Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Brevet Week 600k Ride Report

Preliminary results for the May 21 Brevet Week 600k have been posted at:

... please let me know of any corrections or other issues. Results will be sent to RUSA in a couple of days, and then become final, pending ACP approval.

After a rather wet and stormy week, the clouds and rain cleared out in time for a dry start.  At the first controle stop in Danielsville, the skies were completely clear, and it was hard to believe the forecast for rain showers later in the afternoon.  But some isolated rain showers did manage to drench some riders as they headed along Old Mine Road.  Sunday turned out to be overcast and cool with a bit of a headwind for the return leg to the finish.

The PA600k is a tough course; but all 25 riders who clipped-in at the start proved to be even tougher and certainly prepared for the many challenges that the Eastern PA terrain offers.  All made it back within the time limit for a remarkable 100% finish rate.  Congratulations to you all, for a job well done! 

Of note, Mark Kaufman and Gavin Biebuyck completed their very first 600k.  Gavin did so with fast company, coming in with fellow first finishers Bill Fischer and Tim ConwayTim writes: "...many thanks for all of your hard work during the past week, and throughout the season. I can't say enough about how much I have enjoyed my first season riding with the Eastern PA Randonneurs, how much I have learned, and I have met a number of great new people. I not only really enjoyed riding the 600 with Gavin & Bill, as we had all ridden together before, but it was also really helpful, and we did stick together. ..."  Bill adds "...thanks for another wonderful 600! The sights through Promised Land and Hawks Nest were as gorgeous as ever and as always your planning and attention to detail were second to none. I was further blessed to have 2 fantastic riding partners in Tim Conway and Gavin Biebuyck, making this an experience I won't soon forget...."  Gavin writes"...Many thanks for all your hard work organizing the brevets. As a first time rider this year I have been amazed at all the logistics and the work you and your team put into running these events. I have really enjoyed myself and pushed myself beyond what I thought possible. I really started this to show myself I could come back from a bad bike accident last year and expected to only do the 200K and target the 300K next year. Instead I am now hooked on long evenly paced riding in good company..."

Of special note, 16 riders completed their SR series with Eastern PA events.  Congratulations to these riders who now join the Eastern PA Roll of Honor with this accomplishment:
Cecilie Adams (2)
Shane Beake
Gavin Biebuyck
Richard G Carpenter (3)
Tim Conway
Joe Fillip
William Fischer
Joel Flood
Patrick Gaffney (2)
Doug Haluza
Guy Harris (3)
R. Mark Kaufman
Eric Keller (3)
Chris Nadovich

Christine Newman
William Olsen (3)
In addition, Roy Yates has completed the PA300, PA400, and PA600k, and just needs to find a PA200k before October in order to join this distinct group.  With a record number of Eastern PA Super Randonneurs this year, my daughter is going to very busy this fall, assembling all those 2011 trophies:

Of note, Guy Harris completed the course on a fixed-gear.  Guy writes: "...Thanks for running another great 600K and lining up a fantastic groups of folks to ride with. I hope the raspberries I gave you at the overnight about Peppermint Rd. didn't come across too strong. [Yes, my ears were ringing all night at the overnight controle about that! So next time when you only get Bumpwampum Rd, you'll be very grateful! -Tom R.]  I truely do enjoy these new little gems and I check my pride about walking them, on the fixed at least, at the start! These add a nice character to the rides. Keep'm coming! Riding the course on the fixed certainly gave me a different perspective on it, all good except that I really missed the full speed descents on Harmonyville Rd..." 
Yiping Lin writes: "...I'm proud of being a Eastern PA member, and had a great time to attend the events you organized. .... This 600k was tougher than what I expected. When I looked at the map (last year), my initial thought was, "Great. After the controle 4 the rest is easy." I was wrong again. Your routes are never easy... However, the [hardest] ones [for me] were the last two sections, because I was tired (& it's windy too). I underestimated these continuous steep, despite short, climbs. ..Thanks again for organizing these events, As well as volunteers ...." 

Christine Newman writes: "...After PBP in 2007 I decided the best way to train for the next PBP was to complete a PA SR series. It has taken me 4 years but I finally accomplished that goal Sunday afternoon. I feel confident that your brevets have readied me for anything PBP can throw my way and for that I am truly grateful. .... And now that we have ridden (or walked) up Peppermint, I think I speak for many of us when I say, Bring back butt-wumpin - or whatever the name of that other hellish road is ... As always, thank you and your volunteers for your smiling faces, warm food and for keeping an eye on all of us. ...."
Christine has taken some excellent pictures which have been posted here:

Shane Beake writes: "...Ride was really nice this weekend, weather seemed to hold out for most of us, although some got caught in downpours. I know some of us complain a little about the surprise climbs you throw in there at the end e.g. Lehnenberg, Slifer Valley and the now infamous Peppermint Rd, but if they weren't there then it just wouldn't be an Eastern PA brevet would it?. ."
And once again, Shane has taken a bunch of great photos posted here:

Joe Fillip writes: "...Thanks for all of your hard work (and that of your volunteers) on Brevet Week. Seeing you stumble off for a few hours of sleep at 5 am on Sunday,  when I was ready to hit the road for the second leg of the 600 Km, really brought home to me how much time and effort you have put in to make these events such a success. Just want you know that it is greatly appreciated. P.S. Remember the scene from "Wrath of Khan" when Captain Kirk is stranded inside the center of the Genesis Planet, and, in a sweeping overhead shot, screams "KHAN!!!!!!"? Just picture me screaming "TOM!!!!!" as I was faced with the climb up Peppermint Road at about 11:30 pm Saturday night... .."

Rick Carpenter writes: "...Joe Fillip and I had such a great time riding together. Joe’s a very enjoyable person to spend the miles with. ...thanks for a wonderful season and a memorable four years. I’ll miss the PAR camaraderie, for sure...."

Rick's photos are posted here:

Larry Midura writes: "...Just a quick note of thanks for all the hard work you put into the PA brevets. Really enjoyed the recent PA 600K as the weather was just great with a nice group of riders. Your choice of the Hampton Inn in Quakertown is a very convenient start/finish location. Hope to join you again next year for brevet(s)..."

Doug Haluza writes: "...Well, it was a hell of a ride. I wasn't sure we would finish it, since we only started 13 hours before armageddon. What would be better than riding down the Delaware Valley when the world is about to end anyway? But it wasn't the end of days, so we found out what Tom had in store for us at the end of day one--what seemed like a never-ending climb in the dark. It was like climbing a stairway to heaven, with another step up just over every rise. That was enough to make you wish for the rapture, or at least a rapture-like ride to the top of the last climb!..."

Ed Dodd writes: "...I want to thank you once more for a really great event. I come to the PA hills, not for the sound of music, (Although I think I did hear music going up a hill or two in the dark early Sunday morning. But it wasn't Julie Andrews. It was more like Mozart's Requiem.) but for the challenge. And I have never once been disappointed. The anticipation, preparation, planning and finally accomplishing a difficult physical and mental challenge makes life exciting. Thanks for giving us such opportunities. ..."

Patrick Gaffney and Cecilie Adams write: "...Cecily and I wanted to thank you again for all of your efforts that go into the PA Brevet Series.  Each ride is beautiful and challenging and this weekends 600K was no different.  We'll never forget Peppermint Road.  Thanks again for everything you do for those of us working towards PBP. .."

Judd Hand writes: "...Thanks for another great course. Unfortunately, I had to skip the 400k and cut down on my mileage the past seven weeks since the 300k and that left me with less than ideal conditioning going in. Fortunately, I had three strong and compassionate riding companions in Shane Beake, Roy Yates and John Hsu, all three registrants for PBP in August.  Given how hilly your long rides are, I am amazed at the riders' completion rate. Having all 25 starters on Saturday finish is remarkable, particularly as many did it with little or no sleep. You had a perfect finish rate with 17 riders last year on the 600k. Add in 17-19 for 2009, 8-10 for 2008 and 10-12 for 2007 and you have a 93 overall average. Your 1000k rides have an 89 percent finish rate. I think the word has gone out and people don't sign up for your rides unless they are ready for the climbing.  In fact, the only 600k or longer ride you've held with a less than 75 percent finish rate was the Endless Mountains 1240k (22-48). That ride attracted people from all over the country, some of whom, I suspect, may not have believed your written warnings about the elevation gain. Plus there was that 40-degree rain. Becky was great checking us in and even playing a little autoharp for the sleepy participants. I saw Roy catching some Z's while she was playing... "

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

Special thanks to volunteers: John Freeman, for signing in riders on Friday night (so I could attend my daughters' concert), Barbara Harris for sweeping the course at Bloomsbury, Andy Brenner for running the overnight controle (despite being ill), and Andrew Mead for sweeping the course at Leola.  And special thanks to Ed Dodd, Mark Kaufman and several other participants for helping out at the finish, and especially my wife Becky, while I was incompacitated with one the worst migraine headaches I've ever had. 

The Eastern PA series has some of the very best volunteers around and are a key part of the quality events PA Randonneurs endeavor to put on.  An additional volunteer or two were sorely needed on this event, and I'll be counting on additional volunteers stepping up to help share the load on future events.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Brevet Week 200k & 300k Ride Report

Preliminary results for the May 14 Brevet Week 200k have been posted at:
... and for the May 15 300k at:
... please let me know of any corrections or other issues. Results will be sent to RUSA in a couple of days, and then become final, pending ACP approval.

Despite a dismal weather forecast for the weekend that promised plenty of "wet", participants managed to mostly dodge the many rain showers and stay dry.  A big exception however, was Sunday night: some very impressive thunderstorms rolled in as the riders were headed back across the Delaware River near Reigelsville.

12 of the 14 200k participants completed the course in good time.  Of note, Guy Harris completed the course on a fixed-gear (with audacious plans to ride the entire Brevet Week of events on a fixed-gear!).  Jonathan Clamp, a regular fixed-gear rider as well, brought along some gears this time, and managed to get in as the first finisher just under 9 hours. 

Also of note, our DC area friends Crista and Chuck completed yet another Eastern PA event.  I am way overdue to return the favor, and look forward to joining Crista and Chuck real soon on one of their weekend centuries they've been leading for as long as I can remember.  Crista's weekend rides are renowned for their scenic beauty and I highly recommend you check it out if you're headed to the DC area:
Crista writes: "...Just wanted to thank you again for the great ride on Saturday.  It was exquisite!  Chuck took a few photos, and here's the link:"

Only 3 of the 7 registered riders for the 300k made it to the starting line -- the truly dismal weather forecast perhaps had something to do with that, along with the steady rain in the early morning hours on Sunday.  However, the 3 intrepid starters did have a reasonably fair day for cycling.  New Eastern PA participant, David Eisenberg, made it as far as Water Gap, just under the cut-off where volunteer Len Zawodniak was on hand.  David decided that he had little chance of finishing within the time limit, and opted instead to the offer of a ride back to hostel start.  In light of the storms that later raged all through Sunday night, that proved to be a prudent descision.  Robin Landis and Chris Nadovich distinguished themselves as finishers for the 200k on Saturday, as well as the Sunday 300k.  

Chris writes: "...I'd like to repeat my heartfelt thanks to you and your volunteers for a most memorable 300K brevet. With the tiny turnout of riders, and so many voluneers, I felt like I had a personal support crew! If it's any compensation for sacrificing a Sunday to keep tabs on my ride, maybe you can take some satisfaction from the knowledge that your brevet helped to toughen my soul. If riding 20 miles in the dark, on shoulderless, narrow, windy, hilly, bumpy, chipsealed roads, in the rain, with thunder and lightning, didn't rattle me, I'm not sure what ever could? And yet it was sunny and mild up to Dingman's Ferry and the whole way down Old Mine Road, and through the Gap, with the Del looking as beautiful as ever. I saw an eagle. When I reached the Hostel, the full moon was out. Quite a ride. Thanks!..."

Houston Joost writes: "...Tom, another great ride. Your rides are always painfully pleasurable!..."  John Capriotti writes: "...Tom, thanks again for a fantastic, fun ride and thanks to all the riders who helped made it enjoyable! What a great way start to the week. ..."  You can read John's complete ride report at his blog: 

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

Special thanks to volunteer Christiane Torres, for staffing the 200k finish controle.  And special thanks to 300k volunteers:  Len Zawodniak for manning the Water Gap controle, and returning David back to the start, and Guy Harris, for sweeping the course at Bloomsbury.  Thanks also to Christine Newman, for standing by to help with any unforeseen eventualities.

Tom Rosenbauer 
Eastern PA RBA

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brevet Week

**** Update #3 (5/19) ****
Cuesheet correction to Draft 11 at mile 370.3:

370.3    B R   Walnut Ln
370.3    B R   TRO (unmarked) Doerr Rd (Walnut Ln on left)

**** Update #2 (5/18) ****
Cuesheets have been updated and the current versions as of 5/18 are:
-400k: Draft 4 (5/18)
-600k: Draft 11 (5/16)
This should be final, unless of course, a last minute correction is needed.  However, nearly all of the routing for the 400k and 600k has either been recently ridden, or checked out with scouting trips over the last month.  I've also received a few corrections from some of the participants, which is very much appreciated.

While it looks like the weather will trending better into the weekend for the 600k participants, the weather forecast for the 400k is calling for a continuation of the torrential rain and thunderstorms that we've had all week.  400k participants are advised that they should be extremely confident of their foul-weather gear, as well as their ability to navigate in the dark under poor conditions.  Although safety in numbers is the rule for night riding, the limited number of 400k participants will limit the opportunities to find a suitable riding partner through the night.

400k notes:
-Sign-in for the 400k will be between 5PM and 6PM in the lobby.
-There is bridge construction at mile 9.3 that should be passable by pedestrians (dismount and walk around the barrier).
-If there are no volunteers at the finish controle, the front desk receptionist will sign your card.

600k notes:
-In addition to the 3AM sign-in time, there will be sign-in and bike inspection on Friday in the lobby from ~5-6PM and from ~7-9PM.
-At the overnight controle, there will be a message board in the lobby directing you to the volunteer room for signing in.
-For an overnight sleep break, I recommend reserving a room in one of the many hotels near the Hampton Inn.  Alternatively, there will be 4 or 5 volunteer rooms available for you to take a quick shower and short nap.  These rooms have a single king size bed and a convertible couch/bed.  There may be up to 3 people per room, if there are arrivals all at once.
-If you would like to share a room with another participant, please leave a comment at this link to hook up with somebody:
-If you need a wake-up call, the hotel can provide this service.
-You may leave your drop bag either in your car, or in the volunteer room.
-There will be food available at the start, overnight, and finish controles.  At the start/finish controle, there is also an Italian restaurant/pizzeria across the street and two 24-hr mini-marts next door (one is a mega-WaWa with deli, etc.).
-The first controle on day 2 after the sleep stop is a postcard controle.  Since postcard controles are untimed, you have until controle #10 (58 miles after the sleep controle) to make up any time, in case you get a late start after resting.  This relaxed timing will  perhaps allow you to get an extra hour of sleep.
-There is bridge construction at mile 362.8 that should be passable by pedestrians (dismount and walk around the barrier).
-The Hampton Inn is full this weekend, and if the hotel parking lot is full, there is plenty of parking in the parking lot next door at a restaurant's lot (the restaurant is currently out-of-business).

**** Update #1 (5/11) ****
Join Crista and Chuck, and your's truly for dinner at McCoole's at 6PM on Friday night (5/13).  Drop me a note if you plan to swing by, and we'll add you to our reservations.

**** Original Post ****
Event details and registration for the upcoming Brevet Week events have been posted on the PA Randonneurs website:

The 200k and 300k will start/finish at the Weisel hostel (overnight accommodations are available for $25/night). The other events (400k, 600k, and 1000k), will start/finish at the Quakertown Hampton Inn.  Make your own hotel reservations at the Hampton Inn, or one of the several other nearby hotels.

The 200k on Saturday, May 14 features the classic edition of the PA200k with a few route tweaks at the end to make it a bit kinder and gentler, and to bypass the Milford bridge which is under construction and closed.  As noted on the cue-sheet, there is also bridge construction at mile 111, however, this one is passable by cyclists/pedestrians.

The 300k on Sunday, May 15 will be almost exactly the same as the Water Gap 300 run earlier this year.

The 400k on Thursday, May 19, will feature a 6PM evening start -- this will be a good preparation for those headed to PBP and planning on the 90-hr start.  The course will be based on the recent Blue Mountain 400k but in reverse, heading into the Lancaster area first.  After passing through the Swatara Gap, the route will follow the main valley roads instead of the ridges -- the terrain will be a bit gentler and the navigation easier, as you pedal through the early morning hours.

The 600k on Saturday, May 21 is based on the recent editions run in 2009 and 2010.  There is a ~400k loop on the first day that returns you to the start/finish hotel for the overnight controle.  There will be 3 volunteer rooms available for showers and a short nap. If you would like a private hotel room, you can make your own hotel reservations at one of the many hotels along the Rt 663 corridor in Quakertown.  Day 2 features an out-and-back 200k segment into the Lancaster area.

The 1000k on Friday, May 20 is based on the edition run in 2010.  A bag drop service will be provided at 2 overnight hotel controles.  There will be a single volunteer room available for showers/napping.  You can make your own hotel reservations if you want a private room.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

RAAM Pre-View

It is easy to develop "PBP Vision" (related to tunnel vision) with registration, reflective vests, and qualifying brevets and forget that there are other significant activities occurring in the world of cycling. The Race Across America begins in about 5 weeks. Our own George Metzler is planning to crew for a RAAM team again this year and will be working on Mark Pattinson's team. George is currently out on a "training ride" in the west and, as usual, blogging about the experience. You can follow his adventures at http://georgemetzler.wordpress.com/. Apparently George's experience with Rick Carpenter last year merely whetted his appetite for Ultra Cycling's big dance.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Blue Mountain 400k Ride Report

*** Update 5/4/11 ***
Christine Newman writes: "...Thanks for another great ride and for arranging such perfect weather. The course was just beautiful and the the conditions perfect for an enjoyable day on the bike. And thanks for taking out Lower Saucon Rd.....now if you could just do something about all the other climbs!... Here is the link to my photos...a view from the tail end of the ride:"

Patrick G. & Cecily A. write: "...Thanks again for organizing the 400K, we had a great time.  The weather and course were wonderful...."

Mike Lutz writes: "...Thanks gain for another great edition of the Blue Mountain 400K and all of the volunteers that helped. If there is such an award, I would like to nominate Blondie's for "Controle of the Year". The service was friendly and attentive including an outdoor water station. I liked the route change between controle 3 and 4. The ride on the Summer Hill Rd. ridge afforded beautiful views of the valleys between Blue and Second Mountains..."

Nigel Greene writes: "...I wanted to say thanks for another well run event. The course was beautiful and the amount of low traffic roads you use amazes me. It took (is taking) me a while to recover from the climbing, but I am glad I made it out...." You can read Nigel's poetic report at:

Joe Kravotil writes: "...Thanks again for the great ride and hospitality ..."
You can read his entire ride report at his Mellow Yellow Blog:

*** Original Post ***
Preliminary results for the April 30 "Blue Mountain 400k 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.

What a difference a year makes. Although a bit chilly at the start and overnight hours, with temperatures in the low 40F's, the high 60F's during the day were certainly much better than the 90F's riders endured in 2010.  Winds were generally favorable out of the northwest, which were mainly beneficial on the Jonestown to Brownstown leg.

The 2011 edition of the Blue Mountain 400k featured a major route tweak to incorporate portions Andrew Mead's Hawk Mountain 200k.  The new section started in Orwigsburg and included what many considered the steepest climb of the day up Hickory Lane.  Thanks Andrew, for the help in updating the route!

35 of 38 registered riders made it to start, and 33 finished for a completion rate of 94%.   Congratulations to everyone for such an excellent result on a very challenging course.  Of note, several riders completed their very first 400k ever: Gavin Biebuyck,  Mark Kaufman and Nigel Greene.  Well done, and congratulations on reaching this big milestone for every randonneur -- the longer randonnees are certainly now within your reach.  There were a couple of first time Eastern PA participants, including John Hsu from Short Hills, NJ and Jan Dembinski, who came all the way down from Woodstock, VT.  Also of note, Chris Schulten set a new course record of 15:24, shattering the old one by a good 2 hours.  Chris writes: "...thanks for an amazing course.  I had tons of fun!.."  Well done Chris! that 16.1 MPH pace is going to be pretty tough to top.

Special thanks to volunteer Guy Harris, for his volunteer preride and sweeping the course at Brownstown.  And a very special thanks to Andy Brenner, for the great lasagna he prepared  for the finish controle, and holding the fort for the first finishers.  Rick Carpenter, also completed a last-minute volunteer preride to check out the course conditions on Friday after all the strong storms blew through the area on Thursday.  Thanks also, to Mark Thomas and SIR for lending their PBP vests for sizing.  If you would like to get a PA Randonneurs branded vest, place your on-rider order by May 6.  The on-line order form and additional info is linked on the PA Randonneurs website:

Shane Beake writes: "...Just wanted to say thanks for putting together yesterdays 400, the course
and the weather were absolutely perfect..."  Shane has once again, taken a bunch of really nice photos that he has posted at:

Rick Carpenter's preride photos are at:

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 SR Week of events.  A Saturday 200k and 300k on Sunday will be offered on the weekend of  May 14th.  The recent Blue Mountain 400k will be run in reverse, with a 6PM start time on Thursday, May 19th.  For those of you headed to PBP in the 90-hour start, this will give you a good idea of what a night start will be like.  A 600k will be offered on Saturday, May 21, along with a 1000k on Friday, May 20th.  The 400, 600, and 1000k will have start/finishes at the Quakertown Hampton Inn.

Tom Rosenbauer 
Eastern PA RBA