Monday, October 31, 2011

Stillwater 200k

*** Update #1 (11/2) ***
The course was checked out with a volunteer preride that I completed on Tuesday, 11/1.  As you can imagine, most of the area was still in recovery mode from the weekend snowstorm.  Although this effort is clearly still a work-in-progress as evidenced by the many road crews I saw working, the course was in better shape than I expected -- especially in light of the wide spread destruction that the storm caused.  That being said, I'd estimate that more than half of the area that the course passes through was sill without power, given the constant drone of portable power generators I heard throughout the day.

The currently posted cuesheet that's been up the past week (draft 6 dated 10/25) is still the latest.  There are a couple of items listed below, that you might want to add to your copy of the cuesheet (which of course, you should be printing out and bringing with you to the ride):

-In general, there is a fair amount of grit and loose gravel on the road, due to the sand and salt treatment from the recent snow storm.  Please take extra care in cornering.
-There may still be some low-hanging branches and debris protruding into the roadway.
-Mile 27.1: After crossing Rt 173, the road changes name to Maple Ave.
-Mile 39: I saw a live wire that had fallen and was arcing to the wet ground with an impressive light show.  It's likely that this will be repaired by the weekend, but keep in mind that any wires you may encounter on the road may be lethal.
-Mile 47.0: There was a "Road Closed" sign and some road debris further on down the road.  But the road was passable, and it's very likely the road crews will have taken care of this issue by Saturday.
-Mile 48.6 to 51.1 (Tunnel Rd): This area was hit pretty hard, and several road crews were busy clearing debris and repairing the power lines.  Although I encountered a few temporary road closures, I was able to pass through OK.  It's seems likely that most of this repair work will be completed by the weekend.
-Mile 56.9: There was a "Road Closed" sign and further down the road, a fallen tree had blocked one lane.  However, I was able to pass through OK, and several cars also seemed to be ignoring this sign as well.
-Mile 64.8: Road is unmarked.
-Mile 70: There is a "Road Closed" sign and some bridge construction.  However, the bridge is passable, but you will have to dismount and walk around some heavy equipment.  There is also a short stretch of dirt road around the construction.  This of course was a bit muddy from the recent snow melt.  But it will most likely dry out by the weekend.
-Controle #3 (Mile 71.6): The power was still out in this area and the store was closed due to the outage. Even if power is restored by the weekend, the store may not be fully restocked.  You should replenish your supplies at the Milford controle #2 with enough to go beyond controle #3. There are some stores off-course (as indicated on the cuesheet) near mile 78.8 in Allamuchy. This area had just gotten power restored, about 5 minutes before I arrived. The deli owner met me outside -- he had tears of joy at getting his power back.  But alas, he had nothing to offer in his store, other than warm drinks and chips...the rest of his inventory was ruined.  Further down the road in Tranquility, there is a deli at mile 82.1 on the left.  This store never lost power, and would certainly appreciate having a few hungry randonneurs stopping by.
-Mile 88.2: There is a bike repair shop, if you need one.
-Mile 104: There is a short stretch of 1-lane roadway, under control of a traffic light. This appears to be due to be some damage compliments of tropical storm Irene.  You should wait for the light to turn green, and let any waiting cars there to go on through first.  The one-lane restriction is about 0.1 of a mile.
-Mile 119.9: This is unmarked -- there is a baseball field at the turn, which you can use as an additional "spotting" cue.
-Mile 125.2: (Rt 80 access road) There is a huge crater of a pothole, right in the middle of shoulder.  This will most definitely swallow your wheel up whole and ruin your day if you hit it.  Please keep an eye out for this hazard, especially if you're passing through after sundown.
-Mile 126.6: The cue is correct, but the road sign has been rotated 90 degrees, so the signage is a bit misleading.
-Mile 127.1: The cue is correct, but the exit is for "Portland / Rt 611" (the cuesheet has "Portland /River Rd").

As a point of interest to any railroad buffs out there, the course crosses the "Lackawanna Cut-off" in several spots: mile 85.4 (fill and tunnel), mile 121.1-122.8 along Polkville-Kill Rd (fill, tunnel and viaducts), mile 124 along Rt 94 (fill and tunnel). The small ridges you see near these points are actually man-made railroad fills, to level out the terrain and minimize the gradient.  The Lackawanna Cut-off was a marvel of engineering, constructed in the early 1900's... a fascinating description of it can be found at this link:

*** Original Post ***
For the November R-12, we'll be running the Stillwater 200k, and hopefully, the recent snow will be melted by then and perhaps, a bit of fall foliage will still be around.  With the closing of the Portland Diner, the start location will be the Portland Park and Ride.  There is another diner about a half mile away in Mount Bethel, where we can top off for breakfast before the ride -- I'll be there around 6AM if you want to join me for breakfast and collect your brevet card.  The finish is at Teresa's Pizza, about one half mile from the Park and Ride start: after signing-in at the finish there, you can coast all the way downhill from there to the Park and Ride and your car.

Additional event details are posted at:

A volunteer preride is planned for this Tuesday ... be sure to check the PA message board and website for any updates.  Also, with the limited daylight, lights and reflective gear will be required.

Rider Roster (As of the 11/1)
-Barbara Anderson
-Ron Anderson
-Geoff Brunner
-John Capriotti
-Dawn Engstrom
-Joe Fillip
-Joel Flood
-Doug Haluza
-Steve Hammel
-Mark Kaufman
-Goon Koch
-Andrew Mead
-Bill Olsen
-Tom Rosenbauer (Organizer)
-Norman Smeal
-George Swain

If you'd like to join the the roster, please send me an e-mail by Thursday.

Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Sunday, October 23, 2011

PA150/200k Ride Report

Preliminary results for the October 22nd PA150/200k have been posted at:
...please let me know of any corrections or other issues.  Results will be sent to RUSA shortly, and then become final, pending RUSA approval.

The day started out clear and crisp, with fall foilage nearly in peak color.  Some low clouds materialized later in the morning; but given the recent stretch of rainy days, there certainly can't be too many complaints with the weather.  It was ideal temperature for the new PA wool jerseys, which were being sported by many of the riders.  There were 30 registered riders, with 5 riders opting for the 150k course and the others in for the 200k course and the challenging climb up Fox Gap. All 29 riders who clipped in at the start made it to the finish well before the cut-off, for another 100% finish rate -- congratulations to everyone for another excellent result. .

The field of riders was composed of a good mix of first-time riders and regular riders, as well as a handful of randonneurs who traveled from neighboring regions to ride with us again.  Of note, Jim Bondra, one of the riders from the NY Southern Tier contingent brought along Ernie Bayles for his first brevet.  Ernie writes: "...Just wanted to thank you again for a thoroughly enjoyable outing. Lucky for me I was able to hook onto Jan and Norman or else I would have had to navigate on my own for which I was poorly prepared (no cyclometer, and a cue sheet that's just a bit too small for my aging eyes) ...I don't know that I have what it takes mentally or physically to ride those really long rides, but this was encouraging. I'm sure this is the longest ride I've probably done in 30 years ...So I'll hope to continue with a 300 some time in the not too distant future...Please extend my thanks to your crew as well, what you all do is clearly a labor of love...."

Frederick Collins, Tim Carry, and Chris Roth were also first time riders, and are now freshly minted randonneurs.  Chris, however, is no stranger to  randonneuring: he was one of my key volunteers on the Endless Mountains 1240km, driving the SAG van and helping the over night crews at each of the three sleep stops.  Jan Dembinski from VT and Michael Anderson from MA, made the long trip down from New England to ride with us again.

Lew Meyer, a 3-time PBP ancien, completed his first Eastern PA brevet. Lew writes: "...Thank you Tom! Such work certainly must take a lot of your time...The most scenic 200k I've been on...You do great work!..."  I first met up with Lew near the finish of my very first 300k back in 2003; it was truly a pleasure to catch up with him again, after all these years.  

And speaking of PBP, there were a number of freshly minted PBP anciens on the roster, including Jan Dembinski, Chris Nadovich, Roy Yates, and  Ron and Barb Anderson.  First time riders take note: you have nearly 4 years to get ready for the next PBP in 2015!  Also, the first time 200k riders have one month completed, and just 11 more to string together for their R-12 challenge.

2011 Solo RAAM finisher Geoff Brunner made it around the 200k course in 8:25 as first finisher (and nearly beat the 150k first finishers to the hostel!!).  Geoff plans to ride RAAM again, in 2012.  Also of note, Jon Clamp made it around on his fixed-gear bike, making it up all the big climbs, including the very steep pitch at the end of Red Cliff Rd.

Special thanks to volunteers Doug Haluza (volunteer preride), Len Zawodniak (volunteer preride, course sweep), Shane Beake (also a freshly minted PBP ancien) and his daugther, Victoria (Fox Gap controle, BBQ at the finish).  I don't know how I ran this October event in previous years without all this help.  But you set the bar very high for excellent support, and made it very easy for the RBA this time around!  As usual, Shane has documented the event with many great photos, posted here:

Bob Dye writes: "...Thanks again for another great day of bike riding and bridge walking! You possess a unique ability to combine these two wonderful activities into one stellar event. I now consider myself an authority on Delaware River bridge walkways. I enjoyed it all immensely..."

Norman Smeal writes: "...Great ride Saturday...  Loved the snacks at the top of Fox Gap..."

Rick Carpenter write: "..Thanks again for another enjoyable season, and for my special PAR SR “DIY Award Kit” (some assembly required).  Thanks to Len, Shane, Victoria, and Doug for their efforts as well, and to the caretakers at Weisel who have been so good to us over the years..."
As many of you know, Rick is in the process of moving south of the Mason Dixon line, and will most definitely be missed as one of the regular riders on the Eastern PA series.  But hopefully, Rick will be able to find his way back to the Eastern PA region and join us for some rides when he can.  Rick's photos are posted at:

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

Next up is the November R-12 in two weeks.  We'll be running the Stillwater 200k, and hopefully, some fall foilage will still be around.  With the closing of the Portland Diner, the start location will be the Portland Park and Ride.  There is another diner about a half mile away in Mount Bethel, where we can top off for breakfast before the ride.  The Mount Bethel Diner will also be the finish controle: after signing-in at the finish there, you can coast all the way downhill from there to the Park and Ride and your car.  PA members can join the roster by sending me an e-mail by the Thursday before the event.

Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


*** Update #1 (10/20) ***
Len Zawodniak and Doug Haluza completed a volunteer preride on Thursday, 10/20.  Doug reports: "...OK, we lived to tell about it (hills build strength, but headwinds build character, so you can say we are a couple of characters now). The cue sheet was great. All the roads were good. Just a few notes:

Mile 9.5: SS at bottom of hill. Blind curve left.
Mile 12.5: Caution pine needles on sharp turn on descent at Cascade Lodge.  
Mile 75.7: (not unmarked). River road goes right. 
In general, beware of fallen leaves and pine needles, especially if wet. Also watch out for sharp dropoffs at the edge of the pavement where rainwater runoff has eroded the shoulder.."

*** Original Post ***
The next event is on October 22 and you have a choice of either a 150k or 200k course.  The start/finish will be at the Weisel hostel, with breakfast served 1 hour before the start  We'll also have the traditional post-ride BBQ, where we can recap the accomplishments of the past year and look forward to the challenges of the coming year. 
PA Members can register by sending me an e-mail, and pay the $25 entry fee when they sign-in.  Non-members can register by mailing in the registration form posted at:
With only about 10.5 hours of daylight available, lights and reflective gear will be required, unless you have previously finished the course in less than 9.5 hours.
There are 2 bridges under construction and not passable. Unfortunately, one of those bridges is on Sweet Hollow Rd, one of my top 10 favorite roads -- there was a road crew ripping up the deck as I passed on through during a recent scouting trip (probably as the last cyclist to do so for the foreseeable future).  The other bridge out is on Headquarters Rd.  There's actually a third bridge out, also on Headquarters Rd, but that one is still passable.  I keep hearing talk about stimulus spending for our nation's crumbling infrastructure but see little evidence of any real progress with our roads and bridges!

Current Cuesheets:
200k: Draft 3 (updated 10/13/11)
150k: Draft 2 (updated 10/18/11)

Registered Riders: