Sunday, April 3, 2011

Water Gap 300/200k Ride Report

Preliminary results for the April 2 "Water Gap 300k/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.

The Eastern PA SR series kicked into gear with 34 riders clipping in: 8 for the 200k and the other 26 in for full 300k.  After a long winter break, it was certainly nice getting back to our rando-clubhouse at the Weisel Hostel.  Contrary to a doom and gloom weather forecast that originally was calling for rain and snow showers, plentiful sunshine was on tap throughout the day.  Temperatures at start were definitely a bit chilly: low 30's, but rose into the 50's as the day progressed.  Winds were calm at the start and later picked up into a brisk 15MPH from the west, just in time to speed our way from Little Gap to Water Gap.  The 200k riders fought the west wind from Bloomsbury to the hostel finish, but it then abated and shifted a bit to the north for the later 300k finishers.

The 2011 edition of the Water Gap 300k/200k had a couple of route tweaks from the previous running in 2010.  The most memorable change, judging from rider comments at the end, was the run to the finish that featured a very stiff climb up Buckwampum -- which apparently for many, laid on a serious butt-wumping! 

All 34 riders made it to the finish well ahead of the time limit.  Congratulations to everyone for such an excellent result on a challenging course.  Of note, Gavin Biebuyck completed his 2nd brevet ever, and very first 300k.  Mark Kaufman and Michael Moore also completed their very first 300k -- well done!  Yiping Lin completed her very first brevet in the U.S.A., having recently moved to Long Island from Taiwan (where she completed an SR series last summer).  Andrew Mead completed his R-12 series -- and opting for the harder 300k course for some extra style points!  

Special thanks for volunteer Rick Carpenter, for his volunteer preride.  By the way, Rick's feedback on the original routing along Rt 412, inspired the route tweak that included Gallows Hill and Buckwampum.  And special thanks to Barbara Harris for sweeping the course at Bloomsbury.  Thanks also to Doug Haluza, who suggested the later start time and also helped with setup and cleanup at the hostel.  And thanks to Don Jagel and Ron Anderson for organizing the PBP vest display.  Stay tuned for additional info on the PA Randonneurs branded PBP vests at the new PBP FAQ blog:

Photojournalist extraordinaire, Shane Beake, unfortunately dropped and broke his camera shortly after passing through Belvidere.  He was however, able to salvage the pictures he took up to that point, which are posted here:
... without a doubt, the events Shane rides are all very well documented!
Shane writes: "...Nice ride yesterday, weather turned out to be perfect, just imagine if it were 24 hrs earlier all that rain and wind, eewww. I know we complained a little about the surprise climbing we had at the end in the dark, but it was certainly better & safer than riding on 611 in the dark. ... "

George Metzler writes: "...I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday's ride.  Pushing the start to 6AM was a good plan to deal with the weather.  The (very) few icy patches were avoidable and better yet I didn't have to worry about what might be on the road.  After thoroughly enjoying Controle #3 at Water Gap with Don Jagel, he headed north to continue on his 300K.  .... I hopped on my bike only to realize I had accidently discarded the first 9 miles of [200k] cues out of Water Gap when I laminated my card together the day before.  I felt I knew where you were going to route the 200K but I didn't want to ride 9 miles to test my assumption.  What to do?  What to do?  I thought about calling you but just hated to bug you with my goof up and then it occurred to me.  Duh! You have all the cue sheets posted online, so I used my iPhone to look up the cue sheet and a few minutes later I was on my way.  [Good thinking George!! -TJR] .... My favorite return to the Youth Hostel is the return from Reigelsville that begins on Lehnenberg road and winds it's way up Gallows and Buckwampum.  It was awesome to ride it in the day light.... Thanks again for the terrific ride."

Guy Harris writes: "Many thanks for a great ride.  With the new routing tweeks this course is developing into a classic PA 300K.  I give the Buckwampum finish route two thumbs up.  A nice option when the finish is during the 8:00 - midnight party drive time.  The climbs are steep but short and most of the climbing is productive elevation gain from the river."

Joe Fillip writes: "Yesterday's 300 Km was a wonderful (if "vigorous" event). I learned one valuable lesson yesterday: Never assume that a road named "River Road" will be flat! [indeed! ... I think some of the steepest climbs in the area are on a road call "River" - Tom R.] ... Thanks for all of your hard work, as well as those of your volunteers. I've said it before and I'll say it again: You're one of the hardest working RBAs in the randonneuring business!" [Thanks! ... having appreciative riders like you, makes it all worthwhile. -Tom R.]

Bill Olsen write: "Thanks for the great ride yesterday.  As much as I don't plan to ride that last section from Riegelsville to the hostel on the fleche - all of us are riding 70" gearing (42x16 or 45x17) it really wasn't all that bad with a 30x34 gear ... I was feeling "frisky" near the end and was pulling the pack in from Stewartsville to Riegelsville at a 20+ mph pace.  Unfortunately they couldn't reciprocate and allow me to draft them up the hills..."

Doug Haluza writes: "...thanks again for organizing a memorable event. I don't think we'll soon forget  Buckwampum Rd!..."

Nigel Green writes: "...I wanted to say thanks to you and the volunteers for the thorough and thoughtful ride organization. The course was challenging but enjoyable. Its hard to believe there are that many miles of low trafficked roads in the mid-atlantic and the ride was absolutely picturesque. It seemed like hours went by without my seeing cars on the road. The food at the Hostel before and after the ride were a welcome treat. All in all a very well run event..."
You can read Nigel's complete ride report at:

Houston Joost writes: "Thank you for hosting another great ride. The weather was near perfect and the routes were challenging and majestic. Being a new father, I greatly appreciate you choosing routes with very little traffic. I enjoyed  visiting  with Tim at the beginning of the ride and Roy, Jud, Gavin and Shane as they found me lost and guide me in for the last twenty miles. As we say in the south the PA randonneurs are “good folks”. I enjoyed the buckwampum reroute, riding up the hill through the forest at night was a slightly surreal experience. Finally the food and hospitality are always great. Thank you again."

Michael Moore writes: "...Thanks again for a pleasant ride.  I especially enjoyed sunset on the Delaware River."

Christine Newman writes: "Thanks for another great ride. The course was as scenic as usual and overall quite enjoyable. I would like to be the dissenting voice and say I much prefer the gentle climb up Route 611 instead of the soul-killing route which included Buckwampum Rd. But you know I like to complain about my least favorite climbs. Thanks also to the volunteers especially to Barbara Harris who was a friendly and encouraging presence in the middle-of-nowhere!" 
Christine has kindly shared her photos at:
See you in a few weeks!

If you have any other comments or pictures to share, you can forward them to me or post them on the message board.

Next up in two weeks, is the fleche event -- team captains should have their routes submitted by now. Team members should mail in their registrations. 

Tom Rosenbauer 
Eastern PA RBA


  1. There's an odd irony in having to climb GALLOWS HILL in order to get to a BUTTWAMPUM. It's true that the PA hills can be real killers, but those names are just a little over the top. I would have laughed at the time, but I was too busy gasping for air.

    A great ride, as always, Tom. There is always a great sense of satisfaction in completing a PA brevet.

  2. This is Yiping. I also enjoyed riding this 200k brevet and chatting with some of you (except those who were too fast :P). Especially I was glad that I listened to Tom's suggestion, not taking the 300k route as my first brevet.

    Even though the highest altitude was not as high as the ones I took in Taiwan, so many ups and downs on the route really tired my legs after the controle 4.

    It's great to start & finish at the hostel. Very convenient. I could have a shower and some bites before I headed back to Long Island.

    I'm also writing this journey to show my friends in Taiwan.