A course checkout ride was completed on 6 October by Chris N. The cue sheets for both the 200K and 154K have been updated to make some important corrections. Be sure you have the latest version linked on the event pages. The current versions are both marked R.2. As always, the cue sheets define the course and contain important warnings. GPS routes are provided for amusement purposes only. Read the cue sheet.
Pre Ride Notes:
In past versions of the Fall Classic, pain began early with the big climbs of Lower Saucon Rd. Since this version starts past these climbs, and all the climbing out of Easton has been eliminated through use of the Two Rivers trailway, you will hit each of your other favorite climbs with less accumulated-fatigue in your legs. This created, for me, a feeling of unexpected power as each climb felt just a little easier than I remembered it.
Pavement is in good condition for almost the entire course. The only significant exception is the Fox Gap climb, where an amazing variety of debris is scattered over the meager shoulder. I saw unused road flares, chip seal, deep piles of soft gravel, kerosene cans, lumpy hardened concrete spill, horizontal fallen trees sawn just above the roadway white line, downed power lines, and a big, buzzy hornets nest. If you climb Fox Gap at the ultra-low speed I climb Fox Gap, dodging these is not too difficult, but you might want to carry an extra tube, fire extinguisher, and an epi pen.
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through there more often. There are some long flat sections through
farms b/c suburban sprawl. Many pretty ravines with ledgy streams
alongside.Very easy riding.
Till you get near the Hostel, that is. Now the fun begins. All
those climbs that used to be easy -- either because you had just started and felt strong and fresh or because you were almost done and could smell the barn at the Hostel -- no... longer... are....
I hit the Hostel just around sunset, so I had the pleasure of
doing those final climbs in the dark. And did I mention it was foggy
and raining? I wish for better weather on the date of the event.
The trickiest part of the route is at the very end. The last few cues avoid a direct climb up 25th street by means of the public bike trail through the private campus at the Children's Home of Easton. Do not attempt to short-cut the cued route as a nighttime climb up twisty, narrow, shoulder-less, 25th street is highly inadvisable.
The endgame cues begin shortly after the somewhat harrowing left turn to cross two lanes of Berger Rd at the 3-way SS. This puts us onto the large, 4-lane, 25th Street bridge over the Lehigh. Past routes turn left immediately at the end of this bridge. Instead, now we turn right immediately into the Children's Home of Easton. The sign is brightly lit and easy to spot. Easy right turn.
This is private property, but I was assured that the public bike path has a right of way. Please follow the dashed white line marking the trail uphill through the Children's Home campus and do not trespass outside the right-of-way.
After leaving the Children's Home campus at the top of the climb, the route T's left, and then T's right back onto the nastiness of 25th street again. Check for cars and start pedaling up the street. The upcoming left turn onto the Two Rivers trailway is only 600 feet up on the left, and is plainly marked with various signs. It comes quickly. Signal a left turn and move to the left side of the lane when safe. As you near the left onto the trail there's a small painted median within which you can take refuge as you wait for an opportunity to turn. Please don't miss this turn. We are trying to avoid 25th street.
After that exciting TR+QL on 25th street, you return to the safety of the trail only briefly. You'll soon encounter the crossing of busy Freemansburg Rd. I've seen every possible reaction from drivers here. Some will stop and wave you on, others will coal-roll you where you stand. Be careful crossing.
After Freemansburg is the last bit of trail. Take the first left exiting the trail into a development. Now you are on relatively quiet, manageable roads for the rest of the way (about a mile) to the finish.
Enjoy the ride!
*** Original Post ***
Since its beginnings in 2006, Pennsylvania Randonneurs has hosted a fall brevet and populaire. Those events have been staged every year since 2007 from the Weisel Hostel that served as our rando clubhouse. There are undoubtedly many fond memories from our time there.
Fear not! The PA Randonneurs Fall Classics will continue. Just as in 2006, the routes begin and end in Easton, PA (not in front of Tom's house, though) and the routes reprise most of the familiar favorites. Our goal was to retain the feel of the old favorites with a revised start-finish location. Yes 200k riders, you WILL get Fox Gap. And Lomasson's Glen. And the beautiful descent along Sweet Hollow Road into Milford. Both routes will pass the Weisel Hostel so everyone will have a chance to pose for one more photo in front of the house.
We will finish at The Cask Taphouse in Easton where all can gather to replenish expended calories and swap stories about the year's accomplishments. We will also take time to recognize those riders who have joined (or rejoined) the PA SR club and the PA R-12 club this year. Plan to spend a little time after finishing to enjoy the camaraderie of randonneuring and getting to know other riders who you typically only pass in controls. It will also be a good time to corner the RBA and give him your wish list for future PA Randonneurs events.
With less than 11 hours of daylight available, 200k riders will need lights and reflective gear unless you have a history of faster finishes. All riders are encouraged to get into the winter habit of riding with lights and reflective gear.
Event and registration details for both events are available on the PA Rando website. Make plans to attend. It is always a good time.
Eastern PA RBA