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

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