Sunday, January 8, 2017

January R12 Event: Hopewell Take II


The forecast for Saturday January 14 has shifted to less favorable owing to an increasing likelihood of wintry precipitation in the afternoon.  Rather than risk a repeat of Hopewell I, Hopewell II has been POSTPONED until January 21.

Registered Riders (as of 1/18/2017)
1 Michael Anderson
2 Jimmy Aspras
3 Gavin Biebuyck
4 Shawn Bowles
5 Joe A Brown
6 Taylor Brown
7 Matthew Farrell
8 William Fischer
9 Patrick Gaffney
10 James R Haddad
11 Doug Haluza
12 Guy Harris - volunteer
13 Dale E Houck
14 Jeff Lippincott
15 Chris Nadovich - volunteer
16 William Olsen - organizer
17 Joseph Ray
18 Steven J Schoenfelder
19 Paul G Shapiro

Andrew Mead
- Eastern PA RBA

*** Original Post ***
Winter brevets are always tricky when it comes to weather.  Sometimes we take a gamble and lose.  The Hopewell 200 on January 7 was one of those days.  RUSA rules regarding brevets are quite clear about the handling of this past Saturday.  The Hopewell 200 now has the distinction of having the highest DNF rate of any Eastern PA brevet, displacing the inagural EM1240.

Thankfully all riders returned safely to the start at Milford and will live to rando another day.  That day could be next Saturday, January 14.  RUSA has approved a request to add a new 200k event next weekend to allow hearty PA Randonneurs to maintain their pursuits of R12s, PA12s, or whatever else motivates one to ride in winter weather.  The long-range forecast for next weekend appears favorable.  We will try again to complete the Hopewell route as it remains one of our best for winter brevets.  Start time remains 7:30 am at the Milford Bakery.
This event, like Saturday's, will be free to PA Randonneurs members in good standing.  To register, please send me an email with the subject line "January 14 R12 Entry" in the subject line.

Finally, please be sure to thank organizers Guy Harris and Bill Olsen when you next see them.  They handled everything Mother Nature had to offer with confidence and assured everyone's safe return to Milford.  After all of Saturday's challenges, they were eager to offer themselves for the Take II adventure. 

Andrew Mead
- Eastern PA RBA

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 PA R12 Series Kickoff: Beyond Hope to Hopewell

*** Update 3 ***

THE BREVET WILL START AS SCHEDULED ON SATURDAY, JANUARY 7.  We dodged the worst of the snow and roads should be fine for cycling.

*** Update 2 ***
Winter weather often challenges brevet organizers.  Rider safety is paramount.  Randonneurs are hearty cyclists capable of getting though some remarkably nasty weather.  Still, ours is a recreational sport; we don't want to jeopardize rider safety simply to keep an event on the schedule.

As you may be aware, a winter storm is passing through our area Thursday evening into Friday.   This may or may not impact roads.  Bill, Guy, and I are carefully monitoring conditions and will make a final call by Friday afternoon.  Forecasts as of Thursday indicate this should be a minor snow event that should not impede our plans.  Please check this board and your email for any updates.

We are also aware that temperatures will be brutally cold on Saturday, possibly below some riders' low temperatures thresholds.  If you have registered for this ride (your name is on the list below) and you do NOT intend on starting for whatever reason, please send a message to Bill Olsen (organizer) and Andrew Mead (RBA) informing us of your decision.  While the Milford Bakery is a nice place to hang out, no one wants to hang around for an extra hour wondering whether someone is late or just not planning to ride.

This ride may challenge the current PA Rando low temperature at a start record (13F) and will definitely test your low temperature preparations.  Fortunately this route offers numerous places to refuel and warm up along the way.  From my own bag of tricks, placing a CamelBak (and the hose) inside my jacket, where it remain liquid and warm, and covering my face so that I could inhale slightly warmed air have worked well for me. Good luck and stay safe.

*** Update 1 ***

Bill Olsen and Guy Harris pre-rode the Beyond Hope to Hopewell course on Sunday January 1st and, in general found the cue sheets to be in very good order.  Some minor notes were added to the cue sheet (Revision 1/3/2017, Draft 3) currently posted on the PA Randonneurs website.

Comments from their pre-ride include:

While Controle 2 at the US Gas Minimart offers a wide selection of items, please be aware that the facilities consist of two ORF’s (Outdoor Rest Facilities) and if one is looking for more comfort one might consider stopping at the QuickChek located at the Rt 46 intersection (Mile 29.8 and 42.9.) The QuickChek also offers seated dining facilities and a wide selection of hot and cold beverages, soups and sandwiches if one needs to stop to warm up along the way.

The Citgo Minimart at Control 3 used for many of the PA Randonneuring brevets similarly offers a wide variety of food and a warm seating area.  But if one is looking for fast food, there is a Burger King  located in the Travel Centers of America and a Subway located in the Pilot Travel Center truck service facilities located on the LHS of Rt. 173.  If one choses to use these controls as an alternative to the designated Citgo controle a timed receipt will be required for these two facilities.

If the weather forecast of seasonal temperatures for the day of the ride continues to hold, one can be assured that the next section climbing up Tunnel Road following the rolling ridgeline along Rt 579 and then over the Sourlands will warm one up…and yes that sign at the top of the climb on Rt 607 / Rileyville road where Mountain Road and Ridge Road meet IS the last of the big climbs before Hopewell.  On the descent into Hopewell there is a section of older pavement that has many potholes on the RH side of the road, approximately 2 feet out from the shoulder, where one would normally ride.  When traversing this section, make sure that one is comfortable riding to the right of the potholes near to the shoulder, or preferably, taking the lane and riding to the left of the potholes.  (CAUTION: ONE DOES NOT WANT TO RIDE THROUGH THE POTHOLES.)  If one is riding in a group, be sure to call out the hazard.

The Brick Farm Market used for Controle 4 is now open form 8AM to 6PM on weekends so that even riders arriving near the 17:34 controle closing time will find the store open with a selection of hot and cold food and beverage items.

On the last section, please be aware that immediately following the TL onto Rt 605 / Sandy Ridge Rd at mile 107.0, riders should continue straight on Sandy Ridge Rd and NOT take the RHT that Rt 605 takes onto Cemetery Rd.

Although not a controle, riders should be aware that the general store in Stockton will be open if one needs a stop prior to the stretch back in on Rt. 29.  (It is a minor detour requiring a LHT onto Rt 29 / N. Main St at mile 108.8, proceeding approximately 500 feet to take a RHT onto Bridge Street.  The store is on Mill Street, to your left, just beyond the Shell gasoline station.  Reversing this route will return one to the course that follows Rt. 29.  Please also note that the Bull’s Island Recreational Facility located approximately 3 miles down the road offers heated rest room facilities.

Bill and Guy will be there to see you off at the Milford Station Bakery and upon your return to the Ship Inn.

One final note.  As in years past, this kick-off event is offered free of charge for PA Randonneurs members in good standing.  Bundle up and enjoy one on the house.

*** Original Post ***
Get your 2017 randonneuring season started early with the Beyond Hope to Hopewell brevet.  This route features roads that are generally cleared in the winter and not overly challenging, at least compared to others in the PA catalog.  Event details have been posted on the website at

The start is at the Milford Bakery, but you should park your car in the big parking lot on Church St.  There is a sign indicating private parking, but PA Randonneurs has secured permission from the owner, US Health (which will be closed).  The Bakery will be open by 6AM and in addition to baked items, breakfast sandwiches can made to order.  The finish controle is at the Ship Inn just a couple of stores away from the Bakery.

Sunset is at 4:50 PM; riders are required to bring lights and reflective gear, including primary and backup lighting front and rear.  Any riders finishing after sunset without the proper safety gear will be disqualified.

If you're planning to ride, please complete an entry at the PA Randonneurs Event Registration page by 5PM Thursday afternoon.

Andrew Mead
- Eastern PA RBA

Registered Riders (as of 1/5/2017)
1 Michael Anderson
2 Jimmy Aspras
3 Joe A Brown
4 Mario Claussnitzer
5 Matthew Farrell
6 William Fischer
7 Patrick Gaffney
8 Nigel Greene
9 James R Haddad
10 Doug Haluza
11 Eric  K Hannon Ford
12 Guy Harris - volunteer
13 Jeff Lippincott
14 Christopher Maglieri
15 Chris Nadovich
16 William Olsen - organizer
17 Joseph Ray
18 Steven J Schoenfelder
19 Bob Torres

Monday, December 5, 2016

Ride Report: Little Britain

Photo by Peter B.
Preliminary results for the 200k have been posted at:

Results will be submitted to RUSA for certification in a few days.

Winter brevets often include a weather component to up the challenge beyond the typical PA Randonneurs terrain factor.  Saturday was no different when the WIND compounded an already challenging course.   Seventeen riders started and all seventeen returned after facing the windy and chilly conditions all day.  Most riders cleared the northernmost control facing the relatively calmer winds of the early morning.  The wind became much stronger and gustier as the day progressed.  There were some tailwind stretches, lots of crosswind sections, and then the long haul back from Little Britain into the wind.

Early finishers had to contend with stronger winds on the final leg, making their times all the more impressive.  The rest of the field rolled into the Highland Pizzeria finish control over the next few hours and was greeted by finish volunteer C.J. Arayata.  Many stories were surely told as riders warmed, relaxed, and replenished expended carbohydrates.    

First finisher Gavin Biebuyck writes:  "Great course and nice tweak to add the "gravel grinder" segment.  I lit it up stupidly with my fat tires and then almost ate it with some deep gullies the rain last week must have caused!  Opened up about a minute on Taylor but he caught me at the top of the reservoir hill.  The wind was very helpful for 70 miles or so..."  Congratulations to Gavin and fellow first finisher Taylor Brown for an impressive result.  The wind was at its strongest as they headed north from Little Britain.

Hot on their heels was the remains of the lead pack, including Joe Brown, Matt Farrell, and Jim Holman.  Jim best summed up the day:  That was a hard day in the saddle!

George Retseck focused on the positives to take his mind off the wind:   "Our group of Pete Bakken, Scott Franzen, Paul Currie and myself thoroughly enjoyed the course.  Even though I have done a few Permanents and Brevets in the Lancaster area, this course truly had some amazing scenes and landscapes to traverse. Much more rural and remote than areas I have seen before.  Thanks so much for putting it together and to CJ to sign us in at the end."
Allison Wong returned for a second December brevet with PA Randonneurs and brought along rookie Shaun Gundel who is now an official randonneur.  Congratulations Shaun, you're ready for anything now.

Special thanks go to C.J. Arayata who skipped riding this month to staff the finish control so that I could ride.   CJ took several photos at the finish that are available HERE.   I'd also like to thank Chris Nadovich for a great day of stimulating conversation at the back of the field.  It was most enjoyable to roll into the finish knowing that I wouldn't have my usual organizer angst worrying about other riders remaining on course. 

This concludes the 2016 PA Randonneurs R12 series.  I will be working over the coming weeks to return brevet cards along with the annual results summary and an update on the club itself.

Mark your calendar now for the kickoff of the 2017 R12 Series scheduled for January 7.  Check back here and on the website for event details.

Andrew Mead
- organizer
Eastern PA RBA

Saturday, November 12, 2016

December R12 Brevet: Little Britain

*** Pre-Ride Update  ***
Veteran PA Rando Bill Fischer kept his string of PA events alive by completing a course check-out ride on November 19.  His notes along with a few organizer notes have been incorporated in an updated cue sheet for the event which is posted on the website.  Please be sure that you download/print the latest version indicating "11/20, pre-ride updates."

The route is in good shape and the cue should be easier to follow than before, especially for those relying on the old standard CPS navigational standard.  As always, riders should watch for loose gravel on the inside of corners and never outride their guardian angel on descents.

Please note that there is a half-mile section of gravel road on this course which is marked on the cue sheet.  This section is easily passable, but riders will want to exercise caution as there are a few areas of deeper stones that could cause problems for the inattentive.  Both Bill and I rode this stretch on Saturday without incident.

Caution is also advised at mile 77.6 along Georgetown Road.  Repairs of the "buggy track" there have resulted in some patches with square-edges running in the direction of travel.  They are just large enough to catch a bicycle tire and mis-direct an unwary cyclist.  The road is slightly uphill here where speed should not be much of a factor.  Still, I'd prefer to avoid any spills into the vehicle lanes on Georgetown Road.  This type of buggy track repair is very common in Lancaster County so riders should always be careful when riding along the edge of these repairs.

*** Original Post ***
Details and event registration for the final R12 brevet of 2016 have been on the website.  Registration will remain open through 5pm on December 1.  Please note that the starting time is 7:30 am to avoid having to start in the dark.

This route offers a different twist on Lancaster County by looping generally north and south from a central start-finish location.  The route is laid out generally as a figure-8 and returns to the start location after 60 miles providing a safety bail-out should weather conditions or rider conditioning take a turn for the worse.  No one abandoned in February, so I'm hoping for better weather and a repeat 100% completion rate.  A few tweaks based on rider feedback and a desire to make the route a bit less susceptible to bad weather have been incorporated.  You will find the updated route here.

Breakfast is available nearby at the Oregon Dairy Restaurant, approximately 1 mile north of the start location along SR 272.  The food is good and plentiful and there's even a breakfast buffet.  The baked oatmeal is one of my favorites.  The restaurant opens at 6am which leaves ample time for breakfast and to make you way to the start.  Please note that the starting time is 7:30 am to avoid having to start in the dark and allow plenty of time for a hearty breakfast.

Our finish controle will be at the Highland Pizzaria in the shopping center.  It offers a decent selection of food for hungry riders and an excellent selection of beer for those wanting a few liquid carbs to assist in post-ride replenishment.  Our own CJ Arayata is set to welcome you to the finish, so look for him when you arrive.

Parking is not abundant at the start finish area, but there should be enough to manage.  We will be staging for the start at the north side entrance along Landis Valley Rd under the sign with the clock/thermometer.  You should park in that general area away from the store fronts.  Carpooling will help.  There is ample additional parking at the Landis Valley Farm Museum (where the February event started) on the opposite side of Oregon Pike which may also be used.

A course check-out ride of the updated route is scheduled for the 19th, so check back here for any updates to the cue sheet.

Finally, as the end of the year approaches you should take the time check your RUSA and PA Randonneurs membership status and renew, if necessary.   You can check your RUSA status at:   The PA membership list is posted on website. 

Andrew Mead
- Eastern PA RBA
Registered Riders (as of 12/2/2016)
1 Jimmy Aspras
2 Peter Bakken
3 Gavin Biebuyck
4 Joe A Brown
5 Taylor Brown
6 Paul I Currie
7 Jono Davis
8 Jonathan Lucas Elrath
9 Matthew Farrell
10 William Fischer - volunteer pre-ride
11 J Scott Franzen
12 Shaun Gundel
13 James R Haddad
14 James P. Holman
15 Greg Keenan
16 Andrew D Mead -organizer
17 Chris Nadovich
18 Joseph Ray
19 George Michael Retseck
20 Allison Wong

Monday, November 7, 2016

Le Retour du Stillwater 200k / Milford 100k Ride Report

Photo by James Haddad

Preliminary results for the 100 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.

Thanks once again to the well-oiled brevet team of Bill Olsen, Guy Harris, and Chris Nadovich for making this one happen.  They make it look easy.

Fall brevets are always tricky.   Events are scheduled over a year in advance making it anyone's guess as to what weather riders will face.  Thankfully, riders on Saturday's combined Le Retour du Stillwater and Milford events enjoyed just about as nice a day for cycling as one can ask for in early November.  Consider this:  first finisher Chris Maglieri completed this event in 2013 with a finishing time of 8:38; seven riders besides Chris bested that time on Saturday.  Apparently cool weather brought out the best in several randonneurs.  More important to the organizers is that every rider who left the Milford Bakery in the morning returned within the time limit for a 100% completion rate on both events. 

Joe Ray, who was among a pack of fast finishers, had this to say:   
What a fantastic day to be on a bike!  I met a few more PA Randonneurs and we had a glorious time on the Retour.  My wife actually came to start and the finish (calling her my Uber-Rando now) which gave her the opportunity to meet and chat both before and after the ride, which was highly beneficial since she now has a few faces to go with the names I talk about after these events, but perhaps more importantly she can learn that i am not the only/most crazy person out there.
The pre-ride report was right on target with everything; Shades of Death had the worst surface of the entire day, excluding I suppose the 0.2 mile dirt stretch on Old Cemetery Road.  You know you have left Tranquility behind when you get on Shades of Death Rd.
Thanks to Bill and Chris at start/finish, and thanks to the Milford bakery folks for a great place to start!

James Haddad writes:
Thanks to you, Bill, and all the other volunteers that helped make Saturday’s ride another fantastic randonneuring experience. The route was beautiful, especially along the Delaware River. The view from the top of Riverton road was amazing. I’ve ridden the stretch between Milford and Portland a lot in the past months and each time I discover something new. 
James recently wrapped up an R12 and appears to be intent on going for another and perhaps a K-Hound award as well. 

Next up is a return to Lancaster County for a reprise of the Little Britain brevet.  Event details will soon be posted.  I've tweaked the route a touch based on careful notes from February's running.  There remains one small section of gravel road and most of the big hills, but the cue sheet should be easier to follow and we will bypass Nottingham Road (SR 272) in the interest of an improved ride experience.  A pre-ride is planned for later this month.  I'm talking to the weather man in an effort to keep ice out of the picture.  
Finally, it is the time of the year when you should check your RUSA and PA Randonneurs memberships and renew, if necessary.   You can check your RUSA status at:
The PA membership list is posted on website. 
Andrew Mead
- Eastern PA RBA

Friday, October 28, 2016

PA R-12 Series - November: Le Retour du Stillwater

**** Update #1 ****

Pre-ride course check-out rides of both routes were conducted this weekend.  Guy Harris checked out the 100k route and found the cue sheet near-flawless.  The 200k route was check by organizer Bill Olsen and Chris Nadovich who report the following: 

It was a little chilly in the pre-dawn light at the start in Milford, but as the sun came up, melting the frost, it became a very nice day. There was some wind to contend with after we turned back from Stillwater, but these gusts died off to near calm later in the afternoon.

Pavement is in good condition most everywhere. There was active paving work underway in a few spots, leading us to conjecture that pavement would be even smoother next week. The one exception to generally smooth roads is the Old Cemetary Rd climb immediately after the penultimate controle. Old Cemetary is a narrow, broken, moderately steep grade that occasionally has auto traffic blocking the way. If you have any doubt about your mountain biking skills on skinny tires, I'd recommend dismounting to climb this short segment.

Deer were visible thoughout the course. Please be alert.

The cue sheet is mostly accurate, but we did notice a few minor discrepancies.

  -- At mile 41.2 the left onto Rt 658 / Vail Rd is actually the third left (current cue sheet says 2nd), although given the clear markings and correctly cued distance it's hard to miss this turn.  The cue sheet could be revised to simply say "L".

  -- At mile 79.8 the right onto Creek Rd is currently unmarked.  It occurs along a large, flat, open section of cornfield.  It's immediately across from the access road to Good Shepherd cemetary. If you keep your eyes on the mileage you won't miss this right since there's no other turn nearby. On the other hand, if you daydreaming on the flat, pleasant road, you might accidentally pass the turn.

  -- At mile 85.3 the right onto Shades of Death Rd is unmarked.  You can see the empty bracket atop the signpost from which the marker was stolen evidently. Swiping the road name markers on "Shades" seems to be a popular prank, especially around  Halloween. But don't be frightened. This turn is well marked by the grassy area cleaving the T intersection. I'd cue it: "go right at devil's triangle".

  -- At mile 116.7 turn off auto-pilot after summiting Tunnel Rd. The return to Milford does not use Sweet Hollow, but rather stays on 579 till the right turn onto 614 at the stop sign.  These two roads have straight, smooth, _screaming_ descents that many riders will zoom down at around dusk. Be sure you have your reflective gear on, be alert for deer, and don't descend faster than your guardian angel.

The 200k cue sheet has been updated to reflect this information.  Be sure to refresh your browser and download Draft 11, updated 10/30/2016.

****  Original Post ****
 Photo by Chris N.
The November R12 Series event again features the perennial favorite Stillwater 200k route (run in the reverse direction) AND the Milford 100k for randonneurs interested in pursuing the RUSA P12 Award.  Event details and cue sheets have been posted on the PA Randonneurs website.  Registration is open until the Thursday before the event.  Sign up now.

Registered Riders (as of 11/3/2016)

Retour 200k
1 Peter Bakken
2 Jane M  Brown
3 Joe A Brown
4 Taylor Brown
5 Dawn M Engstrom
6 Matthew Farrell
7 William Fischer
8 James R Haddad
9 Eric  K Hannon Ford
10 Guy Harris - volunteer
11 James P. Holman
12 Christopher Maglieri
13 Chris Nadovich - volunteer
14 William Olsen - organizer
15 Joseph Ray

Milford 100k
1 Althea Grace Pineda

Andrew Mead
-Eastern PA RBA

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