Monday, November 3, 2014

November R-12 Ride Report

Bill O. reveals his secret to keeping his socks dry after 40 miles of riding in the rain: he keeps them in his saddle bag!

Preliminary results for November's Stillwater Retour 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.

It's been a while since we've had "Character Building" weather for an Eastern PA event -- but although the weather forecast had improved from the earlier one with snow and 30F temperatures, it certainly was a day that was a good test of one's foul weather gear and resolve.  The riders set off in the predawn hours with a steady rain and temperatures in the low 40F's.  The steady rain would continue for the next 40 miles and misty conditions and showers would prevail for the remainder of the day, with temperatures never making it out of the 40F's.  But as that old Norwegian chestnut goes: "... there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes..."  All 17 riders who took the start made it around the course in good time, and had good enough clothes for the raw conditions to prevail with a 100% finish rate -- congratulations and well done to everyone for such an excellent result.  Of note, Guillanume G. finished his first official brevet  -- kudos to him for his perseverance and resolve after coming up a bit short last month on the PA150k.  Also of note, Stephen G. came all the way from Ohio to ride with us.  And Stephen joins a distinguished list of riders who ace their first Eastern PA brevet as a first finisher.

Chris N. writes: "... Great ride ... I'm glad I finally had a good opportunity to try out those goofy looking rain pants I paid so much for. I was toasty and happy all morning thinking: Showers Pass 
When I asked Chris to rate the day on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing the maximum misery, Chris gave it a 3.  Although we've certainly had worse conditions for a PA brevet over the years, I don't think I'd want to ride anything that Chris would rate a 5 or 6, much less a 10!

Jim H. writes: "...Wet and raw!  A steady rain before the ride and for the first ten miles or so.  Then a light rain to the Portland controle.  Fortunately, the rain stopped for most of the northern part of the course but then returned a few miles before the Great Meadows controle as either light rain or sprinkles most of the way to the finish.  Wet roads throughout. 
This is from the perspective of someone who (1) has never done a truly wet ride further than half the distance of 200k, (2) has never started a wet ride with temperatures in the low 40’s and (3) only has a seat post mounted rear fender and no front fender at all.
Some time after 6am, I arrived to a rainy parking lot with the temperature at 42 degrees or thereabouts.  As I sat in my car for more than a few minutes, I stared at the car windows as they were collecting raindrops and I was calling into question my sanity (CIQMS #1), and briefly considered driving home.  
CIQMS #2.  Setting up the bike in the rainy morning darkness involved a lot of fumbling around and (silently) cursing myself.
Very early during the ride, after ten miles or so, my right shoe becomes waterlogged.  A few miles later, the same thing would happen to my left shoe.  My lower legs become quite cold.  This was CIQMS #3, and I had thoughts of turning around and going home.  I also began to think of a friend who had registered for this brevet but decided not to ride, and how that may have been a wise decision.
CIQMS #4.  We had arrived at the Portland controle to refuel and rehydrate.  As we leave the controle, stepping outside and riding away, I became quite cold and began thinking to myself, “What the heck am I doing out here?”  (Somehow, I warmed up a few miles later and things would improve from there.  The rest of the ride, I would learn that I would be fine while moving on the bike but would get quite cold while stopped at the controles.)
Anyway, my thanks to you and Norm for, dare I say it with the weather the way it was :-), a great ride.  Just a great route.  Some fine late autumn color along the southern parts of the course, and the many trees on the route apparently kept the winds at bay for much of the ride on what was supposed to be a breezy day.  Great riding companions and great finishing controle at the Ship Inn for excellent brew and chew...."

Organizer Norman S. writes: "...its good that there was a ride Saturday or most of us would not have left the comfort of our living rooms.  Thanks to everyone for making my Saturday special and hope to see everyone again in December..."

Bill O. writes: "...Thanks for providing us with another great ride yesterday.  The cool, "soft" day makes for great bike riding weather. As much as I enjoyed my recent bike vacations on the Natchez 1500k and Carolina 1200k, between the ride two weeks ago and yesterday, one realized we have some of the best bike riding country right in our own back yard...literally, as we rode through Port Murray, and along the Musconetcong. [yes, we did indeed pass by Bill's backyard, but you'd have a most memorable climb all the way up Point Mountain Road to get there -Tom R. ]
I particularly enjoyed the new "reroutes" off of 94 and around Lafayette.  Turning onto Vail Road I got that déjà vu feeling and realized that Lenny Z and I had gotten in some bonus miles up on the first Stillwater 200 checkout ride when we missed the right turn off of 658 coming from the other direction.  It is a good thing we didn't know we were only 0.4 miles from 94 if we had taken that right onto Warrington.Road :-)   ...  It was nice that the temperatures never got below the 38F we experienced at the start and I could finish the ride with both pair of socks dry in my back bag. ... See you at the December ride. .."

Ed B. writes: "...I had to stop and let the boys go at 90 miles to eat under a big ol' tree that blocked the rain as I refueled my bonked out brain.  Amazing what 20 minutes of rest, even in the rain will do for you.  My garmin was consistenly reading 35-38F until we got into Hunterdon perked up to 42F ..."

Special thanks to organizer Norman S for sending off the group at the start and making sure everyone got safely in at the finish.  And thanks to Chris N. for collecting all the cards, sign-in sheet, and SPOT trackers at the finish, which saved me a 2nd round-trip to Milford.

The Eastern PA 2014 schedule concludes with the next ride scheduled for December 6th.  The start/finish will be in Blairstown NJ; details will be posted soon.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA