Monday, December 3, 2018

December PA R-12 Ride Report: Back to Our Routes

Preliminary results for the BTOR 200K have been posted on the website.  Please review the results and inform me of any necessary corrections.  The results will be submitted to RUSA in the coming days and become final pending RUSA certification.  A lucky thirteen riders clipped in for the last PA Randonneurs 200K of 2018, with all 13 finishing for a 100% completion rate. Congratulations to all.

In 2018, PA Randonneurs has organized 18 events, 15 brevets, 2 populaires, and one fleche. Riders completed a total of 77,756 KM.  Of the 322 riders starting an event, 308 finished, for an excellent completion rate in 2018 of 95.7%. Given the tough courses and challenging weather presented by Pennsylvania, it's certainly a brave and hearty bunch that attend our rides. 


Indeed it was a brave and hearty crew that clipped in at the start of the BTOR 200K. Temperatures were around freezing with expected highs to be around 40F. Winds were expected to be light. Not a terrible forecast for a December brevet  except for one thing:  near 100% certainty of rain after 4PM. Every rider that started knew what they were in for -- a wet, raw finish. Even the first finishers didn't escape the rain.


James Haddad writes:

Thanks for another great ride. The route was a nice mix of familiar and new roads for me. This route had some of the highest quality food at controles, and kombucha was even available at the Blairstown controle, a major plus. The climb out of Blairstown was great, just what I needed to warm up. After that, Old Mine Rd. was a piece of cake. A flat in the poconos slowed me down, but, Eric gave me some much needed tips on flat repair. By the time I got to Apple Pie Cafe, any hope of a "fast" time had vanished, the rain was beginning and it was dark. I enjoyed a delicious Rueben sandwich on sourdough and lounged around with Paul and Chris before the three of us set out together into the wet night. All in all, it was a great finish to another great year of riding with PA randonneurs.

Steve Schoenfelder writes:

We shivered in the gloom of daybreak during the safety briefing. “Strongly consider walking your bike down Old Mine Road and beware of the ditch before the bridge,” warned Chis, the ride organizer.

At 7 am, I found myself pedaling down the backside of College Hill, home of Lafayette University in Easton, finger tips a bit numb, but otherwise reasonably comfortable.  I was happy with my choice of winter boots and full-length insulated tights as I sailed through the 28 degree chill. It took some effort to maintain contact with the riders ahead who were moving at a spritely pace, perhaps because of the cold, or maybe the threat of impending rain in the afternoon.  Suffering a bit now might reduce the misery of riding through frigid rain in the dark.

These roads were familiar. The course to Wind Gap followed the Blue Mountain 200K route ridden a few weekends earlier. At least this time we were not met with oppressive head winds and snow squalls.
Crossing the Delaware on the Columbia Pedestrian Bridge
Fourteen miles in, we arrived at controle 2 where we hurried to refuel and get our cards signed. Bill caught up with our small group here. I enjoyed chatting with him as we ground our way over the Wind Gap climb into Pen Argyl. We had a shared strategy of moving efficiently in order to mitigate the impact of the impending bad weather that was forecast to blow in around dusk. As it turned out, Bill was the perfect riding buddy for the remainder of the ride.

We hit the crux of the figure eight at mile 28, just before crossing over the pedestrian bridge into New Jersey.  I made our small group stop for a photo op with the Delaware Water Gap in the background.
Once on the New Jersey side, the fun began as we climbed away from the Delaware River to Blairstown.  Gourmet Galleries was the control in this quaint town. They offered a variety of tempting baked goods.  Rudi recommended the macaroons: “the best I ever tasted”.  Bill was kind enough to have my card signed as I used the facilities, and we headed out soon afterwards, agreeing that today was not the day to relax and sample these gustatory delights.

One climbs at various degrees of difficulty for the next six miles or so until the Appalachian Trail is crossed near the crest of Kittatinny Mountain.  After an exhilarating descent down the other side, we hit the wall of Old Mine Road where my Garmin displayed a grade of 19%, quickly followed by “auto-pause”, even though I was still upright and pedaling.  Thanks to Bill’s ability to pick a good line through the mine field down the other side, we descended at a surprisingly good pace without getting bucked off our steeds.  I saw a water-filled trough of indeterminate depth before the concrete slab of the bridge, and remembering Chris’ warning during the pre-ride discussion, jumped my front wheel across the gap to safety.  The thud of my rear tire in the hole suggested that I made the right move.

The Hainesville General Store was the revelation of the ride.  Here, I indulged in a soul-restoring cup of split-pea and ham soup, a bottle of milk, more than a few of Joe’s proffered fries, and a couple of raspberry-filled cookies.

After passing the troll guarding the Dingman’s Ferry bridge, we jammed pace-line style down the highway to the DWG.  Controlling briefly at the Apple Pie Bakery, we headed out to face our ultimate destiny of riding the last two and a half hours in a 41 degree rain.

And finally, the climb up College Hill, a damp entrance into the glow of the College Hill Tavern, and a celebratory Lager (or two) in hand.
Warming and and replenishing at the College Hill Tavern

Thanks to organizer Chris Nadovich and volunteer pre-rider George Retseck for putting on a ride that will not be soon forgotten.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

December Event: Back to Our Routes 200K

We dug through our old archives of routes and found an interesting 200K brevet to run on the first of December. It's good old RUSA route #680, a figure-eight course along the Delaware River, starting in Easton, crossing itself in Portand, and reaching as far North as Hainesville and Dingman's Ferry. We haven't run this route for a long time. Dating back to the roots of PA Randonneurs,  originally this course started at Tom's front porch. I considered moving the start to my front porch, 300 feet higher up the Paxinosa Ridge, but decided instead to start it lower at the Wawa on Cattell Street in College Hill.

Along with the usual rolling hills along the Delaware, this route has one very significant climb: a Westbound transit of Kittatinny Mountain.  This is a double-hump climb beginning immediately after the controle in Blairstown, the first hump on Millbrook Rd crossing the AT and the second hump comprising a reversal of the usual Old Mine Road climb.

Just one example of graffiti lampooning the state of Old Mine Road
That means this route descends the Old Mine Road hill. To describe what passes for "pavement" down that hill as "rough" is an extreme understatement. I recommend a descending speed roughly equal to your climbing speed, which is to say, just around walking pace. In fact, even if you can pedal up the steep slope from Millbrook Village, unless you have mountain biking skills and suitable tires, this hill merits dismounting and walking down. Even at the very bottom, where the slope flattens and it seems like the pavement has become smooth, there is a bone-jarring gap at the creek bridge that always catches me by surprise.

Immediately before these major climbs and descents, is the controle in Blarstown at the Gourmet Gallery. This tiny little luncheonette has some seriously delicious food. I'd recommend sampling lightly, though, given the work that follows.

Beyond the Kittatinny transit, is the usual beautiful NPS615 route up to Hainesville. Because of the intermittent service at Flats Deli, the Hainesville controle has been moved to the Hainesville General Store, which (IMHO) is a much nicer venue.

The return down the Ho-Chi-Minh (Rt 209) and then River Rd, Hidden Lake, passing Shawnee, leads back to Delaware Water Gap and the Village Farmer and Bakery. Note that the traffic light at the end of River Rd by the I-80 entrance has been replaced by a traffic circle. The circle is passable by bike, but is under construction. Please obey the signage, and yield to traffic as you ride counter clockwise 3/4 lap.

South from the Gap we follow the usual route through the "little bastard" climbs next to Foul Rift. The route stays along the Delaware (not taking the usual left toward Harmony). After one or two final grunts, it rolls on flat roads into Easton.

Parking at the Start

Please park on the Wawa side of Cattell street, but not too near Wawa itself. Go back one block to Porter street or beyond to find a place for your car. Most of the parking spots are legal, although signage is confusing.

Sign on Porter Street indicating a legal (sic) parking spot.
The finish controle, College Hill Tavern, is only a block away from Wawa. After a long, hard, chilly ride, please come in to warm up and share your tales of epic adventure before heading home.

--

Chris Nadovich
Organizer 



Tuesday, November 13, 2018

November PA R-12 Ride Report: Blue Mountain 200K

*** Update 1 (100K)
Five riders started, and finished, the Milford 100K Populaire on 17 November. Results have been posted.

*** Original Post (200K)

Preliminary results for the Blue Mountain 200K have been posted on the website.  Please review the results and inform me of any necessary corrections.  The results will be submitted to RUSA in the coming days and become final pending RUSA certification.  Ten riders clipped in for the 200K, with all 10 finishing for a 100% completion rate. Congratulations to all, especially to Michael Fitzsimmons who completed his first ever brevet. Not an easy ride to cut ones randonneuring teeth on. Chapeau!

At long last, the colors of Autumn have arrived and for much of the day we were treated to glorious Fall scenery. The ride through the Aquashicola and Cherry valleys was splendid -- what with the warm sun, invigorating tailwind, rainbows, unicorns...

Ummm, well... I was really nice once we made it over Blue Mountain, but that was mile 60. There was somewhat of a battle through epic adversity prior to that.

Like the 30-40 mph headwind. Fortunately, much of the first 100K is protected by forest and ravine. Only in a few unfortunate exposed locations did we ride fully out into the open to be buffeted by that gale. One of those locations was the final drop off Blue Mountain, where the stiff crosswind, made hazardously intermittent by passing vehicles, added extra white knuckle interest to an already exciting descent. At the bottom of the mountain we turned to the East, and that was the end of the wind.

Eric K and Chris N struggle against the headwind as snow clouds roll in. (Photo by Steve S)

Also somewhat special (to use Ed Bernasky's word) was the snow squall that accompanied the wind. Not anywhere near as treacherous  as the Hope to Hopewell snowpocalypse, but my jersey was significantly powdered by the big, white flakes.

The blissful Cherry Valley (aka, The Land of Unicorns) led us inevitably to a palace of happy treats at the Village Farmer in Delaware Water Gap. The lavatory facilities there may leave a little to be desired, but I've never had a disappointing meal there.

At DWG we turned South. With a rear quarter tailwind, riding remained easy. Soon we reached of my favorite views along the Delaware: the view from a high point on River Rd down into the gorge at Belvidere. Blocked by thick green foliage Spring and  Summer, this view only appears in Fall and Winter. Being surprised by unexpected views like that are one of the compensating benefits of off-season rides.

After the penultimate controle at Skoogy's, the sun started to fade and the last of the rainbows and unicorns abandoned us to find a warmer, brighter place to frolic.   The climb-before-the-climb in Harmony preceded the Turkey Hill final grind. Together these hills generated the ideal amount of sweat to induce a serious chill in me during the Sweet Hollow descent. Brrrrr...

But then, suddenly, we were done. There was Bill Olsen with rainbow pizza. Steve Schoenfelder treated me to some wonderful orange drink. A quick change into dry clothes and soon my shivvers stopped. Great ride! Let's do it again!

------------

Steve Schoenfelder writes...

Many thanks and kudos to Bill Olsen for administering the Blue Mountain 200k.

It was cold, snowy (for about 10 minutes), windy, and climby, but the camaraderie common to PAR events came  through to make the Blue Mountain 200 a fun ride.  I really enjoyed riding with Eric, Chris, Paul, and Mike (who was riding his first brevet!)  Lunch at the Apple Pie Bakery was a highlight with great homemade chicken soup to warm the innards, and a restorative grilled cheese sandwich.  It was here that Chris demonstrated how you can increase the sodium content of a sugar donut by dunking it in chicken soup, a fad sure to be adopted by serious randonneurs everywhere.

This was my first grind over Turkey Hill Road.  It arrived very late in the route when my thighs were  screaming “enough already”, but at time when temperatures were plunging into the 30’s, and a two mile climb  was precisely the remedy for frostbite prevention.  The real trick was keeping warm on the brief six mile  decent into Milford that followed.

Volunteer and randonneur extraordinaire Bill was patiently waiting for us with pizza at Pipolo’s: a great     place to warm up, fill our bellies, and recount the adventures of the day.

Time after time I found myself saying:  there is no place that I would rather be.

Thanks again to PA Randonneurs for putting on a great event!

Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero
                                                                                                             
------------------

Next weekend Bill will be hosting another brevet out of Milford, NJ, this one a 100K populaire. Then on 1 December PA Randonneurs will return to our roots, with a 200K brevet starting at College Hill WaWa, and finishing in College Hill Tavern in Easton PA.  Hope you'll join us.

--
Chris Nadovich

Friday, November 2, 2018

November Events: The Blue Mountain 200k and the Milford 100k

November brings another two-fer for randonneurs in pursuit of both the R-12 and the P-12 awards.  The Blue Mountain 200k will be held on November 10, starting from the Bridge Street Bagel & Deli in Milford, New Jersey.  Organizer Bill Olsen completed a course checkout ride and reports that the cue sheet is in good order.  Bill notes that the bridge on Grand Central Road approaching the Wind Gap control remains under construction, so we will continue to approach the control along Merwath and Mack Roads instead of better known Pen Argyl Road approach.

The finish will be at Pipolo's Pizza in Milford.  While they do not serve adult beverages, it is a BYOB establishment.  Any riders with special preferences for post-ride carbo replenishment should plan accordingly.

Due to the limited parking spaces at the Bridge Street Bagel & Deli, please do not park your car there. Parking is available in a parking lot off of Church St (across the street from the Milford Market). 

Daylight will be in short supply on this last day of Daylight Savings Time.  Riders should come equipped with lights and reflective gear consisting of a bike-mounted headlight, two bike mounted taillights, reflective vest, and reflective ankle straps.  A back-up headlight is strongly recommended and may be carried in a bag.  See Article 10 of RUSA's Rules for Riders.

The following weekend returns to Milford for the Milford 100k, also organized by Bill Olsen.  Bill's common practice is to scout the 100k route while riders are out on the Blue Mountain 200, so any notes on the cue sheet will be added later, if necessary.

Registration for both events is active on the website. 

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Monday, October 22, 2018

October PA R-12 Ride Report: NeoClassic 154/200k

Preliminary results for the Neo Classic 200K and 154K have been posted on the website.  Please review the results and inform me of any necessary corrections.  The results will be submitted to RUSA in the coming days and become final pending RUSA certification.  Thirty riders clipped in for the 200K, with 28 finishing for a 93% completion rate of a very challenging brevet. All 4 riders who started the 154K finished in good time for a 100% completion of the very challenging populaire.

It was a blustery fall day with northwest winds upwards of 30 mph and temperatures ranging through the fifties. There were slight sprinkles of rain and mist every now and then, but the sun also peaked out from time to time. All in all these were reasonable riding conditions for this time of year.

Sadly, the hoped-for Fall foliage wasn't yet on display. Mid-Atlantic foliage changes have been moderate thus far this year. Other than the bright yellows of ready-to-harvest corn and soybeans, most of the foliage was still green.

Even without the full Fall colors, riders generally reported that the Neo-classic was just as scenic as the original classic. The start on the Two Rivers Trailway received high marks for a pleasant beginning. Scenic, of course, is bike rider code for hilly as a #)*&$#^@!.  Lower Saucon Rd was a decidedly un-pleasant ending, several riders commenting about its difficulty.

Randonesia in the form of food and drink was in ample supply at the finish, with many riders enjoying gourmet snacks provided by the club at the Cask Tavern. After a few bites and a pint, I heard many a tale of bold adventure recounted by rejuvenated riders that seemed ready to hop back on their bikes and ride on.

The sprinkles of rain were directly responsible for a mishap experienced by Jon C. As he descended from the summit of Fox Gap,  the thin layer of oil and water on one of the curves denied his tires traction and he slid off the curve, careening into a barrier. Amazingly, he sustained only minor road-rash and walked the rest of the way into the controle. I guess he didn't outpace his guardian angel. Bike wise, his carbon fiber fork blades snapped clean in half. Other than a new fork he reports the bike will need little more than a wheel truing.

Next up in November is another brevet and populaire, this time on different dates. The routes are somewhat kinder and gentler. We hope the November weather will be kind and gentle to us as well.

--
Chris Nadovich
Organizer


Monday, September 17, 2018

The Fall (Neo) Classics: PA 200K & PA 150K

*** Update 1 ***

A course checkout ride was completed on 6 October by Chris N.  The cue sheets for both the 200K and 154K have been updated to make some important corrections.  Be sure you have the latest version linked on the event pages. The current versions are both marked R.2. As always, the cue sheets define the course and contain important warnings. GPS routes are provided for amusement purposes only. Read the cue sheet.

Pre Ride Notes: 

In past versions of the Fall Classic, pain began early with the big climbs of Lower Saucon Rd. Since this version starts past these climbs,  and all the climbing out of Easton has been eliminated through use of the Two Rivers trailway, you will hit each of your other favorite climbs with less accumulated-fatigue in your legs. This created, for me, a feeling of unexpected power as each climb felt just a little easier than I remembered it.

Pavement is in good condition for almost the entire course. The only significant exception is the Fox Gap climb, where an amazing variety of debris is scattered over the meager shoulder. I saw unused road flares, chip seal, deep piles of soft gravel, kerosene cans, lumpy hardened concrete spill, horizontal fallen trees sawn just above the roadway white line, downed power lines, and a big, buzzy hornets nest.  If you climb Fox Gap at the ultra-low speed I climb Fox Gap, dodging these is not too difficult, but you might want to carry an extra tube, fire extinguisher, and an epi pen.
The Columcille info controle explores the legend of St Oran. "The way you think it is may not be the way it is at all."
The new section of course from Milford to Dublin to the Hostel are classic Bucks county cycling roads. We should venture
through there more often. There are some long flat sections through
farms b/c suburban sprawl. Many pretty ravines with ledgy streams
alongside.Very easy riding.

Till you get near the Hostel, that is. Now the fun begins. All
those climbs that used to be easy -- either because you had just started and felt strong and fresh or because you were almost done and could smell the barn at the Hostel -- no... longer... are....

I hit the Hostel just around sunset, so I had the pleasure of
doing those final climbs in the dark. And did I mention it was foggy
and raining? I wish for better weather on the date of the event.

The trickiest part of the route is at the very end. The last few cues avoid a direct climb up 25th street by means of the public bike trail through the private campus at the Children's Home of Easton. Do not attempt to short-cut the cued route as a nighttime climb up twisty, narrow, shoulder-less, 25th street is highly inadvisable.

The endgame cues begin shortly after the somewhat harrowing left turn to cross two lanes of Berger Rd at the 3-way SS. This puts us onto the large, 4-lane, 25th Street bridge over the Lehigh. Past routes turn left immediately at the end of this bridge. Instead, now we turn right immediately into the Children's Home of Easton. The sign is brightly lit and easy to spot. Easy right turn.

This is private property, but I was assured that the public bike path has a right of way. Please follow the dashed white line marking the trail uphill through the Children's Home campus and do not trespass outside the right-of-way.

After leaving the Children's Home campus at the top of the climb, the route T's left, and then T's right back onto the nastiness of 25th street again. Check for cars and start pedaling up the street. The upcoming left turn onto the Two Rivers trailway is only 600 feet up on the left, and is plainly marked with various signs. It comes quickly. Signal a left turn and move to the left side of the lane when safe. As you near the left onto the trail there's a small painted median within which you can take refuge as you wait for an opportunity to turn. Please don't miss this turn. We are trying to avoid 25th street.

After that exciting TR+QL on 25th street, you return to the safety of the trail only briefly. You'll soon encounter the crossing of busy Freemansburg Rd. I've seen every possible reaction from drivers here. Some will stop and wave you on, others will coal-roll you where you stand. Be careful crossing.

After Freemansburg is the last bit of trail. Take the first left exiting the trail into a development. Now you are on relatively quiet, manageable roads for the rest of the way (about a mile) to the finish.

Enjoy the ride!

Chris Nadovich
Ride Organizer


*** Original Post ***

Since its beginnings in 2006,  Pennsylvania Randonneurs has hosted a fall brevet and populaire.  Those events have been staged every year since 2007 from the Weisel Hostel that served as our rando clubhouse.  There are undoubtedly many fond memories from our time there.

Fear not!  The PA Randonneurs Fall Classics will continue.  Just as in 2006, the routes begin and end in Easton, PA (not in front of Tom's house, though) and the routes reprise most of the familiar favorites.  Our goal was to retain the feel of the old favorites with a revised start-finish location.  Yes 200k riders, you WILL get Fox Gap.  And Lomasson's Glen.  And the beautiful descent along Sweet Hollow Road into Milford.  Both routes will pass the Weisel Hostel so everyone will have a chance to pose for one more photo in front of the house.

We will finish at The Cask Taphouse in Easton where all can gather to replenish expended calories and swap stories about the year's accomplishments.  We will also take time to recognize those riders who have joined (or rejoined) the PA SR club and the PA R-12 club this year.  Plan to spend a little time after finishing to enjoy the camaraderie of randonneuring and getting to know other riders who you typically only pass in controls.  It will also be a good time to corner the RBA and give him your wish list for future PA Randonneurs events.

With less than 11 hours of daylight available, 200k riders will need lights and reflective gear unless you have a history of faster finishes.  All riders are encouraged to get into the winter habit of riding with lights and reflective gear.

Event and registration details for both events are available on the PA Rando website.  Make plans to attend.  It is always a good time.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

September PA R-12 Ride Report: Hawk Mountain 200k

Preliminary results for the Hawk Mountain 200k have been posted on the website.  Please review the results and inform me of any necessary corrections.  The results will be submitted to RUSA in the coming days and become final pending ACP certification.  Thirty-four riders clipped in and all made it around the course, though one rider opted to lighten the load by leaving his brevet card in his vehicle at the start resulting in a DNQ.  Still, a 97% completion rate with no lost riders is a good day.

While a clear, sunny day would have been nice, the clouds brought a dramatic drop in temperatures (some riders reported donning arm warmers) which made for an enjoyable day of cycling and likely contributed to the finish successes.  The group featured  a nice mix of new randonneurs and long-time PA Randonneurs.  The Philadelphia Dynamo Headlight Society was well represented.  Special congratulations go out to newly minted randonneurs (and randonneuses) Chris Bella, Linda Gross, Robert Noll, and Tracy Skorka.  Hawk Mountain is challenging yet these riders came around in fine form. 

We also recognize Mario Claussnitzer for his completion of the prestigious PA-SR.  Mario missed the March 200k and struggled with scheduling of the remaining ACP 200ks all through the summer.  Perseverance paid off as Mario become one of only 6 PA Randonneurs to complete an SR comprising solely PA Rando events this year.  Chappeau!

Ron and Barb Anderson wrote:

Thanks to you, Rich, Steve and all the volunteers for putting on yet another fine PA Rando event.

The classic Hawk Mountain course was wonderful - full of Pennsylvania Dutch charm, the usual PA vertical challenges and the weather even cooperated nicely with enjoyable cooler temperatures and only sparse showers throughout the day. The St. Boniface Brewery provided a cozy, friendly gathering place for the crew post-ride, and the chance for a good craft brew after a long day in the saddle is always welcome by this tandem team.

Like always, it was a fine gathering of riders too, almost like a PA Rando homecoming with some of the veterans (us included) coming out to join the fun. It was also fun to meet and have a chance to talk with some of the newer riders that Barbara and I haven't had the opportunity to meet in person before.

 Barb and I had a pretty good ride on the Bilenky, all things considered. I've got to say though, that the 4am wake up call, and the effort required to get the big bike around a hilly 200k course is really testing the limits of our definition of "fun" these days. We need to pick and choose our rides and we'll never get back to a steady diet of brevets like back in the day... That said, yesterday's Hawk Mountain ride has already begun the transition in the rando brain to good memories of type II fun. Captain-stoker negotiations as to the October classic brevet are expected to commence shortly...

Thanks again for putting on a great ride!

From CJ Arayata:

A ton of fun on Saturday. Somehow that was my first time on the Hawk Mountain course, and it was great! Lots of hard climbing, smooth and clear descents, great views throughout the day (especially on Summer Hill Rd), and great company... everything I want in a brevet. A few flats between our group of Nick, Ryan, George, and Shawn, but we took it easy and enjoyed ourselves. A little cold with the intermittent rain but nothing some armwarmers couldn't fix. It was also really nice to see some of the old guard along with many new faces! Hoping these larger fields keep up for future brevets.

James Haddad had this to say:

Hawk Mtn was one of the first brevets I rode several years ago, I forgot how beautiful the course is, and challenging. The Hawk Mountain climb and descent was the perfect mid-day pick me up and Summer Hill road was beautiful and totally justified the climbing to get there.

Big thanks to Rich and Steve for volunteering. I look forward to clipping in with everyone at the Fall NeoClassic.

Chris Nadovich stumbled into a companion event (unsanctioned by RUSA) while in Pine Grove.

It was a day of moderate temperatures and winds that always seemed to be 
at our back. An occasional sprinkle did not dampen the good times. Even 
the endless rollers on 443 -- one of my least favorite parts of that route -- 
were tolerable. 

Hawk Mountain is tough, but consensus was that the worst hill was that 
short, sharp corkscrew of contour lines at the beginning of Summer Hill, with 
the second worst climb being the "last little grunt" up Leed Hill. 

The adolescent bike culture in Pine Grove was in full display, with 
the informal Turkey Hill Criterium and Cyclocross race circling the 
controle through backyards, broken sidewalks, and alleys. The peloton 
comprised a collection of local ragamuffins on a variety of machines: 
BMX bikes, 10-speeds, and a two-passenger drift car inspired tricycle 
with splayed wheels. 

This event would have been much different without the assistance of Rich Lucchese, Steve Schoenfelder, Mike Lutz, and Steve Kraybill.  The RBA's original plan for availability was impacted by a late addition to the family calendar.  These fellows stepped up and, by all accounts pulled off the event like a well-oiled machine.  Thanks to you all.

Next up is the Fall Classic on October 20.  Sadly, we will not be gathering at our favorite rando clubhouse.  We have come up with the next best thing:  a route reminiscent of the "Fall Classics" (150k and 200k) that visit all the familiar places (including a ride past the Weisel Youth Hostel).  The start finish is in Easton.  Long-time PA Randonneurs may recall a time when the many events started from Burke Street in Easton, so our change represents somewhat of a return to our roots.  Organizer Chris Nadovich has developed modified routes that look to be as memorable as ever with a finish at a small brew pub in Easton where we've arranged for some gathering space.  Check out the website for details.  We hope to see you there.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA