Monday, June 29, 2020

RUSA Soft Opening Put on Hold

RUSA President Dave Thompson made the following announcement on June 28.

Since making our decision for a soft reopening the pandemic has taken a turn for the worse. New cases are up 65% over the past two weeks. New restrictions are being instituted including more restrictive social distancing, statewide mask requirements and new state regulations to mandate quarantining for interstate travel. With all this in mind our soft reopening will be postponed.
I know that many of you have put a lot of thought and effort into your pandemic riding plans. I've been through all of them and have had discussions with some of you. We all hope that the picture will soon change for the better and we can put those plans into effect. We will continue to monitor the pandemic and keep you updated.

Since making our decision for a soft reopening the pandemic has taken a turn for the worse. New cases are up 65% over the past two weeks. New restrictions are being instituted including more restrictive social distancing, statewide mask requirements and new state regulations to mandate quarantining for interstate travel. With all this in mind our soft reopening will be postponed.

I know that many of you have put a lot of thought and effort into your pandemic riding plans. I've been through all of them and have had discussions with some of you. We all hope that the picture will soon change for the better and we can put those plans into effect. We will continue to monitor the pandemic and keep you updated.

It seems unlikely that conditions will improve in the near-term to the extent that the July brevet will be  permitted as a sanctioned event.  For that reason we will be refunding ride entry fees for July.  
August remains a wait and see, but expect that brevet to shift to the Free Bridge route. It's a really interesting new route.  
Remember that RUSA must make decisions that are best for the entire membership.  In April when RUSA first cancelled rides, our region was one of the national hotspots driving that decision.  Thankfully we are not the driver this time.  Hopefully we will not become complacent and the virus and its effect will remain somewhat under control.  In the meantime we should all keep in mind the people in the regions where COVID-19 cases are on the rise.  We've traveled that road and know first-hand the challenges they face.

The only certainty is that Pennsylvania Randonneurs will resume R-12 brevets as soon as permitted.  In the meantime, get out and ride.  Expand your quarantine horizons. Our routes are accessible and offer many miles of scenic byways that can be enjoyed without a brevet card.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Let's Ride: Re-Opening in a Pandemic

Pennsylvania Randonneurs is proud to announce the return to randonnering with the Free Bridge 200k on July 11, 2020.  We’re easing back into things owing to a 3-month hiatus, an abundance of caution, and limitations imposed by RUSA.  For now there are some changes to normal procedures.  I'll try to cover the highlights.

1. ALL registrations for our events will be on-line.
2. Registered riders must arrive at the start with a signed waiver, a cue sheet, a writing instrument, and appropriate safety equipment in addition to the usual cycling gear.  For the July event this means that you must wear a mask or suitable face covering to the start.  You'll want to have this with you for the ride as many stores require face coverings in order to enter.  Hand sanitizer, gloves, etc. are up to you.  Riders are expected to follow any CDC, state, or requirements imposed by businesses.  If the store says mask required, wear a mask.
3. Riders should bring their own cue sheet.  Our goal is to be near-contactless.  We want to minimize exchanging "things." Bring your own pen/pencil.
4. Riders will be encouraged to observe social distancing while at the start.
5. In the event the pre-registrations indicate a large crowd, the group will be split into groups that will be started 30 minutes apart.  You will be notified of your start group in advance.  If you are starting in the second group we ask that you arrive late or separate yourself from the first wave starters.  Second wave starters will not be checked in and given a brevet card until the first wave departs.
6. Each rider will be photographed with his/her brevet card at the start.  We are finally putting those barcodes we've printed on the cards for the past year to good use.
7. Merchant Controle: Routes may have merchant controles, but merchant entry and controle signature/receipt is entirely optional. Alternatively, rider can self-sign controle card and text to organizer selfie photo showing rider face and brevet card (name forward) with merchant in background, or provide atm receipt (if outdoor ATM available), or info answer (if question provided), accepted as alternatives to wet signature or receipt from merchant.  We are NOT using RUSA's EPP procedure.
8. Staffed Control on route:  Rider will be photographed by volunteer holding brevet card to display printed name and barcode in the picture.  Volunteers will keep a list, but riders do not sign in.
9. Finish Controle:  Riders will sign their brevet card at the finish and then be photographed by the finish volunteer with the printed name and barcode visible in the picture. Once photographed, riders will deposit their brevet cards in an envelope.
That's it!

Our first two events will use Figure 8 courses to allow riders to resupply from their cars at the mid-point if desired.  Staffed controls are also planned so that riders can conceivably complete the entire route without entering a business.

We fully expect to refine our process as we all learn together.  Please be patient with us.

Finally, for now RUSA is permitting brevets of 225k or less.  As a result I've had to make the difficult decision to fully cancel the remaining ACP SR events and the Fleche for 2020.  On the bright side, we have two new routes to offer and are planning more to make the most of whats left of the 2020 cycling season.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Monday, June 15, 2020

Pensylvania Mondial Award: Bill Olsen

Congratulations to Bill Olsen for being the first rider ever to complete over 40,000 KM in PA Rando Events, earning him the very first PA Rando Mondial award. The riding distance of 40,000 KM is approximately the circumference of the Earth (or about 20 laps around the perimeter of Pennsylvania).

As of March 2020, Bill has ridden 40,565 KM in the 136 PA events he has finished -- more events than any other rider.  Bill is the only person to have earned two Pennsylvania R-5000  awards. He also has the most Pennsylvania Super Randonneur awards with nine, and shares a tie with Don Jagel having won a club leading four PA R-12 awards, including a PA R-36!

In addition to his riding prowess, Bill has been a tireless volunteer supporting countless PA Rando and NJ Rando events.

Chapeau Bill! Bonne route for your second lap around the Earth!

Friday, March 20, 2020


Pennsylvania Randonneurs is suspending all of its events effective immediately.  We find it impossible to offer randonneuring events of the high quality our members and guests have come to expect from Pennsylvania Randonneurs.  It is time to accept the inevitable realization that proceeding with our schedule is not socially responsible behavior and might constitute prohibited behavior under current mandates.  We will continue to monitor conditions and make an announcement when we believe resuming brevets is legal, feasible, and responsible.

Obviously a resumption of activities depends upon current mandates requiring closure of "non-life sustaining businesses" and directing individuals to shelter in place or practice social isolation to be lifted.  Our routes are not limited to Pennsylvania, so we must also consider the surrounding states, specifically New Jersey and New York.  If these restrictions are lifted, our hope is to reschedule the SR events and the Fleche in the late summer or early fall.  If these restrictions remain through summer, the ACP events will likely be cancelled altogether.  Much depends on the availability of the resources needed to host such events.  It may take quite a bit of time for the services we rely on (hotels, stores, restaurants) to return to normal and be able to accommodate us once restrictions are lifted.

Please be patient as we work through the details.  We are doing all that we can to resume randonneuring activities as soon as conditions permit and to keep you advised in ample time to make plans.

Thank you for your understanding.  Stay safe!

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Pagoda 200K Ride Report

Miles, Joe, Greg and Elias
celebrating at the Pagoda (photo by Matt)
With the growing concern about the Corona virus pandemic casting a shadow of uncertainty over future events, a brave group of 24 randonneurs clipped in to attempt one of the most difficult 200K routes in the PA Rando menu, the Pagoda 200K brevet. Despite the anxious context and difficult course, 23 of the 24 starters finished under the time limit for  a 96% completion rate. Congratulations and well done to all, especially our first time riders Matthew Harman and Miles PowellWelcome to PA Randonneuring! I can promise you that it will get easier.

Preliminary results for this first event in our ACP Super Randonneur series, have been posted on the PA Rando website.  Please review the results and let me know if something doesn't agree with your recollections.  The results will be submitted for ACP certification later on and become final at that time.

The weather was clear and cool, climbing into the 50s mid day with plenty of sunshine. Several of the riders finished in shorts --- some even in short sleeves. There was enough wind to be annoying, but not the gale force winds that stole the brevet card from Gerry Montague's hand in 2019. This year the wind was weaker. Gerry held tightly to his brevet card and finished in great style.

Difficult climbs can move riders to poetry, it seems. The muse of rando inspired Iwan Barankay to compose this haiku...
Social full distance
We swallowed hills like Hemlock
Pinchflat spring ice-cream
I see what you did there, Iwan, with swallowing Hemlock. Some of those hills do indeed promote thoughts of self harm.  And "pinchflat  spring" refers to a possible flavor available at the Longacres Modern Dairy controle?

Joe Ray had this to say about the day and the quality of the food offerings...
Thanks for putting on a great brevet yesterday!  There were a number of sections on this one that I had completely forgotten from last year, notably the climb to reach the dam [Powder Mill] and the knee-breaker after crossing it [Hemlock]. It was really good to share the suffering with Greg and Miles for the whole route and have Matt join us for the  second half and finish as a group. The views on this route are terrific, with quite a few very noble-looking farms on top of the overlook on skyline/pagoda and other mountain vistas. The banana milkshake at Longacre was fantastic (as expected), but this was my first Wawa waffle egg sausage and cheese sandwich and I’ll give it a “pretty good” (better than the turkey hill thing a couple hours later).  
The difficult course with near 10,000 feet of climbing and an unfair lack of easy descending roll-outs pushed several riders close to the time limit.  I say any finish is a solid finish on this 200K. On this topic Bill Olsen writes...
Thanks for scheduling the challenging PA SR Series again this year. The 200K Included just the right amount of climbing.  Enough to quickly get me back into shape, but not too much that I exceeded the allowable 13.5 hours. 
The Pagoda 200K course has many high points. There are six major climbs and many stunning vistas. In contrast to these scenic wonders, considering the 2020 version avoids traffic and reaches the SRT by routing directly through some squalid sections of downtown Reading, there are also some low points on the course. The lowest of these low-points is Little Wunder Street (really an alley) where riders must get down into the gutter.

Little Wunder riders go down into the gutter

Fortunately there were no punctures or other unpleasantness reported by riders transiting this "interesting" thoroughfare.

Perhaps the biggest surprise  of the day was the peloton of cigarette-smoking, Big Wheel riders descending from the Pagoda on Duryea Drive.  They must've been at it for a long time as many of the passing brevet riders reported seeing them descending and being hauled back up top by pickup truck.

Big Wheelers descending Duryea drive in high gear
And they say randonneurs are crazy!?

One disappointing aspect to the 2020 edition of the Pagoda 200K was the closure of the Cask Taphouse and Grill at the start/finish. The closure appears to be permanent, a consequence of economic factors, not related to the pandemic.  There are other nice pubs and restaurants nearby, but nothing so close and congenial as was the Cask.  Because Cask was closed, PA Rando was unable to provide the finish food we had in the past: a variety of excellent flatbread pizzas from the Cask menu. Instead, we had more typical bike rider food: fruit and pre-packaged snacks.

As things stand at the moment of this writing, the remaining ACP Super Randonneur events are still going ahead as scheduled. It may be necessary to modify the start/finish and overnight accommodations  in order to comply with prudent safety requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Because of the extra requirements, we'll likely need more volunteers than usual. Please contact the RBA or myself if you can help day-of-event (and thereby qualify for a social distanced pre-ride). 

Prudent restrictions and required actions or prohibitions are being considered.  We have no crystal ball and must make decisions based on what is known at the time.  Our current plan is to hold events as scheduled.  We will continue this approach until circumstances dictate otherwise.  We are evaluating each event individually.  Should cancellation become necessary, we will do our best to assure that information is quickly communicated.  Pay attention to this website.  Follow the Facebook group.  Follow our blog.  
Stay safe.
Chris  Nadovich
Brevet Organizer

Monday, March 16, 2020

Coronavirus & COVID-19

The impact of coronavirus and COVID-19 on brevet and fleche events is under active discussion among the RBA community.   Prudent restrictions and required actions or prohibitions are being considered.  We have no crystal ball and must make decisions based on what is known at the time.  Our current plan is to hold events as scheduled.  We will continue this approach until circumstances dictate otherwise.  We are evaluating each event individually.  Should cancellation become necessary, we will do our best to assure that information is quickly communicated.  Pay attention to the website.  Follow the Facebook group.  Follow this blog.  All will be updated as soon as any decisions are made.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Ride Report: International Women's Day Popualire

Riders gather at the Joan of Arc Statue
The weather roller-coaster of 2020 reached a high point on Sunday March 8 and provided a day filled with sunny skies, mild temperatures, and gentle breezes.  All 37 riders who clipped in for the International Women's Day 107k completed the route within time for a 100% completion rate.  This is all the more impressive when one considers that nearly half of the field had never participated in a randonneuring event before.  You will find the preliminary results on the website.  Results will become official once submitted to RUSA later this week.

The group consisted of a good mix of both veteran and first time randonneurs, who braved the chilly early morning temperatures as they headed out from the Joan of Arc statue near the Philadelphia Museum of Art into the north western suburbs.  By the time riders returned to the finish at the Stone Age in America statue most of those early morning layers had been shed, as temperatures became much more mild throughout the day.

The "new to PA Randonneurs" course provided a very good introduction to the many new randonneurs in attendance. With staffed, information, post card, and even a secret control, the riders got to experience every type of control they will come across in longer brevets.  Judging by the smiles and comments of the finishers as they rolled in, the course was well received.  Observant riders might have noticed a continuation of the honoring women theme though careful examination of the post cards mailed at the West Point Post Office controle.

Post ride festivities were graciously hosted by CJ Arayata and Natalie Felice, who live near the finish.  All of those who could make to their house had a great time recapping the day and making plans for future brevets.  A few have already signed up for next weekend's Pagoda 200k.

CJ Arayata has posted a shared photo album where you can stash any additional pictures from the event.

PA Rando veteran Shawn Boyles had this to say of the day:  Thanks again for organizing a ride here in Philadelphia. It was great to ride familiar roads with the PA Rando crew. I hope everyone enjoyed the event. Many thanks to all the volunteers along with CJ and Woody for opening their home up to us.  Shawn had a hand in the route as he was one of the early voices asking for an event starting in the city.

First-time randonneuse Andrea Mules had this to say about the day:  The PA Rando crew is so incredibly warm and welcoming and it was very exciting to join a local ~100k! The route was top notch, and the section between Evansburg and Ambler was probably my favorite section of rollers all day. Perfect weather and great riding companions. Biggest of ups to the folks at the Secret Controle. Those cookies really brought me home to the finish. A cold beer never tasted as good as the one at the afterparty hosted by CJ and Woody. Stoked to do another one of the shorter rando rides with everyone!

Another first-time, Matt Harman writes:  Thank y'all for doing what y'all do. What a wonderful ride, website and company. Thanks for hosting a ride leaving and returning to Philly. I recognize from conversations yesterday this starting location can be limiting. The route was a wonderful way to become acquainted with PA R. 

Matt, like many other of the Philadelphia-based riders, lives car-free. which makes starts in Easton or Lancaster difficult.  Carpools anyone?

Thanks to many people who made this event possible:  To CJ Arayata who became a one-man cheerleader for the event and, along with Woody Felice,  generously opened their home to the post-ride gathering.  To Pat and Cece Gaffney who helped to refine the route and staffed the start and finish controle.
Pat Gaffney at the finish.
To Jim Bondra who staffed the Evansburg controle.  To Sue Proulx and Sue Dasen for staffing a secret controle AND providing tasty treats to energize riders to the finish. 

Secret Sues at the Cemetery
And finally to Chris Nadovich for getting the route ready for RUSA use, organizing the event, and putting up with me through the whole process.  Be sure to thank these people the next time you see them.  They make Pennsylvania Randonneurs' events happen.

Next up is the beginning of the ACP SR Series, the Pagoda 200 on March 14.

Chris Nadovich
- Event Organizer
Andrew Mead
- Eastern PA RBA

Monday, March 9, 2020

Pagoda 200K -- 2020 Edition -- Course Notes

PA Randonneurs moves in to the ACP sanctioned events beginning in March with the challenging Pagoda 200k Brevet scheduled for March 14.  Event details are posted on the PA Randonneurs website.  This brevet will be staged from the Holiday Inn Express/Cask Restaurant near the 25th St exit off of Route 22 in Easton that was used for last year's SR events. As with all PA Randonneurs brevets, pre-registration is required.  Online Registration will remain open until midnight Wednesday, March 11th. No late registrations will be accepted. RUSA membership required.

The RWGPS route and cues have been changed since originally posted.  Please be sure you have the latest, cuesheet version 6, created 2020-03-09 21:19 EDT.

A course pre-ride was conducted by Andrew Mead and Chris Nadovich on 7 March. An additional ride was conducted 9 March by Jim Bondra. The following are their course notes.

It was lightly snowing when Andrew and I set off from the Cask parking lot for our pre-ride. The temperature was around freezing with a chilly North wind of about 15 mph that would be across our faces most of the day. On the bright side,  there was already some daylight on the horizon.  By 2 PM there was little sign of any snow. Temperatures had risen to the 40s and we had several hours of glorious sun to enjoy the spectacular scenery this ride offers.

The main change to the 2019 route is the elimination of the horrible hump of busy (and often under construction) Perkiomen Ave on the edge of Reading. Instead the 2020 route makes a bee-line across the center of Reading on generally low-traffic, downhill Cherry St to join the Schuylkill River Trail.

The route reaches Cherry through Little Wunder St, which is a teeny, tiny alley on the left, just in front of a brick building (Bella's Sweets) at mile 59. After the right on Perkiomen, immediately turn left into the Wunder alley. A key spotting cue is the working pay phone (sic) on the wall of the building. Turn in front of the phone and zig-zag down the narrow path. There's a shallow curved gutter in the center of the alley.  If it rains this week, I expect the water will flush most of the trash and broken glass out of that gutter, so you should be good on Saturday. But in case the gutter isn't clear, make your own decision whether the alley is rideable by bike. Andrew and I both rode through the alley, but if you aren't as familiar with living in the gutter as us, please be cautious and walk your bike through.

Andrew points the way to Little Wunder St
and the last working payphone in America
Once you zig-zag through the Little Wunder, take Cherry for nine blocks till it T's at RACC. Look out for cross traffic at the intersections. At RACC you will do a TL+QR onto Riverfront Dr. After crossing the tracks look for the painted bridges. Walk your bike up the grass berm to the SRT (why is there no paved ramp?) and cross those painted bridges. The SRT is paved here, but once over the Schuylkill bridge it will become a mixture of dirt, gravel, and broken pavement (suitable for most tires) till you reach the Gibraltar controle (look for the RR tracks to your left).

At mile  88.6 is the Longacres Modern Dairy controle. If you don't feel like eating ice cream (sic) there is a Redner's Quick Mart ahead on the route 0.2 miles on the right as an alternative controle. Even though it was about 20F, considering wind chill, Andrew and I both went for scoops. I shivered my way through some excellent rum raisin. Tough work but, heck, rule 5. I believe they also have sandwiches and some hot drinks at Longacres, but I saw no sign of pie a-la-mode being served. I tried to put a bug in their ear about 3.14 day -- we'll see next week.

Another interesting navigational challenge is the detour in the Saucon Rail Trail. The trail needs to cross Preston Lane, but there's no bridge. So as a workaround they route you left, off the trail, around a ball field, and down through a tunnel (sic) under Preston Lane at the Library. Then around some more ball fields. Finally you turn right back into the woods at soccer field 5. Don't miss that right turn into the woods or you'll be doomed to wander. Here's a diagram:

Saucon Park trail detour
Other navigational challenges and road hazards are noted on the cue sheet. Please study the cues carefully and be alert for unexpected hazards.

A note from the 2019 pre-ride is still relevant:
mile 57.4, 58.5 -- there are three switchback triangles on the Duryea Drive descent. You make turns at the first triangle near the top and the third triangle (1.1 miles later), and there are cues for these turns. You don't turn at the second switchback triangle (just past the first) and there is no cue to indicate this lack of turning. I found that situation a little confusing as these first two turns come quick, so I slowed down. Should you mistakenly turn at the second triangle you'll be sorry as you could end up 500 feet down the mountain in a jiffy and you won't be anywhere near the course. Pro tip: take your time going down those switchbacks and put a priority on navigating correctly.
This is not an easy 200K. Pay attention to where you are. Be prepared to do some work. The climbs leading up to the Pagoda are big but fair, with exhilarating descents and switch-back, run-out pay-offs immediately afterward. The climbs beginning after Daniel Boone are annoyingly unfair. They are irregular, sneaky, and the descents all seem to have blind turns, stop signs, and yet more little climbs peppered throughout.  Stay calm and pedal on. There is ice cream.

Maybe the weather will be nicer for you on 14 March than we had on the pre-ride, but because of the DST change the 6AM start time  is over an hour before sunrise. Everyone must have proper reflective gear and lighting on their bikes. I'd expect there to be a beautiful near-full waning moon in the sky to the west just before dawn.

Chris Nadovich
Brevet Organizer

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Looking ahead to the Pennsylvania Randonneurs Fleche 2020

Pennsylvania Randonneurs continues another of its long-standing traditions with the 2020 Flèche.  Once again the Trexlertown Velodrome is our target destination where finishers will be treated to breakfast, camaraderie, and hopefully dryer conditions than last year.  Maintaining the same finish location benefits those who liked their routes last year; just let me know you intend to use the same route again and you've met the requirements for route submission.

If you want to create a new route, you will need to identify the controls (a complete address, please), and provide a link to a map of you planned route.  Remember that your planned route and the shortest controlled route may not be the same.  It is extremely helpful if you create a brevet card in the RUSA Card-O-Matic application and copy the card to me (3981).

Take this time to brush up on the Rules for the Flèche.

The event page for the Flèche has been up for a while and a few riders have found it already.
Dates to keep in mind:

Mar 19:  Team Captain registration closes
Mar 26:  Route submission deadline
Apr 10:   Rider registration closes
16 April Noon: Earliest start time
18 April 8-9 AM: Preferred start time
18 April 10 AM: Latest start
19 April 10 AM: Latest finish
19 April 8-11 AM: Brunch Banquet and (hopefully) laps on the track

The Captain's deadline is coming up soon.  Don't delay.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Monday, February 24, 2020

International Womens Day 107K (updated 2/25)

The 107K International Women's Day populaire begins 8AM Sunday 8 March at the Joan of Arc statue near the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and ends at the Stone Age in America statue near of the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial art park just above Boathouse Row. CJ Arayata will be hosting a finish celebration at 802 N Bucknell.

The populaire route is a tour of Fairmont Park landmarks, with a loop out to the suburbs, including rural Evansburg State Park and the interesting town of Ambler. You will visit Laurel Hill Cemetary, Strawberry Mansion, and more.

This populaire is open to all RUSA members.

The turn at mile 59.6 is tricky. You make a right at the traffic light at Leverington then an immediate left at High St before the bridge. This is what it looks like:

Miss this left turn and No Brownies For You!

A volunteer pre-ride was conducted on Sunday 23 February by Chris Nadovich and CJ Arayata. Route revisions and comments have been incorporated into the RWGPS route and published cuesheet (version 7).
We can only hope that the weather will be as nice on 8 March as it was on 23 February for our pre-ride. Temperatures started in the upper 20s but quickly climbed to the high 50s, with both CJ and I stripping down to Spring-like clothing choices.
Inspired by the Scenic Schuylkill Century metric route, we found that this 107K populaire course  did a decent job transiting the busy suburban roads ringing the city and soon reaching some beautiful rural paths. It's generally benign terrain. A triple or 39x27 is not necessary. There is certainly some climbing, but no relentless mountains. There is a nice view of the city from the highest point in the course, (Berks and Potshop, mile 25.8).
Most of the route is in good shape. There are two locations under construction. We had little trouble getting through both.
  • Mile 9, 56.2: At River Rd just after/before Nixon there is a section of dirt and gravel with a missing bridge crossed by a wooden pedestrian walk.
  • Mile 23.7: A bridge under construction. We were able to walk under the orange plastic fences.
There are other notes from the pre-ride that have been incorporated into the cues.  Have a great ride!
PARKING: I know some riders from outside Philly are a little put-off by the thought of figuring out where to park in Center City. Please don't worry about this.  Before  the event on Sunday at the end of boathouse row parking is available free if you turn right up Sedgley Dr and into Lemon Hill.  This is directly across from Lloyd Hall, where there are public restrooms and a water fountain, Later in the day a snackbar is open here, not to mention the excellent Water Works museum, open 1-5 on Sunday.

Do be aware of traffic in those roads nearest the city, especially the "transitional" suburban roads near the first controle and after the penultimate controle where the shoulder has shrunk but the traffic speed has increased. Also, when riding in the City itself, please use rider discretion interpreting the cue sheet. In several locations there are numerous navigation options. Trail often parallels road. Ride on whichever you feel is safest. Don't make erratic moves between trail and road.

All the details and online registration may be found at the event website.

Chris Nadovich

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Hope to Hopewell 200K: Ride Report

It seems that much more pain and suffering results from worrying about the weather than ultimately results from the weather itself. Despite ominous forecasts (and memories of the 2017 Hopewell snowpocalypse), the hopes of 21 riders seeking a fine day to ride were not dashed.

All 21 of the 21 riders who clipped in made it to the finish in good time for a 100% completion rate.  Preliminary results for the 2020 edition of the Beyond Hope to Hopewell 200K have been posted on the website.  Please review the results and let me know if they align with your memory.  The results will be submitted to RUSA later in the week and will become official once certified by RUSA.

Although 40F with occasional fog and drizzle would not qualify as a "fine day" for bike riding in the minds of some, for hale and hearty randonneurs it's near perfection (at least for Pennsylvania in February). First finishers Iwan Barankay and Chris Maglieri kept themselves warm zooming around the course in their usual record time. Chris was a little behind Iwan at the end because he stopped to take pictures documenting completion of his 7th R-12. 

Joe Ray writes...
Thanks for another great brevet.  It turned out to be pretty perfect after all, and while it was damp/foggy in the morning it was quite comfortable all day. It was good to be back on Tunnel Road again - I had started to miss that one after what I think has been a two-year absence. Thanks to Chris and Bill for their work and their company at the start & finish.
Iwan Barankay writes...
Thank you for organizing this brevet. I saw rather little the first hours with the dense fog plus my glasses being covered in raindrops and road muck (which also made it onto my bottle as I noticed a little too late...) The climbs were nice. Tunnel road was rolling and gentle but the second [Sand Brook Ridge and Sourland Mountain, ed] was relentless... Great final control at the Pizza parlor were I inhaled a large house special pizza and Fanta. Looking fwd to International Women's Day ride!
Indeed our next event is a Sunday 100K populaire honoring International Womens Day. The event starts at the Joan of Arc statue near the Art Museum in Philadelphia. All RUSA members are welcome to ride. Those of you looking for a first rando ride of the year: this is it.

Then the following Saturday, our ACP Super Randonneur series starts off in Easton with a challenging Reading Pagoda 200K.  Hope to see you all there.

Chris Nadovich
Brevet Organizer

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Feb R12 -- Beyond Hope to Hopewell

The PA Randonneurs 2020 R12 series continues on 1 February with the Beyond Hope to Hopewell 200k, a route that usually benefits from excellent winter maintenance. Fingers are crossed. Some of you may recall the 2017 edition of this event where a surprise snow squall had riders stranded along the course and Guy Harris rescuing them with his 4WD truck.

We are hopeful for a better outcome this time. The ride begins at  Bridge Street Bagel & Deli in Milford, NJ.  Arrive early enough to eat one of their delicious breakfast sandwiches. Parking is down the street in the US HealthCare lot across Church St. from the Milford Market.  Online registration is open and will remain so through midnight Thursday, January 30.

Riders are also reminded that lights and reflective gear are mandatory in view of the limited daylight hours and frequent overcast skies. See the reflectivity guide for best practices.

A pre-ride of the course was conducted on 23 January by Chris Nadovich and Bill Olsen. Chris writes:

The course is in decent shape, at least it was this past Thursday. The shoulders were mostly clear, but the usual winter hazards are still present. Look out for potholes, rocks, tree branches, and occasional ice patches on the shoulder, especially approaching Hope, and double especially on 29 from Stockton to Milford at the end of the ride -- a segment many will ride in the dark.

The controle in Hope has two port-a-potty style restrooms. Riders might be reluctant to use them, but Bill inspected one of them (not sure which) and passes on his assurance that it was five-stars.

Besides the official controles, there are numerous mini-marts along the course. These can provide a solution for cold extremities or frozen water bottles in the form of hand-warmers and 24 oz cups of hot water, not to mention a brief respite in a warm indoors.

Personally, I thought there were still some potholes on the descent after Sourland mountain, but in Bill's opinion I don't: "fully appreciate the improvements to the road into Hopewell. The ruts and broken pavement on the downhill were a real hazard. Compared with what it was, the surface is now ‘glass smooth.’" Fine. Please look out for any 'broken glass' when approaching Hopewell, OK?

The Brick Market in Hopewell is a congenial place. It offers an amazing variety of delicious food. I enjoyed an amazing bowl of prosciutto soup. Be aware, however, that they have several "Order Here" counters that offer different things. To minimize lost controle time, plan your purchase strategy carefully.

The climb out of Hopewell is relatively narrow and trafficy. I'd recommend putting on reflective gear at Brick Market before tackling the grade out of town. 
Speaking of gear, riders will want to make sure that their winter riding gear is fully sorted before clipping in. Past experience suggests that riders need to be ready for anything. The key word for the day is layers, and lots of them. A water/snow resistant shell should be among them. Riders should also have good solutions for protecting face, hands, and feet.

Chris Nadovich
Brevet Organizer

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Little Britain Ride Report

Preliminary results for the January R12 Little Britain brevet are posted on the website.  Please review the results and let me know if they match your recollection.  The results will become final in a week when they are submitted to RUSA.

Riders at the Start.  Photo by Joe Ray's camera.
Saturday proved once again that the weather prognosticators are just guessing.  Forecasts ranging from a day of steady rain, scattered showers, cold temperatures, moderate temperatures reduced gear selection to a crap shoot for most.  Thankfully, the Little Britain route's mid-point return to the start allowed for adjustments.  Eleven riders started out in foggy conditions with temperatures in the upper 40s.  Ten riders completed the route for a 91% completion rate.  Bill Russel hauled his velomobile down from Massachusetts to have a go at a course record, but had to abandon his attempt about 19 miles in when he broke his steering mechanism.  The failure thankfully occurred as he was slowing for a stop sign and not during his earlier 45mph blast through Middle Creek.  The remaining riders pushed on through foggy conditions that persisted into the early afternoon.  Roads remained damp all day, but the rain held off.  Only the later finishing riders had to deal with a few sprinkles after dark.  With the velomobile out of contention, Chris Maglieri blazed around to lay claim to first finisher honors.  With this completion Greg Keenan notched his 70th consecutive month with a brevet finish, but more significantly completed his first PA R-12.  Congratulations Greg!  All riders enjoyed a bit of food and beverage at the Highland Pizzeria finish to wrap up a good day.

Next up is the Beyond Hope to Hopewell brevet on February 1 starting in Milford, NJ.  Registration details are on the posted.  Registration remains open through January 30.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Thursday, January 2, 2020

2020 PA R-12 Series Kickoff: The Little Britain 200

Pennsylvania Randonneurs kicks off its popular R-12 brevet series on Saturday, January 4 with the Little Britain 200k.  This Figure-8 route starts in Lancaster, travels north into Berks county, returns to the start, and then explores the southern end of Lancaster County before finishing at the start.  The start-finish offers several small restaurants, a Turkey Hill convenience store, and the Highland Pizza Shop which will serve as our finish control. 

A few versions of this route exist.  We will be using the "winter" configuration that was used last February which avoids the sometimes slippery assault on Hill Rd near Wommelsdorf and the no winter maintenance gravel Lakeside Drive near Octoraro Lake.

Event details and registration are available on the PA Randonneurs website.   Please park on the north side of the parking lot next to the Landis Valley Road entrance away from the store fronts so we don't inconvenience the businesses or patrons.

The January R-12 event is free to members of PA Randonneurs as a way to promote club membership.  New in 2020 is a requirement from RUSA that all brevet participants be current RUSA members.  So dig out your winter togs and get your 2020 randonneuring season off to a strong start.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA