Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another PA Randonneur Earns Their R-12

I wanted to be the first to congratulate Eric Keller on earning his (1st) R-12 award with the completion of the Hawks Nest Permanent on Saturday. Eric rode his first brevet last February and successfully completed the PA SR series in May. Tom may be able to confirm this but I believe Eric is the first PA Randonneur to complete the R-12 in their first twelve months of randonneuring.

... another "success story" to come out of the PA R-12 series and I want to thank Tom for all of his efforts in running the PA R-12 series which allowed many of us to earn our R-12 awards with "local" rides.

I had the pleasure of riding Saturday's Permanent with Eric and he mentioned that along with these milestones, another goal is to ride a randonnee.

Wet Weather Cycling Gloves

Road Bike Rider recently evaluated two winter cycling gloves, Craft's Siberian Winter Gloves and Pearl Izumi's PRO Barrier Winter Gloves. The Pearl's included a "bold claim" of waterproofness. Following the review, RBR reader Christine N. (hmm, could this be someone we know?) commented that the Pearl's were anything but waterproof having made the discovery on a cold, soggy 200k (sound familiar?). Apparently, the weight of the gloves tripled due to moisture collection. This weeks RBR (1/21/2010) highlights this shortcoming and provides some of the dialog between the RBR reader and the PI product manager.

RBR has invited their readers to comment on winter cycling gloves, especially those that perform well in wet conditions. I figure this group has MUCH to say on the subject.

Important to note is a strong endorsement for the Aerostitch Triple Digit Rain Covers for use as a waterproof glove shell. I think a pair of these will soon find their way into my gear bag.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Medals no longer available from your RBA

The Short Story:

Medals are no longer for sale from your RBA -- you must now purchase them from the RUSA on-line store . However, those of you who are planning to complete the entire Super Randonneur series with Eastern PA events, might want to hold-off on ordering medals, since they will be eligible for a handsome plaque that recognizes this notable achievement.

The Long Story:

Fellow RBAs,

Due to a change in sales tax laws, RUSA is discontinuing the option for RBAs to buy brevet medals and populaire pins (or other RUSA Store items) for resale to riders. Riders may continue to order brevet medals directly from the RUSA Online Store.

If you have extra medals or pins that you were planning to sell next year, you may return them to RUSA for a refund.

RBAs may still give away (for free) items that they have purchased out of their general budget. Examples include Populaire pins, safety items, RUSA Volunteer polo shirts, and the like. Also, in the past a few RBAs have awarded some riders free brevet medals in special cases.

This represents little or no change for most of us, but if you have questions, feel free to ask.


-john lee


John Lee,

I understand that RBA's can no longer buy medals from RUSA for resale to participants. But I do give trophies to participants who complete my entire SR series:
... will I still be able to purchase medals from RUSA, for the purpose of making a trophy (which will be given away)? Also, I'd like to include the SR medal which goes in the middle.

I also make similar trophies for the 1000k and 1200k events ... will I still be able to buy the medals myself and then give these away to the finishers?

Thanks in advance, for the clarification.


-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA


Hi Tom,

Yes, it will be perfectly fine for you to continue this nice gesture. (Thanks for the photo - looks very snazzy.)

The SR medal is another matter. RBAs have never been able to order these, so I don't expect that to change. As for the RM medal, since we (1200k organizers) are supposed to provide them to every finisher anyway, it would seem that presenting them in a trophy would be fine, too. And yes, they'll still be orderable.

One thing I didn't mention is that RBAs who give away these medals should record that fact in the results they submit, so that a rider would then not be eligible to buy another one. But that's a small issue, and I haven't researched it.

-john lee

And an even Longer Story from RUSA HQ:


We’ve received a number of private follow up questions from RBAs who want to know more about why RUSA suspended sales of medals/souvenirs to RBAs. With our sincere thanks to James Kuehn and Tim Sullivan for their very helpful research on this issue, I hope that the following explanation will clarify things a bit more.

If you still have items that you wish to return to the store for a full refund, please feel free to do so.

Best wishes for a very successful year of riding in 2010!


Lois Springsteen, President


To ensure that the RUSA online store can operate without the huge burden of collecting state sales taxes, RUSA was advised by legal counsel to stop using RBAs as resellers of RUSA souvenir items. RUSA is a Rhode Island (RI) not-for-profit corporation. Items purchased for RUSA's internal use are tax-exempt.RUSA sells items to the public via its online store, so RI considers RUSA a retailer.

RUSA does not pay state sales or use taxes on items RUSA purchases for resale. When RUSA ships an item to a buyer within the state of RI, it is obliged to collect RI state sales taxes (if the item is defined as taxable there: RI does not tax regular clothing but it does tax "logo items" such as duffel bags and coffee mugs).

When RUSA ships an item to a buyer in some other state -- New York, for example -- RUSA *might* be required to collect New York sales tax on the purchase. The requirement depends on whether RUSA has an 'economic nexus' with New York.

What is an 'economic nexus'? Historically, it has been defined as a physical presence in the state. If Joe purchases something online from WalMart, its online store will collect state sales tax if WalMart has a physical location (store) in Joe's state. If WalMart does not have a physical presence, it is not obliged to collect the tax; however, if it does not (and Joe's state has a sales tax), Joe is responsible for remitting the equivalent amount (a "use tax") to the state. Few buyers do this for internet purchases, much to the annoyance of state governments and "brick-and-mortar" retailers.

Obviously, RUSA does not have a physical presence outside RI. However, RUSA maintains independent contractors (RBAs) in various states. The direct sale of medals by RBAs to members could be a sufficient nexus between RUSA and the RBA's state to require RUSA to collect a sales/use tax through its online store. RUSA wants to avoid creating an 'economic nexus' with any taxing jurisdiction other than RI. Because there are over 8000 different taxing jurisdictions in the USA, each with its own tax rates and exempted items, it would be a huge burden for our store to figure out the taxes due (based on the buyer's location) and to collect and remit them to the states.

Recently, the 'economic nexus' idea has been extended by states passing 'Amazon Tax' laws. A company (e.g., that uses an affiliate in a buyer's state to handle the sale can create an 'economic nexus' with that state. Fortunately, the 'Amazon Tax' laws passed thus far do not apply to RUSA: small retailers are exempt (RUSA is small) and RUSA does not pay its affiliates a commission on sales. Nevertheless, 'Amazon Tax' laws are a potential danger to RUSA as more states pass them and if the requirements for their collection are lowered.

Monday, January 11, 2010

PA Dutch 200k - Time Extension for Extreme Conditions?

At the Subway controle in Columbia, I met up with finishers Andrew Mead and Len Zawodniak. As the controle closing time ticked down to the final minutes with 3 riders still out, we discussed the possibility of a time extension to the controle closing time, due to the extreme weather conditions.

Afterwards, I followed this up with an inquiry to the RBA message board and RUSA HQ. The following are the e-mail exchanges I had.

Here's my initial inquiry that I posted:

Sent: Monday, January 04, 2010

On my recent PA200k, we had 20-30 MPH winds (with gusts over 40 MPH) on the outbound leg to the halfway point. As I passed by several riders that were not able to keep pace to meet the closing time, I knew there would be a good chance that they could probably make up the time on the return leg. I recall that on other events, allowances have been made to allow riders to officially finish, despite missing cut-offs on intermediate controles -- PBP07 and LEL09 come to mind.

As it turns out, the riders who missed the midpoint cutoff, did not finish within the time limit. But if something like this happens again, do RBA's have discretion on the intermediate controle timing?

As I was contemplating this during the ride, I actually was of two minds -- on the one hand, I wanted all the riders to be successful after enduring such harsh conditions. But on the other hand, making allowances to relax the controle timing sort of diminishes the achievement of the riders who were able to make the cut-off despite the conditions.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA


So far, I've gotten some very good feedback from another RBA and RUSA-HQ, and I understand the Rules Committee is having some discussion about this issue.

Have any thoughts to share on this? Feel free to post a comment. And stay tuned, for any updates.


-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Schuykill to Susquehanna (PA Dutch) - Lantern Rouge Record (Updated 1/11/10)

On Friday, January 08, 2010, Bill Fischer barely, but successfully, completed the Schuykill to Susquehanna (aka "PA Dutch") 200km Permanent in a record-shattering 13 hours, 30 minutes, to officially unseat Maile Neel – our previous "Lantern Rouge" record holder at13 hours 12 minutes.

Bill therefore receives the coveted “Hill Slug” moniker, selectively reserved for those that clearly demonstrate a willingness and desire to go “below and behind” all expectations for a 200k brevet.

In Bill's words, "I really didn't think I could break Maile's reign, but fortunately, three flats facilitated my victory"

Upon reciept of the news, Maile, with observable agitated concern, mused under her breath statements such as "personal affront, I tell you" and "For Bill? well, he's a marked man..." IMO, this competetion is far from over; we'll see what the new year holds in-store for these two savage competetors.

Congratulations to Bill, and our heartfelt condolences to Maile for her short-lived reign. For a somewhat complete photo account, check this link:


Update from Bill Fischer (1/11/10)

All - thanks for your words of encouragement, I think your kind thoughts must have propelled me over that last beast called "Hilltop Road". I will, for some time, revel in the achievement of breaking Maile's long standing record. In all fairness (to me), I believe she did the longer version starting and ending at Rick's house (which is, I believe is at the same elevation as Mount Everest). Her actual time starting and finishing at the restaurant was probably more like 12:30 so I've smashed her record by a more impressive 60 minutes - a record that cannot be beaten....

Ride highlights:
- During a climb somewhere before Strasburg, I shifted to my small chain ring and thought I'd dropped my chain. Upon further investigation, I found that the chain was in fact on my small ring but was skating on a layer of ice that had completely encapsulated my small ring and filled the gap between my small and big ring.

- While descending a small hill on Kramer Mill Road, I caught a glimpse of an animal just at the edge of the illumination provided by my excellent B&M Ixon IQ (highly recommended). Assuming it was a dog, I moved toward the center of the road and, instead of barking, a heard a hissing noise from a very beautiful red fox.

Cruel Facts:
- Strong West winds tend to completely dissipate at sundown particularly when I'm riding East
- Dry, clear roads in the dark only occur while climbing and turn to snow/ice covered treachery on any descent

To Tom, Andrew and Len - You guys finished this ride with 40mph winds and finished with the climb up to Ricks house. I had only 15mph winds, 8 fewer miles, no climb at the end and I was reduced to a limp noodle. Chappeau to you 3!!!!

Thanks again to all, keep the rubber side down.

Bill (in full recovery mode on the couch) Fischer

Thursday, January 7, 2010

PA Dutch 200k - Surviving Extreme Conditions

The weather for the Pennsylvania Dutch 200k featured a very strong high pressure system over the Great Lakes and a deep low that came up the east coast. The reinforcing winds around these systems were like those mechanical baseball machines that shoot balls out between two spinning wheels. But instead of 90 MPH baseballs, we got 20-30 MPH Arctic air from Canada blasted at us, with gusts of 40+. Temperatures hovered around 14F at the start. Extreme conditions, to be sure. But 3 riders successfully completed a challenging 200k in 13 hours. And a 4th rider covered the entire distance, enduring those conditions for over 14 1/2 hours. The following are some highlights of how my ride unfolded.

As with many other aspects of randonneuring, the mental challenge is probably one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. On the night before the event, I attended a holiday party. As we arrived that evening, the temperatures were already plummeting and the winds were beginning to whip up. As the topic of conversation shifted to my plans the next day to wake up at 3AM the next morning and ride 128 miles in frigid weather, the question of my sanity was raised. By that time, I already had gotten some sanity checks from some other riders:

One rider wrote: "... I just did a 3-hour ride in temps of 25 dropping to 21, with wind gust to 30 mph. The roads were fine, but my average speed was 12.9 mph. I can't see doing a ride that's 6-7 hours longer in similar conditions. So I won't see you tomorrow for the 200K but maybe conditions will be a bit more reasonable in Feb. Good luck!"

Another wrote: "...As I loaded up my car tonight to get everything ready to leave the house by 4:30AM I about froze myself out there in the 40 mph wind and 12 deg. F cold. I thought about all of the work I have still to get completed before I return to work first thing Monday morning and realized that I really need to get into work tomorrow to catch up and I'd be too distracted to enjoy the Sunday brevet..."

On past events, I've ridden with very cold temperatures at the start. On other events, I've endured adverse winds. But the wicked combination of both these challenges at once was un-ventured territory for me -- in truth, I had some doubts that it would be physically possible to overcome them. It took quite a while for me to wrap my mind around the task ahead and make the mental commitment. For starters, I promised my wife that if nobody else shows up, then I would not ride either. And by showing some weakness of resolve, that opened the door for some negotiations that went something like "... well if only 2 of the 20 riders show up, then what?" And so on. As it turns out, 8 riders showed up with a willingness to clip-in. With that critical mass, and 2 of them newcomers at that, I made the commitment to at least ride to the first controle.

The randonneuring golden rule of not thinking about the entire ride before you is always useful. And with these conditions, the 25-45 mile segments between the controles were manageable goals to focus upon. The first 25-mile segment was generally downwind and was a good way to gently "ease into" the maelstrom whirling around us. However, as the course zig-zagged through the maze of roads in the Lancaster area, we would get a brief taste of what the headwinds would be like as we headed on the next 45-mile segment that was generally into the wind. At one point, I was about a 100 yards behind one rider as he made a turn right into the wind. It was a quite a sight to behold as he struggled to barely move forward against the onslaught of the wind.

Upon reaching the first controle at the 25-mile mark, the first order of business was to head to the hot chocolate machine. Then, it was time to assess how well the clothing was working. Hands and feet are the most vulnerable areas and usually are the biggest problem for many riders. Keeping those extremities warm starts by keeping your core body temperature warm. So far, my choice of a long sleeve wool jersey, followed by synthetic winter jersey with a rain jacket for the outer layer was working out well. Foot protection consisted of wool socks and an oversock, with a foot warmer sandwiched in between, followed by a neoprene booties over my bike shoes. Waterproof winter gloves with hand warmers were working surprisingly well -- I had hoped to buy some mittens but none were available at my local bike shop. I always make sure that there is enough free space so I can periodically move my toes and fingers around to help keep the circulation going.

One area that was not working out was with my pants -- specifically, the delicate area in my crotch was most definitely cold and numb. This was most definitely a major problem to have at this point in the ride, since the real challenge lay ahead in the form of a 45-mile slog against the wind to next controle in Columbia. If I couldn't figure out a way to overcome this problem, then there would be no chance of going on further.

Fortunately, the numbness went away after about 20 minutes of hanging around the warm the store. I then set out to improvise better protection. I started by putting a bunch of paper napkins in between my shorts and tights -- this added a much needed wind barrier. I then fished out a pair of glove liners that I had as spares, and stuffed them in the front of my shorts. The good news was that this did the trick and ended up working wonderfully. The bad news was that all this messing around had left me with only 15 minutes left in the time bank. Those headwinds were going to make it very difficult to keep a 9.5 MPH pace for the 45 miles to the next controle.

There's nothing like the prospect of missing a cut-off time to really sharpen your mind and focus your attention. The continuous mental calculations to check my pacing was a wonderful distraction from the cold and buffeting winds. I set mileage goals for every 15 minutes and slowly but surely, I was able to eek out an extra couple of tenths of miles for every 15-minute goal. This little diversion was a source of joy and optimism that this ride might just be doable, after all. If I could make it to the next controle within the time limit, the rest of the course was generally downwind -- in theory, I could just set the sails and let the wind blow me back home.

After about 25 miles into this leg, I had built up a cushion of about 30 minutes. However, at this point, my water bottle was frozen. I had a camelback that I wore underneath my jacket. But the tube and bite-valve were frozen solid -- even though I blew back the water line after each sip, I was not careful enough about keeping the tube and bite-valve protected in my jacket as well. Another problem was eating food -- it was impossible to eat while riding, since both hands were needed to keep the bike upright. I knew that the last 9 miles to the controle were probably going to be the toughest, and bonking at that point was not going to be a good thing to have happen. So I dipped into my precious bank of time that I worked so hard to build up, and withdrew about 15 minutes at a convenience store to thaw out, rehydrate and eat some food.

That investment of time at the convenience store paid big dividends by the time I got to that 9-mile segment, which started the climb up Turkey Hill. The climb, under normal conditions, is a pretty stiff one. But today, the winds got progressively harder as you got higher into the exposed elevations. Standing was not a very good option -- the increased wind exposure negated any leverage advantage. At that particular moment, I'd have to say that the climb was harder than any other climb I can remember doing in that area. And right after Turkey Hill, there was an exposed 3-mile stretch along the Susquehanna River where the winds were augmented by the funnel effect of the river banks. I'm not sure how I would've made it, if I hadn't made the decision to stop and replenish before this particularly brutal 9-mile stretch.

I reached the Columbia controle with about 20 minutes to spare. It was a major accomplishment -- although just past the halfway point in mileage, it was the furthest point upwind. However, I didn't have that much time to hang around and savor this victory ... the next controle was only 20 miles away. And although it was generally downwind, there were a couple of good climbs ahead with a few zig-zags that would take us into the wind again. I did take the time however, to change into a spare wool jersey that I had carried along -- it certainly doesn't take very long to get hypo-thermic when stopping at a controle, if your body is wet.

Although I left the Columbia controle with a 10-minute deficit towards the next controle, I was able to make this up in the first 10 miles. At one point, the wind was pushing me along at a 25 MPH clip with hardly any effort on my part. With the worries about making cut-off time beginning to ease, I was finally able to savor the beauty of the course in the fading afternoon sun.

The last controle before the finish was at the 90-mile point in Lititz, where I met up with Andrew Mead and Len Zawodniak. We had been overlapping all day at the controles and with dark upon us now, we decided to ride together to the finish. As we headed out for this last 38-mile leg to the finish, my water bottle at this point was an interesting mixture of Perpetum, root beer, and hot chocolate -- all diluted down with hot water at the last controle. Unfortunately, my bottle and camelback froze up again after 20 miles.

I also had trouble getting enough air through my nose (felt like I was breathing through a small straw). So I ended up mostly breathing through my mouth all day. The cold dry air irritated my lungs. This led to coughing problems that got progressively worse throughout the day. I could now appreciate the bandanna that Andrew used over his mouth -- instead of dry cold air, he had warm moist air going into his lungs.

Those little nuisances eventually became a major problem for me. I had trouble breathing and staying hydrated all day and it finally got to me at the very end. I **had** to stop for some fluids and cough drops with just a couple of miles to go.

As I finally limped into the finish, I realized how slim the margin of success was for me. I just barely was able to consume enough fluids and food to make it. A flat tire or other mechanical probably would've pushed me over the time limit. A navigation error would've been very difficult to recover from. When the conditions are extreme, there is very little margin for error, and any small nuisance can easily blossom into a major problem.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

PA Dutch 200k - Pictures & Notes

Photo Links - PA Dutch ACP 200km
Here are links to the photos taken during the pre-rides and actual event


Wednesday Navigational Check Pre-Ride (M Neel / R Carpenter):
Malie's Pics
Rick's Pics

Saturday's Conditions Check Pre-Ride & Sunday's Event Pictures

Update (1/9/10)
The following was posted in the Road Bike Rider 1/7/10 newsletter:

The First Br-r-r-r-r-r-evet
As this is written, the central and eastern U.S. have been shivering in record cold temperatures for a week. But despite frigid conditions, the Pennsylvania Dutch 200K brevet (124 miles) opened the local randonneuring season last Sunday just a short distance from RBR headquarters.

How cold was it? The temperature at the dawn start was 14 degrees (-10C). It didn't get close to the unfreezing mark all day.

How windy was it? The northwest gale routinely clocked 20-30 mph (32-48 kph), with gusts approaching 50 mph (80 kph).

How crazy are randonneurs? Eight brave roadies showed up. RBR's Ed Pavelka was one of a dozen others who intended to, but he came up with an iron-clad excuse: too chicken.

The arctic conditions forced 4 riders to abandon at various points. Three others finished the distance in 13 hours, just inside the time limit. Ninety minutes later (5 hours after sunset), a final stalwart rolled in. Andrew Mead, Leonard Zawodniak and Tom Rosenbauer deserve a little ink for their incredible perseverance. And so does Glenn Ammons, the guy who did not give up despite knowing he'd be disqualified on time.

PA Dutch 200k - One Rider's Perspective

We met at Rick’s house on Sunday morning after a postponement from Saturday. It was a very chilly 15F with strong winds from the west. After the usual pre-brevet talk and warning of one icy spot, eight of us took off. I held back briefly to allow a very cold GPS to fire up and load the route and then descended with Len Zawodniak and Mark Kaufman. Mark dropped back after a couple miles to adjust clothing leaving Len and me to continue. As we climbed the ridge from Berks into Chester County, we got our first taste of the wind. It was strong and cold. Suddenly 10mph became good progress. I saw 6mph far too much for my liking.

Somewhere along the way, my GPS decided it was too cold to fully function. The memory card containing the maps lost contact, leaving me with a highlighted track of the course and a pointer for my current position. No roads, no road names. I've ridden variations of this route before and knew where I was headed, so this wasn't a big concern. I simply followed the highlighted path and turned where the track turned. But it highlighted the need for contingencies.

Len and I were first to arrive at the second controle in Honey Brook at 25 miles. We checked in and had hot chocolate. I filled my Polar bottle with hot water from the coffee dispenser. When we first turned into the wind I had explained to Len that the course would take us into the wind for about the next 50 miles. With that in mind, Len and I set out as others were arriving in hopes of making the next controle in Columbia in time. We had 5 hours to cover 44 miles; I figured we would need most of that.

Under normal circumstances, the first 20 miles from the Honey Brook controle are very enjoyable rolling farmland. After that, the route approaches the river hills along the Susquehanna River and becomes more vertically challenging. Today was not normal. There were some stretches on level road when I felt good to be making 8 mph. We kept our heads down and pedaled. The miles slowly ticked by. The phrase of the day became “that hill didn’t look that steep” as we scale a small roller with huge wind in our small gears . We encountered our first ice flow approaching Strasburg, about 47 miles along. Len let momentum carry him safely across. I approached and decided to walk. As I did, a gust of wind caught my bike and slid the back tire around behind me. Thankfully I stayed upright and made it across, but it was a testament to the strength of the wind. I remounted and pedaled on into town. While in the shelter of town I added another layer to my gloves to keep my fingers warm. Onward into the wind. Another 10 miles brought us to the hills and much needed little respite (relatively speaking) from the wind, but I really needed something to eat. My pre-ride breakfast and Spiz was long gone. We stopped for another hot chocolate and a snack at the store in Conestoga. The Columbia controle was another 12 miles with 2 hours until the controle closing time. This was too close for my comfort.

The route leaving Conestoga drops down to the Susquehanna River at Safe Harbor and then climbs River Rd toward Highville. It’s a 2 mile climb with the steepest portion at the bottom. As I crested the steep section I realized just how difficult this would be. I was climbing the easier portion of the grade but now had a 30mph wind in my face and another mile to go. The wind was even worse as I neared the top. Several times I thought I’d be blown off my bike. I could see Len ahead leaning far sideways into the wind. It looked unnatural. The gusty winds continued for a few miles while we rode atop the ridge to the top of Turkey Hill. Normally this would be a 40-50mph descent. Terminal velocity today: 22mph. But the good news was that we were now within 5 miles of the controle and still had an hour. We arrived with just over a half hour to spare and treated ourselves to a Subway lunch. Tom Rosenbauer arrived alone as we ate.

I was eager to press on as the controle closing time was upon us and I knew the next leg contained several more miles of headwind. Len and I left at the official controle closing time. Tom wanted to stay a bit longer to see if any other riders were close.

The leg between Columbia and Lititz includes several zig-zags that provided momentary stretches of tailwind. Of course, there were also stretches of headwind. I kept turning the pedals knowing that once we reached Manheim there would be a nice downwind run into Lititz. The wind did not disappoint and we finally achieved our fastest speed of the day coming down Temperance Hill. Within minutes we reached the Café Chocolate & Bistro, known today as Controle 4. We had 35 minutes in the bank. Curtis Palmer was there to greet weary riders and handle our cards. The Café provided an excellent chocolate/espresso combination known as the “Turbo” and we feasted on spiced muffins covered in chocolate sauce. What decadence! Tom pulled in about 10 minutes later and joined in our treat. He reported that the three of us were all that remained within the time limit. SPECIAL NOTE: The Café Chocolate & Bistro has joined a small list of the greatest controles I’ve ever encountered.

Our trio set out on the final leg at 5pm. I was familiar with the first few miles of the leg and we settled into a cooperative arrangement: Tom called out the cues while Len and I scouted the roadways. I still had the highlighted track on my GPS so it served as confirmation that we were on course. We made good time with more favorable winds and enjoyed the roads less travelled that Rick had chosen. Even the climb up past Maple Grove didn’t feel nearly as bad as Pennypacker had felt last year. Soon enough we were on the final approach to Rick’s house which afforded a great view of the Reading Pagoda all lit up in the night sky. Tom felt a sudden need for fluids (he'd fought frozen bottles all day) and stopped about a mile from the end for a snack. Len and I continued and began the final climb to Rick’s and reached the summit around 8:20. We took time to load our bikes and put on some dry clothes hoping that Tom would arrive so we could check in together. Rick came out to investigate and that was our finish. Thirteen hours even. Tom rolled in a few minutes later.

Rick and Lora Beth had plenty of food and hot soup waiting for us. What a great end to a long, hard day. THANKS!

In spite of the cold temperatures, my clothing selection for the day performed very well. I used a single pair of heavy wool socks with neoprene shoe covers for my feet and a pair of fingered ski gloves on my hands. For pants I wore my heavy wool tights with windblock panels which are known for being too hot in temps above 30. On top I used a heavy wool turtleneck, a lighter wool jersey, and a windblock jacket. I added polypro glove liners in Strasburg. My wife got me a Camelbak for Chirstmas which I wore under my outer jacket and enjoyed warm water all day. This one ride convinced me of the benefit of the Camelbak system, at least in cold weather.

I'm often asked why we do this. For me, the pain fades quickly at the end leaving me with a tremendous feeling of accomplishment.

Until next time . . .


Monday, January 4, 2010

PA Dutch 200k - Ride Report & Results

Preliminary Results for the PA Dutch 200k have been posted at:
... let me know of any corrections or other issues. Results will be submitted to RUSA shortly and then become final, pending RUSA/ACP certification.

Thanks to volunteer Maile Neel, for joining Rick on the preride checkout. And thanks also to volunteer Curtis Palmer, for manning the Cafe Chocolate controle. And special thanks to organizer Rick Carpenter, for an outstanding job with this event. He prerode the course twice within one week: once on Wednesday, to verify the cuesheet. And once again with a 3AM Saturday start, to make sure the road conditions were safe for the rest of us on Sunday. In addition he took what was a very good course, and transformed it into a truly spectacular one that really shows off the best that the region offers -- it truly now is one of the gems of the Eastern PA region and I hope to run it again, soon. But next time, I hope we don't have the extreme weather conditions.

Over the years, we've had "epic" events that had low temperatures when we clipped in. We've also had other epic events with very high winds. For this event, we had BOTH ... temperatures were around 14F at the start, with 20-30 MPH winds that gusted 40-50MPH. The wind chills were around -15F, according to NOAA weather.

22 people had indicated that they were planning to clip-in for this event. A couple of riders could not make it to the new date and a couple of others were recovering from illnesses. Surprisingly, 8 riders had the audacity to face some of the toughest winter conditions imaginable. And 2 of those riders were first time riders: Ixsa Gollihur and Bill Reagan. It truly is amazing that so many riders would venture into such tough conditions. When we clipped in, I wondered if anyone would be able to endure the unprecedented conditions through out the day and into the night, let alone finish within the time limit.

Ultimately, 2 riders returned back to the start, after the first controle - logging nearly 50 miles in doing so. That alone, is quite remarkable. 3 other riders were not able to make the time limit at the Columbia 70 mile mark. That controle was very tough to make, given that it was a 45 mile slog into the winds that were gusting over 40 MPH. When those gusts hit, it took all your effort to keep the bike barely moving forward at 2 MPH. In the exposed stretches of road, 6 MPH was a pretty good pace to keep. The only hope of maintaining the 9.5 MPH average speed needed to make the time limit, was to make up the difference on the few sheltered stretches.

Glen Ammons was one of the riders who missed the time limit at Columbia. But to his credit, he declined an offer of a lift back to the start/finish. Instead, he completed the ride under his own power. In doing so, he endured the wind and cold longer than any us for over 14 1/2 hours -- respect and admiration for finishing the ride!

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Friday, January 1, 2010

PA Dutch 200k - Jan 2 R-12 Postponed (update #2)

Update #2 (1/1/10)
The event is postponed until Sunday, January 3.

Rick scouted parts of the course on Friday morning to check out the current road conditions. While the conditions are improving with the sun and above freezing temperatures, we decided that another day is needed for the roads to dry out.

Please note that there is a chance of snow showers on Saturday with the possibility of accumulation ... so be sure to check back for any status updates.

If you are unable to make it to the new January 3 date, the course is also available as a permanent. You can contact permanent owner Rick Carpenter for additional information.

Update #1 (12/31/09)
Draft 6 of the cuesheet has been posted with updates from Rick and Maile Neel's preride checkout they did on Wednesday. Maile has taken many pictures which she'll be posting on her flickr website:

We're keeping a close eye on the weather and road conditions ... be sure to check the website and message board on Friday PM, in case we need to reschedule.

The current list of riders planning to clip-in (weather permitting) is:

Anderson Barb tenative
Anderson Ron tenative
Beake Shane yes
Crawley Mary yes
Farrell Matt yes
Fischer Bill yes
Gollihur Ixsa yes
Harris Guy yes
Jagel Don yes
Kaufman Mark yes
Keller Eric yes
Mead Andrew yes
Olsen Bill yes
Palmer Curtis tenative
Pavelka Ed yes
Reagan Bill yes
Rosenbauer Tom
Salazar Juan yes
Smith Kelly yes
Spangler Keith yes
Zawodniak Len yes
Zion Dave yes