Sunday, September 17, 2017

PA Randonneurs Wool Jerseys Now Available to Order

The wait is finally over.  PA Randonneurs is working with Woolistic to produce a limited run of the PA Randonneurs wool cycling jersey.  These will be the same as previously produced and available in regular weight Merino wool long and short sleeve as well as the Superlight Merino wool in short sleeve.

Alex from Woolistic says he has enough of our orange superlight soft Merlino wool material to make approximately 25 jerseys. Get your order in now
so we can get our order in en masse and have them as soon as possible. All Rando riders are welcome to order, but as there is a limited supply
of material. PA Rando club members will get first dibs, then first orders

Regular weight short sleeve jerseys and long sleeve jerseys are available as well and will be a separate order depending on interest and ability to commit to the minimum order of 25 pieces. We will need 50% down to order these because Woolistic will need to order our custom orange color yarn and will take some time to make. Patience Please!

Fine wool jerseys are like a custom frame, much hand work is involved.
Also highly recommended are the Woolistic black cycling shorts! Order them yourself directly at: .  They are super comfortable in summer and winter for long rides and they wear very well!

PA Randonneur member George Retseck is coordinating the effort.  He has  one sample jersey in hand in size small. Contact him if you would like to make arrangements to see it or try it on.  There are many of these jerseys out in the wild, so you may have already seen them and perhaps even arranged a private fitting with a friend.

The order form is available at: We are now accepting payments through PayPal.  Just click the "Submit Order" button and you will see the option.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Ride Summary: A Victory to Remember

At the Start
photo by G. Metzler
We couldn't have asked for a better day for a brevet.  Almost chilly conditions at the start soon became ideal cycling weather with generally gentle winds that aligned to be quite favorable for the final 50 miles.  All twenty-one riders who clipped in at the start finished for another 100% finish rate.

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

One might have suspected there was a special equipment requirement for this brevet.  A total of SIX riders completed the route on fixed-gear bike.  Inducted into The Order of the Iron Knee are CJ Arayata, James Haddad, Guy Harris,  Greg Keenan, Jeff Lippincott, and Rudi Mayr.  While the second half of the route is generally fixie friendly, these riders had to persevere through the constant up and down of the first 50 miles to get there.

Congratulations to freshly minted randonneur Richard Ramage who completed his first brevet with a smile on his face.  He was heard asking about the next brevet, so I expect that we'll see more of him.

Finally, with the completion of an ACP 200k, first finisher Sean Connelly also joined the ranks of PA Super Randonneurs for 2017.  He blazed around this route in less than 8 hours, setting a mark that will surely stand for quite a while or until he rides this course again.

Finally, thanks to volunteers George Metzler and Jeff Lippincott.  George continues to dream with me to come up with exciting new things to do with brevets and makes all the arrangements with our host, Victory Brewing.  Jeff solo rode the course on his fixie earlier when an emergent work matter prevented me from joining him.  He then came all the way from Princeton to help not only with rider check-in at the start, but hung out all day and checked in every finisher.  These events would not happen without volunteers like this.

Tim Creyts commented:

Thanks to those who organized and helped with yesterday's "Victory to remember 200k."  Conditions were excellent for a route that ran near and slightly overlapped February's Freeze Fest.  

I always feel like those "Amish plains" in Lebanon and Lancaster Counties have some wind, and yesterday was no exception, luckily temperatures were good for most of the day.  The early start was at 47F and rose to 81F.  Perfect!  The variety of livestock was really amazing, from the teams of mules and workhorses to the young boys riding in that 2 person cart with their pony leading.  It was really great.  It's so much different and mentally uplifting when everything is green and people are out and about on a good summer day.

Sean Connelly & Tim Creyts at the finish.
photo by G. Metzler

Next up we return to our rando clubhouse in Quakertown in October for the fall classic 200/150.  Stay tuned to the website and message board for details.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

PA Randos in Canada

Last weekend (August 24-27) seven PA Randonneur regulars trekked to Canada and finished the Granite Anvil Randonnee.  Congratulations to Mike Anderson, CJ Arayata, James Haddad, Larry Midura, Bill Olsen, Joe Ray, and Chris Slocum.  With only 57 starters, 7 finishers is a significant portion of the field.  It just shows that randonneurs who frequent the Pennsylvania series are equipped to handle any 1200k, foreign or domestic. 

James H, Bill O., and CJ A. sporting their PA Rando colors.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

September R12 Brevet: Another Victory

*** Update 2 ***
For those of you looking at the GPS track, the CORRECT link is here:
The route originally linked on the website is the regular route which will lead you into two chaotic construction areas where you are likely to have to carry your bike for a bit.


*** Update 1 ***
A course checkout ride was completed by Jeff Lippincott on September 1.  Minor edits have been incorporated into the cue sheet and updated on the website.
Make sure you have the 9/2/17 edition.
There has been a lot of chatter by people wanting to try this route on a fixed gear.  Jeff decided to confirm that it was indeed possible and completed the checkout on his in a very respectable sub-10 hour time.  You can read his report here:

Get your registrations in and plan to join us next Saturday.  The post ride refreshments are hard to beat.  Parking will be in the lower parking lot to the left of the driveway where you enter. 
See you Saturday!

*** Original Post ***
PA Randonneurs heads a little further west in September to run A Victory to Remember.  Event and registration details are available on the website.  Recall that this brevet was new in 2016 and enjoyed by all.  So we're leaving the route alone for 2017 and will once again finish at the Victory Brewing Company in Parkesburg where good food and drink are plentiful and there's even a bike rack out front.   Registration remains open until September 7, so make your plans to attend now.

Andrew Mead
George Metzler

Registered Riders (as of September 7, 2017)
1 Barbara Solis Anderson
2 Ronald W. Anderson
3 Charles J Arayata
4 Jimmy Aspras
5 Ed Bernasky
6 Gavin Biebuyck
7 George Brandt
8 Lamar W. Chandler
9 Sean P Connelly
10 Timothy T.  Creyts
11 Matthew Farrell
12 William Fischer
13 James R Haddad
14 Guy Harris
15 Dale E Houck
16 Greg Keenan
17 Thomas J Keenan
18 Jeff Lippincott - volunteer
19 Rudi Mayr
20 Andrew D Mead - organizer
21 George Metzler - organizer
22 Chris Nadovich
23 Richard W Ramage
24 Steven J Schoenfelder
25 Gilbert Torres
26 Aleksey M Vishnyakov

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Ride Summary: YARRRR

Although the humidity was high,  the temperature was pleasantly moderate.  Other than a few sprinkles in the late afternoon, the predicted T-storms never materialized.  Even the dreaded Pottstown Detour of Doom was un-needed, as the scheduled construction still is yet to begin.  Based on the smiling faces I saw eating ice cream at Jimmy's, the general consensus seemed to be that the reversed, revised, river to river ride was a good day on the bike, and much improved over last year's edition.

Preliminary results have been posted at:
Results will be submitted in a couple of days to RUSA, and then become final pending ACP certification. A total of 21 out of 21 riders finished in good time for a 100% completion rate -- congratulations and well done to all!

I personally want to thank Jeff Lippincott who printed all the paperwork, manned both the start and finish controles, and basically dedicated a couple days of his life to helping run this event. Awesome volunteering.  

Also, a special PA-Rando round of applause and thanks goes to George Retseck's wife Beverly who set up a secret controle with home-made snacks at the top of the climb out of Coopersburg. Yummy!

Snacks courtesy of Beverly. Yeah!

-- Chris Nadovich, organizer

CJ Arayata Writes...  I offer many thanks for the work you put into developing the genuinely  beautiful YARRR course! Pleasantly surprised by the scenery considering it was much more "suburban" than the tried-and-true PA course library. Also, I know you and Jeff are solely responsible for keeping the nearly-certain  rain at bay, so for that I offer you my thanks as well. 
James planted the single-speed-seed a week or so before the brevet, and it  had more than adequate amount of time to germinate for this weekend's brevet. The front-loaded climbing was BRUTAL on cold legs but I was able to settle into a rhythm for the rest of the day. It was a pleasant surprise  that the front group stayed together for the first 2-3 hours, and I had a   great time chatting and catching up with everyone, as I really haven't been riding since the conclusion of the SR series. Coming into Pottstown, it was  Rudi, first-timer Anne, Scott, George and I. We decided to lunch in Phoenixville at a real cafe vs. the Wawa options, and made great time for  the first half of the ride. Rudi pressed on without a panini, and we were  down to 4. The skies, while looking quite ominous at times, turned into  clear and sunny skies which I enjoyed thoroughly (but my skin did not).  Most of the climbs in the later part of the day were totally fine.... I   mean bearable in 46x18, save for one steep kicker that had me racing Scott  to beat him up the climb using my 24-inch gear! Things got ugly for me  leading up to the church controle (although that particular climb was  gorgeous) and I apologize to my riding partners for having to put up with  me for what felt like an interminable amount of time.
My spirits rose dramatically after a watermelon break at Milford Market  with George. We took it easy on the last leg, knowing that even if it started pouring any second, we were close enough to the finish that it was the least of our worries. A hot dog and milkshake at Jimmys, plus Anne's  alternate canal path back to our cars was a perfect way to end the day   [always trust the local!].                                                  

Pictures for your viewing pleasure: 

Crossing the historic Keim Street Bridge in Pottstown.

Really glad to see new faces coming out, and really excited about new  routes into previously-unexplored territory! Had a great time and excited to see everyone again in the fall.

-- CJ  

James Haddad writes...  Andrew, Chris, Jeff and all the EPA randomly volunteers -- Thanks for putting together another great ride. The 500 cues, two appendixes and  epilogue were worth it as we gently meandered through the suburban sprawl of  Eastern PA on the most scenic and calm roads. Riding the route in reverse didn't just add an extra R to the name, but, it made for a much appreciated gentle afternoon after a challenging morning. 
-- James  

James Haddad Earns PA R12

In the mayhem that typically follows a brevet weekend, it's sometimes easy to overlook the accomplishments of our members.  Last month was one of those times.

While I'm sure that he is quite aware of his accomplishment, we should all offer congratulations to James Haddad for completing one of the tougher recognition awards in PA Randonneurs:  the
PA R12.

James began his streak last August and completed his stretch on last month's Hawk's Nest brevet.  All the more impressive is that James lives in Binghamton, NY which means he normally faces at least a 2-hour drive each way before he even gets on his bike. 

Chappeau James.  Well Done!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

August 200K Yet Another River to River to River Ride (Reversed)

***UPDATE 1***

A pre-ride was completed on 8/5 by myself, Bill O, and Jeff L.  Bill shattered his front deraileur cage with a missed shift, but somehow afterward he could still shift chainrings. Telekinesis? Rando chi? Anyway, weather conditions were perfect so yours-truly didn't wilt too badly. The early morning clouds and occasional sprinkle kept temperatures moderate as we sailed though the much improved routing of this brevet. Most of the climbing is in the first 50 miles and is heavily shaded. Even if temperatures rise, I think the course will still be pleasant. 

The cue sheet has been updated here. And the RWGPS course has been updated accordingly here.  There have been two significant changes since the original draft. Make sure you hit refresh on your browser and get the latest info if you use the event page

The first major update is immediately after the controle in Pottstown at mile 47.5. it appears that the city may be closing Industrial Hwy on the day of the brevet. This makes access to the Keim St bridge across the Schuylkill decidedly problematic. We have added two possible detours to the cue sheet. We will not know which detour is needed, if any, until the day of the ride.   

The other change is to move the info controle in Erwinna from the Post Office to the Upper Tinicum Lutheran Church. This removes a gratuitous backtrack and puts the brief stop at a very nice location. If its a hot day, you'll find the mild ascent of the heavily shaded Upper Tinicum Church Rd to be a welcome relief from the heat. This is surely one of the prettiest roads in PA. 

Otherwise, the course seems to be solid. Roads are in good shape except for some fresh chipseal here and there -- be careful in sharp corners. Fast riders will probably want to eat lunch in Phoenixville. There are a dozens of possible choices for eatery, or brewery, or distillery, in Phoenixville, as well as the cue sheet suggestion, Artisans, which is also quite nice. Slower riders will probably want to lunch at the Wawa in Pottstown at mile 47.5; there is also a Wawa at mile 81.1, perfect for second lunch, or an ice cream place at 83.2 for dessert. 

-- Chris Nadovich

--- Original Post ---

For the R-12 series in August, we will be running an improved, and reversed version of the YARRRRR  200K brevet. You'll visit three rivers, traveling from the Lehigh, to the Schuylkill, to the Delaware. Along the way there are numerous food and drink options, and points of interest.

Event details are posted at the PA Randonneurs web site:

*** Start/Finish ***

Parking at the start is the lot on Hugh Moore Park island in the Lehigh River, home of the National Canal Museum. Many previous PA Rando brevets pass by this location, so it should look familiar. Nevertheless, this is the first time we've used Hugh Moore Park as a start controle.  It may be difficult to find, so be sure to allot a little extra time.

Iron bridge at entrance of Hugh Moore Park
The entrance to the park is an iron bridge that T's onto Lehigh Drive. There are no food services at Hugh Moore Park. 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 something in Hellertown at about mile 10.

*** 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 National Canal Museum parking lot on an island in the Lehigh River, the climbing begins immediately as you head up over South Mountain. After descending the mountain, the route is generally flat through Hellertown, including a few miles of crushed stone rail trail (suitable for most tires). Upon reaching Coopersburg, you'll return to climbing mode through several bumpy areas before reaching the new controle (a super Wawa) in downtown Pottstown, and the Schuylkill River.

Here the course turns South East, following the Schuylkill on mildly rolling terrain to the Artisan's Coffee controle in downtown Phoenixville. Now you turn to the North East, climbing away from the river on "Level Road" till the terrain moderates through the heart of Bucks and Montgomery counties, including some paved trails in Evansburg State Park. Soon thereafter you will find yourself on familiar randoneuring roads approaching the info controle at Erwinna, where the course turns North West along the Delaware river for an easy riverside spin back to the finish controle at Jimmy's Doggie Stand near the Free Bridge over the Delaware between Philipsburg and Easton.

After handing in your brevet card and replenishing at Jimmy's, there's a short, flat ride back through downtown Easton (and yet other replenishment options) to return to your car at Hugh Moore Park.

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:
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:

Keep the rubber side down!
Chris Nadovich  

Registered Riders (as of 8/11/2017) 
1 Charles J Arayata
2 Jimmy Aspras
3 M Bernardo
4 Gavin Biebuyck
5 George Brandt
6 Jane M  Brown
7 Joe A Brown
8 Lamar W Chandler
9 Joseph C Dille
10 Chris Errico
11 J Scott Franzen
12 James R Haddad
13 Eric  K Hannon Ford
14 Greg Keenan
15 Eric E. Keller
16 Robin C Landis
17 Jeff Lippincott - pre-ride volunteer
18 Rudi Mayr
19 Chris Nadovich - organizer
20 William Olsen - pre-ride volunteer
21 Althea Grace Pineda
22 George Michael Retseck
23 Steven J Schoenfelder
24 Bob Torres