Monday, May 3, 2010

Blue Mountain 400k Ride Report

Photo by Shane Beak

Preliminary results for the 2010 edition of the PA400k have been posted at:
... let me know of any corrections or other issues. The results will be submitted to RUSA shortly, and will then become final, pending ACP validation.

34 of the 36 registered riders made it to the start, and 24 riders made it to the finish.  The unusually hot weather certainly had a lot to do with the high DNF rate.  Temperatures started in the high 40F's but quickly jumped into the 80F's by the end of the morning.  The afternoon temperatures topped around 90F, with increasing humidity.  While these conditions are certainly manageable on a typical summer day, getting these conditions in early spring without a chance to aclimate to them was a tough proposition.

With the hot conditions, just finishing was certainly an excellent result.  However, Lane Giardina turned in an amazing result of 17:30, beating the old course record by 5 minutes.  This is Lane's first official Eastern PA event as a rider, and thus follows a tradition of many others coming out for the first time and aceing the course.  Lane has also participated in the Endless Mountains 1240k, and was part of the excellent team of volunteers we had for that event:
... and speaking of volunteers, a volunteer is needed to help staff the overnight controle for the upcoming PA600k on May 22.  Drop me a note if you can step up and help out.

Thanks to Carrie Clamp (Jon Clamp's wife), for helping out at the hostel finish.  And special thanks to Linda McAdams for stopping to help Dan Oldale, who became very ill from the heat.  Linda accompanied Dan to the hospital where he was treated and released.  In speaking with Dan when he got home on Sunday, it appears that he is well on the way to a full recovery.

Shane Beake has posted a number of great photos at:

Len Zawodniak writes: "..I've just about recovered fully at this point. Wow what a ride Saturday!! ... The heat was a game changer and I did resort to the ice sock by late afternoon..."

Doug Haluza, commenting on how his PA400k result compared to a 200 mile ride he recently completed: " took me 22 hrs. That's almost twice as long to go 25% further than the double century! Of course, this one had some serious climbing. Not many big climbs, but endless little ones that wear you down. After a while, you just have to expect to be going up if you're not going down..."

And also as a testament to how hot the sun was, Doug adds: "...At one stop at mile 106, I left my bike in the sun, and the rear tire exploded--it sounded like an M80 going off. The bead came off on the sunny side..."

Jon Clamp writes: "... Once again, thank you for a well organized and prepared event. Mother nature periodically can throw a "googly" (curve ball in baseball terms) and this was no exception. .... I think all the participants would agree that a water truck trailing five yards behind us would have been a God send. I for one could have drowned a hamster by ringing my shirt out on him. ..."

Robin Landis writes: "...The conditions were certainly difficult (I was definitely hurting between New Ringgold and Jonestown), but the ride itself was beautifully designed--great roads, little traffic, great vistas of mountains and farmland, livestock, one-lane bridges, horse-drawn carriages.  As usual, the cue sheets were so thoughtfully drafted even someone as directionally challenged as I am could follow them easily. What particularly stood out for me about this ride was the friendliness and helpfulness of the participants--Linda McAdams being a standout, of course. In my case, Matt Farrell and Bill Fischer graciously led me from Controle 5 to the finish in the dark, and Bill Fischer, even more graciously, loaned me a spare headlight so I could see where I was going! All in all, a challenging but memorable ride..."

Lane Giardina writes: "...Thanks for a terrific event... While we've got some great riding in VA and MD, PA really is becoming my favorite place to pedal.  Having such accommodating, well-planned and -executed events available up there is fantastic ... a luxury for riders thanks to the massive work you take on to make them happen..."

Fixed-gear rider Paul Scearce writes: "...It was definitely challenging terrain, though not as bad as the PA200. ...The heat made it quite tough, especially around the halfway point. I couldn't eat for some time on that leg, and I began to wonder if I was out of my depths. ... the constant rolling made it tough work, especially on a fixed-gear bike. Near the end, I was fighting saddle sores and knee pain. I couldn't really spin or climb. .... It feels pretty good to have made it through the ride. Thank you Tom for the great route, and for hosting the event...."

Jud Hand's write-up is posted here:

If you have any other comments, stories, or pictures to add, drop me a note or post them below.

Next up, is the Hawk's Nest 200k on May 15th ... for those of you planning on the PA600k, this will be a good preview of the first 400k loop on day 1.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA


  1. Doug's comment sums up riding in this area perfectly: "you just have to expect to be going up if you're not going down." CLASSIC!

  2. Thanks Tom for the great ride. Although there may be other brevets that may be as scenic, none manage to pack so much of this beauty into a 400K as you follow out along the Blue Mountains. Last year's course was excellent and the modifications you made to improve the routing along French Creek State Park have transformed this route into a gem.