Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fleche Report

The Cumberland Cruisers heading towards a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Photo compliments of Rick Lentz

Preliminary results have been posted at:
http://parando.org/PA_Fleche_Results140427.pdf
...Results will be submitted this week, and then become final pending ACP/RUSA certification.

All 6 teams made it with their starting roster intact to the Quakertown finish for a 100% finish -- congratulations to all the captains and their teams for another excellent result.  The Eastern PA Fleche is now in it's 7th year, and after some pretty rough years with stormy weather, we now have a 3-year streak of good weather going -- despite coinciding with the Crush the Commonwealth event, which invariably seems to always have terrible weather.  And this year, with torrential rains on Friday, and stiff headwinds all Saturday, the CtC riders once again had difficult riding conditions.  But that did not deter local riders Ron Anderson and Chris Nadovitch from ultimately prevailing and finishing in just over 49 hours -- congratulations to them both.  And congratulations also, to first finisher Stef Burch, who posted a very entertaining write-up here:
http://stefannburch.blogspot.com/2014/04/crush-commonwealth-2014-now-with-1000.html


It truly is remarkable to see the same teams clipping-in year after year.  Of note, the fixed-gear Sinister Nuts, led by Bill Olsen has participated in all seven PA Fleches.  And again this year, with more than five fixed-gear riders looking for a spot on his roster, another fixed-gear team, "Fear of Gears", was formed under the leadership of Bill Fischer -- who also notched his 6th PA Fleche finish.  Guy Harris is another six-time finisher (and most likely would also have seven finishs if not for a certain volcano that erupted a couple of years ago and disrupted his travel back from the U.K).  Also in the six-time finisher club is Cumberland Cruiser captain, Walt Pettigrew, and fellow cruisers Dawn Engstrom and Rick Lentz.  Sinister Nut, Paul Scearce, also has a high number of finishes at five, with several others completing their fourth and third fleches.

Once again in the second year in a row, team "Now You've Gone Too Far" led by Eric Keller gets my vote for the biggest over-achievers.  Starting in Boalsburg, PA (near State College), their route generally followed the 3rd and 4th days of the Endless Mountains 1240k.  But this year, the challenges of a hilly route were somewhat offset by favorable winds.  Eric posted: "...I don't know how my team managed to survive the hardship of 210 out of 228 miles of vicious tailwinds. I might have to change the name of my team to, "I love it when a plan comes together" ..."

The "Escargo Volants" get my vote for the best documented route, with many pictures posted by Christine Newman:
https://www.facebook.com/chris.newman.125760/media_set?set=a.10151973267976853.1073741841.696631852&type=1&l=4fa4b3b780
... and video posted by Nigel Greene:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgZZwCunpEA
Nigel writes: "..Thanks for hosting another great Fleche ride. Despite the threat of afternoon storms, the weather turned out mostly sunny with a morning tailwind. We only got a sprinkle of rain and it came at just the right time for me to change my flat tire under cover. In between the many little mechanicals (3 flat tires, one front brake malfunction, one seat rail bend and one uncooperative headlight. I was able to take a few pictures and video. I cobbled them together to make a 3 m 40s  little video of the Escargot Volant ride ..."

Rick Lentz writes: "... I had a great time again this year. It seems to be that I feel pretty good every Fleche. Must be the time of the year. .... I cursed the weatherman and his increased rain forecast all the way to the start, but weatherman who are wrong are often wrong about being wrong. Having about 10 miles of rain for the whole ride was certainly a bonus. The 40s temps for most of the later part of the ride would have been much worse if we were soaking wet too. The sun after the rain provided for some nice rainbow shots. ... The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow over to the northwest ended up being that tortellini soup Tom had at the hostel. ..."

Bill Olsen writes: "...Thanks for again hosting the PA Fl├Ęche this year.   It's always a pleasure to get together for our Sinister Nuts 24-Hour Biking party and also get to see the other teams that reconvene every year.  Each team has their own set of stories from their rides, and the stories get better upon each retelling.  It was especially gratifying when we crossed paths with the Fear o'Gears team all decked out in their matching PA Randonneurs jerseys.  As they made their way down the Jersey shore and back to the Quakertown finish, a lot of folks must have been wondering if they REALLY rode their bicycles all the way from Pennsylvania...."

Guy Harris writes: "...Thanks once again for putting on the fleche. The more I do these the more I look forward to them. Like spring and baseball now. Your post-ride feast was my excuse to replace a big nutritious breakfast at Mueller's with two big donuts from the store side of the restaurant since I knew your great food was 2 hrs down road. ..."

Keith Spangler
Photo compliments of Greg Keenan
Greg Keenan writes: "... My 12 year-old daughter (who is just beginning to pull-a-teenager and think her dad is very strange) gave me a great quote when she saw the pictures.  She saw the pictures of Dan and Keith napping on the Wa-Wa floor and immediately said.... 'doesn't that kind of make you like a hobo?'  Day glow yellow hobo's or not, we made quite a westerly arrow with the help of a perfect tail wind. According to wikipedia: "A west wind is a wind that blows from the west, in an eastward direction. In Western tradition, it has usually been considered the mildest and most favorable of the directional winds."  Most favorable I agree.  ..."

The spring calendar continues on May 3rd with the Water Gap 300/200k,  Event details have been posted at:
http://parando.org/PA300K.html

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

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