Results will be submitted to RUSA for certification in a few days.
SUNSHINE was the word of the day as 18 riders set off from Ephrata in the morning chill (16F by some reports). The sun made it feel warmer. We were treated to a day with 0% chance of precipitation and riders made the most of it with several strong finishes, including a new course record, and a 100% completion rate.
As seems to be the tradition in PA Randonneurs, an unknown rando rookie, Sean Connolley showed up and aced the course. He was followed closely by Tim Creyts, Gavin Biebuyck, and another relative newcomer Dale Houck. Given the persistent northwest wind that picked up just as most were beginning the 50 mile westward trek, chappeau to these strong guys.
My appreciation also goes to Scott Franzen who helped with check-in duties in the morning and Gavin and James Holman who greeted most finishers at the end. Be sure to thank these guys when you see them next. Volunteer assistance is vital to this series.
The pre-ride efforts of Bill Fischer, Patrick and Ceclie Gaffney are also greatly appreciated. Temperatures were a little warmer for them, but the winds were much stronger. Thanks to them, the cue sheet was spot on. I heard no reports of lost randos.
Tim Creyts had this to say of the day:
Thanks for organizing a great ride. The weather was great and held out for us. The wind was fantastic when it was at our backs, but brutal when coming from any other direction. Having that tailwind for the last 30 miles was a great way to finish.
My water bottles turned went into a "deep slush" before the first half, and I got a little dehydrated. I drained them at the Conestoga controle and refilled them with warm water. The rehydration was very welcome! Crunchy snacks were better than soft chewy ones. My granola bars had no change in texture in the cold, but I felt like I was gnawing on frozen cookie dough when I opened a Clif bar.
Thanks to the other volunteers and pre riders, too.
Jeff Lippincott writes: Nice meeting you at yesterday's ride. I wanted to let you know I had a really good time. A little cold at the start, but the sun that came out around 8 am for almost the entire day made it nice. Thank you very much for organizing the ride.
Jimmy Asparas sent this message:
Thanks for putting on the ride yesterday. It was the coldest 200k I've ridden to date, and hopefully it is the last time we have to deal with any kind of cold like that until next year. I had a good time riding with Gavin, Matt, and Dale but was eventually dropped after Conestoga due to wind, frozen water/Gatorade, and an inability to eat food with gloves. I thoroughly enjoyed the sights on the ride. I've never been up to Three Mile Island, so that was an interesting bit of history to see. I really liked the old stone houses on Boyd (Street?) a couple miles outside Annville in the old mining town. I also had the opportunity to see a bald eagle on the hunt about 10 miles out from the finish, so I'm going to say it was a pretty good day to ride bikes overall. Hope to see you at the next one!
The old stone houses are indeed on Boyd St as it passes through the old section of Cornwall, site of a historical iron furnace.
Steve Schoenfelder had this to say: Thanks to Andrew, Gavin, and the volunteers for hosting a great February ride!
For me, brevets are all about exploring new places and gathering with other bicyclists. Although a brisk 16 degrees at the start, the warm fellowship of the PA Randonneurs more than compensated for the chill. I found the course to be challenging, with seemingly endless rollers of all sizes, but fun with great scenery including the Lancaster County farms, a covered bridge crossing the Conestoga River, many buggies, historic towns, and a really fun river trail that got me closer to the Three Mile Island nuclear plant than I had ever been before. There was even time for a leisurely break in a Marietta pub with Joe and Greg. The final controle proved to be a great venue to recover and socialize. All in all, it was a wonderful event that I would gladly do again in a heartbeat!
Looking forward to our next adventure in March.
We return to the Weisel Youth Hostel in Quakertown on March 25 for the beginning of the traditional ACP SR series. Watch this site and the main PA website for additional details as the event date draws near.
- Eastern PA RBA