Tuesday, March 28, 2017

2017 Fleche

 *** April 7 Update ***
The 2017 edition of the PA Randonneurs Fléche gets under way today as the first of nine teams  (Fleshe Eating Rumble Ponies) sets out toward our unofficial clubhouse at the Weisel Hostel near Quakertown, PA.  The remaining teams will be starting Saturday morning with plans to arrive for a post-fléche breakfast on Sunday morning.

Below are the routes each team plans to follow to reach the hostel.


A few of the teams have SPOT trackers so you can watch their progress when you know you'd rather be riding.

Chiots Errants
Escargots Volants 1
Escargots Volants 2
Fistful of Xanax V2
Fleshe Eating Rumble Ponies 1
Fleshe Eating Rumble Ponies 2
Now You've Gone Too Far
The Midnight Ride of the Sinister Nuts

We wish all riders a fun and safe journey!

*** April 5 Update ***

The flèche roster has been updated with entries received through April 4 and posted on the website. You must notify me of any last-minute roster changes TODAY.

I am still waiting for several registration forms in the mail.  If your registration shows as pending on the roster, you must email me to confirm that you plan to ride.  The roster will be finalized later today.

Captains should have received either an email containing print masters for the brevet cards or a package in the mail containing the cards.  If you have not received these, please contact me immediately.

Finally, if you have any remaining questions just ask.


*** Original Post ***
Captains, please review the roster to assure that I have the correct team and start time.  Riders, if you have not yet sent in your registration, please do so at your earliest convenience.  If you have NOT mailed your entry to me already, please send me an email confirming your intention.  There are a few individuals for whom I have little contact information.  Gooseeggs in the roster means I do not have key information.  You can always use the Event Registration Form to provide this information easily. 

The flèche team line up for 2017:

Chiots Errants:  CJ Arayata, route approved, start Sa 9:00
Escargots Volants:  Chris Newman, route approved, start Sa 9:00
Fistful of Xanax:  Chris Slocum, route approved, start Sa 8:00
Flèche Mob:  Rudy Mayr, route approved, start Sa 8:15
Flèche Eating Rumble Ponies:  James Haddad, route approved, start Fr 13:00
Now You've Gone Too Far:  Eric Keller, route approved, start Sa 8:00
Sins of the Flèche:  James Bondra, route approved, start Sa 9:00
The Midnight Ride of the Sinister Nuts, 10th Anniversary Edition:
                             Bill Olsen,  route approved, start Sa 9:00
Three Rivers of Guiness:  Bill Fischer, route approved, start Sa 8:00

Follow this post as I will be incorporating route maps showing each team's planned route leading to the hostel.  Two routes remain under review, mostly due to my being behind schedule.

Breakfast plans for Sunday morning are already in the works.  Past participants know what to expect.  New riders will not go away hungry.

Finally, as many of you participated in the 2016 flèche and may be wondering about the results, I will be placing the 2016 year-end packages in the mail today.  All of your 2016 PA Randonneurs brevet cards, flèche certificate, and the year-end results letter are included.  Apparently our flèche certificates were placed on a very slow boat from France.

Andrew Mead
- Eastern PA RBA

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Ride Report: Lackawanna 200K

Preliminary results from the brevet have been posted at:

Results will be submitted in a couple of days to RUSA, and then become final pending ACP certification.

One of the Lackawanna Tunnels (photo courtesy of Joe R)

With the snow from the recent blizzard completely melted off the roadways, mostly dry conditions, and manageable temperatures, it was a great day for an early Spring brevet.  28 riders clipped in at the Weisel Hostel (aka The PA Rando Clubhouse) and all 28 riders made it around the challenging course before the time limit, for a 100% success rate.  Congratulations to all, and well done for that excellent result, to start the Eastern PA spring series. There were some reports of isolated rain sprinkles, and some cold temperatures early on, but we were lucky to have such a good day, especially given how rough things were in early March.

The 100% finish was not obtained without some drama. As riders came in, the word passed along was that Aleksey V. had encountered a mechanical issue with his bottom bracket. Later on there were reports that Aleksey had called a cab and we rashly conjectured he had abandoned the brevet. But his observed activity had another interpretation. Aleksey called a cab for transportation to a nearby bike shop where he obtained what he needed to repair his bike. He then returned to the course and continued the brevet, finishing in good time. Certainly this resourcefulness nominates  Aleksey for the PA Rando Never-Give-Up Award. Hurrah, hurrah Aleksey!

Aleksey, an Uber Randonneur

Finish photos for most riders are here. My apologies to the few riders I missed.

Special thanks to a superb crew of volunteers who made this event possible:  Bill O. and Guy H. did final check-in and clean up; yours truly Chris N. did set-up and check in; but the PA Rando Hungry Cyclist Meal Total Awesomeness Award goes to Joe R. for preparing a postride meal of his scrumptious award winning chili. Mmmmm, mmm.

Joe R, award-winning chili cook at the finish.

CJ A writes: Thanks for the ride yesterday. Couldn't ask for better conditions to kick off the series... mild temperatures, a bit of sun, and even shifting winds to give us a tailwind all day! The course was in great shape with a lot of fresh pavement and extremely quiet roads; I'll chalk part of it to the earlier start time, which was much appreciated at the finish. It was fun to yo-yo throughout the day and actually see many others on the course, which is somewhat unusual for me. The  challenge of finishing out the ride on a 2-speed was actually kind of fun, and I now have even more respect for those who voluntarily tackle these courses on single-speed / fixed-gear!  Joe's chili was excellent, and very much looking forward to whatever he's cooking up for future rides. Ride to eat, and eat to ride.    

Jimmy A writes: I want to thank you and everyone else who helped put this ride on. It was a great day for a ride. The morning was unexpectedly cold, and I had to wear  more layers than I initially thought I would be wearing. Luckily for me, temperatures remained relatively low for most of the day, so I didn't overheat. I rode the whole day with Gavin, Matt, and Bill F., and we enjoyed mostly dry conditions. Some roads had recently seen rain, but the most we ever rode in was a light drizzle. I'm sure we'll get a warm and sunny day soon enough. I think scenically, my favorite view of the ride is at the top of the climb on River Rd before crossing the river into Belvidere. The view of the Delaware from the top is unparalleled, and I always enjoy it. Seeing and riding underneath the Paulinskill Viaduct is  always pretty cool too. It was awesome to see such a good showing at the start of the ride today, and I hope everyone had a great ride. I am looking forward to the next one.

Joe R writes: Thanks to everyone who made such a terrific brevet possible yesterday.  This is now one of my all-time favorite routes!  Stony Garden without potholes is a big plus at the end of a 200k!

A special treat at the finish was a visit by RBA emeritus Tom R.

Tom R says:  I originally wasn't planning on dropping in, until I realized how much I missed the camaraderie of our rando-clubhouse.  It was good  seeing a couple of new faces, along with many regulars.  And it's great to see the series still going strong.  

Next up is the Fleche on the weekend of April 7-8-9th.  After that, the SR series continues with the 300k and a shorter 200k on April 22nd.  There are still some volunteer opportunities we're looking to have filled for the 300K, 400K, and 600K -- if you'd like to take your turn to help out, you can sign up at:

Saturday, March 11, 2017

ACP Series Begins With Lackawanna 200k

 ***Pre-ride Notes (21 March 2017)                                             
A pre-ride of the Lackawanna 200K was completed on Tuesday, 21 March.         
The Hostel parking lot was mostly clear of snow. There were some mushy areas but I was able to park easily without needing to engage 4WD. At 6AM I set off in the dark in a light drizzle at 37F.       
Although the course is generally beautiful, with quiet roads and many interesting sights, it begins with some tense drama almost immediately after leaving the Hostel. Starting from the left turn at the TFL onto  Rt 313 (mile 1.6) the shoulder is rough, and so is the main lane.  The potholes filled with water are hard to see through the glare of  oncoming headlights. Worse yet, there are detour signs with sandbag  bases blocking the shoulder at intervals, forcing you into the lane.          
State highway 313 should be relatively quiet 6AM Saturday, but at any  time of the day or night it can have platoons of cars zooming by at  50+ mph.                                                                      

We ride this segment before dawn. Please ride single file and provide  a good space cushion between riders. Don't ride faster than your  guardian angel OR faster than the range of your headlight. Make sure  your taillight is on and your reflective gear is worn correctly.              
Inexperienced night riders should be extra cautious.        
Approaching the next light at the top of the climb (2.8 mi), carefully  get into the left lane. The turn here onto Ridge Rd is marked the "Car  Detour" for 313.  After completing the turn onto Ridge Rd, the drama   abates. Although there isn't much of a shoulder on Ridge, traffic is low and visibility is good. You will have a generally calm ride for  the next few miles.     
At about mile 8, where Ridge Rd starts to descend to the creek, you'll hear the roaring water going over the Nokamixon dam. Your speed will  increase and the number of potholes will also increase. It still will  be before dawn. Once again, please don't ride faster than you can see ahead to avoid potholes.
That's pretty much all the drama. Once you pass the dam, the sun will come up and you will be able to relax and enjoy this beautiful course with all the interesting Lackawanna civil engineering marvels.   I found the course to be in good shape. Although the woods were still full of snow pack, the roads and most shoulders were completely clear of snow and ice.  Creeks were swollen, but flooding was very limited. There's some sand and salt remaining, so be careful around fast 
At mile 23.1, sadly Milford Bakery is defunct. The building has For Sale signs. Those hungry for second breakfast or coffee might instead steer to the Bridge St Bagels and Deli next to the the TL at mile 23.3

62.0 The Jct of Rt 612 is unmarked. Look instead for the Breyers Ice Cream sign above Chrusz's Store on the right.

117.9 Stoney Garden is freshly paved. The smoothest road of the day. Sadly, some of the roads before and after Stoney Garden have a few potholes.          

No substantive cue sheet changes were made.        

Have a great ride!                     
Chris Nadovich                       

*** Original Post

Now that winter brevets are behind us and hopefully winter itself will soon depart, it's time to turn our attention to the ACP events.  First up is the Lackawanna 200k on March 25, starting from our rando clubhouse at the Weisel Hostel near Quakertown.   Event details have been posted on the website.

Registered Riders (as of 3/23/2017)
1 Michael Anderson
2 Charles J Arayata + Fr, membership
3 Jimmy Aspras
4 Peter Bakken
5 Eoghan Barry
6 Gavin Biebuyck
7 James Bondra +Fr, Sa
8 Mario Claussnitzer
9 Alfred Dolich
10 Chris Errico + membership
11 Matthew Farrell
12 William Fischer
13 Patrick Gaffney
14 Nigel Greene
15 Vadim Gritsus
16 James R Haddad + Fr
17 Steve Harding + Fr
18 Guy Harris
19 Greg Keenan
20 Eric E. Keller + Fr, membership
21 Jeff Lippincott
22 Christopher Maglieri
23 Rudi Mayr
24 Andrew D Mead
25 Chris Nadovich - organizer
26 William Olsen - organizer
27 Joseph Ray
28 Bob Torres
29 Aleksey M Vishnyakov +Fr

If you're considering the fleche, please remember that the deadlines are fast approaching.  Details are also available on the PA Randonneurs website.

The fleche team line up for 2017:

Chiots Errants:  CJ Arayata, route approved, start TBD
Escargots Volants:  Paul Shapiro, route pending, start TBD
Fistful of Xanax:  Chris Slocum, route approved, start TBD
Flesh Eating Rumble Ponies:  James Haddad, route pending, start TBD
Now You've Gone Too Far:  Eric Keller, route approved, start Sa 8:00
Sins of the Fleche:  James Bondra, route pending, start TBD
The Midnight Ride of the Sinister Nuts, 10th Anniversary Edition:
                             Bill Olsen,  route approved, start Sa 9:00
Three Rivers of Guiness:  Bill Fischer, route approved, start Sa 10:00
TBD:  Rudy Mayr, route approved, start Sa 8:15

Routes are due by 3/24.  If your route shows pending, please send it to me (or resend).  If your start time shows TBD, drop me a line and enlighten me. 

Finally, for those of you who finished the fleche in 2016, I am still waiting to receive the certifications from RUSA/ACP and will mail your entire 2016 package of brevet results once those arrive.  Still no official word on a forecast date.

Andrew Mead
- Eastern PA RBA