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

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