Thursday, May 31, 2012


*** Update 1 (5/31/12) ***
Volunteer prerides for both the 600k (Bill Olsen) and the 200k (Bill Slabonik and Keith Spangler) were recently completed.  Bill and Keith rode in what must have felt like a hot sauna on Tuesday, getting in just ahead of the big storm that blew though that evening.  Bill Olsen also played hide and seek with several big storms on his preride last wednesday.  The current cuesheets are:
600k: Draft 5 dated 5/25/12
200k: Draft 2 dated 5/26/12

Some additional course notes:
-Due to poor road conditions, a route tweek was incorporated into the current cuesheet after Controle 4 (keeping you on Rt 390 to Hawley)
-Mile 233.0: This is an unmarked turn and the spotting cue at mile 232.7 for Coon Hollow road is also now unmarked.  However, the turn will be at the first stop sign you encounter when you turn onto Lehnenberg Rd.
-Controle 9  is a post card controle at the Limerick Post Office.  You'll be given a stamped post card at the start to drop in the mailbox there, but of course, I'll be expecting some good limericks to be written on the card before you mail it.  You should also note that post card controles are not timed -- in other words, you don't need to reach controle 9 before the listed closing time.  Since this is the first controle after the overnight sleep stop, you have until controle 10 to catch-up on the time limit, if you get a late/slow start after sleeping in at the hostel.  There's also a good 24-hr diner near the post office (as noted on the cuesheet).  This would be a good place to stop for breakfast.
-Controle 10 (a Sheetz mini-mart in New Holland) will be open for all drinks and packaged snack/food items but is undergoing renovations. The kitchen will be closed, hot food items, sandwiches to order and such will not be available.  There is a Wendy's, a McDonalds, and a Subway restaurant just a short distance west of the Sheetz Controlle on the south side of route 23. There is also Palermos Pizza  on the north side of route 23 as you approach the Controle.  There are also many good options in Morgantown, but Bill Olsen reports that "...the McD's in Morgantown is undergoing a major McRenovation and does not currently exist.  If folks are counting on this one they'll need to hit the King's place just before Morgantown on Rt.23..."
-Mile 359.1/114.6: The stone arch bridge just before this turn is under construction and signed as closed to traffic, but is passable if you dismount and walk across.

Parking: use the big parking lot, off to your right half way down the long driveway to the hostel.  Be sure to keep your car on the gravel surface -- it's easy to get your car stuck on the grassy areas. The couple of parking spots at the hostel are reserved.

If you are staying at the hostel on Friday, please try to arrive early and get your bunk ready when you first arrive -- this will minimize disturbing those trying to get some rest.  You should use the same bunk when you return for the overnight sleep stop.  Other riders will be assigned a bunk by the volunteers staffing the overnight controle.
Additional info on hostel procedures are at the end of this link:

Cell phone coverage is essentially non-existent at the hostel -- use the hostel number listed on the cuesheet if you need to reach someone there.  The front door of the hostel may be locked during the day on Saturday, but the back kitchen door will be open, if for some reason, you need to get inside at that time.

Hopefully, the rain in the forecast for Friday night into Saturday morning will clear out quickly.

And most importantly, Have a safe ride!

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Blue Mountain 400k Preliminary Results & Report

Preliminary results for the Blue Mountain 400k have been posted at:
... results will be final, pending ACP certification.

The first warm day of the season certainly made it a bit harder for those of us not acclimated just yet.  But the dry conditions and clear skies really showed off the spectacular views along the ridges.  For those of you who were looking for a challenging ride, I trust you were not disappointed! 29 of the 33 starters were official finishers for a 88% completion.  Of note Michelle Hughes and Susan Rodetis completed their first 400k -- Well Done!  Also of note, Bill Arcieri finished with just 12 minutes to spare.  Bill writes: "...It was an interesting ride and I enjoyed it.  Scenery was gorgeous.  I also learned a couple of thing about PA farmers -- didn't know they work at night, for example. ..."

Nigel Greene writes: "...I just wanted to say a big THANKS to you and all the volunteers for putting on such a well run and memorable event. This was a truly beautiful course. I only wish I was a better photographer to better convey that. My attempts seem less than worthy.  But, I guess one of the perks of doing the ride is getting to see it first hand and there is no substitute. [Yes, I suppose that photos can't really substitute first-hand experience -- but I'd have to say that some of your shots come real close! -Tom R.]  Each of the volunteers was cheerful and helpful. Seeing each one was like meeting up with a friend.  I am a bit tired but its a good tired. The kind that comes from doing something hard but worthwhile. P.S. Please send a special thanks to Rick Carpenter for me.  Riding with him was a really great experience....I look forward to the next event. ..."
Once again, Nigel has captured a number of really great photos, which have been posted at:
I really liked this one in particular:
Nigel has also posted an excellent write-up at:

Rick Carpenter, up visiting from his new home base in N.C., writes: "...Tom and Andrew, This is by far one of my favorite routes of all, made possible through your collaborative efforts.  Truly remarkable and breathtaking. Here our some photos taken while traveling with my ride companion Nigel Greene; what an excellent time we had! ..."
[Thanks Rick -- pretty high praise from someone who's seen a lot of different areas! -Tom R.]

Bill Olsen, who usually is on the giving end of helping out with on-road bike repairs, had some good karma come back his way in the form of spare spoke.  Bill writes: "..Tom - Thanks for another great 400K!  It is always a pleasure to ride along the ridges along the Blue Mountains between the 2nd and 4th controles.  Although Gavin had no reason to carry the spoke in bag for a wheel he wasn't riding I was happy he admitted to being to "lazy" to have taken out when he was packing up on Friday night as it was just the size I needed for the one I broke just before Blondies and made the wheel "good as new." Much better than an emergency repair using the fiberspoke I had with me..."

Guy Harris writes: "...Thanks to all the volunteers for helping to provide a great ride. The New Ringgold to Jonestown portion is a good one - saw a bald eagle on Summer Hill Road in addition to the great views in the clear weather yesterday.  The route from Limerick back to hostel really works well..." [Yes, after trying many different routing options in this densely populated area, the current route seems to be working out the best. -Tom R]

Paul Scearce, looking to be the first to complete an Eastern PA SR series on a fixed gear, unfortunately came up a bit short.  Paul was one of two riders to check into a hotel along the way.  Paul writes: "...I really enjoyed the course you came up with.  I thought it was less challenging than when I rode it in '10.  At the same time it was quite scenic and, I think there was less traffic.  I'm not discouraged about the DNF.  ....  I also figure it isn't a challenge if success is a foregone conclusion.  With any luck, I'll see you in about 2 weeks for the 600k. ..." [On the 2010 edition, it was much hotter and very humid.  -Tom R.]

Len Zawodniak writes: "..Tom, tough course yesterday! I'm still recovering... Andrew [Mead] was  right about the section following his controle, death by a thousand little climbs- or something like that. I should have video from the crossing into Easton, we were like a small army tromping across that bridge! Thanks for getting the event set up so well.  I took some photos early in the day:. ..."

Joe Fillip writes: "...While the weather for the 400 Km wasn't hot in absolute terms, it sure was relatively speaking, given the long stretches of cool spring weather we've enjoyed this year. It was really a struggle to keep adequately hydrated on Saturday during the stretch from New Ringgold to Browntown, which coincides with the most challenging terrain on the route. I'm glad I finished, although I have to confess I felt a bit shattered on Sunday.  For all of that, it's an absolutely beautiful course, and it was (per your usual) an incredibly well run event. Thanks to you and to all of the volunteers for making it possible...."

Ed Dodd writes: "...Thanks to you and all the volunteers once again for a great event. I intend to ride the 600K and hope you can secure the same near perfect weather as you have for the last three brevets. ..."

Joe Brown writes: "..Hopefully the 600 will be a bit more cloudy and less hot than the 400 but I won't hold my breath.  The 400 was a beautiful course. ..."

Greg Conderacci, one of the three DC-area randonneurs clipping-in writes: "..Another Classic!   What a strange, beautiful and challenging ride! Don't know how you managed to keep us almost traffic-free for 250 miles, but you did it. Super scenery:  quaint Amish farms, meandering brooks, verdant hills, shady back roads.  And perfect PA weather to boot!  Many thanks!. ..."

Fellow DC Randonneur and Greg's riding partner, Andrea Matney writes: "..., loved the ride!  The ride was masterfully routed and kept us from busy roads down wiggly, squiggly roads.  Side effect -- felt like we were riding in circles.  Blue skies, low wind, gorgeous views, purple and white flowering bushes, fields of buttercups, tapestry fields, layers of mountain scape, and more.   We had every flavor of smell during the course. Many Mennonites and many of their farm animals, so lots of country air. . ... "

If you have any other photo albums or comments to share, please forward them to me, and I'll include them in the ride report for the PA Message board.

Special thanks to volunteers:
- Norman Smeal (preride checkout, course sweep at Limerick, and RBA rescue)
- Andrew Mead (course sweep at Brownstown, and the routing between New Ringgold and Jonestown -- how about those views of Blue Mountain and Second Mountain along Summer Hill Rd)
- Chris Nadovich (hostel setup and check-in)
- Glenn Ammons (hostel finish and post-ride meal)
- Christine Newman (hostel finish and hostel clean-up)
- Chris Roth (on-call for emergencies -- thankfully, not needed)

Next up, is the PA600 on June 2 and the New Holland 200k on June 3.  The 200k starts on day 2 of the 600k, and follows the same out and back course to New Holland.  PA600k Event details and the roster have been posted at:
New Holland 200k event details have been posted at:

Please send me a note by Thursday, May 31st, if you want to be added to the roster.  Be sure to include the course you'd like to ride, and any hostel reservations you'd like to make.  And as always, please monitor the website and message board for the latest updates.


-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Monday, May 14, 2012

Blue Mountain 400k

*** Update 2 (5/16/12) ***
The cuesheet has been updated to draft 11, dated 5/16/12 with:
- (Mile 202.4) a detour for the Harmonyville Rd bridge that is under construction
- several other minor clarifications

Some additional notes from the preride, compliments of volunteer Norman Smeal (who completed a 300k warm-up on Saturday, before his 400k checkout on Sunday):

68.4 - The sign for West Bowman Rd was present for the pre-ride.
74.0 - Ben Salem Rd was not marked. The Andreas 4 spotting cue identifies the turn.
77.9 - The BL onto Pine Hill is the middle option at this intersection.  Cold Spring continues straight and Andreas is the hard left.
111.9  - You are headed toward a closed bridge that is partially blocked with earthen mounds.  It is passible by bike.  Wild Cherry Rd is on the far side of the bridge.
114.8 - Fox Rd is unmarked.  It is a TL intersection.
118.8 - There is a Turkey Hill about 0.1m off course to the right in Pine Grove.
119.1 - Parallel Rd is unmarked.  It is the 2nd R after crossing Rt 443.  It's more of a bear right.
164.0 - The sign for Clay Rd on the QR side of the intersection is missing.  This is a TL+QR where Clay zig-zags across SR 322.
204 - The bridge on Harmonyville Rd remains closed for construction.  A bypass will be posted in an update once it is confirmed.
231.8 - The small stone bridge on Swamp Creek Rd remains under construction.  It is still passible by bike.

*** Update 1 (5/14/12) ***
A volunteer preride was completed on Monday.  There are a couple of bridges that are out and some other minor cuesheet issues that will necessitate a cuesheet update.  Another update will be posted later in the week, so be sure to check back on the website for a complete preride report from Normal Smeal and an updated cuesheet.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Monday, May 7, 2012

Water Gap 200k / 300k Preliminary Results and Report

Preliminary results for the Water Gap 200k / 300k 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.

The weather pattern for the past week had befuddled the forecasters, and Saturday was no exception to this trend.  The early morning showers in the forecast never materialized, and the mostly sunny forecast yielded to a day that was mostly overcast.  And seemingly out of nowhere, an isolated downpour in Rieglesville drenched the final finisher.  But there could hardly be any complaints about the nearly ideal weather for a full day in the saddle: temperatures at the start were around 60F, and topped out in the mid 70F's.

There were 30 starters for the 300k and 28 finishers; all 3 starters for the 200k finished.  Dan Aaron experienced a perplexing mechanical issue with his chain, which kept falling off.  Fellow randonneurs Paul Searce and Mordecai Silver both stopped to lend a hand, but could find no obvious problems.  So sadly, Dan and his riding partner Susan brevet was done.  Dan sent me this follow-up note: "...Thanks for your help yesterday.  Thanks also to Mordecai and Paul for helping me out on the road.  Turned out that meeting you at the next Controle, then getting back via the 200K route really wasn't practical as my chain was dropping every two minutes.  It would have taken us hours just to cover the remaining 15 miles to the next Controle.  After I spoke with you on the phone, I found a bike shop one block away.  It was a relatively low end shop primarily handling mountain bikes.  There were a couple of road bikes in the shop, and had I thought of it sooner I could have rented one of the road bikes and still finished the ride on time.The owner/mechanic couldn't fix my de-chaining problem but suspected it was due to a worn chain ring.  I dropped the bike off at my local LBS this morning.  The mechanic confirmed that my chain ring was worn and that the worn ring was probably causing my de-chaining problem.  Susan and I called a taxi to transport us back to Quakertown.  The dispatcher said that the fare would be about $130, and he would not be able to fit the bikes in the cab.  This meant that I would have to take the taxi to Quakertown and then drive back in my car to pick up Susan and the bikes.  As luck would have it, we ran into a group of cyclists on a local club ride.  Several of them offered to drive us and our bikes back to the hostel.  Needles to say, we cancelled the taxi.  Cyclists always seem to have that "pay it forward" attitude toward other cyclists...."

Fred Collins, Michelle Hughes, Chris Knight, Gary Mass, David Pawlyk, and Chris Roth completed their first 300k.  Of note, Michelle, was on her second brevet ever as well, having just recently finished the NJ200k.  I wonder if her next two rides will be a 400k and 600k?  Congratulations to each of them for reaching this milestone.  Chris Knight writes: "...AWESOME AGAIN TOM.  You and your group amaze me.  The whole club amazes me.  I thought I'd try to give PA-Randonneurs a little visibility in northern Delaware.  I'm a member of a local running club that has a newsletter.  Here is the link to my brief summary:"

Also of note, Paul Scearce completed the course on a fixed gear -- his goal is do the complete Easter PA SR series on a fixed gear (which would be a first), and he's well on his way.  Paul writes: "...Thanks for putting on a lovely ride yesterday.  You asked me at the end of the ride which hill was the worst on the fixed gear, but I can't think of one that was really terrible.  The long climbs weren't too steep, and the steep ones weren't too long.  I think your note at 65.3 sums it up: "You could have gotten Fox Gap".  I could tell a lot of preparation and effort went into the ride and that is very appreciated. ..."

First finisher Gavin Biebuyck made it around the 300k course in 12:48 -- over a half hour faster than the 200k time limit! Gavin has also recently notched a first finish and new course record for the Crush the Commonwealth event:
Geoff Brunner and George Metzler rolled in shortly afterwards.  George writes: "....Beautiful Spring ride yesterday.  We weren't the only people riding yesterday....saw many birders, boaters and fisherman out enjoying the day....  riding the Mine road climb in reverse was a welcome change, yes the descent is a little hairy but I enjoyed the change....Just how big is Still Water Lake?   Seemed like I was riding around for hours....I was thinking "still water" maybe some flat riding.  The water may be still...but geez only because it was locked in by the cliffs around it.! No complaints whatsoever about riding past the right turn onto Buckwampon rd as we ascended Gallows! Did anyone see Bill Olsen?  I think a tall skinny guy stole his bike and was riding it in the 300k.  I don't think that bike ever rode uphill that fast....Excellent ride, thoroughly enjoyed the company and special thanks to Geoff Brunner for bailing me out with "Fizz" by Hammer products for the cramping that hit me on the climb out of Reigelsville. ..."

George and Geoff are both headed to RAAM this year.  George will be participating in a 4-man team RAW race.  Geoff will be riding his second RAM solo race.  Since Geoff rode to and from the 300k start, he actually had a 400k day.  In order to finish RAM within the time limit, he'll have to string about ten 400k-days in a row.  And for a podium finish, he'll have to up that a notch to 500k each day.  Geoff is still looking for another person for his crew, and a randonneur would be a great addition -- contact me if you'd like to take advantage of this once-in-a-life-time opportunity to see RAAM up close.

Don Jagel also managed to squeak under the 200k time limit while riding the 300k.  Don writes: "...Thanks for putting together another great 300k.  Starting with the morning breakfast spread before the ride, through the bakery with too many selections at Water Gap, a really satisfying lunch at Hainesville, and then ending with your famous lasagna made for a fulfilling day. Rick C. and I had an enjoyable ride and conversation together up to Water Gap, hitting a thick fog bank after the decent down Blue Mountain.  From Water Gap, I rode the remainder alone, passing many birdwatchers through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, suffering up the Route 206 climb through Culvers Gap (my low point), and then enjoying the smooth pavement of Route 521 before the very familiar return to the Hostel.  I did run into Bill O. and Bill F. at the control in Bloomsbury who were taking a few minutes to get psyched for the last little leg back to the Hostel.  I appreciate your checking out the course in the bad weather conditions so we could all enjoy the ride in the best of weather conditions.  As always, your attention to detail and the amount of time and effort you put into organizing the brevet make it hard to have a less than a stellar ride (barring mechanicals, bonking, etc.). Also a large Thanks to Chris for manning the final control.  It is always good to see a familiar smiling face at the end of a long day ..."

Bill Olsen writes: "...Thanks for offering such a great ride yesterday.  Those that I was riding with all agreed that the 4AM start was just the thing to make it a perfect ride.  Not only did it help to minimize the amount of traffic we had at the New Street bridge it also meant that there was less traffic on Rt. 378.  I don't know how you did it but the overcast day never resulted in any major showers and had the sun stayed out much more than it did, we'd have had a hot one. The changes to the route coming up the Delaware and over Mine Road, as well as the return trip from Hainesville were also quite nice.  I was enjoying the new section of 521 but wasn't quite sure where I was (other than enjoying the beauty of Sussex County) until we took the sharp RHT at the bottom of the hill on 626 and I realized we were on the familiar Stillwater 200K routing.  Even the climb up Lehrenburg didn't seem so bad in the daylight! ..."

Nigel Greene writes: "...Thanks again for putting together another well run brevet. From route selection and pre and post ride feedings, to the accuracy of the cue sheet, every detail was covered...."

You can read Nigel's poetic ride report here:

And once again, Nigel has taken a bunch of really nice pictures, posted here:

In particular, this one:
... really caught my eye.  With the early morning shadows, rustic terrain, and two riders sharing a quiet meandering road, it really captures the essence of of randonneuring.

Christine Newman writes: "...Thanks for a great ride. Beautiful route - especially with Hunter Road replacing Buttwhumpin! And thanks for guaranteeing the perfect weather with your pre-ride soaking.
Thanks as well to Chris Nadovich for staffing the finish controle...." [BTW, You can thank Don Jagel for pointing out the better option to Buck Wampum Rd - Tom R.]

Christine also gotten an number of interesting pictures in her photo album posted  here:

Mordecai Silver writes: "...It was a wonderfully scenic route.  Your cue sheet was so clear that I didn't need to think about navigation.  It's been a number of years since I last was on Old Mine Rd on one of your brevets, and I think I enjoyed it more this way, going north, despite the rough descent (which wasn't so bad, in my opinion).  I really enjoyed the 10-mile section from Lehnenberg Rd up to Rte 563. I can imagine the enormous amount of painstaking work that went into planning this brevet -- oh, and excellent lasagna too.  Many thanks. ..."

Special thanks to volunteer Chris Nadovich, who manned the finish controle all day.  Chris has a photo album of the finishers here:

And speaking of volunteers, I'm still looking for help on the following events:
400k (May 19)
600k (June 2)
1000k (August 17)
Volunteers may pre-ride an event up to 15 days in advance.  However, a volunteer preride is primarily for volunteers who will be working the event (or perhaps another event in the future).  I've had a number of inquires lately about doing a preride due to a scheduling conflict,  However, the guidelines from RUSA-HQ state: "...A volunteers’ pre-ride is a favor to the volunteers who will put on a ride. It's not supposed to be a burden on you. A volunteers’ pre-ride is also not supposed to be a scheduling alternative. While the volunteers’ pre-ride is for the volunteers who will be working on the main event day, this is not an absolute rule and non-volunteer riders along provide an extra set of eyes on the cue sheet and company for the ride. Any such rider is probably a long-standing volunteer who helps out on lots of other club activities and rides. ..."  

Please drop me a note if you can take your turn to step up to help out.

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

Next up, is the Blue Mountain 400k.  Event details have been posted at:
Eastern PA members can register via e-mail (and get a $5 member discount and early registration discount extended to the Thursday before the event).

Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA