Sunday, December 4, 2011

Stillwater 200k Retour Preliminary Results and Report

Preliminary results for the December 3rd Stillwater 200k Retour 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.

Given the heavy rain earlier in the week, and another batch in the forecast in the next day or so, we managed to find another perfect December day for a bike ride: it was a crystal clear day, with temperatures starting out around 29F in the morning, and warming up to around 50F by the afternoon.  With a high pressure system parked directly on top of the course all day, the winds were thankfully calm.  Streams and river were flush from the abundance of rain we've had, with a few frozen seeps along the road early on.

18 of the 20 riders who clipped in at the start made it to the finish.  New participants, Cynthia Hearing and AJ Stachelek are both triatheletes from NYC.  AJ decided to call it quits at Portland, due to numb toes. Cynthia, despite a 30 minute late start, managed to make up the lost time and just keep ahead of the controle closing time by a handful of minutes.  But as she ran out of daylight, she lost her battle against the clock on the Tunnel Rd climb.  Although AJ and Cynthia came up a bit short this time, they promised me they'll both be back again next year. Special thanks to volunteer Keith Spangler for manning the controle at Lafayette and sweeping the course to Great Meadows.   Not only was it great to have a familiar face greet us at the half way point, it was also reassuring to know Keith was there to make sure everybody made it safely through and was there to handle any unforeseen problems.

Rick Carpenter is known to show up from time to time, with a non-traditional bike for a brevet.  On this day, Rick pushed the envelope to a whole new level, with his Fat Sand Boy, which you can see in his photo album posted here:
As the name and construction suggests, it's meant to be ridden on the beach - specifically, somewhere down in North Carolina where Rick is in the process of moving to.  I'm pretty sure that this beast weighs somewhere north of 40 lbs.  And despite all of it's heft, it doesn't even descend very well, due to the 4-inch knobby tires.  Compounding the difficulty factor with this rig, the gears in the internal hub started slipping on the climbs.  Along with this most unusual setup, Rick had a most unusual wild-life close encounter while riding down the road: a small bird smashed squarely into his face.  Immediately after the small bird impact, Rick was then slashed by the talon of an accip raptor, who was in pursuit of the panicked bird -- Amazing!

Of note, Doug Haluza completed his R-12 series -- this one, was uneventful with none of the mechanical problems he's had on a couple of the rides this past year.  Ron and Barbara Anderson completed their third R-12 series in a row for a streak of 36 months.  And speaking of streaks,  Rick Carpenter has one of fifty-something, and closing in on 5 years of riding at least a 200k or longer each month and  Bill Olsen has a streak of 14 months going with Eastern PA finishes.  Bill writes: "...thanks for another great event.  It was nice to experience last month's ride in reverse as some climbs are better this direction rather than the other (and some are worse in this direction) giving one a totally different ride.  Although I like the Retour start out of Portland, and the return home up through Belvidere in the dark, the change of start to Milford was a nice variation and the climb up Tunnel Road wasn't half bad, knowing that once I made it to the top, it was pretty much down hill all the way back home..."

Also of note, Jon Clamp and Guy Harris made it around the course in good time on their fixed-gear bikes.  Remarkably, Jon finished under 9 hours and within minutes of first finisher Geoff Brunner. Guy writes: "...Thanks for another great event.  Milford is a great start/finish - don't know how I resisted a trip to the Ship Inn.  Very sun friendly direction to run this course, morning sun along the Delaware and a nice decent into the sunset..."  Jon writes: "...Many thanks this year for stringing together a host of impeccable courses and cue sheets. Also to all the volunteers for their help in facilitating our sport. It appears seemless but undoubtedly requires alot of time and effort behind the scenes. Saturdays ride was a little brisk and I think everybody must have felt like they had blocks of ice at the end of their legs. I did for one. I rode fixed until the Quick Check control and realizing that we had some steep climbs and a few good descents coming up I decided to "flip" my rear  wheel as it offered a lower gear and the ability to freewheel. I also had the benefit of being able to draft Don, Bill and Matt on the downhill sections as I cannot pedal that fast. I think we were all surprised at our time! ..."

Len Zawodniak writes: "...The ReTour was ReWarding!    Decidedly cool at the start, bur warming up nicely during the day,  a great collection of riders, and good choices for controls. It was  really nice to have a volunteer at the lunch stop, Thanks !..."

Nigel Greene writes: "...Another memorable event by the PA Randonneurs. I really enjoyed the course and look forward to riding the opposite direction the next time its offered. The cue sheet was spot on and the controles were well spaced. .... As you know, this was my first year riding with Pa Randonneurs and I have to say I really found it memorable and enjoyable. Thanks for everything. I Look forward to next year's challenges  ..."
You can read Nigel's excellent ride report with pictures at his Iron Rider blog:

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

This wraps up the Eastern PA 2011 calender of events -- for me, it was a satisfying conclusion to a great year of brevets.  In the coming weeks, I'll be sending out the year-end mailing with your validated brevet cards, reflections on the past year, and the 2012 calender of events.  The first event of the new year, will be on New Year's Day.  As you look ahead to the new year, I'd be interested to hear what your cycling goals are.

Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

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