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

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