Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The October Fall Classic: Chamounix 200K Brevet and 107K Populaire

Recognizing the number of Pennsylvania Randonneurs that hail from Philadelphia, we are returning to Philadelphia for a newly designed Fall Classic event on October 17.  The starting point is Chamounix Mansion, located in Fairmont Park overlooking the Schuylkill River.  We are running both a traditional Fall Classic 200K Brevet, and a 107K Populaire.  Details for both the 200K event and 107K event are on the web, including links for online registration.

A RUSA membership is required to participate in these events.  Membership in Pennsylvania Randonneurs, while encouraged, is not required to participate.  If you already have a RUSA membership for 2020 you're set.  If not, you should wait a bit.  RUSA memberships paid on or after October 1 will be valid through the end of 2021.  If you apply for RUSA membership in now, it will only be valid through the end of 2020.  Yes, this differs from the approach that Pennsylvania Randonneurs is taking, but we don't make the rules for RUSA.  

These events are being run under RUSA "soft start" COVID-19 rules. The route passes convenience stores, including the iconic Sheetz in Morgantown, but all controles are optionally info controles (bring a pencil); riders are not required to enter any businesses.  That said, all riders must bring a pre-completed waiver to the start, and must have masks at the start and finish. Masks are required if you do choose to enter any of the businesses.

The 107K route is substantially identical to the International Women's Day 107 K held this Spring. The main difference is that the start/finish is now Chamounix rather than the Art Museum area. You can read the pre-ride notes and  ride report from the Spring edition of the IWD Populaire to get some sense of what this populaire route is like.

The 200K is a totally new route. A pre-pre ride of the 200K was conducted by organizer Iwan Barankay and the "Rat Pack". Here are the preliminary notes from their first-ever check-out of this new 200K.


200K Pre-pre-ride

Though not a control, there is a WAWA of to the left at mile 26.5 as we cross US 30. Be very careful as you cross this highway.  Fortunately, US 202 and I-75 will both be crossed more safely via bridges.

A non-negotiable feature of a PA brevet that reaches this far West is a Sheetz control. Be very careful as you enter the control as it is on the left side of a busy road. (Pro tip: to refill water bottles press the unlabeled bottom-right button at the self-service fountain bar).

You continue on Hopewell and then the full length of Harmonyville Rd. The road surface on both of these roads switches arbitrarily between brand new and rumbustious with some steep technical descents.

Continuing north it is advisable to refuel at the CVS as you reach West Ridge Pike at mile 74.9 since there won’t be another easy option like this for quite some time.                                                                      
                                 
We cross the Schuylkill River via Linfield Bridge, a rare example of a surviving, 1930s, 3-span Warren-pony-truss bridge with polygonal top chord, which for us translates into a narrow bridge with no hard shoulder or bike path – be alert and make yourself seen when on the bridge.

On the Schuylkill River and Perkiomen trails, be courteous and always announce yourself when passing.  At times your GPS might complain but you always want to stay on the Perk trail.  Be alert in turns as depending on the weather the deep gravel can turn into a non-Newtonian fluid and spare a happy thought for the route planner as you go up a rather unexpected, brief 12% climb at mile 88.1.

There is an expanded 17.8 mile gravel experience (suitable for most tires) on the Perkiomen Trail (PT). You stay on Perkiomen until you reach the Schuylkill River Trail (SRT) at mile 101.2. Don’t miss the turn to go up the bridge as otherwise you end up in Phoenixville which is a different brevet altogether.

Sometimes the SRT is a time-trial fest interspersed with some more inexperienced riders exhibiting artistic sudden turns.  Stay alert and consider refreshments at the Conshohocken Brewery (mile 112.8) or carefully navigate around its patrons. Shortly after the brewery we leave the SRT turning left and go past Riverbend Cycles and then up steep Barren Hill Rd named after what it does to your virility.  As you then scream down the hill towards Manayunk make sure not to miss the left-turn into a small road misnamed “High Street” after the traffic light but before the bridge - listen to the custom cues! – to reach a pleasing former railroad bridge turned now into the Manayunk Bridge Trail to join Cynwyd Trail.

Free Bridge 200K Ride Report

Free at last to ride our bikes again, Pennsylvania Randonneurs began the "after-times" of randonneuring with a challenging 200K, a totally new route that visited many familiar places through unfamiliar routes. Despite the Corona virus pandemic continuing to raise concerns, a brave group of 29 randonneurs clipped in for the first running of Free Bridge 200K brevet. Despite the anxious context and difficult course, maybe (see below) 28 of the 29 starters finished under the time limit for  a 97% completion rate. Congratulations and well done to all, especially our first time riders Ellen Houle and Ello ShertzerWelcome to PA Randonneuring! I can promise you that it will get easier. Also welcome to two-time PBP ancien Rene Mortara from NJ who was riding his first PA brevet.

Riders of the Free Bridge 200K
Brave Randonneurs of the Pandemic

Preliminary results for this first event post-Covid-lockdown, 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. 

With a finish in the Free Bridge 200K event this month, this was the 12th consecutive month that Paul Weaver completed a Pennsylvania Randonneurs event of 200K or more (Covid shutdown months ruled nonexistent).  Consequently, Paul has earned the "covited" Pennsylvania R12 Award, admitting him into the exclusive club of only 16 people in the history of PA Rando to earn this award. Also earning the PA-R12 this year was Greg Keenan. Congratulations Paul and Greg!


It was almost a picture perfect day to ride a bike. It started out moderately cool at dawn, for the socially distanced "Free Start" format. As the day developed, despite the copious sunshine, it stayed in the 70s and never quite became overly warm. There was a steady breeze that provided some challenge at points in the course, but overall the weather was about as good as we could ask for this time of year. 

The start of the course is a relatively easy spin up to Wind Gap on paved rail trail. The relaxing ease of this warm up was marred somewhat by a mishap that befell Robert Dye as he approached the Wind Gap controle. It seems that as Dye was messing with his GPS, a telephone pole tried to cross the road in front of him. Fortunately, he looked up in time to avoid the pole with the bike; unfortunately he bashed the pole with his shoulder, breaking his left collarbone.  After calling in to report the incident and assure the organizer that he was OK-ish, Bob mounted his bike and soldiered back to Easton via the slightly downhill rail trail. Not having any duct tape to fasten the hand of his bad arm to the handlebars, Bob had to ride one handed home. Occasionally he would go no-handed to ring his bell on the opposite bar, warning walkers on the trail of his approach. Tough bike rider!

After following the Southern edge of Mt Minsi for a while, the route turns into a gravel road and then a steep gravel descent. This was the first of several gravel sections in the course. There were a few reports of flat tires, it seemed mostly from the go-fast folks that run the lightweight, narrow rubber. The rest of us that ride wider, heavier tread had an enjoyable time gravelling along. 

The  controle at Point of Gap has a beautiful view of Mt Tammany across the Delaware River. So many times we have zoomed past this spot without looking over our shoulders at the amazing mountain. This time, because it was a turnaround info controle, there was a moment to stop and appreciate the grandeur of the location.

Another amazing sight at that same location was Tom Rosenbauer, RBA emeritus, volunteering to staff the Point of Gap controle. When PBP ancien Tom completed the pre-ride for this event, it was the first brevet he had completed in the last 5 years. Health problems had kept him away from the bike, but now it seems he's climbed back on. Randonesia? Chapeau Tom. Bon courage! 

Many riders commented that the new routing back to Easton that avoids at couple of the "little bastard" climbs on River Road was an appreciated improvement.

After a halfway replenishment stop at Jimmy's and/or their parked cars, riders attacked the signature climb of the route, the one-two punch of Ciphers and Shire Rd. This obscenity of a hill was conquered on foot by about half the field. Quite impressive was the tandem team of Cecilie and Patrick Gaffney, who unhesitatingly pedaled up the near 20% grade with no visible strain.  

Ellen Houle
First timer Ellen Houle conquers Shire with aplomb.

Yet another amazing sight at the Weisel Hostel "Watch for Geezers" controle was none other than the Covid Bearded (and PBP ancien) Ron Anderson volunteering to staff that nostalgic location. Thank you Ron!

Ron posted some photos from the Geezers controle.

The new routing from the hostel to Easton was complimented by many, although the bumpy covered bridge just North of the hostel unsettled a few GPS-only riders who missed the explicit warnings on the cue sheet. Everyone liked going down Stony Garden and the Gallows Hill rollers. 

Joe Ray and Greg Keenan
Watch out for them!

Almost everyone loved the rather lovably downhill Coon Hollow gravel road -- everyone but Scotty Steingart, that is.  Scotty, it seems, lost his brevet card while changing a flat (his third of the day) on that road. At the time of this writing, the RBA and other supreme randonneuring authorities were in conference determining the fate of Scotty's brevet result.

After Coon Hollow (thank George Retseck for suggesting that fun short-cut, BTW), the new climb up Cider Press was universally praised as better than the double hump of Lower Saucon. 

At the finish, riders gathered on the grass and picnic tables in front of Jimmy's, eating hot dogs and slurping ice cream. All riders stayed very socially distant from the "mini Sturgis" motorcycle rider gathering over at the Sand Bar. There was a live band playing "classical music" like Monkeys and the theme song to the Beverly Hillbillies. Ahh, the things you run into as a randonneur. 

Thanks again to Andrew, Tom, Ron, Bill, and others that helped with organizing this successful return to the sport we love.

Iwan Barankay writes...

What a great route and what a wonderful set of people to ride it with!  We are so lucky and privileged to have this sport!

That one hill really gutted me, though! It took me an hour to recover from that one alone and I still am. So sorry for calling [the organizer] names there but it came from a place of sheer desperation!       

Joe Ray writes...

Thanks for putting on a terrific brevet and for arranging such great weather!

Highlights -  Gravel!  My phone fell from my front bag at the top of National Park descent without me noticing for a mile or two; huge thanks (and a six-pack reward) to Greg Keenan for observing it and picking it up. Cypher-whatever did not disappoint; Jimmy's hot dog and milkshake worked as described (promised?) in course notes. Geezers!  It was great to see people I have missed riding with for months.  Including goatee-disguised Tom and beard-disguised RonChris’ covid beard was not fooling anyone.    

Pat and Cece write...

Thanks for a lovely return to randonneuring on Saturday.  The course was great! We particularly like the detour around the River Road bridge construction and the routing from Belvidere to Phillipsburg.  The climb up Shire was a good smack to the face, but it wouldn't be a PA Rando event without a serious climb. With the exception of losing our 14 tooth cog around the 50K mark it was a pretty perfect day.  Thanks again.  Hope to see you in October. 

Vadim
Vadim performing a delicate procedure

 Vadim Gritsus writes...

Despite a long hiatus and COVID anxiety, I was pleased to see that PA Rando came back as good as ever on a newly minted Free Bridge 200K.  The ride was as smooth and challenging as one could expect from a PA brevet. Gravel sections were splendid, like a roller coaster ride in a theme park, scary enough to be entertaining but one never felt in any real danger.  New info control routine was a welcomed addition and made the ride even more smooth. Even mechanical issues happened at  the right time, giving us much needed rest before a what seemed to be 40 percent grade climb!  Another treat was watching Mario Claussnitzer doing the whole ride effortlessly on his newly acquired Specialized Epic mountain rig.  To summarize, if one could compare PA Rando to a master brewer, this ride would be a triple IPA!  

Steve Schoenfelder writes...

Thanks to Chris Nadovich, volunteers, and pre-riders of the Free Bridge 200k! Truly an epic restart to the PA rando season, the route was scenic, included  three covered bridges, rolled over gravel, dirt, and paved roads, and introduced us to a fun new climb up Cyphers Road. 

I felt the ride was particularly well organized and provided safety to the riders with the free start format, and the ability to re-supply at our vehicles near the half-way point.

Just let me know how much it will cost to prevent publication of the “walk of shame” photo you took of me near the Cyphers Road summit.

You can't pay me enough not to post this, Steve
How much ya' got, Steve?

[RBA NoteRule 11 requires that all riders sign and deliver their brevet card to the organizer at the ride finish.  RUSA has relaxed rules somewhat to provide RBAs the flexibility to safely organize brevets in view of pandemic-driven requirements of our regions.  Electronic proof of passage (EPP) is on the table.  

Pennsylvania Randonneurs has a long history of upholding traditions.  Paperwork is important whether it be cue sheets with warnings about rough bridges or brevet cards with a general survey on gas prices or geezer sightings in the area.  Our pandemic plan includes increased use of staffed and info controls to minimize the number of people touching a brevet card.  I decided against the use of EPP as the norm.  It seemed unnecessary and I expect a return to normal rules at some point in the not so distant future.  We will continue to use brevet cards unless and until circumstances dictate otherwise.

As for Scotty, there was never any doubt that he completed the route as required.  He had an impressive ride despite flatting three times.  There is even a picture of Scotty with his card at the penultimate controle.  

Scotty and his brevet card
Scotty with his brevet card at the hostel control

The current rule flexibility allows me to to consider alternative means for proof of passage.  In this case, Scotty's GPS file for the ride provided all that was necessary to save his finish result.  The lessons to take from this are to take care of your brevet card and save your GPS files.  Congratulations Scotty.  Sorry Chris Maglieri.  He nipped you by a minute.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA


 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Free Starts at the Free Bridge

To facilitate social distancing with the large group riding on Saturday, we're going to try Free Starts -- like they had at PBP 2011. 

Here's how it will work (I hope).


1) Park your car. Most people will want to park behind Jimmy's on the NJ side. Let's assume this is what you do.

2) Get ready. Since it might technically still be night when we start, you should have reflective gear on.

3) Sometime between 6 and 7 AM casually walk by yourself across the bridge with your bike and your signed event waiver.  The idea is that people should come over gradually, in onezie-twozies. not in a bunch. I'll be waiting with your brevet card on the PA side by the Columbus statue in a small park off to the right after you cross to PA. 

4) Drop your signed waiver in the bag I'll have next to me on the ground. If you forget your waiver, you'll need to do the walk of shame back over the bridge to fill out a blank one. I'll have some under the windshield wiper of my car.

5) After you drop your waiver, I will give you your brevet card. Hold it up with your name facing me. I'll take a picture of you and record the current time as your official start time on my roster. Some people will also be given satellite trackers. If you get one, put it someplace where it can "see" the sky. It can be in a bag or pocket, just don't pile stuff on top of it.

6) Ride your bike!  And don't go faster than your guardian Angel!


Simple? I think so.  Unless somebody calls the cops, worrying about the weird looking crowd gathering around the Columbus statue. So try not to bunch up, and try to look like happy, friendly bike riders who are thrilled to be riding a real, honest brevet after 6 months of lockdown.

Beyond that, I'm not going to lecture further about how you shouldn't  blow snot rockets,  draft riders closely, or go bare-faced when around groups of people or inside businesses. You're all adults and you know what to do by now after months of this.

Have a great ride!

--

Chris Nadovich, brevet organizer

Monday, August 31, 2020

Return of the R12 Series: September 2020, The Free Bridge 200K


After many frustrating months in lock-down, and after some false starts, finally Pennsylvania Randonneurs is able to offer a real, physical-world brevet -- a bridge to freedom, so to speak: the Free Bridge 200K to be held on September 12.   Register online now.

The route is a completely new (and challenging) 200K that visits many familiar places through unfamiliar routes. Terrain is about as varied as can be, including idyllic creekside glides down picturesque hollows, desperate struggles up 18% grades, and bone-shaking rumbles along gravel roads.  The overall course design is a figure-8, allowing riders to return to their cars at roughly the 100K mark to resupply if they choose to.  The route passes Wawas and Turkey Hills, but all controles are optionally info controles; riders are not required to enter any businesses.  That said, all riders must have masks at the start and finish. Masks are required if you do choose to enter any of the businesses.

Pre Ride Report and Course Notes
A pre ride was conducted on 30 August by a very distinguished bunch:  our former RBA, our current RBA, our wannabe RBA, and our don't-wannabe RBA:  Rosenbauer, Mead, Nadovich, and Olsen.  The weather was about as perfect as anyone could want for a bike ride, with moderate temperatures in the mid 70s, and intermittent sunshine.

The pre-riders found the course to be in good shape with one significant exception. River Rd, south of Portland, is closed. Impassible bridge construction blocks our usual route along the river. This blockage is expected to last up to 18 months.  We found a new way to go. Maybe a better way -- assuming you like gravel roads. Although adding about 200 ft of climbing (including some up gravel) the detour route cuts about a half mile of distance and includes Shady Lane, a wonderful creekside road that rivals Upper Tinicum Church or Dark Hollow for beauty. 

Indeed there's quite a bit of gravel road on this course. Be prepared. Although one of the pre-riders completed all the gravel-grinds with 25mm tires, most riders will be more comfortable with wider tread.  Some of the gravel road is significant downhill with narrow, blind turns (eg National Park Drive).  Be cautious on these gravel descents.

Tom Rosenbauer grinding gravel on 25mm tires.
The epic climb of the route is the one-two punch of Cyphers-Shire. This occurs about 8 miles after the midpoint controle, which seemed to be almost enough digestion time for a Jimmy's Hot Dog. All the pre-riders liberally deployed their 24" gears.

The cue sheet and GPS files have been updated with notes and changes from the pre-ride, including the route change south of Portland. Be sure you have version 12 of the cues, modified 2020-08-31 11:10:56.

See all the details, including special COVID-19 rules, on the event web page.  Let's ride our bikes!



Special Note: By completing this ride, Tom Rosenbauer completed his first 200K ride in five years. And he completed a properly challenging route to underscore the accomplishment, at that. As many of you know, Tom has struggled with some health issues. We are all very happy and proud to see him battle his way back into the tough sport of randonneuring. Bravo Tom!! Chapeau!!

Special Note P.S.
It was truly a great day to ride a route that is likely to become a crowd favorite.  To revisit many of the well-known places of PA Randonneurs with the man who first introduced us to them was special indeed.
I also recommend the Easton Dog at Jimmys (listed on the menu as a hot dog with everything) and a black & white shake.  Just the right amount of intake to tackle Cyphers.
ADM



Saturday, August 15, 2020

RUSA Soft Opening, Take 2

Let's try this again.  Pennsylvania Randonneurs is proud to announce the return to randonnering with the Free Bridge 200k on September 12, 2020.  We’re easing back into things owing to a 5-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.  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 event will use a Figure 8 course 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.

The new restrictions would allow running of the PA 300k, but at this point we are focusing on the remainder of the normal fall brevets, including the October Fall Classic with 200k and 150k options.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

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

SUSPENSION OF BREVETS DUE TO COVID-19


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
Organizer

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