Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Fall Classic: PA 200k & PA 150k

*** Update 1 ***
The weather is looking like it might be ideal this weekend.  Fall colors, while probably not in peak splendor, will be enjoyable nonetheless.

A volunteer pre-ride is scheduled for Friday (Oct 20), so please be sure to check back late Friday for any last-minute corrections.  In response to several inquiries, I have updated the RideWithGPS files for the routes.  As always, the cue sheet controls in the event of any discrepancy with the GPS file.

200k Route
150k Route

A hint for the 200k riders:  there is a change to one of the controls.  Don't miss it!

*** Original Post ***

With the summer R12 events behind us we return to our rando clubhouse at the Weisel Youth Hostel for the always popular Fall Classic featuring a 200k brevet and a 150k populaire.  Event and registration details have been posted on the website.  As always breakfast will be available 1 hour before the start and there will be a post-ride cookout to replenish expended calories and swap stories about the year's accomplishments.  We will also take time to recognize those riders who have joined (or rejoined) the PA SR club and the PA R-12 club and offer congratulations.

With only 10.5 hours of daylight available, 200k riders will need lights and reflective gear unless you have a history of faster finishes.  All riders are encouraged to get into the winter habit of riding with lights and reflective gear.

You are also reminded that we are nearing the minimum order quantity for the PA Randonneur wool cycling jerseys.  There are certain to be a few examples of the first generation jerseys at his event should you wish to check out the quality. Bill Olsen has tens of thousands of kilometers on his so he is a good person to ask about the durability of these jerseys.

Several members have asked about non-wool jerseys.  We are currently working with Ascend Sportswear to replicate the iconic look of our wool jersey in modern materials and plan to have material and sizing samples available for you to try on.  You'll find sizing charts here.  The order process is a little different as you will deal directly with Ascend.  An on-line "store" for PA Randonneurs will open for a period of time during which you can place your order.  There is a minimum order requirement that once satisfied will allow the store to close and the jerseys will go into production.  Delivery is approximately 5 weeks after the store closes.  I will provide more details in a separate message once I get those details ironed out.

Mark your calendars and make plans to attend.  The Fall Classic has been around since the very beginning of PA Randonneurs and is always a good time.

Andrew Mead
-Eastern PA RBA

200k Roster (as of 10/19)
1 Michael Anderson + Fr
2 Charles J Arayata
3 Jimmy Aspras
4 Peter Bakken
5 Eoghan Barry
6 Gavin Biebuyck
7 Shawn Bowles
8 Jane M  Brown
9 Joe A Brown
10 Paul I Currie
11 Alfred Dolich
12 Matthew Farrell
13 James R Haddad + Fr
14 James P. Holman
15 Greg Keenan
16 Robin C Landis + Fr
17 Jeff Lippincott
18 Peter Macholdt
19 Nicholas Manta
20 Rudi Mayr
21 Chris Nadovich - organizer
22 William Olsen - organizer
23 Cameron O'Mara
24 Nate Osheyack
25 Joseph Ray
26 George Michael Retseck - volunteer
27 Ryan J Stanis
28 Scotty Steingart
29 Andrew Thomas
30 John van Stekelenborg
31 Aleksey M Vishnyakov
32 Paul G Weaver Jr

150k Roster (as of 10/19)
1 Barbara Solis Anderson
2 Ronald W. Anderson
3 James Bondra  +Fr,Sa
4 Christopher Daly
5 J Scott Franzen
6 Mark Hallinger + membership
7 Ari Kaputkin
8 Richard W Ramage
9 Bob Torres

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!