Friday, April 27, 2012

Water Gap 200k / 300k

*** Update #3 (5/3/12) ***
A volunteer preride was completed on Wednesday by yours truly.  In preparation, the last weather forecast I saw was "...Wednesday will feature mostly cloudy skies with highs holding in the upper 60s and lower 70s. There may also be a brief afternoon shower in spots on Wednesday as warm front slides closer to the region. ..."  So naturally, instead of a rain jacket, spare cloths, and fenders, I packed a tube of sunscreen.  Ironically, all that rain gear I had brought along for the Silver Spring 200k last week went unused, as did the sunscreen for yesterday's pre-ride.  You can imagine my surprise and dismay when the first rain drops started falling around the 25-mile mark, and then continued for the rest of the day with temperatures never making past the mid 50F's.

Some additional course notes from my preride (to supplement the ones in the original post below) :
- Mile 0.0: The first mile or so of Richlandtown Rd is a bit rough with several potholes.  Please avoid riding in a tight bunch so you can safely avoid these hazards.
- Mile 10.3: Rt 309 is under construction and the shoulder has been ground down as part of an on-going repaving project.  The shoulder is ridable, despite being a bit rough, and is a safer alternate than taking the travel lane.
- Mile 28.1 (Controle 2): The store does not open until 6:30AM, so if your average speed on the first leg is greater than 15.3 MPH, you'll have to wait a few minutes for it to open.
- Mile 68.9 (Controle 3): If you don't find what you need at the Bakery, there is a diner next door and a couple of mini-marts near by.
- Mile 104.1: You'll be turning onto Rt 206, which is a major road (this is one of those unfortunate compromises that's part of the route design process).  The shoulder for the first half mile or so is very narrow but it gets much better as you go along.
- Mile 154.8: The spotting cue is actually "Brainards Rd / Rt 621" near the school.
- Mile 175.8/115.8: There is a spotting cue that has you looking for "Coon Hollow Rd".  This is supposed to help you with the next turn onto Gallows Hill Rd which is unmarked.  Perhaps because of the dark and misty fog, I never saw Coon Hollow Rd, but there's a good chance that the road sign may have disappeared.  Instead, a better spotting cue for you is that Gallows Hill Rd will be at the first stop sign past the restaurant you'll pass about half way up the climb.  Within a mile or so, you'll see a mile marker with "SR 4075" to confirm that you've made the right turn.

-Tom Rosenbauer, RBA

*** Update #2 (5/1/12) ***
The hostel is now FULL -- there are several hotels in Quakertown if you still need a place to stay nearby.

Hostel Dorm Room Assignments:
- Females will be staying in the "Family Dorm"
- Male early arrivals before 9:30PM will stay in the "Woman's Dorm"
- Male later arrivals after 9:30PM will stay in the "Men's Dorm"
Please try to arrive as early as possible on Friday night, and get your bunk ready ASAP (so as not to disturb those already trying to get some sleep).  Sheets are in the cabinet on the 2nd floor hallway.

*** Update #1 (4/30/12) ***
The cuesheets have been updated:
-300k draft 10 dated 4/30/12
-200k draft 8 dated 4/30/12
A detour has been added at mile 66.9 for Cherry Valley road construction, along with some minor corrections.
Be sure to hit the "refresh" button on your browser to flush out any stale, older versions and to ensure you get the latest cuesheet.

There is still a couple of more spots available if you want to stay at the hostel., but these are going pretty quick.

*** Original Post ***
photo courtesy of Mary Gersema

The Water Gap 200k/300k is on May 5, 2012: Two different courses are being offered, each staged from PA Randonneurs' "headquarters" at the Weisel Youth Hostel in Quakertown. The 200k and 300k follow the same route up to Water Gap, PA.  The 300k heads north into the scenic Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area while the 200k heads south to Portland (where the 300k later joins up).

Course Notes:
- The course is  based on the 2011 edition, with the notable exception of the loop north of Water Gap: this year, we'll cross over into the New Jersey side from Water Gap, riding the loop in reverse.  After the controle stop in Hainesville, the route crosses over the Apalachians and heads into Stillwater and onto Blairstown where it eventually joins the 200k route in Portland.
- Due to new traffic patterns in Bethlehem, the start time has been changed to 4AM (effective 4/27/12).  This will get you through some otherwise busy roads under the cover of darkness with less traffic.
- You will be descending the infamous Old Mine Rd hill this time, instead of climbing it. As noted on the cuesheet (mile 83), this descent requires EXTREME CAUTION, due to the numerous LARGE potholes on the STEEP descent.  You will need to slowly pick your way down this descent to avoid these hazards.
- Be sure to top off your supplies at controle 2 in Danielsville and controle 3 in Water Gap -- there are limited options along the way on these segments.

Other notes:
The list of registered riders, along with hostel reservations and fees due, has been posted here:

There's still some room at the hostel, if you'd like to stay either Friday and/or Saturday night.  PA Members can join the roster (taking both the early registration discount and member discount) by sending me an e-mail by Thursday, May 3 -- please indicate your course selection and any hostel reservations you want.
For those unfamiliar with the hostel start/finish, there is an overview of what to expect posted here:
.... please note the parking guidelines to use the big parking lot between the road and the house (the few parking spots near the house are reserved).  Breakfast will be served 1 hour before the start and a postride meal will also be provided.

As always, please be sure to monitor the website and message board for any last minute updates.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Silver Spring 200k Preliminary Results and Report

Preliminary results for the Silver Spring 200k have been posted at:
... please let me know of any corrections or other issues.  Results will be submitted to RUSA shortly, and become final, pending RUSA/ACP approval.

I've been looking forward to this event ever since I started working with organizer Andrew Mead on this new route (which he proposed late last year). I must say, the route exceeded my expectations, and is truly a great addition to the Eastern PA series.

-Tom Rosenbauer, RBA

 ****** Andrew's ride report ******
The inagural running of the Silver Spring 200 was a grand success with 27 riders participating. All 22 riders who clipped in for Saturday's running finished within the time limit.  Four of the five volunteer pre-riders finished the week before for a 96% overall event completion rate.  All riders managed to stay dry during the event in spite of a weather forecast that quite obviously befuddled meterologists all week.  The afternoon thunderstorms held off until shortly after the last riders were comfortably chowing down at Cafe Metzler.

The new brevet route proved to offer a riding challenge consistent with other PA 200ks, at least based on ride time.  As predicted, the second leg with its continuous string of ascents and descents between the Susquehanna and the bluffs above challenged riders.  A well-placed controle with a deli near the end of this nightmarish stretch recharged riders and allowed them to enjoy the second half of the route.  There were only a few instances of bonus miles reported toward the finish, so the efforts of two separate pre-rides must have been worthwhile.  Oddly, riders sailed through the areas of the cue that most concerned me before the event and managd to find extra mileage in places I never imagined.  Look for a few tweaks in the route next time.

Riders with an interest in the new RUSA American Explorer award bagged two states with our venture south into Maryland.

Congratulations to first finisher Don Jagel who sped around the course in 8:58, nearly an hour ahead of the next finishers.  Special recognition must be offered to Paul Scearce who completed this decidely fixie UN-friendly route on his fixed-gear bike well within the time limit.  Of note, Scott Franzen and Ralph Miller completed their first brevet. The tandem teams of Ron & Barb Anderson and Chuck Wood & Crista Borras (from neighboring DC Randonneurs) also managed strong finishes.

Thanks to volunteer preriders, Bill Blank, George Metzler, Bill Slabonik, and Keith Spangler.  Keith also manned the  Mt Joy controle. Additional thanks to George Metzler and the Cafe Metzler.  His suggestion to move the finish to his house as we first started planning this event proved to be quite popular as riders could sit and relax after finishing without worrying about a finish controle closing time.  

Don Jagel writes: "...Thank you for putting together the Silver Spring 200K.  The roads and scenery provided a good sampling of everything the area has to offer.  A nice rolling start followed by a fresh cinnamon scone, then a mix of winding ups and downs, and finishing up by weaving through the convoluted maze roads that led to the wonderful, and too short, downhill of George's driveway.

At the bottom Douts Hill Road my chain started jumping gears.  Thinking that the derailleur cable I had replaced two days before had stretch, and settled into place, I twisted the barrel adjuster on my derailleur, and continued on up the hill.  The jumping of the chain was worse, so I thought that I had maybe twisted it the wrong way, so I gave it another twist or two.  By the time I got to the top of the hill it was even worse, so it was time to give it a good inspection.  It seems that one of the side plates on my chain had snapped and was sticking off the side of the chain.  How it did not completely jamb into my drive train and self destruct I don't know.  After a quick fix, I was on my way again.    

Many thanks to you, Keith, and George for making it come off without a hitch.  The spread that George laid out at the finish was  really the cherry on top of a wonderful day.  The weather was pretty darn nice too ..."

Larry Brenize writes: "...Ever have one of those rando riding days when you say to yourself this could be a long day. That is how my day started yesterday. I seemed to be in between groups and after the initial break away I rode by myself for most of the 30 some miles until the 2nd control @ Capello Confections Bakery.  I was somewhat cooked already as I dressed way too warm. But thankfully, Dan Aaron showed me how to roll my jacket and tie it around my waist. It's here that I started riding with Dan and Susan Rodetis, and we ended up on the rest of the ride together ... I personally have to thank both of them for helping me finish the ride. Dan had a GPS so all I had to do was concentrate on my riding and not worry too much on the cue sheet. We finished at 6:45 gassed and cooked, and I'm guessing,  like a lot of other riders were too.

To organizer Andrew(aka Gunther): great ride thanks for all your hard work. Unless you have set up a ride which I haven't and guessing alot others yesterday riding haven't you have no clue on how much work it takes. The only bone I have to pick with you is you must have missed the cattle crossing around 30-40 miles into the ride which caused a massive amount of road apples poop which just happened to get on my race bike. LOL Again great job thanks.

To George Metzler: thanks for the great food after the ride.
Larry's Ride STATS
Total time 11 hrs. 45 minutes
avereage speed 12.92 mph
max speed 45.51 not faster than my Guardian Angel thank goodness
trip climb 9334 ft.
Way too much fun riding with some old rando buddies and some new ones ..."

Doug Haluza writes: "...This brevet was a wonderful change of scenery. Thanks to course architect Andrew Mead for introducing us to the Conowingo Reservior area--a truly wicked, godforsaken place for a cyclist. Those of you who fought the headwind to the finish will be happy to know that bringing up the rear brought us a 25mph tail wind from the outflow ahead of the rain, which kept us from getting wet...."

Susan Rodetis writes: "...I am grateful for, plus remain highly impressed with the amount and quality of cycling prep work and hospitality goes into your events...I have planned, organized, and run events[with the NYC cycling club], and I know what it takes to get all the pieces together...Just wish I could rein in the weather like y'all managed to!    ..."

-Andrew Mead, Organizer

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fleche Preliminary Results and Ride Report

Preliminary results have been posted at:
...Please let me know of any corrections or additional notes you may have.

Finally, some decent weather for a Saturday morning start -- we were certainly way overdue! And for only the second time (out of 5 years) a 100% finish rate for all teams and participants -- Congratulations to everyone for being a part of that success. Of note, Christine Newman and Mike Lutz have completed their R-5000; and Larry Midura completed his RUSA Cup  -- Well Done! And as noted in the results, several riders have completed multiple PA Fleches.  Of note, the following have completed all 5 editions of the PA Fleche:
-Walt Pettigrew
-Dawn Engstrom
-Rick Lentz
-Bill Olsen
Guy Harris probably would have 5 finishes also, if not for that 2010 Icelandic volcano that stranded him in the U.K. Bill Fischer also has completed 4 PA Fleches with 3 different teams. 

Thanks to all the Team Captains for a great job in putting together their routes and leading their teams safely to Quakertown.  Special thanks also, to Walt Pettigrew for helping out at the finish with the clean-up.

Nigel Greene has posted an eloquent ride report here:
... along with a lot of great pictures here:

Larry Midura writes: "...
It was nice to see you again after the Fleche on Sunday - and many thanks for connecting me with Cumberland Cruisers (Walt, Rick, Dawn & Bill) - as our ride together was a blast - had a wonderful experience both on and off the road - the Cumberland Cruisers are a great group of cyclists.  Walt's fleche route was fantastic - it is exciting to ride on new roads as were the roads of southern New Jersey - and the weather could not have been better....

Susan Rodetis writes: "...Thanx so much for a wonderful event and a great welcome and support at the finish ..."

Patrick Chin-Hong (of Sins of the Fleche) writes: "...Thanks again for hosting. Was wonderful finally meeting you. Had a great ride! ...This was also Susan's longest distance ever, and with five PBPs under our team's belts (two for Dan, and one each for Steve, Paul and me, she was in good hands! No longer are the four of us fleche-lings....And if any of you other teams left your controles with deflated tyres, re-wired headlamps, missing derailleurs or well-greased handlebars, or found at the end of the ride a few extra pounds of lead weights in your bags, we hope you enjoyed crossing paths with us Sinners: Dan (Lust), Susan (Wrath), Paul (Sloth), Steve (Pride), Patrick (Gluttony) ..."
Patrick's photo album is at:

If you have any ride reports or on-line photo albums to share, please forward the links to me and I'll post them to the message board. 

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Silver Spring 200k

**** Update #2 (4/18) ****
The cuesheet has been updated to draft 5, dated 4/18/12, with the following changes:
-The mileage at mile 50.7 in draft 4 was off slightly; it has been corrected to 50.4.
-Additional spotting cues were added at mile 50.4
-"+QBL" was added to the instruction at mile 50.4, indicating that after the "TR", you should bear left to follow the bend in the main road.

Ivan Umble will be at the Dutchway Restaurant (Rt. 41, Christiana) around 6am for those wishing to have a good breakfast before the brevet.  It's less than 5 minutes from there to the starting location which happens to coincide with the final couple of miles of the brevet course.  George and I will be at the start by 6:15 waiting to get you checked in and ready to roll. 

- Andrew Mead, Organizer
**** Update #1 (4/17) ****
Two volunteer pre-rides occurred last week and the cuesheet has been updated to draft 4 dated 4/15/12.  Please make sure that you print the latest cue sheet as there are many small corrections and a new, slightly shorter, and way more scenic run into the finish.

Other observations:
1.  Controle 2 is at a small bakery.  For those needing to replenish supplies with something different, there is a Landhope Farms C-store at mile 28.3 just before the controle and a Royal Farms C-store at mile 37.7 in Conowingo.  Do not pass Conowingo with low supplies.
2.  Watch your time carefully until you reach the 3rd controle in Mt. Nebo.
3.  Remember Tom's rule about descending faster than your guardian angel.  Gravel abounds and usually where it is most disruptive for skinney tires.  That being said, the descent at mile 79 features fresh asphalt:  let 'er rip.
4.  An "Easy to Miss"  (***) notation on the cue sheet is to be heeded.

It is a great route that I'm sure you will enjoy.

-Andrew Mead, Organizer

****  Rider Roster (as of April 19)  ****

1 Daniel Aaron
2 Barbara Solis Anderson
3 Ronald Anderson
4 Helmet Bauer
5 Clair Beiler
6 Gavin Biebuyck
7 Bill Blank
8 Crista Borras
9 Larry E Brenize
10 Ed Dodd
11 Dawn M Engstrom
12 Matthew Farrell
13 Scott Franzen
14 Doug Haluza
15 Steve Harding
16 Donald Jagel
17 Eric Keller
18 Christopher Anson Knight
19 Andrew D Mead
20 George Metzler
21 Ralph Miller
22 Walter J Pettigrew
23 Susan Rodetis
24 Tom Rosenbauer
25 Paul D Scearce
26 William M Slabonik
27 Keith A Spangler
28 Gilbert Torres
29 Ivan M Umble
30 Chuck Wood

**** Original Post ****
Compliments of route designer, Andrew Mead, the inaugural edition of the Silver Spring 200k will be held on Saturday April 21.  Starting out near Atglen, PA, the Silver Spring 200k promises a day of discovery as you ride through rural Lancaster County. The route winds south though the Octoraro watershed, meandering for a while by the bucolic Octoraro Creek, eventually entering Maryland on the way to Port Deposit along the Susquehanna River.

The route heads upstream from Port Deposit where you will be treated to a rare stretch of “River Road” that is generally level. Enjoy it while you can, for once you spy the Conowingo Dam, the challenges begin.  The route continues northwesterly for the length of the Conowingo Reservoir. A watchful eye will be rewarded with a few great vistas of the lake. The route is peppered with several drops from the high bluff back to the lake, usually with a few tricky turns on the descents, and naturally a climb back to the top of the bluff each time.  As you pass the upper reservoir of the Muddy Run Pumped Storage Facility be mindful that you are now 400 feet above the Conowingo Reservior. It will seem like much more since you'll have gained that 400 feet many times over. A quick turn onto a River Road that is anything but flat and then a challenging climb up the aptly named Douts Hill Rd will bring riders to the next controle at the Mount Nebo General Store. Enjoy the deli.

Upon departing Mt. Nebo, the route visits Safe Harbor. Instead of the usual climb towards Highville that several of you covered in January or the up to Conestoga as is usual for a Spring Forward brevet, we’ll follow the Conestoga River to Rock Hill.  This is the easiest way out of Safe Harbor for a bicycle.   Your legs will thank you as we move north along the west side of Millersville and Lancaster on our way to the next controle in Salunga. This section also offers a few of those “perfect” cycling roads, so enjoy.

The route heads east from Salunga through Lititz to the penultimate contole in Akron. PA Dutch 200 veterans will recognize a few roads, but follow your cue as there are a few twists added to keep it interesting. From Akron it’s a straight shot back to the finish in Atglen along gently rolling farm roads.  A special treat awaits you at the finish: George Metzler will be cooking up some delicious BBQ.

Addition details are posted on the event website:

Drop me or Andrew a note if you plan to join us.  And as always, be sure to check back on the website and message board for updates -- the cuesheet will be updated in the next day or so, with changes from volunteer pre-ride.

-Tom Rosenbauer, RBA
-Andrew Mead, Organizer

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Team packets have been mailed out to all the captains, with the following items:
1) Brevet cards with rider information labels attached
2) Brevet card master
3) Postcards with address labels
4) Fleche Rules
5) Safety Instructions
The packets were mailed out on April 7th, so they should be arriving early next week.  Captains should contact me if the packet doesn't arrive by Wednesday.

Please double check that the brevet card controle and rider information is accurate.  You may make any corrections directly on the card.  If you need to make additional brevet cards, a master is provided to make copies on card stock.  Please also be sure to double check your team roster status and start time on the PA Randonneurs website:
... all missing waivers and pending registrations need to be resolved before you start.

I've included some postcards with address labels.  You will need to supply your own 32 cent stamps.  If you are using a postcard controle (which can always be used as a fallback if all of the stores are closed in a town), a single postcard with signatures of all team members will suffice.  If any team members get separated, they should mail their own postcards.

Also included are a copy of the Fleche Rules and Safety Instructions … read them, know them, and live them!

Please feel free to contact me during the event, if any issues arise (610) 417-7161.  On Saturday night, I may be at the hostel and you should be aware that cell phone coverage is very poor there… try the hostel phone number: (215) 536-8749  if I don't answer my cell phone.

Have a Safe ride, and see you in Quakertown!

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA