Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spring Forward 200k - March 5, 2011

Preliminary results for the Mar 5 "Spring Forward" 200k have been posted at:
... please let me know of any corrections or other issues. Results will be sent to RUSA later this week, and then become final, pending ACP approval.

Twenty-eight riders showed up on a damp morning to ready to ride. While the weather radar showed no rain and the forecast included no chance during the day, it was hard to believe as the riders rolled out of Ephrata at 7am in a misty, drizzly fog. Damp conditions prevailed until mid-morning when the sun finally broke through the cloud cover. Then the winds picked up and challenged the riders as they made their way to and along the river.

Reports from volunteer Keith Spangler at the Bainbridge controle indicated that a large group was leading the way at near-record pace and had already outpaced much of the pack by as much as an hour in 48 miles. Apparently a few flats also help to spread out the riders. Drizzly conditions and wind was reported as the lead group passed through.

The Controle 5 Grill opened for business around 1 and the first riders arrived around 1:30. This was a hopping place for the next 2-1/2 hours as host George Metzler worked the grill on overtime to feed the hungry riders. All who arrived looked tired, ate heartily, and seemed truly relieved to learn that the final 30 miles to Ephrata would keep the wind predominately at their backs.

Tim Conway & Jon Clamp taking a well-deserved break at the Controle 5 Grill

Volunteer Rick Carpenter accompanied the lead group from Controle 5 back to the finish in order to staff the finish controle. I understand there might have been a few bonus miles logged along the way, but it wasn't enough to change the result. All six of the lead-group riders handily bested the existing course record. This includes yet another "rookie" randonneur Gavin Biebuyck who showed up and aced the course. Kudos to Len Zawodniak who finished in 8:45 to set the new brevet course record. Apparently Len has recovered from last season's cracked ribs. The rest of the field arrived in due time all logging very respectable times on the route.

I want to express my appreciation to Keith and Rick for their efforts to improve the caliber of the PA R12 series by staffing controles. It's a small gesture that means a lot to the riders and even more to an organizer. Special thanks also to George Metzler and his very tolerant family for hosting us in fine style again. (Cafe Metzler: Cheerfully increasing brevet times since 2009.) George & I are already looking ahead to 2012. These guys made my job much easier and treated me to a very memorable pre-ride that was some of the most fun I've ever had riding a bike.

I have loaded the pictures from the brevet into my photo set. Rick Carpenter also updated his PAR March Brevet photo set. Be sure to check out the photo collections linked in the rider comments. Loads of great pictures.

From Shane Beake:
Hey Andrew,
Great ride today. This course always surprises me there aren't any super climbs but there's alot of sawtooth stuff to make you legs ache, the wind didn't help. Ended up being a great day, weather was nice.

Thanks to all the volunteers, especially George Metzler for opening up his home and cooking for us, the bacon cheeseburger hit the spot.


Shane's as-always extensive collection of photos can be found at:

Len Zawodniak writes:
Thanks for a terrific day- the course was really wonderful,with the misty start, great terrain and a bit of wind to keep it interesting. Send my thanks to George for his hospitality. That was just what I needed to get me into the finish.

From Craig Martek:
. . . It was an awesome ride - very scenic, with just enough challenging climbs to make it a challenge. I need to learn how to ramp up into these longer rides though - yesterday was my 2nd time riding - the 1st time was 35 miles.

Don Jagel added:
Thanks to you and all of the volunteers for putting together a great March ride. It was good to see Keith at the Annville control. The spread that George put together was tasty and timely, allow us to relax and fuel up for the final jaunt back to Ephrata. Rick Carpenter met us at George's house and paced us back to the final control on his beloved fixie.

The weather was stereotypical March; starting with fog/mist becoming mist/fog, then a few raindrops ending with a stiff March breeze. Several of us got in a couple of bonus miles near the end by not paying attention to our cue sheets and getting suckered into bearing right with a strong and pleasurable tail wind, only to find out that we should have really turned left. That meant slowly retracing our way into the not-so-pleasurable head wind to get back on course. Oh - the lessons we learn over and over.

I really had a wonderful time. This is a very good early season ride.
Thanks to you and everyone else who helped put the ride together.
See you next month,

Don Jagel

Joe Fillip completed his R12 with yesterday's ride an says:
Andrew: Thanks to you and to all of the volunteers for a wonderful event yesterday. Special thanks to George for hosting the great barbecue at his home -- I really needed the rest and refuel at that point (as well as the course turn to the northwest that resulted in tailwinds blowing me home from that point to the finish!).

It's a challenging and scenic course, and the strong winds gusting from the southeast made the 70 miles from Annville to George's house made for a particularly vigorous ride. But, as Rick Carpenter so aptly remarked at the finish, March is SUPPOSED to be windy . . . .

Thanks again, Andrew. I am constantly struck by the friendship and support of our little randonneuring "tribe." We are truly lucky to be able to ride together.

Best, Joe

Congratulations Joe! And from Chris Newman:

Thanks for organizing a great ride yesterday. It was an impressive turnout for so early in the year. And special thanks to George for the barbecue - a burger never tasted so good. Here is a link to the photos I took.

Chris Newman

Our next event offers both 200k and 300k options starting from the Weisel Youth Hostel in Quakertown on April 2.

Andrew Mead
- organizer


  1. Andrew, I want to thank you and George, and all of the other volunteers for planning a terrific event yesterday. I had heard last year that the PA events were really well organized and challenging, and yesterday exceeded my expectations for my 1st PA brevet. Well done, and again a special thank you to George for opening his home to us with a terrific BBQ. Thank you again, and I look forward to some more PA hospitality for the 300. - Tim Conway

  2. Thanks to Andrew and crew,

    The course was very scenic and well-cued. Thanks Keith, George and Rick for manning the controles, which was a nice touch. Having 28 riders show up in early March is impressive, even on a PBP year. George gets a special nod for his own version of the "Baconator," hot off the grill and very welcome at mile 94. Well worth the 2-hour drive each way (of course, Shane was driving).


  3. Initially I was thinking to attend this brevet but then decided that the 200k on 4/2 might suit me better. When will the registration open? Currently it is still linked to the last-year event.

    I'm coming from Eastern Long Island. :-)

  4. Bottle,
    Check the PAR website a couple weeks prior to the event. I know the organizer (RBA) is working on the routes. You can email Tom R. as well and let him know you're interested in riding the 200k on April 2.