Friday, June 7, 2013

PA600k/200k Ride Report

Amish bicycles, complete with milk crates, parked at church yard for Sunday service
Photo compliments of Nigel Greene

16 riders clipped in for the PA600k and 8 additional riders came out for just the 200k loop on day two of the 600k.  13 finished the 600k and 7 finished the 200k: Preliminary 600k results have been posted at
... and the 200k results are at:
... please let me know of any corrections or other issues.  Results will be submitted shortly, and become final, pending RUSA/ACP certification.

A week before this event, we had temperatures in the lower 40F's.  So the low 90F's and first heat wave of the year was truly a shock to the system for the participants this weekend.  A mere two weeks ago, at the end of the PA400k, Ed Dodd remarked about having trouble with the chilly and wet conditions of the last 70-miles into the finish -- but by the end of the 600k on Sunday, I bet those chilly conditions didn't seem so bad after all!

Of note, 8 riders have completed their Eastern PA Super Randonneur series:
1 Gavin Biebuyck
2 Ed Dodd
3 Guy Harris
4 Donald Jagel
5 Robin C Landis
6 William Olsen
7 Paul D Scearce
8 Norman Smeal
And for the first time ever on the Eastern PA series, Guy Harris and Paul Scearce distinguished themselves further by completing the entire series on a fixed-gear.  Congratulations to all and well done!  The Eastern PA terrain can be tough, but these hardy riders proved they were even tougher for all the challenges they faced over the course of four events.  All the SR finishers can look forward to receiving their Eastern PA Super Randonneur plaque at the October event:
Also of note, Robert Baney not only completed his first brevet ever, he joins a growing list of first-time participants who also were first finishers -- well done! Robert just needs to complete 11 more 200k or longer events over the next 11 months in order to complete his R-12 series.

Special thanks to volunteers Jon Clamp, Bill Slabonik, Bill Olsen, and Andrew Mead.   Andrew manned the start controle, cooked breakfast, and signed in riders while Bill Olsen helped out with bike inspection.  Thankfully, everybody was mostly paying attention at the rider meeting when Andrew instructed everyone to have "A Safe Ride." Jon Clamp helped out at the overnight controle and also got the 200k riders registered and on their way Sunday morning.  Bill Slabonik also not only manned the overnight controle, but went way beyond the call of duty and stayed to the very end of the event -- a total of 24 hours at the hostel.  Bill has given me advanced warning that due to a conflict, he won't be able to help out again for next year's 600k.  By my estimation, I'll need at least 3 volunteers to do all that Bill did this year!

Nigel Greene writes: "...What a day! What a ride! Much thanks to Jon, Bill and you for putting the New Holland 200k on. I enjoyed the course. The routing through and around French Creek Park was shady and scenic and the back roads to Lancaster are always enjoyable, especially with a tailwind . An unexpected bonus was having the chance to chat with many of those on the 600K. A tip of the hat to them. What an achievement under really hot weather. They just keep upping the bar of accomplishment....
  We rode fast before the day had begun
  in 200k we'd be done
  I'm writing real quick
  in the town of Limerick
  because OH OH here comes the sun..."

You can read Nigel's eloquent ride report at:
and his photos at:

Gavin Biebuyck writes: "...That was a hot one – I must have drank more than 3 gallons of fluids Saturday!  Brief thunderstorm on Old Mine Road cooled me off for half an hour or so and was much appreciated.  My plan to ride through the night to stay cooler seemed to work but humidity levels rose at night.  Got to see some wildlife ranging from deer/fawn on Old Mine Road to a fox sprinting for 50 yards or so in front of me near the hostel to a few Saturday evening partiers on Ridge Road!  The course tweak along Rt 724 to Shed Road was nice riding at night with only 3 cars passing me on Rt 724 and no cars at all along Shed and through French Creek to Morgantown.... As I was leaving the New Holland control at 4:30 am I heard a voice saying “you must be a through rider” and looked back to see a bike with a light.  It was Patrick O’Donnel (he lives in New Holland) returning from a 24-hour training ride!  He had ridden to Philly to Cape May, NJ, taken the ferry to Cape Henlopen, DE and ridden home (308 miles).  He is training for the National 24 Hour Challenge in Michigan in two weeks.  He switched from his Long Haul Trucker and jeans to a new Surly Pacer, bike shorts and clip-in shoes but was still wearing a T-shirt!  Patrick rode with me to Churchtown before returning to his house.  Helped keep me awake in that pre-dawn hour when I usually fell sleepy. ...Great talking to the Pittsburghers Jim and Dan and nice of them to cross the state for the 600.  Thanks to Andrew, Jon, and Bill for helping out and serving food to us all night and all day.  Once again a wonderfully organized series with beautiful challenging rides....
  I am soon turning fifty
  I thought this ride would be nifty
  My arms a bit burnt
  But I think I have learnt
  Riding in pain is shifty..."

Larry Midura writes: "..Just want you to know how very much I enjoyed your 2013 600K route past weekend.  The French Creek outbound leg with the PA Bike S route starting on Churchtown Road was a great tweak for the 2013 version.  I enjoyed that much better than the straight shot on Rt. 23 to the New Holland Control from last year.  As usual, your brevets attract a great group of experienced cyclists - the camaraderie of which I really enjoy. Riding through French Creek State Park has always been a most enjoyable segment of your rides...."

Guy Harris writes: "...The route tweaks for the second day 200K part were perfect. I had forgotten just how nice Shed and Park are to ride, especially early morning. The longer time on route 724 was good - especially just before sunrise. Using Limerick Ctr Road to avoid Linfield Rd was much  appreciated. Thanks to Andrew, Jon, and Bill S. for all the help and many thanks to Tom for organizing another great series...."

Bill Olsen has notched his 5th Eastern PA SR series, and will be clipping in for his 2nd 1200k this year, riding the Shenandoah 1200k, starting on Thusday.  You can follow his progress on SPOT tracker PA5 at this link:
... as of Friday night, it looks like Bill has managed to dodge most of the rain from tropical storm Andrea.  Bill writes: "...Thanks for another great SR season!  It is great that you were able to offer route options for the 200 and 300s and perhaps we can include additional 400 and 600 option in the future... Thanks also to the volunteers, Andrew for greeting the Friday night arrivals, and seeing us off on Saturday morning and Jon and Bill for taking care of us Saturday night and Sunday morning, and Bill for spending the day waiting for all of us to return.  Having them wait on us as we arrived in on Saturday helped to keep us going for what was ahead of us Sunday.
  There once was a biker named Bill
  Who to him, the 600k was a thrill
  So imagine his surprise
  When he opened his eyes
  And saw the 200k riders still at the bottom of the hill..."

Victor Urvantsev unfortunately had his 600k ride come to an end with a complete rear wheel failure near Port Jervis.  Victor writes: "...Thank you very much for organizing this weekend's brevet. The course was scenic and well balanced. Kate and I were looking forward to earning our PA Super Rando badges but alas, it was not to be. I was thinking about stopping at Port Jervis bike shop to try and convince the owner to sell me a wheel off one of his bikes (he had no spare wheels, I called up the shop before) but decided to go on since the wheel was not getting any worse. Well, it got a lot worse, and quickly! I certainly appreciated that we didn't end up being halfway between the controls and could wait for our rescue wagon in the comfort of Dunkin Donuts sipping coffee as opposed to sitting on the roadside in the middle of nowhere watching cars go by. ... It looks like I'll be firing my wheel builder (that's me). What's interesting is that the wheel held up for the last year without a problem or even need for truing and then blew up in such a spectacular fashion within 80 miles. Anyway, lesson learned. Kate and I will be heading for NJ 600k next weekend to complete our qualification for the Endless Mountains..."

Kate Marshall, Victor's riding partner, writes: "...
  There once was a cyclist named Kate
  Who rode in brevet with her mate.
  She cried out, "Let's Ride"
  "Make it Quick" he replied
  We have to get rolling by eight! ..."

David Eisenberg writes: "...I just wanted send a quick thank you for running the New Holland 200K this past weekend.  The route was beautiful.  I enjoyed the journey through Amish country with the horses and buggies as well as all of the Amish cyclists....Unfortunately, as you know, the heat and some stomach issues delayed my progress over the numerous ups and downs of the ride and caused me to miss the time cutoff in Limerick on the way back...
  There once was a sad clown from Morristown
  He would often pedal around town
  He would huff
  and he would puff
  Finally, all the pedaling would take away the frown..."

Norman Smeal writes: "...The weekend was a bit on the warm side, but it could have been worse... Great ride though....I want to thank all of the Volunteers for devoting their time to the cause, Andrew Friday night, John and Bill Saturday overnight and into the wee hours of the morning and Bill again for the finish.  I had the chance to ride with a little bit of every group along the way.  I got a chance to ride with Victor, Kate, Bill, Don and Gavin in the morning, then the afternoon with Dan, Jim, Robin and Bill, picking up Guy in the evening to get back to the Hostel.  Then Sunday spending lots of time with Robin, caught up to Ed, then Dan caught up to me, then we flipped flopped the afternoon, cashing in on some extra bonus miles before New Holland.  Seeing all of the 200k folks is always fun, they seem so full of energy....Thank you Tom for puling the whole event and all of this year brevets together...
  $95 dollars to Tom is still due
  For the 600k, which is attempted by a few
  The ride was success
  I, as well as the others who rode with little rest
  Are happy the brevet series is through..."

Don Jagel writes: "... I just wanted to let you now how much I appreciate all of the work you put into making the Eastern PA series happen.  Also, a great thanks to Andrew, Jon and Bill for there extraordinary efforts.  I cannot begin to even say  enough great things about the effort from all involved! ... As you, and I think most of the volunteers know, I had a gravity challenged day....It was good to see you on my way south from Portland.  ... Again, I appreciate your concern about potential injuries.  Wearing a new white arm coolers (which work great by the way) really soaked up the blood, and made a minor abrasion look like my entire forearm had been ripped off....Overall, Saturday was a very good riding day.  The temperatures, although warm, were a nice change from the recurring cold weather well into the end of May.  I ran into a brief thunderstorm south of Port Jervis, but my timing was perfect, as I dove beneath an overhang in front of a church for 15 minutes to take in some food, drink, and miss the rain....On Sunday, there was a headwind on the way out to New Holland, which meant a welcome tailwind on the way back to the Hostel.  I was glad I got an early start, as Sunday seemed to me to be much warmer than Saturday.  About 1.5 miles from returning to the Hostel, just before getting to Route 313, my rear tire starting getting soft.  Being sooo... close to the finish, I just topped off the tire with some air to get me back to the Hostel (who really feels like repairing a rear tire flat so with less than 10 minutes to completion of a 33+ hour ride).  When I got back to the Hostel, there was Bill to greet me, feed me, and take care of all my needs... This 600K was not the easiest one I have completed as a result of my minor personnel challenges, but it could have been much worse ... and the important part was that I really did enjoy the ride!  ...Thanks again to all involved...."

Dan Aaron writes: "...Thanks for another great route.  And thanks again for lunch and cue sheet replacement at the diner. 
  From Weisel to Limerick by night;
  could be such a hair-raising fright,
  Alone in the dark,
  but a walk in the park,
  thanks to my Dinotte light!

Here's another one:
  Really bad heat and humidity.
  A rainstorm with no visibility.
  Pulled off at that juncture
  with a front tire punture.
  This 600 just proves my stupidity. 

... and one more:
  Though Susan's been riding quite well,
  She skipped the 600 from hell.
  She looked pretty smart
  by not taking the start.

  She'll find another this year I can tell.

Mike Anderson writes: "...
  I come from Mass
  then sweat up Little Gap pass
  my friends ask me why
  what, are you high?
  I say only Randonneurs know its a gas..."

Dan Blumenfeld writes: "...
  While roaming the town Limerick
  I slather my fanny rather thick
  My efforts of rhymn
  Were not worth the time
  And likely will just make Tom sick ..."

Robin Landis writes: "...
  There once was a man from New York
  Who set out to cycle a 600k, oh what a dork!
  He thought its not possible
  But when he got to the hostel
  He said see I'm all done, just stick in a fork ..."

Paul Scearce writes: "...
  Fixed gear brevets are easy
  Except when my stomach gets queasy
  Or the sun gets to hot
  Or the hills go up a lot
  It all doesn't make any sense now, up ahead I think I see a dwarf called sneezy ..."

Grace Pineda writes: "...
  There once was a Randoneuse
  who imagined herself a chanteuse
  When she became sore in the saddle
  She sang a song as she pedaled
  Be gone, you pain on my caboose! ..."

Len Zawodniak writes: "...
  Our RBA, Tom Rosenbauer
  Had us riding for hour after hour
  We had many thrills
  Going up and down hills
  And because of all that, we finished the ride a little bit narrower ..."

This concludes the busy spring series of events -- whew, I'm ready for a little break!  As a bit of a diversion, I'll be blogging along with fellow PA Randonneurs Andrew Mead and George Metzler for Mark Pattinson as he races in the 2013 RAAM.  You can follow all the action at:
Mark is looking to improve upon his 2nd place result from 2011 -- with the competitive field, it should be a very exciting race. 

The summer series kicks off in July with the Hawk's Nest 200k.  And of course in August, there's the Endless Mountains 1240k -- there's still time to either register as a participant or help out as a volunteer.  Volunteer opportunities have been posted at:

Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

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