Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring Forward 200k - Preliminary Results & Ride Report

Preliminary results for the March 6 Spring Forward 200k have been posted at:
... please let me know of any corrections or other issues. Results will be submitted to RUSA shortly, and will then become final, pending ACP validation.

22 riders clipped in at the start with 19 official finishers. First time rider, Lew Hershey could only ride part of the day this time. Ixsa Golibur and William Reagan made their way back to the finish, after putting in a good 100+ miles.

Special thanks to organizer, Andrew Mead, for not only putting together an excellent route, but for ordering up the spring-like weather we had. Temperature was about 29F at the start, and warmed up to the low 50F's by the afternoon, with bright sunny skies all day. And thanks to Bill Fischer and Don Jagel for once again carrying the sign-in sheets. And a big thank you to George Metzler for hosting the Atglen controle, which was well stocked with his favorite energy drinks.

There were certainly a bunch of steep climbs on course. But apparently, the steepest climb must've been George's driveway, where my riding partner Steve Hanes broke his chain as we departed the Atglen controle. Or perhaps it was just the randonneuring gods frowning on us, as we projected finishing *before* sunset. Typically, a broken chain is a relatively quick fix. But this time, it seems that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. After burning through a couple of links, by pushing the pin out too far, we thought we were good to go. But chain break #2 happened right on the driveway again. George then dug out a quick link from his spare parts bin for us. This at least got us out of the driveway and about 4 miles down the road. Then the chain froze up -- upon closer inspection, we see that the chain had not be routed through the pulley cage correctly. That quick link went together quick enough, but despite our best efforts, it was not coming unclipped. So we disassembled the pulley cage to route the chain. And after getting the thing reassembled, we see that it's still not right -- so we take the thing apart and try again. Finally, we think we have a good repair, so back on the road we go. But now, the chain starts skipping. As we get closer to the penultimate controle, the skipping is getting so bad, that Steve decides his ride is over. Steve reasons that it's better to stop near civilization rather than risk getting stranded at night in the middle of nowhere. But with just a little over 20 miles to go, fellow rider Mark Kaufman and I urge him to press on. We find a gear combination that seems to work a bit better, and Steve brings it on home for his first official finish. A happy ending after all, and perhaps some lessions learned on the value of camaraderie and equipment maintenance ...

If you have any comments or stories to add, pass them along to me. And stay tuned for some additional comments and notes from Andrew ...

Next up, is the PA200k out of the Quakertown hostel. This is the one with all the big climbs .... Lower Saucon Valley, Fox Gap, and Lommasson's Glen to name a few, so be sure to bring some low gears. Starting this year, PA Members can register by just sending me an e-mail. You can pay when you sign-in, and you get both the early registration discount and $5 member discount. For those of you who've only done R-12 events, this "regular" SR series event offers a breakfast buffet 1 hour before the start, and a post-ride gathering with food at the hostel. If you're traveling far, you can also stay at the hostel dorm for $25/night. Additional event details are posted here.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Thanks to all who came out to clip in for the second Spring Forward 200k in Lancaster. It seems that my efforts to avoid any and all discussions about weather prior to the event paid off. I was even pleased with road conditions. February’s record-breaking snowfalls and news reports showing several of the roads along the route made impassable with 10-15 feet of drifted snow left me concerned with what we might encounter. My planned pre-ride scouting trip was impacted by the snow as well, so I was pleasantly surprised by generally clear roads. My apologies for the remaining inconsistencies in the cue sheet; honestly some of those missing signs were there in December.

Better up-front preparation allowed me to complete the sign-in process and start with the main group instead of my more typical 5 minutes late. I discovered a frisky pace among the front-runners, but hung on so I could enjoy the Pa Rando camaraderie.The group witnessed Rick "RAAM" Carpenter's new mileage training plan which involved periodic part jettisoning, a much later “oh, I dropped something,” and a turn back to retrieve the item. He used his cue sheet twice (c’mon Rick, you know this route), a rear fender, and a pump. We were at the Bainbridge controle when he realized his pump was missing. I mentioned seeing a pump along the road some 6 miles before the controle and Rick set off retracing his steps. Curtis somewhat jokingly predicted that we’d be passed by him later on. That prediction came true when Rick passed us at the top of the Welsh Mountain, nearly 16 miles from the finish. Unfortunately for Rick, the only identifiable part remaining when he arrived was the pump head which he dutifully brought along and showed off at the finish.

Riding with the group also allowed me to see Guy Harris in action on his fixie. Having ridden one brevet on my fixie, I have a deep respect for Guy’s ability. I can attest that his 24-inch gear was NOT engaged at any point on Frogtown Rd. Very impressive indeed. More impressive was the way he pulled away after scaling the second steep pitch on Frogtown while I was trying to swallow my lungs.

I hope all riders took a few moments to look around from the top of White Oak Road. This particular stretch was added for the 2009 Fall Backward to bypass Quarryville. Unfortunately, December’s weather was not conducive to visual enjoyment of the vista. Saturday’s crystal clear skies made for fantastic views. You can see almost the entire course from there if you know where to look.

Thanks again to George Metzler for providing a well-stocked information controle (energy drinks, yeah that's what they were!). I tested the chairs this time and found them to be extremely comfortable.

And in what seems to be a developing trend in Pa Randonneurs brevets, always keep a close eye on those newcomers. Pa rookie Roger Rabey kept Bill Fischer and Don Jagel company at the front all day and took home first finisher honors. He also set a new course record by trimming 5 minutes from the mark set last year by Juan, Rick, and Curtis.

The true test of the brevet organizer is to finish with the same number of riders that started. Bill and Ixsa had us a bit worried, but they managed to self-navigate back to the start from the southern end of the loop in time for pizza at the finish.

As before, if anyone has corrections, improvements, or whatnot for the cue sheet, please send them. I am still striving for the perfect cue sheet. Current plans are to return to Lancaster County for a Fall Backward event in November. Route TBD.

Until next time. . .

-Andrew Mead


  1. Thanks again to you and Mark for helping me with the repairs and sticking with me in case I did get stranded. That is what group riding is all about.

    Steve Hanes

  2. Andrew, Thanks for a great course. I am beginning to understand why your area of PA produces such strong riders! The climbs are deceptively long and steep, then add a little wind. I can second your comment on the "frisky" pace of the first half of the course making me long for a 42x14 instead of my 42x16. But, just as you promised, the second half needed the 42x16.
    Thanks to George for the treats - I needed the go-juice about then after climbing Brick Mill Road.