Monday, June 30, 2014

Lackawanna 200k Ride Report

Lackawanna Tunnel Photo compliments of CJ Arayata
Preliminary results for the Lackawanna 200k have been posted at:
...Please let me know of any corrections or other issues.  Results will be submitted shortly, and become final, pending RUSA certification.

With the typical summer weather pattern of "hazy, hot and humid" upon us already, there could hardly be any complaints with the low humidity and mid-80F's we got for the inaugural Lackawanna 200k.   22 of the 23 starters made it around the course in good time, including 3 volunteer preriders.  Of note, there were five first-time participants, most of whom also were riding their very first brevet.  Freshly-minted randonneur Zachary Goodrich also distinguished himself by riding 100k to the start on Friday night from his home in the Poconos, and along with his return ride home on Sunday, put together 400k of riding over 3 days.  Zach writes: "... I had a great weekend and met some some very nice and very interesting people. I did not know what to expect in meeting the group and doing the ride, but I realized this weekend that Randonneuring, and maybe specifically the group of riders that were here this weekend, are up on a whole different level of cycling that I did not know existed. I was very impressed by the positive, friendly, and nonchalant attitude of the folks I met who really were completing an extreme test of physical endurance (at least in this day & age), and their level of knowledge and experience. Admittedly, I probably did not ride as smart as I could have this weekend. As a tourist and commuter, I am used to either the leisurely pace with frequent stops or all out panicked pace to get into work on time! These brevets seem to be somewhere in between... I will surely need to work out my strategy for maintaining the appropriate fluid and food intake while having minimal and brief stops. ..."

Other first timers include: Richard Costello, James Haddad, Michael Marcondes de Freitas, and Dan McGill.  Unfortunately, Michael had a major mechanical near the Fairy Hole along Shades of Death Road -- perhaps the work of a malevolent spirit?  Michael writes: "...Although I haven't finished the ride today, I feel very accomplished for the 5 miles total I've walked my bike, plus the 15 miles on a single gear between Jonhsonburg and Portland. This is fun and I will sure be attempting another 200k very soon ..."

Richard Costello posted a nice write-up at:

Jim Holman writes: "...Many thanks to you for another superb ride.  Thanks also to Joe Filip and Chris Nadovich for their helpful pre-ride comments.  With humidity levels lower than it had been a couple days before, it was a very comfortable morning start which would then progress to a warm summer day.  As such, the amount of shade on the very pleasant course was much appreciated.  So, too, was the excellent food at the end of the ride.  All in all, it was a great day to be out on a bike with my riding companions. ..."

CJ writes: "...Thanks for a great ride on a new course yesterday, ... Great weather, shaded gradual climbs, and even the short rough patches gave way to smooth rolling and low-traffic scenic roads. I was pleasantly surprised at how well a bunch of us stuck together. I was with Jeff and Greg most of the day, and we kept picking up more riders until Portland.  Greg, Jeff, and I decided to only stop for a quick nibble at Portland, while the rest of the group we had been with elected to sit down for a proper meal. We had been making very good time all day, and when Andrew was getting ready to leave Warren Glen not long after our arrival, I chose to press on as well, with Greg, Jeff, and (a just-arrived) John jumping on after giving it a thought. According to my calculations, it would have been cutting it razor-close for a sub-9 hour finish, but then two dropped chains (Andrew, and then John), plus Gallow's Hill, pushed it out of reach. Oh well,....

I think I forgot to mention this to you yesterday, but at Portland, two riders wearing West Chester Cycling and Chester County Bikes kit rolled up on semi-loaded bikes. I was super confused, seeing two familiar kits so far from home. I said that I was from Downingtown and in the West Chester club, and it was quite a humorous conversation and happenstance meeting. Turns out that the two riders were on their final day of a 12-day tour, and they were at mile 40 of 160, on their way back to the Downingtown/West Chester area. ...."
CJ just uploaded all his photos which includes some from the spring events:

Andrew Mead writes: "...Great route and excellent weather. While I appreciate the route name, I have to wonder if there is a better name when one abandons Hope (Rd) in favor of Shades of Death Rd and ultimately climbs the Gallows (Hill Rd).  Thanks to you and the volunteers for making my first brevet in many months so enjoyable...."

Final call for the PA super lightweight short sleeve wool jerseys:
The PA Randonneur's wool jersey is a classic design: Molteni orange with black stripe:

You can place your order by 6/29 at this on-line link:

Special thanks to volunteer Bill Olsen and Zachary Goodrich for helping with the clean-up at the finish. Thanks also to volunteer preriders, Joe Fillip and Chris Nadovich for helping to make the cuesheet as perfect as possible.

The Eastern PA summer series continues with the next ride scheduled for July 26th.  We'll be headed to the cool, shaded roads up on the Allegheny Plateau; details will be posted soon.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lackawanna 200k

*** Update 2 (6/23) ***
A 2nd volunteer preride was completed this past weekend by Joe Fillip and Chris Nadovich.  With their 200k finish, Joe completed an Eastern PA Super Randonneur series and Chris completed an R-12 series. Congratulations to them both on those significant accomplishments.

Joe reports:  "...It would be hard to imagine a more perfect day for riding than the one Chris and I enjoyed yesterday - sunny but not unbearably hot, and with virtually no wind. It would also be difficult to design a better course. Many of the roads will be familiar, although riders will often come at them from a different direction or angle, and the result is of something distinctly new. I especially liked the fact that snippets of the NJ Randonneurs 200 and 300 Km brevets from Princeton were to be found along the route. Another delight is that a great many of the climbs are pleasantly shaded and (by PA Rando standards) gradual.   One exception is the grind up NJ 519 to the Harmony schoolhouse. That is in full sun, and riders will be tackling it in the heat of the early afternoon. Riders who find themselves running low on water when crossing the Delaware at Belvidere would be well advised to stock up there. For those who don't, there is a vending machine with cold bottles of water at the Taylor Rental at the top of the Route 519 hill, and it accepts dollar bills.  The cue sheet is spot on, as was your advice for riders to turn off their  "auto pilots". This is particularly true after crossing the Delaware into Riegelsville. It was only after repeated promptings by Chris that I focused on the cue sheet's direction to CROSS Route 611 at the traffic light. We all know that there is no "flat" route back to the Quakertown hostel from Riegelsville, but the return for this ride was new to me, and relatively benign. All in all, an excellent addition to the PA Rando calendar...."

Chris adds: "...Great course... I really like the variety that these changes add ... I don't think you made the overall ride significantly easier or harder, although there were pluses and minuses they seemed to average out. It seemed tough but fair.... The cue sheet was darn near perfect, but I do think that some
asterisks might be called for in Riegelsville where we cross 611.  I had to look at the cue about 100 times to assure myself it was really what it said. Similarly, continuing on Hutchinson rather than making the right to River Road required forcibly suppressing auto pilot.  I was empty of water by the 50 mile deli. Riders should be mindful that the first few controles are not replenishment options and that they need to actively and continuously seek water, especially if the day is warm...."

There are no cuesheet changes as result of this preride and draft 3 dated 6/14 remains the current version.  However, you might want to highlight the limited opportunities for food/water which are called out on the cuesheet. You will probably want to replenish your supplies in either Milford or at mile 38.

*** Update 1 (6/19) ***
The cuesheet has been updated to draft 3 (6/19), with changes and corrections from a volunteer preride this past weekend by yours truly.  Although it was a bit humid at the start, drier air moved in with a passing cold front.  And with the cold front, some clouds appeared to take the edge off the afternoon sun, along with a helpful northerly wind to push me back home.  All in all, a fantastic day to be out on the bike.

The last two cuesheet updates incorporate significant route changes at:
- Mile 100.3
- Mile 110.7
- Mile 113

Course Notes:

The first controle stop at mile 17.4 is just a postcard drop with no services nearby.  But just a bit further down the road at mile 23, you'll be passing through Milford where you can stop at the Bakery (highly recommended) or one of the many other stores along Bridge St. in order to get some food.  Controle 3 in Johnsonburg has been changed to an information controle at Chrusz's General store.  The store was not open when I passed through on my checkout ride. I contacted the store owner to make arrangements to open by 10AM on the day of the event.  However, it would probably be a good idea to replenish your food and water at the Nykun's general store (mile 52.5) in Great Meadows (if for some reason, Chrusz's does not open early for us).

The patching of roads from the rough winter we had is still a work-in-progress, so you'll need to be vigilant for potholes and rough roads.  Please keep a safe follow distance if you're riding in a group.

For those of you familiar with some of the route segments on this course, there have been some route tweaks to use some new roads this time -- so you'll need to take the auto-pilot off and pay attention to the cuesheet. Some of the features of the Lackawanna Cut-off we'll be passing near have been called out on the cuesheet as a "POI" (point of  interest).  Unfortunately, due to bridge construction the route bypasses one of the more dramatic features, the Paulinskill Viaduct.  However, as noted on the cuesheet, you can take a 1.4 mile detour at mile 71.4 to see this structure.  The bridge construction does seem to be moving forward, so perhaps next time we won't have to use the bypass.

*** Original Post ***
We'll be heading north to Johnsonburg, NJ and then turning west to Blairstown.  The northern extent of this route parallels portions of the Lackawanna Cutoff, a modern marvel in the early 1900's.  Starting from our rando clubhouse at the Weisel hostel in Quakertown, we first pass through Tinicum township as we drop down to the Delaware River.  The first controle stop is just a postcard drop on Headquarters Road, but we'll soon pass through Milford NJ where our favorite bakery will be open for coffee and baked goods.

We then continue our journey north through the quaint town of Little York, where we then begin a long gentle climb up Sweet Hollow Rd and a descent on Tunnel Rd to the Musconetcong River, which we'll ride along all the way to Port Murray, where the second major climb of the day awaits.  After dropping down to Great Meadows, where you can replenish your supplies, we'll ride along Shades of Death and pass Ghost Lake and the Fairy Hole.

Johnsonburg marks the northern extent of the route, and as we ride west, what looks like a small ridge is actually the man-made railroad bed of the Lackawanna Cut-off.  Many tunnels go through this rail bed, and we'll see a several of them after Blairstown.

As we head back into PA into Portland across the pedestrian bridge, the Lackawanna Cut-off RR trestle can be seen looking south down the river.  And once the Station Rd bridge is fixed, we'll also be able to ride past the Paulinskill Viaduct - when it was completed in 1910, it was the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world.

Upon arriving in Portland where we stop at the Portland Bagel and Deli, we begin our return trip southbound along the Delaware River through Belvidere and Reigelsville.

Additional event details have been posted at:

*** Roster (as of 6/26) ***
1 Charles J Arayata - Friday Night Hostel
2 Ed Bernasky -
3 Joe A Brown -
4 Jane M  Brown -
5 Jeffery S Butt -
6 John Capriotti -
7 Janice Chernekoff -
8 Richard S Costello -
9 Matthew Farrell -
10 Joe Fillip - Volunteer Preride
11 Zachary R Goodrich - Friday & Saturday Night Hostel
12 James R Haddad - Friday Night Hostel
13 James P. Holman -
14 Donald Jagel -
15 Greg Keenan -
16 Eric Keller -
17 Robin C Landis - Friday Night Hostel
18 Michael Marcondes de Freitas - Friday Night Hostel
19 Daniel McGill - Friday Night Hostel
20 Andrew D Mead -
21 Chris Nadovich - Volunteer Preride
22 William Olsen - Volunteer
23 Tom Rosenbauer - Volunteer
24 Norman Smeal -

Friday, June 6, 2014

PA600k Ride Report

Preliminary results for the PA600k have been posted at:
...Please let me know of any corrections or other issues.  Results will be submitted shortly, and become final, pending RUSA certification.

The typical summer weather pattern of "hazy, hot and humid" is just around the corner.  But the weather for this weekend's 600k was nearly perfect for late spring with temperatures in the mid 70F's and low humidity. On Saturday some clouds arrived  just in time to take the edge off of the afternoon sun.  While Sunday morning was also very pleasant, those of us riding in the exposed Lancaster valley during the afternoon can attest to the heat of sun.

20 of the 22 participants finished.  Of note, a  dozen participants have completed an Eastern PA Super Randonneur series.  And pending the completion of a 200k by Joe Fillip, that will then make it a baker's dozen of 13:
Daniel Aaron (3)
Michael Anderson
Ed Dodd (3)
Joe Fillip (2-pending)
Guy Harris (5)
Donald Jagel (3)
Greg Keenan
Eric Keller (5)
William Olsen (6)
Tom Rosenbauer
Norman Smeal (2)
Bob Torres (2)
Gilbert Torres

Eastern PA Super Randonneur Joe Fillip writes: "... Thanks to you and the efforts of a STELLAR group of volunteers on this weekend’s 600 Km. Bill, Guy and Chris all went above and beyond the call of duty in helping us get around the course and giving us a warm welcome on our returns to the hostel; I am particularly grateful to Bill for all of his kindness to this straggler in the early hours of Sunday morning. A tough (but fair) and lovely course, beautiful weather and excellent company – who could ask for more?  (Well, I could ask for some love from PENNDOT to mend our battered roads, but I don’t want to quibble). It’s been quite a season – Thanks again, Tom! ..."
There once was a wise Randonneur
For whom wool was just de rigeuer
No synthetic skins
Could e'er touch his limbs
And t'was Merino he especially preferred

And speaking of fine Merino wool, I'm still looking for more PA Randonneurs jersey orders -- especially for the long sleeve option, in order to meet Woolistic's minimum quantity.  The PA Randonneur's wool jersey is a classic design: Molteni orange with black stripe:

You can place your order at this on-line link:

6-time Eastern PA Super Randonneur Bill Olsen, who completed the preride on Thursday, sent his postcard with the following Limerick:
There once was biker named Willie
Who wanted his Limerick to be a dilly
But by mile 270
His mind was kersheuity
And his Limerick was nothing but silly

3-time Eastern PA Super Randonneur, Ed Dodd writes: "...I want to thank you again for another wonderful, challenging, and humbling series. I really enjoyed the ride out of Hawley, along the sun sparkled river, until we turned left up that never ending hill or series of hills before coming down in order to climb up to Hawks Nest, always a lovely sight. I agree with you that a cloud cover in Lancaster would have be appreciated. Also, congratulations again for completing your own series. Organizing everything and also riding is crazy difficult. You, and we, are lucky to have such wonderful volunteers like Bill, Guy, and Chris and everyone else who volunteered during the series. They were incredibly accommodating and helpful to everyone of us, asking what we needed and suggesting things when our brains were not working so well on their own. ..."

First finisher and 3-time Eastern PA Super Randonneur Don Jagel writes: "... Just wanted to send a quick thank you to you, Guy, Bill and Chris for putting together the 600k and helping all of us from start to finish.  Although the roads were "slightly" potholed from this past winter, the weather more than made up for it.  This was definitely a kinder and gentler route than the 400k.  Peter, Tom and myself finished the first 400k early enough to catch a shower, food, and some good sleep before heading out to New Holland at about 03:00 on Sunday.  Peter and Tom were good enough to tow me most of the way on Sunday, as I just did not have the power to spend too much time with my nose into the wind (Thanks!).  When we got back to the hostel at the finish, Chris and Bill were there to greet and feed us.  All in all, this ride was a fantastic way to finish off the SR series, as I was feeling in a bit of a funk while riding the 300k.  My spirits have definitely been lifted by this ride...."

First finisher Tom Oswald is also a two-time first finisher of the Crush the Commonwealth.  Tom writes: "... I had a great time. Thanks so much to you and all the volunteers who helped make it happen. I was lucky to get to ride with Don, Peter and  others who graciously showed me the ropes. What a bunch of nice folks you all are. ..."
Let's raise a rousing cheer
For the end is drawing near
I most sincerely must say
600k is a mighty long way
And I sure could use a cold beer

3-time Eastern PA Super Randonneur, Dan Aaron writes: "... I want to thank you and Bill, Guy, and Chris for running yet another excellent adventure.  I can't be sure if your routes are just getting tougher or if I'm just getting older.  Probably it's both.  After all the riding that I've done in the past, I thought that I had seen it all or at least almost all.  Yet I did experience something new on this ride. While riding on Kimble Road, I heard a loud crack which I thought at first was a gunshot.  This was immediately followed by a series of smaller cracks at which point I realized that a tree was falling.  I couldn't see where the tree was nor did I think taking the time to spot it was my best option.  I figured I should get out of there as fast as I could.  I began a sprint all the while hoping that I wasn't sprinting right into where the tree was headed.  Last time I sprinted that fast was when I was being chased by two angry rotweillers.  A few seconds later I heard the loud crash as the huge tree hit the pavement just 10 feet behind me.  The tree was big enough to block both lanes of traffic.  Definitely would have been crushed had it fallen on me.  The guardian angel that you so often refer to must have been with me at that moment ..."
For the old randonneur from Long Beach
A sub-30 six hundred's a reach
With one goal in sight
He rode through the night
A sub- forty six hundred to breach.

First time Eastern PA Super Randonneur, Michael Anderson's Limerick:
Four times from Boston I come here to race
So I can qualify for the Nactchez Trace
On my third ride, I run out water and need a favor
And just then out of nowhere, appears Lenny Z. the lifesaver!
With bottles topped off, I'm riding again without a moment to waste.

First time Eastern PA Super Randonneur, Greg Keenan who incidentally, only completed his first 200k this past March writes: "... Thanks for arranging this 600k.  I am not sure what your secret is, but you arranged for perfect weather once again.  And an extra thanks to Bill, Guy and Chris for volunteering and providing the much needed assistance to the tired hungry riders.  I still cannot believe I completed a SR.  The mentoring/encouragement/tips/tricks and overall camaraderie of so many was instrumental to truly a great ride.
I must be addicted to my bike
Maybe it is just something I like
Is it the challenge of the uphill battle?
I know it is definitely not this small saddle
But I hope when I am 100 I can still ride my trike

An alternate last line of, "My family thinks it is time to visit a psych"  was debated but that would be like admitting that I have a "biking issue."  

First time Eastern PA participant, Russell Morris writes: "...Thank you so much for putting on such first class event.  From the time we arrived Friday night until we departed on Sunday evening we were made to feel welcome by you, the volunteer staff, and all the riders on the road.  Sure, it was difficult to negotiate some of the roads with all the pothole problems, but that in no way diminished the overall experience of riding through the great state of PA.  How lucky you are all are to have such great terrain to ride through year after year. I hope that I will see all of you again somewhere in the randonneuring universe...."
Russel took some very nice photos which can be viewed here:
Russel also submitted a Limerick, but written in Korean and not reproducible here ....

2-time Eastern PA Super Randonneur, Bob Torres writes: "... Thanks for another great 600k, everything was awesome except for the craters on the roads but we survived. I had a great time riding with everyone and thank you Guy, Bill and Chris for watching out for us! It still amazes me on how feeling so miserable on certain points of the ride can still lead to having lots of fun and laugh about it at the end.... 
My Velo Orange Rando is a weight weenie -  NOT!
It carries two bags with all I’ve got.
It has a generator and light
To illuminate the potholes bright!
So I can ride Tom’s PA 600k with out a doubt.

Larry Midura from upstate NY writes: "...Just a quick note of thanks for all your efforts, and those of all the volunteers, who made last weekend's Water Gap 600K a success. I was not disappointed one bit on the course changes you initiated this year.  Most enjoyable was the 10 mile northerly stretch from Eldred to NY 97 in the Catskill Mts.  The Catskill Mt. scenery and great road conditions on those NY State roads made for an almost magical detour into New York's Sullivan County - former home of the Woodstock Nation - a neat, short and sharp contrast to what we saw in PA & NJ during most of the days riding.  .... Sitting in the Hawley 402 Diner brought back memories when Mark Sheehan was with us, perhaps even as far back as 2007.  .... the weather could not have been more comfortable for a 600K - no rain, no rain, YEAH!  Your brevet series helped me earn my R-12 in February, and your subsequent Spring Brevet Series got me to Nashville, TN, for the inaugural RUSA Natchez Trace 1500K grand randonnee in September.  And I thank you for that  ..."

Special thanks to the fantastic volunteer crew of Bill Olsen, Guy Harris, and Chris Nadovich. Bill and Guy completed a volunteer checkout ride, and made sure the cuesheet was as perfect as possible.  They also spent many hours manning the overnight controle, taking care of tired riders as they arrived and then helping them get back on the road.  Chris manned the finish controle and provided one of the best postride meals I ever had.   Knowing that we were all in very good hands with these volunteers, along with volunteers Patrick and Cecilie Gaffney, Norman Smeal, and Len Zawodniak for the other SR events, have allowed your's truly to clip-in and earn his first Eastern PA Super Randonneur trophy -- I'm truly grateful for that opportunity they made possible,

This concludes a very busy spring of events.  The summer schedule kicks off on June 28 with a 200k from the Quakertown hostel.  Event details have been posted at:

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA