A pre-ride was completed on June 1-2 under difficult (hot & humid) conditions. Fortunately the cue sheet is in good shape in terms of directions. The weather highlighted the need to identify a few contingencies.
Good news is that Kimballs Road descending toward the Lackawaxen River bridge has finally been repaved. Not so good news is that Towpath Road (the other side of the bridge down to Lackawaxen) has not, but at least the major potholes have been filled in. Not really news at all is that Old Mine Road remains in the same poor condition as always.
Controls are generally well-spaced, but trying to cover two legs on a pair of water bottles could leave you wanting for something to drink. Monitor you water bottle fluid levels and take advantage of the numerous "non-control" facilities along the way, including, but not limited to those noted as additional cues on the cue-sheet. Check your food and fluids at each controle and keep you tank topped off. If you have the capability, it would be wise to carry additional stores as the hour grows late.
It is also advised to buddy-up for the night riding if possible. There is safety in numbers. Not everyone will have empty bottles at the same time (hopefully), and extra eyes on the road are useful for navigating and locating poor road conditions. There are more than a few locations with wheel-eating potholes.
Some riders may be arriving at Controle 7 (Delaware Water Gap) later in the day. The Apple Pie Cafe officially closes at 8pm, though it may be open longer on the weekend with an outdoor barbecue going. Alternatives include Doughboy's Pizza (also on Broad St) and a couple of convenience stores past the Apple Pie Cafe along Broad St. In a pinch, The Deer Head Inn located along Rt 611 near where the road comes up from the river crossing should be available at most any hour. In the event you arrive after the cafe closes, treat Water Gap as an open controle.
There are also 24-hour services in Columbia, NJ just across the river from Portland. While these are off course, they are known to be open at any hour. Simply cross the pedestrian bridge at Portland, turn left on Decatur St at the other side of the river, and follow the road across the interstate. You should see all of your options there.
We plan to have volunteers on course Saturday to monitor your progress. It is sometimes magical how you arrive at a secret controle just after you drink the last little bit of water in your bottle. While you shouldn't plan on this, you should be aware that you're not totally alone in the middle of nowhere.
The second loop out toward Lancaster County includes the ever-popular postcard controle at the Limerick Post Office. Tradition requires that you provide a snappy Limerick on your postcard to entertain the RBA during results tabulations. You will find a few examples in the 2014 600k Ride Report if you need inspiration. The 600k riders have all day Saturday to work on theirs, so expectations are high (TIP: write them down early. You may not be able to remember much more than your name on Sunday morning.) The 200k riders have less time but should be mentally sharp having only covered 25 miles before reaching the Post Office.
Give the beautiful green foliage on the hedges along the road on your right from Limerick down to the Skuylkill (600k miles 281-282, 200k miles 27-28) a WIDE berth!!! The hedges have no leaves of their own and "Those shiney green leaves of three" are poison ivy.
The Sunday turn-around controle is located in Blue Ball, PA and is located in a convenience store that is more of a gas station. Depending on your arrival time, it may be the ONLY location that can sign your brevet card. Carini's Italian restaurant is across the intersection from the controle, but doesn't open until 11am. Otherwise, Morgantown offers a good selection, including a Dunkin Donuts, Sheetz, Turkey Hill and several joints. Remember that you will pass only those establishments west of the Rt 10 intersection in town on your return trip so if you have a hankerin' for some Dunkin Donuts coffee, stop on the outbound leg.
Your safety is the number priority on an Eastern PA event. While the risks outlined in the event waiver cannot be completely eliminated, the following will hopefully help keep you as safe as possible.
Your responsibility as the rider includes:
- Showing up in reasonable physical condition for the event
- Bringing a reliable bike in good working order
- Complying with all traffic laws along the course
- Respecting the rights of all other users of the route (including pedestrians)
- Planning for the situation where you can’t finish the ride
Although every effort has been made to provide you with a scenic route that minimizes car traffic and other hazards, the following list highlights some areas to take some extra care:
- Summer weather has arrived with a vengeance. Be mindful of your fluid and electrolyte levels and it might also be a good idea to carry an ice sock with you if you need to cool down.
- Roads remain in poor condition in many locations after the winter. You should be extra vigilant for potholes and rough road surfaces.
- One of the most dangerous things you will encounter on the road just might be another cyclist. Keep a safe following distance when riding with other cyclists you are not familiar with. Please avoid forming a large bunch at the start of the ride.
- Helmets are mandatory. Riding without a helmet will result in an immediate disqualification.
- Please note that the bike inspection checklist includes redundant lighting for both the front and rear lights.
- Bringing along a cell phone is highly recommended.
- Mechanical assistance is not provided.
- SPOT trackers will be handed out to selected riders. If you are given one, they have a feature to call for help if you need it and are out of cell phone range -- if you are unfamiliar with how to use this feature, a volunteer will be happy to explain it to you. If you have a personal unit not already listed on the PA Randonnerus SPOT Tracking webpage: http://www.parando.org/SPOT_Links.html please send me a link to your SPOT webpage.
Food / Hydration
- In general, the route heads you into some desolate areas, with limited opportunities for food and water.
- Plan on replenishing supplies at the controle stops. The controles are typically at a store or restaurant.
- Take advantage of non-controle stores, many of which are noted on the cue sheet.
- If you feel like abandoning the ride, it may be an indication that you are not eating and drinking enough. Take a break, eat something, and it's likely that your outlook will improve. Before you know it, you'll be making that last turn back to the finish. And remember the golden rule of "… eat before you're hungry and drink before you're thirsty."
- If you are still riding past the ride time limit or if you intend to abandon the ride, please contact me on my cell phone: (610) 417-7161 It is your responsibility to make arrangements for alternate transportation.
In case of accident
Should you become injured, or arrive just after an accident resulting in an injured person (rider, motorist, or passer-by):
- Call 911 for an ambulance, describing where you are and the condition of the injured person(s)
- Contact me along with any other organizers listed on the cuesheet
- Be sure to carry identification along with your emergency contact information in case you are knocked unconscious.
Please mention any safety hazard you might have spotted, or near-miss incident you saw. We value this feedback highly and it will help PA Randonneurs improve the next edition of the event.
If you are very tired when you reach the finish, it may be a good idea to take a nap before a long drive home, so you don't end up with serious injuries. Dorm rooms are available at the hostel finish, and we'll find a spot for you whether you have made a reservation or not.
*** Original Post ***
The Eastern Pennsylvania SR series wraps up with the 600k on June 4. Event details have been posted on the website at http://parando.org/PA600K.html. The cue sheet is also posted. We return to earlier variations of the opening day which include Promised Land State Park, Hawk's Nest, Port Jervis, and a return through the DWGNRA on the New Jersey side before returning to the overnight controle at the hostel. The second day includes a generally out and back loop to Lancaster which shares some of its routing through the French Creek area with the recent 400k return. It should be a great route. A pre-ride is scheduled and updates will be posted.
Organizers Bill Olsen, Guy Harris, and Chris Nadovich will once again be on hand to take care of you. Breakfast items available at 1 hour prior to the start on Saturday and as usual, there will be post-ride food available. The route returns to the Weisel Hostel (stat/finish) at approximately the 400k point where our volunteers will be ready to feed you dinner on Saturday. Showers are available (bring your own towel) and sleeping accommodations for Saturday night are included in the entry fee. While linens are provided, you might want to bring your favorite pillow, earplugs or a sleeping mask to make the most of the overnight. Since your car will be close by, a drop bag is highly recommended.
When you awake on Sunday, breakfast will again be offered at 4am so you are well fueled for the final 200k. A post-ride meal awaits your return to allow sharing of tall tales and anything else. You will have access to the showers (maybe you want to bring two towels) and the dormitory should you want to take a nap before heading home.
A 200k option is also offered on Sunday using the same route as the second day of the 600k. Event details for the 200k option are also posted on the website: http://parando.org/R12ClubJun2.html
Pre-registration is required for both rides. Use the Pre-Registration Form.
You can also make arrangements to spend Friday and/or Sunday night at the hostel should you wish. Please make those selections when you register. It's $25 for the first additional night; $40 if you choose to stay Friday AND Sunday nights.
Finally, a reminder about registration fees. The registration fee is $75 ($25 for 200k) for riders who are PA Randonneurs members AND have a current RUSA membership. The fee is $80 ($30 for 200k) for guests or those without a current RUSA membership.
Please take a moment to double check the hostel reservations and course option I have listed for you.
600k Roster (as of 6/1)
|1 Charles J Arayata +F/S Nt|
|2 Dan M Barbasch +F Nt|
|3 George Brandt|
|4 Nicholas Gigliotti +F Nt|
|5 Michael J Gorman|
|6 James R Haddad +F Nt|
|7 Guy Harris - organizer|
|8 Greg Keenan|
|9 Eric E. Keller +F/S Nt|
|10 Gil Lebron - volunteer|
|11 Chris Nadovich - volunteer|
|12 William Olsen - organizer|
|13 Bob Torres +F Nt|
200k roster (as of 6/1)
1 Daniel Aaron
2 R Scott Cone - guest
3 Cecilie Gaffney - volunteer
4 Patrick Gaffney - volunteer
5 Eric K Hannon Ford + Sat Nt
Tom Rosenbauer - Eastern PA RBA
Andrew Mead - Eastern PA RBA Designate