Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blue Mountain 400k

This year's Blue Mountain 400k follows the 2009 edition with the exception of some route tweaks at the start and finish (with revised controles before and after the the start/finish).  Last year, the first controle stop at Ahern's was a bit slow with service, so we'll be stopping at a mini-mart in Bangor instead.  The routing to the finish from the Schyulkill River has always been a difficult choice between a busier, but more direct route or alternatively, a quieter one with more navigation.  This year, the routing is more along the lines of "quieter with more navigation" -- however, you will be following the Endless Mountains 1240k route from Pine Grove (mile ~122) all the way to the outskirts of Quakertown (mile ~236).  The course was marked with an "EM" last September, and many of the markings should still be visable to help with navigation -- but please don't rely upon this, since some of the markings could be faded or paved over by now.

Start/Finish Hostel
-The start/finish hostel is getting pretty full, with many opting for the Friday/Saturday dorm room option.  There are 3 dorm rooms that can hold a total of 18 bunks.  The women will be staying in the "Family" dorm, which has 4 bunks.  Early arrivals will be staying in the "Womens" dorm.  Later arrivals will be placed in the "Mens" dorm (so as not to disturb those already asleep).  If roughing it in a full dorm room is not for you, there are several hotel options in Quakertown.

-You may unload your car near the hostel porch but please park your car in the large parking lot off the driveway, half way between the road and the house.  Be sure to park on the gravel area -- it is easy to get your car stuck if you wander off into the grassy area, especially if it is wet.  The limited parking spots near the house are reserved for the hostel parents, John and JerryAnne, and event personnel.

- If you are staying both Friday and Saturday night, use the same bunk.  When you are ready to leave, please strip the sheets off, place them in the hamper in the hallway, and leave the bunk as you found it.

-Hot oatmeal and other breakfast items will be served 1 hr before the start.

Course Notes:
-There are several RR crossings on route, many, but not all are called out on the cuesheet. There are some in particular that are very hazardous, and the cuesheet warns you to dismount and walk across.  The one at mile 34.8 has a bad angle, and it is early enough in the course where there might be large groups of riders together.  Please take these warnings seriously and use extra caution.

-At mile 52.0, the signage is poor.  Smith Gap Rd also goes right here, but you will go straight as indicated on the cuesheet.

-At mile 101.7, the signage is very poor.  You will be on Second Mountain Rd and will come to a stop sign.  The signage there seems to indicate that Second Mountain Rd continues, bearing to the left.  But you actually have to make a sharp right here, to remain on Second Mountain Rd.  I've added a spotting cue of heading over a metal grate bridge, which is 50 yards away from this confusing intersection.

- At mile 137.6, you will be leaving the Hess mini-mart controle which is at the intersection of Rt 72 and Lickdale Rd.  You ultimately will be headed on Lickdale Rd, but the only exit from the controle is onto Rt 72 where you would need to make 2 left turns across busy traffic.  As alternative, you can walk your bike out across the Lickdale Rd side of the controle, and head away from the traffic light.

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