Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ride Report: A Victory to Remember

Preliminary results have been posted at:
Results will be submitted in a couple of days to RUSA, and then become final pending ACP certification.

HOT!  That is the one words spoken by most riders as they entered the air conditioned cool of the Victory Brewing Company finish.  It was indeed.  Temperatures at the start were in the mid-70s with very high humidity.  By noon the temperature had climbed into the 90s with high humidity pushing the heat into the triple digits.  There were reports of temperatures on the road as high as 108F.

While the heat was likely attributable to one DNF, wheel failures claimed two victims. George Metzler managed about 50 miles on the pre-ride before a spoke let go and sent his rear wheel into all sorts of mis-alignment.  He limped to E-town where a kind friend rescued him.  The second failure occurred mere minutes into the ride when Gary Rollman broke a spoke in his rear wheel and returned to the start.  He didn't feel comfortable riding on the compromised wheel for another 124 miles and didn't have a spare in the car, so his day was over.  He may have been secretly thankful to be spared from the oven.  The irony of two wheel failures is that the roads on the route were in some of the best shape ever for Lancaster County.

The rest of the riders covered the course in good order and appeared to be in decent shape at the finish.  Strong reminders about hydration as well as a shopping list of water available on course may have helped.   Good food and beverage options at the finish were a big hit with all.

Once again, a new to PA Randonneurs rider started and managed to be among the first finishers.  Rider Brian Ignatin rolled in with the always fast group of Gavin Biebuyck, Patrick Gaffney, and Greg Keenan to notch his first brevet finish.  Congratulations to Brian who may have set a record for the longest interval between joining RUSA and earning the randonneur distinction; he has a 3-digit RUSA membership number.

The remaining riders trickled in for the rest of the afternoon and joined our group that had set up camp in a corner of the brewpub.  Riders Peter Bakken and Paul Weaver added their names to the growing list of first-time PA finishers.  Congratulations to these two who rose to the challenge and finished a typically PA tough course with smiles on their faces.  Most riders hung around for a while after finishing sharing stories and generally enjoying being inside where it was cool.

Special thanks to my co-organizer George Metzler who first mentioned the idea of finishing at the VBC brewpub nearly two years ago and to the management at VBC for enthusiastically welcoming a bunch of sweaty cyclists. Every year George and I work to dream up something new and different.  We're particularly pleased with how this year's event turned out and hope everyone else enjoyed it and found it to be truly memorable.

Michael Povman writes:  Andrew, I just wanted to thank you and the other volunteers for organizing a terrific brevet around Lancaster County. I had never ridden in that area before and the combination of wonderful scenery, rolling hills, well-maintained roads and low traffic made for a special day on the bike, despite the heat.  I must say this ride was the first time I ever had to pass a horse and buggy!   I also enjoyed hooking up with some of the other riders in the second half of the ride and sharing a post-ride meal at the Victory.  My one regret for the day was not seeing anything at mile 49.8. 

George R. & CJ at the Finish (photo by Michael P.)
Chris Nadovich who normally goes to great lengths to avoid riding when the thermometer climbs above 90 wrote:  Although I severly "wilted" in the hot weather, I could not help noticing how pretty the course was. It was excellent Type B fun and the cool beer at the end tasted delicious. I look forward to riding that course again on a cooler day to better appreciate the beautiful scenery and relatively flat terrain. During the ride I noticed at least a half dozen farmers at different locations clearing trees and making bonfires in the heat of the day. Bonfires? On one of the hottest days of the year?

Lancaster is farm country where work on the farm takes few holidays.  Sundays are a different story.

Grace Pineda finished strong and smiling (I think she was smiling because it was over) and commented:  Looking back a day later - what a great ride!  Thanks for organizing.  Thanks too for that email where you listed locations for refueling and restocking on fluids.  Meant everything in those last controle-free 50 miles!

We return to our Rando Clubhouse in October for the always enjoyable Brevet/Populaire on October 22.  Check the PA Randos website and this message board for updates.

Andrew Mead
- organizer

Friday, September 2, 2016

September R12 200k: A Victory To Remember

*** Update 2 ***
Given the predicted hot and humid conditions for the ride, please make note of the following locations where water is available.

Mile 24.8 Info Control is at a convenience store.
Mile 33.5 Blue Rock Bakery & Grill where route crosses SR999/Blue Rock Rd

Mile 66.1 Turkey Hill convenience store in Campbelltown
Mile 97.9  Turkey Hill convenience store in Ephrata identified on cue.  There is also a Wawa ~1/4 mile off course north on 272 just past the Turkey Hill (turn left at the TFL and you will see it)
Mile 106.9  there is a Sheetz, McDonalds, Wendys ~ 1 mile to the east along SR23 (the route turns right, but the Sheetz is to the left)
Mile 118.4  there is a Speedway convenience store at the intersection with US 30.

You DO NOT want to leave the Silver Spring (mile 38.4) or Annville (mile 72.2) controles low on supplies.  Options for replenishing along the route are very limited. 

*** Update 1: Pre-Ride Notes (9/4) ***

A course checkout ride was completed on September 3.  An updated cue sheet has been posted at:  Be sure to refresh your browser and confirm that you have the 9/3 Draft version.

The routing remains unchanged though it appears that we are threading the needle between a host of construction projects.  You will see what I mean when you happen across all the orange warning signs along the route.  The good news is that there are many sections of recently repaved asphalt that are an absolute joy to ride and the miles on rough roads are relatively few.  While no one got lost on our pre-ride, the cue sheet updates better depict with the way you will be perceiving signage, not necessarily the "official" road names, and make the cue much clearer.

Course Notes:
The first and last 2 miles travel along Lower Valley Rd between Atglen and Parkesburg.  The pavement in both directions in this section has many longitudinal cracks in the outboard wheel track which are wide enough to swallow most road bike tires.  Since you will be leaving in the dark and returning tired after 120+ miles, please remain alert to these hazards.

There are a couple long descents with T intersections at the bottom.  You might want to conduct a brake check at mile 14 and mile 25 to be on the safe side.

The descent at mile 37.5 is wide open and best enjoyed without braking.  As a bonus, the pavement is very smooth.

There is a three-mile descent along US 322 beginning at mile 83.1.   A full-width shoulder exists but be aware of debris in this path.  Complicating matters is sunlight filtering through trees which makes spotting these hazards a bit difficult, especially at 25+ mph which is easily obtainable.  

Somewhere in the first 40 miles is a pothole sufficiently nasty to break a wheel.  Just ask George Metzler.  With this in mind, you should scroll down and re-read the general rules Chris Nadovich so generously provided in the YARRR announcement.  We will be starting in the dark, so lighting and reflective gear IS REQUIRED.

Finally, the route offers wonderful scenery.  We saw micro breweries, interesting wood sculptures in old tree stumps, beautiful vistas (it was a very clear day for us), and a few other interesting items tossed along the roadside.  One such article was spotted around mile 49.8.  See if you can identify it assuming it remains there this week.

Andrew Mead
- organizer

*** Original Post ***

The PA summer series concludes on September 10th with a another new 200k route: A Victory to Remember. This route takes a looping tour of Lancaster County.  You will have a strong incentive to finish since the final controle is at the Victory Brewing Company brewpub in Parkesburg.  Long time riders may recognize bits and pieces of this route, but it has been at least seven years since we took a clockwise tour around Lancaster county.  Event details have been posted at  To join the roster, use the electronic registration by 5PM on Thursday, September 8.

A course check-out ride is planned for September 3.  No less than 4 detours have been considered as this route came together.  Pennsylvania's bridge rehabilitation efforts make many routes a moving target.  As of this writing, it appears as though only one detour will be necessary and you might not even notice it.  And as always,  be sure to monitor the PA Randonneurs website and this blog periodically for updates.

Please make note that the start time is 6:00am.  This will provide more time for socializing at the finish.  We will be parking in the employee parking area at the brewery which is the first lot on the left as you enter the main driveway to the brewpub.

 Registered Riders (as of 9/7)
1 Charles J Arayata
2 Peter Bakken
3 Gavin Biebuyck
4 William Fischer
5 Patrick Gaffney
6 James R Haddad
7 Eric  K Hannon Ford
8 Guy Harris
9 Brian Ignatin
10 Greg Keenan
11 Andrew D Mead - organizer
12 George Metzler - organizer
13 Chris Nadovich
14 Althea Grace Pineda
15 Michael Povman
16 George Michael Retseck
17 Gary Rollman
18 Edward T Schantz
19 Paul G Weaver Jr

Andrew Mead
- organizer