack. Reality usually hits home at the first controle where my cadence settles into a more sedate rhythm. I enjoyed the solitude of riding the next 24 miles alone through rolling pastoral countryside followed by suburban landscape. I was caught by my group, which is to say, the one immediately behind me, at the WaWa in Souderton at mile 46. Thanks to the advanced randonneuring skills of one of my colleagues, we discovered portable toilets at a park behind the police station across the street from WaWa (these may be worth mentioning on next year???s cue sheet as restroom facilities are few and far between).

A group of riders gradually assembled along the way after heading out from the refueling stop. After the quiet of the last leg, it was great to chat as we pedaled. I am just about a year into randonneuring, and still have a lot to learn. Getting to know experienced riders is a highlight of these brevets for me. Before I knew it, we were at our lunch stop in Phoenixville. There was a long line at the Artisan Cafe, so our group decided to share a pizza at a restaurant a few doors down. I think it was here that the climbs that awaited us outside of Pottstown were discussed in hushed tones. Temperatures were starting to tip into the 90???s at this point in time, so I figured ???we???re all going to die.???

Long story short, we made it, experiencing a good mix of type 1 and type 2 fun along the way. I really enjoyed the varied terrain and scenery, crossing two ???closed??? bridges and a covered bridge, the wildlife sightings, the gently graded gravel rail trail, and the collegiality of my fellow randonneurs. Thanks to Gil, Bob, Raz, and Michael, redemption was easily achieved in regulation time. Now, it???s one month down and eleven to go on my R-12 attempt!

Raz, Gil, and Bob at the lunch stop in Phoenixville
RBA, Tom Rosenbauer writes: 
Special Thanks to organizer Chris Nadovich for a super job of putting together the event and executing it perfectly.  Thanks also to all the well wishes I got from the postcard controle -- it certainly brightened up my day.  It's been exactly one year since I finished my last brevet, and realized that my riding days would be over for a good while. Although its been a very long, slow process, I believe I'm finally beginning to see some positive results from my treatment.  I remain hopeful to some day clipping-in with you for a brevet -- I truly do miss the camaraderie of sharing the miles with my fellow randonneurs.
The PA summer series concludes on September 10th with a another new 200k route: A Victory to Remember. Take a looping tour of Lancaster County with a strong motivation to finish since this one finishes at a pub.  Long time riders may recognize bits and pieces of this route, but it has been at least seven years since we took a clockwise tour around Lancaster county.  Event details have been posted at http://parando.org/R12ClubVictory.html  To join the roster, use the electronic registration by 5PM on the Thursday before the event.  And as always,  be sure to monitor the PA Randonneurs website and this blog periodically for updates.

-Chris Nadovich, organizer

Monday, August 8, 2016

August 200K Yet Another River to River Ride

*** Update 1***

A volunteer pre-ride was conducted by Chris Nadovich on 9 August. He reports:

"The route is challenging but good to go. Only minor cue sheet edits for clarifications and typo corrections were needed. The latest version is 1.2 dated 10 August. I spotted no unusual hazards not noted on that cue sheet."

It was yet another pre-ride in HHH conditions. Actually, it the HHH wasn't so bad.  The Delaware was shrouded in cool, dense fog and I made such good time on the south-eastern leg that I was able to catch the last of the fog dissipating over the Schuylkill.  Be careful with the fog, though. I encountered many a bevy of deer along the Delaware.  They are hard to spot even in the best visibility.

Milford Baker beckoned, but my breakfast strategy was to ride past these treats and hit the Wawa at mile 46. Even if you have a full belly, this Wawa is a good spot to refill water bottles. An alternative strategy I've used in the past is to buy some pastry at Milford and eat it an Brig-O-Doon in Ottsville, where the coffee is better.

The controle Lunch-stop at Artisan's in Phoenixville was delicious, as always. From there it's a relatively short digestif ride to the controle at the Sunoco in Pottstown. Be sure to fill up with water in Potstown, even if that means carrying the weight up the hill out of town. The course is somewhat barren of services on the final leg. 

And what a difficult final leg it is! Definitely allocate extra time for this segment.

This route uses several bridges that are, or have been, in a state of transition. All seemed fine on my pre-ride. After suffering its absence for a couple years,  brand-spanking-new Arcola Rd bridge is now a thing of majestic, faux-stone beauty. On the declining side of bridge life-span, the 'closed' bridges on Headquarters Rd and Keim St remain both perfectly acceptable for bike riders (on foot).  Speaking of bridges and walking, I recommend staying on foot to cross the street into the finish controle after walking across the Free Bridge at the end of the ride.  Don't try to dart across that traffic on your bike.

*** Original Post ***

PA Randonneurs sets off in a new direction on 20 August at 6AM with this challenging 200K brevet through rural suburbia. Beginning and ending at the public parking on the NJ side of the Northampton St "Free" Bridge joining Easton and Phillipsburg, the route traces a rectangle bounded by the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. Along the way there are numerous food and drink options, and points of interest. 

Event details are posted at the PA Randonneurs web site: http://parando.org/R12ClubYARRR.html

*** Start/Finish ***

The public parking at the start/finish is at Union Square in Phillipsburg NJ behind Jimmy's Doggie Stand on the NJ side of the river immediately across the Free Bridge. Please WALK across traffic through Union Square at the end of the ride.  I don't expect any breakfast places to be open at Union Square for the 6AM start. The nearest 24 hour Diner is the Key City Diner
985 US-22, Phillipsburg, NJ. There's a 24 hour Wawa in Easton at 310 Larry Holmes Dr.  Alternatively, stop for pastries at Milford Baker, mile 16.5

Course Notes

The cue sheet for this ride is long. This complexity was made necessary by the difficulty navigating through suburbia. Nevertheless, the cue sheet provides the official course directions. GPS routing is known to fail or be unsafe at several places along this course. Please refer to the cue sheet as your canonical authority.

Starting from the Free Bridge, you travel generally South East, following the easy, scenic, well known riverside roads along the Delaware. The route soon reaches Milford, NJ, with the Milford Baker as a perfect breakfast stop. Here you turn to the South West, crossing the heart of Bucks and Montgomery counties on moderately rolling, low traffic roads, including some paved trails through Evansburg State Park. After first fording the Perkiomen by means of the newly rebuilt Arcola Rd bridge, you reach the Schuylkill River and the lunch controle at Phoenixville. From there the route turns North West, following the Schuylkill up and back through the center of Potstown with even more replenishment options. 
But don't dally too much over second lunch. The return crossing of Montgomery and Bucks is decidedly more difficult, and you'll need to cash in some banked time. The hilly North Eastward segment begins with a tough climb out of Potstown to Ringing Rocks, some more hills passing Green Lane (but not Eichele), and another big climb before Coopersburg. There are a few miles of flat, smooth crushed stone rail trail (suitable for most tires) where you can rest before the final big climb over South Mountain and back into Easton. You'll need to finish all this climbing with at least an hour in the bank to have the option to stop for free samples at the Weyerbacher brewery, located less than two (mostly downhill) miles from the finish.

There are several steep, extended climbs.  A triple or 39x27 is highly recommended.

*** Ride Safely ***

Your safety is the number one priority on an Eastern PA event.  While the risks outlined in the event waiver cannot be completely eliminated, the following will hopefully help keep you as safe as possible.
Your responsibility as the rider includes:
- Showing up in reasonable physical condition for the event
- Bringing a reliable bike in good working order
- Complying with all traffic laws along the course
- Respecting the rights of all other users of the route (including pedestrians)
- Planning for the situation where you can’t finish the ride

Although every effort has been made to provide you with a scenic route that minimizes car traffic and other hazards, the following list highlights some areas to take some extra care:

- Summer weather has arrived with a vengeance with a forecast calling for heat and humidity.  Be mindful of your fluid and electrolyte levels and it might also be a good idea to carry an ice sock with you if you need to cool down.
- With the rough winter we just had you should be extra vigilant for potholes and rough road surfaces.
- One of the most dangerous things you will encounter on the road just might be another cyclist.  Keep a safe following distance when riding with other cyclists you are not familiar with.  Please avoid forming a large bunch at the start of the ride.

- Helmets are mandatory.
- Please note that the bike inspection checklist includes redundant lighting for both the front and rear lights.
- Bringing along a cell phone is highly recommended.
- Mechanical assistance is not provided.
- SPOT trackers will be handed out to selected riders. If you are given one, they have a feature to call for help if you need it and are out of cell phone range -- if you are unfamiliar with how to use this feature, a volunteer will be happy to explain it to you.  If you have a personal unit not already listed on the PA Randonnerus SPOT Tracking webpage:  http://www.parando.org/SPOT_Links.html
Please send me a link to your SPOT webpage.

Food / Hydration
- In general, the route heads you into some desolate areas, with limited opportunities for food and water. 

- Plan on replenishing supplies at the controle stops.  The controles are typically at a store or restaurant.

- If you feel like abandoning the ride, it may be an indication that you are not eating and drinking enough.  Take a break, eat something, and it's likely that your outlook will improve.  Before you know it, you'll be making that last turn back to the finish.  And remember the golden rule of "… eat before you're hungry and drink before you're thirsty."
- If you are still riding past the ride time limit or if you intend to abandon the ride, please contact me on my cell phone: (267) 218-0418
- It is your responsibility to make arrangements for alternate transportation

In case of accident  
Should you become injured, or arrive just after an accident resulting in an injured person (rider, motorist, or passer-by):

- Call 911 for an ambulance, describing where you are and the condition of the injured person(s)
- Contact me along with any other organizers listed on the cuesheet 
- Be sure to carry identification along with your emergency contact information in case you are knocked unconscious
- Please mention any safety hazard you might have spotted, or near-miss incident you saw. We value this feedback highly and it will help PA Randonneurs improve the next edition of the event.

Driving after the event
If you are very tired when you reach the finish, it may be a good idea to take a nap before a long drive home, so you don't end up with serious injuries like David Nakai did:  http://rusa.org/newsletter/04-03-02.html

Keep the rubber side down!
Chris Nadovich  

Registered Riders (as of 8/18/2016) 
1 Michael Anderson
2 Peter Bakken - guest
3 M Bernado
4 Mario Claussnitzer - guest
5 Joseph C Dille - guest
6 Matthew Farrell
7 James R Haddad
8 Gil Lebron
9 Chris Nadovich - organizer
10 William Olsen - volunteer
11 Althea Grace Pineda
12 Michael Povman
13 George Michael Retseck
14 Gary Rollman
15 Steven J Schoenfelder
16 Bob Torres

Monday, August 1, 2016

July Hawk's Nest 200K Ride Report

Preliminary results have been posted at:
Results will be submitted in a couple of days to RUSA, and then become final pending ACP certification.

During our pre-ride of the Hawks nest course, the blazing sun and extremely hot temperatures had Bill and I wishing for more water. Well, always be careful what you wish for, you might get it! Although not quite a "total washout", riders reported heavy downpours and rumbles of thunder during the second half of the ride. The silver lining in those rainclouds were the moderated temperatures they enjoyed, although I was told that extra caution was needed to avoid wheel-eating, invisible potholes on Old Mine Rd submerged under flash floods.

A total of 14 out of 16 riders finished in good time for a 88% completion rate -- congratulations and well done to all!  Of note, Patrick Gaffney completed an Eastern PA R-12 series, becoming only the 10th person to accomplish this rare feat.  Pat writes "....Just a quick thanks for putting together another great ride, and to Chris for seeing us off and welcoming us back. It really is a nice route.   One added benefit of the torrential downpour was the all the gravel on the Old Mine climb got washed to the bottom of the hill before I got there. I think it was the first time I was able to stand whenever I wanted on that climb without my rear wheel slipping. ..."

Maybe some of those distant rumbles of thunder were actually the sonic boom of Scotty S. totally demolishing his old course record of 7:33 with a new record time of 7:07, an amazing achievement given the foul weather, the climbs, the bridge construction, and the rough roads.

Scotty S. writes: "...Why is the Hawks Nest 200k my favorite Randonneur route?

1: It's only got 3 pages of q sheets. Some routes have 6 pages+ of directions making the challenge more navigation than cycling. 

2: The course has everything. Ascending, descending, rough road sections. New paved sections fast and smooth. Take your bike on a hike around bridge closures. There always seem to be one on the course. 

3: The Organizers. Thanks to Bill, Tom, and Chris for all your efforts to make this as awesome as it is. 

4: It's the best kept secret. With many millions of people living within a few hours by car, only [16] people showed. Wouldn't want it to get too popular. 

5: The first hour is mostly climbing. This stratifies the participants by ability reducing the big group wheel touching issues of all being together. 

6: The Water Gap Bakery is the final control. Talk about motivation to finish.

7. It keeps getting better. New smooth black top on Kimble's and rt. 31.

8 The course is run twice a year 3 weeks apart. If Want a rematch, try again while the memory is still fresh.

9. Mostly low traffic roads. Tom and crew have tweaked this route to keep it as safe and fun as possible. 

10. Its scenic. The views of mountains, rivers and wildlife can't be beat.

Looking forward to the next Hawk Nest 200

The next event, part of the R12 series, will be held on August 20th.  It's a new 200k route with a start/finish at the Free Bridge at Easton, PA.  The route crosses from the Delaware to the Schuylkill and back again through the heart of Bucks and Montgomery counties, passing many points of interest along the way, including Weyerbacher Brewery (free samples).   Event details are at: http://parando.org/R12ClubYARRR.html

In September we will return to Lancaster County for another new route that finishes at a pub.  Check the PA Randonneurs website and this blog periodically for updates.

-Chris Nadovich, organizer