Wednesday, September 22, 2021

October Fall Classic: Return of the Neo-Classics

The former Weisel Hostel aka PA Rando Clubhouse

The 16th installment of the Pennsylvania Randonneurs Fall Classic brevet & populaire returns to Easton and a reprisal of the Neo-Classic routes first used in 2018.  These routes pay homage to many stretches of road that have delighted (?) PA Randos for years.  Yes, you will get the Fox Gap (200k only).  And Lomasons Glen.  And Mountain View.  But you can also get the glorious descent on Sweet Hollow Road into Milford and many other extended downhills that lie just over the crest of those climbs.

With the demise of the short-lived Cask Taphouse, the start finish location has been moved to Hugh Moore Park along the Lehigh River.  This location worked well for the Pagoda 200 earlier this year.  Post-ride food and beverage is planned.  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 or discuss volunteer opportunities in 2022. 

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 details and registration for both events is available on the website.  Registration is open until midnight on Wednesday, October 13.  Make plans to attend.  The Fall Classic is always a good time.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Ride Report: Rusty Rail 204

September 11th, 2021 is the 100th anniversary of the first Audax Club Parisien allure libre 200km brevet in 1921.  Twenty six riders earned a brevet on September 11, 1921 on a 200k loop that traversed Paris-Dreux-Chartres-Paris.  One hundred years later, fourteen riders who accepted the challenge of the Rusty Rail successfully completed the 2021 edition of The Rusty Rail 204 and earned 100th anniversary medals (pictured below).

Commemorative medal for the 100th anniversary of the first Audax Club Parisien allure libre 200km brevet in 1921! 

Weather conditions were perfect for this challenging ride that included over 9,000 feet of ascent, with cool morning temperatures to help prevent overheating on the arduous climbs over Jacks Mountain and Ulsh Gap, and welcome tailwinds out of the west assisting the riders to the finish after they turned the corner at Pine Grove Mills.

Seth powers over Ulsh Gap on his way to setting an amazing course record of 7:14

Angie rolls over Ulsh Gap with a smile

The Amazing Sneaker Squad

Ello cresting Ulsh Gap

The Georges conquer The Gap

Chris is not intimidated by 15% grades

Victorious at the finish!

And...after a great day of spinning the cranks, the Rusty Rail Brewery did not disappoint, serving up delicious food and finely crafted beverages.

Chris Nadovich writes:

What a beautiful, beautiful ride! Yeah, I know, The Climbs. But I don't think the big climbs define the ride -- they are the price of entry. What defines the ride are the many enjoyable miles of mild, river valley riding. And if occasionally we needed to do a 1000 ft climb to get to another valley, so be it. The scenery was amazing. It was big and small: from mountain vistas, to charming little streamside farms.  Much of this was missing last time when I rode the end in the dark. From the summit at Jo Hays Vista to the end, that ALL needs to be in daylight to be enjoyed. Thanks for a great course -- a masterpiece -- and thanks to Eric for the water and chat at Jo Hays.

Thanks to organizer Steve Schoenfelder for pushing the RBA for an earlier-in-the-season event date  which allowed daylight finishes, and then making it happen (including perfect weather).  Thanks also Eric Keller for his on-the-road moral support.  There is nothing better than seeing a friendly face offering a cold drink at the summit of a tough climb.  

Results have been submitted to RUSA and will become final pending ACP certification of the event.  If the posted results do not align with your recollections, contact the RBA--soon.

Next up is the Fall Classic on October 16th featuring routes of 200k and 150k starting and finishing at the Hugh Moore Park along the scenic Lehigh River in Easton PA. A cookout in the park will follow the event so plan to hang around and socialize with your fellow randonneurs/randoneuses after you finish riding.  Event details are on the website.  Registration is open and will close on Wednesday, October 13.  Hope to see you there!

Andrew Mead

Eastern PA RBA

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Pub Update

Rusty Rail riders will congregate upstairs (no need to check in at desk) after the ride.  Unfortunately the pub is closing at 8 pm as a consequence of the current pandemic.

Below is a message from Rich Shrader regarding how to order and pay for food and drink at the Rusty Rail:

Hi Steve, the GameRoom will open at 11am on Saturday and will be open until 8pm. you are more than welcome to park in the overflow lot. Best of luck on your ride and we will see you afterwards. Just a few notes on the GameRoom service. I am not sure when you or your other group members were here last. If it was 2019 you will see a different ordering and service method in the GameRoom. It is a QR Code based system that allows you to order from  your phone and pay as you go. The food is then delivered to your location. The same would go for the beer. The menu is similar in size but also has different items on it. If you have any other questions please let us know.


Thank you!


Rich Schrader


Rusty Rail Brewing Co, LLC



Sunday, September 5, 2021

Rusty Rail 204 -- Course Notes


Two riders pre-rode "The Rail" on Saturday under ideal weather conditions.  The course was in great shape in spite of hurricane Ida.  The route is entirely paved, but beware of gravel washes on the road from recent rainfall and flooding.

All intermediate controles are information controles (no receipt or initials required, just answer the question) and do not require entry into buildings.  The only timed controles are the start and the finish.  

The Milroy controle at mile 41 (pictured above) features a Rutters/Arbys.  It has good bathrooms, gallon jugs of water, and the usual rando fare.  There is also a Subway located across the street for those who prefer to eat fresh.

Doan's Bones BBQ can be busy when you arrive, so if you have enough gas in the tank to summit Tussy Mountain, you can resupply at a convenience store in Pine Grove Mills (mile 72), located at the bottom of the screaming descent.

Due to the pandemic, the Rusty Rail is only open from 11 am to 8 pm.  So...if you want to kick back and enjoy some local brew after your ride try to finish within a twelve hour timeframe if at all possible.

The Rusty Rail 204 is one of the most beautiful courses you will ever ride and, as an added bonus, features a front yard soda machine (75 cents) at mile 105.

Be sure to use version 5 of the Cue Sheet and use the most up-to-date RWGPS course updated on 9/5/2021.

-Steve Schoenfelder

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

September R12 Brevet: The Rusty Rail 200

The September R-12 brevet heads west (waayyy west) into central Pennsylvania.  Organizer Steve Schoenfelder serves up the second running of The Rusty Rail 204 starting and finishing in Mifflinburg, PA on September 11.  

The route features four epic climbs separated by plenty of rolling farmland and little else.  The finish at the Rusty Rail Brewery* provides an excellent opportunity for carbohydrate replenishment and a time to tell tall tales (some of which might be true).  You can get a sense for what awaits you by reading the ride report from the inaugural event.   Additional details and the registration links are available on the PA Randonneurs website.  Registration is open through Wednesday, September 8.  Don't delay; the registration deadline will be here before you know it.

September also marks the 100th birthday of the Audax Club Parisien (ACP).  Perhaps you read about this event this past winter in American Randonneur (see article on p. 10).  In honor of the occasion, finishers of the Rusty Rail brevet will receive a special medal.

*While we had high hopes of a return to normalcy, it appears that we are not out of the pandemic woods just yet.  For now the planned finish is at the Rusty Rail, but that may be impacted should the brewery shut down or be forced to dramatically curtail indoor patrons.  Be prepared for changes and hope for none.  I will provide any updates here on and the website as they occur.  Don't throw away your cache of masks and hand sanitizer just yet. You might just need them in September.  

Andrew Mead
- Eastern PA RBA

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Ride Report: Hawk's Nest Classic

Results for the August Hawk's Nest Classic R-12 brevet have been posted on the website.  Please review the results to make sure they align with your recollection.  Results will be submitted later in the week and will become official once certified by the ACP.

It is hard to imagine weather conditions more favorable for an August brevet.  Although temperatures were in the 80’s and humidity was high, a slight overcast kept the sun at bay and a light headwind in the afternoon kept cyclists from riding in “stale air”. 

First finisher Scotty Steingart was well on his way to shattering his already impressive course record when he was bitten by the flat bug.  Scotty had a small sidewall tear that was nearly invisible and caused him to exhaust his supply of spare tubes.   Before his flats, the organizers were tracking his progress on his Wahoo locator and were amazed that he had averaged 19.8 mph through the first 110 miles of the course  – truly unbelievable.  Unfortunately, Scotty had to walk the last 5 miles, but he still managed to finish in just over 8 hours.  Chapeau Scotty!

Scotty brings it home.

Oliver Zong gets the teammate of the day award as he stayed with a struggling Paul Weaver.   Paul had to be adieu to Oliver after his legs locked up with cramps at the base of the Old Mine climb.  Oliver soldiered on to the finish but Paul had to terminate his ride.

Greg Keenan managed to finish yet another challenging PA Rando event on a fixed gear bike.  As Henri Desgrange so famously said: "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailleur?"

All other starters successfully finished and celebrated their accomplishments with good cheer and burgers, ice cream and pretty much everything else the good folks at the Village Farmer cooked for us.

We’ll see y’all in September for the beautiful and challenging Rusty Rail.  Registration is open  on the website.  The September brevet also coincides with the 100th anniversary of the first ACP brevet.  A special award medal has been commissioned for finishers of brevets on September 11.  More details will follow, but make a note of the significance of the September event for now.

Bill Fischer
- organizer

Andrew Mead
- Eastern PA RBA

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

August R12: Classic Hawk's Nest

photo by G. Keenan

Now that summer's heat has arrived Pocono venues continue to offer the best reprieve.  On August 7 we return to Hawk's Nest for our August R-12 brevet with the Classic Hawk's Nest.  This is the original route that follows the Broadhead Creek up onto the Allegheny Front through Canadensis and Promised Land State Park on its way to the headwaters of the Lackawaxen River.  The starting and finishing locations remain the same as in July.  

On July 25, organizer Bill Fischer and Gavin Biebuyck completed a pre-ride of the Hawks Nest Classic Route.  They found all roads in serviceable condition and all control locations open (a welcome relief given the hit-or-miss performance of the Promised Land Exxon over the past three months).

A few course notes:

1.       One lane of Creek Rd/SR 447 is closed in Canadensis.  Please obey the temporary traffic light, the road is too narrow for a cyclist and oncoming car to safely inhabit the lane.

2.       If you didn’t have enough breakfast, at mile 19.2 (shortly after turning onto SR390 on L) First Place CafĂ© and Catering has excellent breakfast fare and convenience store items.

3.       At Eldred, the typical control location is not being used and instead there is an info control at the Hero’s Park in front of the Town Hall.  Pay careful attention to the question and ensure you select an answer based on the correct war.  Peck’s Market is open in Eldred, but if you’d like to stop earlier, the Barryville Market at Mile 61.3 (on R) has excellent baked goods and will (fairly rapidly) make you a hot breakfast sandwich.

4.       Speedier riders may arrive at the Riverside Creamery in Port Jervis before their 12:00 opening time.  Woogie’s Deli is 1 block off route at the corner of King St. & US 209/6 – they will gladly initial your card.

5.        Please note that the ride finishes at the Village Farmer and not at the Park-n-ride.

Event registration is open on the website through Wednesday, August 4 so don't delay.  

Andrew Mead
-Eastern PA RBA