Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hawk Mountain 200k

*** Update #2 (9/7) ***
Don Jagel has put together a webpage that shows all of the SPOT GPS trackers on a single page:

*** Update #1 (9/6) ***
The cuesheet has been updated to Draft 9, dated 9/6/12.  This update includes some minor corrections and clarifications from the recent volunteer prerides.  Based on the current weather forecast, it looks like it would be good idea to laminate your cuesheet!

In order to help coordinate the volunteers, 5 SPOT GPS trackers will be handed out to selected riders.  The PA Randonneurs tracking website is at this link:

Norman Smeal's SPOT tracker:

Don Jagel's SPOT tracker:

*** Original Post ***
Pennsylvania Randonneurs presents The Hawk Mountain 200 for the September R12 series.  This year's route has been tweaked to avoid the traffic on Rt 72 through the Swatara Gap.  Event details have been posted at:

A pre-ride course checkout was conducted this past Saturday and a confirmatory trip is planned for Wednesday.  The route features a few stretches of fresh pavement which offer great improvement over the former rough chip-seal and the tweaks are certainly memorable.  A final updated cue sheet will be posted on the PA Randonneurs website Thursday afternoon.  As always, follow this message board for any last-minute updates.

Reminder: Sundown is 7:21PM.  While it certainly is possible to finish before then, unforeseen circumstances may keep you out on course longer than anticipated, so lights and reflective gear are strongly recommended.  If you are out riding past sundown without lights and reflective gear, a DQ will be the least of your problems!

It's always a good idea to start with a hearty breakfast and The Pancake Farm in Ephrata is just around the corner from the starting location.  It opens at 5:15am ... directions are on the event webpage.

One final note:  please park along the east side of the K-Mart parking lot (furthest away from the Turkey Hill) so we minimize our impact on K-Mart's customer parking.

Those planning to clip in so far include:

*** As of 9/6/12 ***

1 James Aspras
2 Clair Beiler
3 Gavin Biebuyck
4 Jeffery S Butt
5 Jonathan Clamp
6 Timothy Creyts
7 Eric Dahl
8 Matthew Farrell
9 William Fischer
10 Scott Franzen
11 Donald Jagel
12 Eric Keller
13 J Michael Lutz
14 Andrew D Mead
15 William Olsen
16 Tom Rosenbauer
17 William M Slabonik
18 Norman Smeal
19 Keith A Spangler
20 Ivan M Umble

Drop me or Tom a note by Thursday, September 6th, if you would like to join the roster.

-Andrew Mead, Organizer
-Tom Rosenbauer, RBA

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August R-12 Hawks Nest 200k Report

Preliminary results for the Aug 4th event have been posted at:
Results will become final, pending, RUSA certification.

Last year, this ride attracted 16 riders -- twice as many as the 8 we had this year.  I know of at least 4 or 5 riders that were planning to ride, but had circumstances arise to keep them from clipping in.  Other potential riders probably took a look at the hot weather in the forecast, and had the good sense to stay at home in the air conditioning.  But that did not deter a handful of regular riders and 3 newcomers from clipping in, including yours truly -- who in truth, had doubts as to whether this was really a good idea, given my limited riding since June.  But despite some rather hot riding conditions in the early afternoon, all 8 riders finished for another 100% finish rate -- congratulations, and well done!

Of note, Kerin Huber from Pasadena, CA, took advantage of a business trip to State College to ride with us -- bagging 3 states for the new RUSA America Explorer award. Kerin writes: "...Thanks for a very nice route, Tom.  I really enjoyed the country roads, green hills, and beautiful views at Hawk's Nest.  Bill and Eric were nice enough to ride with me the whole time, so I had good company and didn't have to worry about getting lost.  I hope to ride another Eastern PA brevet some day. ..."

Philip Borba from Connecticut and Gerhard Dohne from NJ were also first time Eastern PA participants -- welcome, and hope to see you again, soon. Gerhard writes: "...This was my first PA Randonneur brevet and I just wanted to thank Tom and Bill and the others for the friendly reception in the morning. The ride was very scenic and really well laid out with lots of shade and stops in places where it was possible to refuel. Old mine road is tough as nails, in particular with a 39x25(go figure...). I was happy to finish with Bob and Norman, who kept me motivated on the hills in the latter part of the course - Thanks guys ..."

Phil Borba writes: "...I want to commend a nice piece of brevet work by RBA Tom Rosenbauer.  The development of the route and the organizing, execution, and followup for the brevet were superb.  The route was challenging but fair.  The cue sheet was very clear and it was nice that most turns were at “T” intersections, stop signs, or traffic lights.  The climbing was manageable, the countryside very pleasant, and the scenic vista from Hawk’s Nest was one of the best I have seen on a brevet.  (Note to future riders: take a camera and stop to take a picture at Hawk’s Nest.)  The route through eastern PA, southern NY, and western NJ was much prettier than I expected. I also want to send a public “thank you” to Kerin, Bill, and Eric for their willingness to slow their brevet riding down to my pedestrian speed.  I will long remember their camaraderie and good-natured conversation.   Their company turned a nice ride into a great brevet. Although this was my first Eastern PA brevet, I intend to do more brevets under Tom’s direction. ..."

Bill Olsen writes: "... Thanks again for continuing to run the PA R-12 series.  Yesterday was a scorcher which might have limited participation but we ALL had a GREAT time.  The cool breezes out of the shaded areas were a welcome relief from the "oppressive" sun (in those relatively few open areas of the course).  The "ever cheerful" Phil kept reminding us - but perhaps to reinforce to himself - that it was all about the camaraderie of getting out yesterday to ride together and enjoy each others' company, and in this respect the day was a winner. ..."

The real trick in organizing and running these events is to end up with the same number of riders that you started with -- and safety is always a primary concern.  To that end, I've been evaluating SPOT GPS tracking for use on brevets.  The SPOT tracker allows positions to be reported at a regular interval and posted to a website:

PA1 through PA3, were Philip B., Eric K., and Bill O., respectively.  The website shows the last 50 or so positions that show up on the map for each rider.  You can page through the earlier positions, by clicking on the controls in the left pane.  The SPOT tracker has buttons to report preprogrammed status messages, or to call for help -- a nice safety feature for brevets that head out into remote areas without cell phone coverage.

For next month's R-12, we head over to Hawk Mountain.  But before then, we have the Endless Mountains 1000k on August 17th for those of you looking for a truly epic adventure.  Details have been posted at:
Registration closes on August 10th.