Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Stillwater 200k

*** Update #3 (11/9) ***
The cuesheet has been updated to draft 8: the controle open/close times have been updated to reflect the new start time of 06:30 (no course changes).  The following are some additional items to be aware of:
- There may still be some road debris left over from Hurricane Sandy.  Keep away from any downed power lines, and watch for small twigs that might get caught in your wheel.  Also, watch out for any partially fallen trees that have not been cleared yet -- there was one that partially obstructed the road on Polkville-Kill Rd around mile 121 last weekend.
- Controle #4 in Lafayette is now open for business.
- There is a bridge closed at mile 126.4 but it is passable by foot.

*** Update #2 (11/7) ***
The start time has been changed from 07:30 to 06:30.  This change will maximize the amount of daylight riding, and minimize the time later finishers will need to pick their way through any road debris in the dark.  This change also compensates for the change from daylight savings time (which was in effect before the event was rescheduled).  Unfortunately, the Mount Bethel diner opens at 6 AM, so if you want to have breakfast, the truck stop across the river in Columbia, NJ would be a better option.  There's a 24-hr Travel Center and McDonald's off the Rt 80 access road (which you will be passing by near the finish).

*** Roster (as of 11/9) ***

1 Jeffery S Butt
2 Laurent Chambard
3 William Fischer
4 Diane Goodwin
5 Doug Haluza
6 Donald Jagel
7 Eric Keller
8 Robin C Landis
9 William Olsen
10 Tom Rosenbauer
11 Norman Smeal

*** Update #1 (11/5) ***
I recently scouted portions of the course.  All controles, with the exception of #4 in Lafayette, NJ are open for business.  Controle #5 in Stillwater is running off of a generator and plans to be open on Saturday, but of course, will have limited food selections.  As you can imagine, several areas still have debris on the side of road, including many small twigs and some downed power lines.  I encountered some road closures on Rt 521 near Stillwater, but these are passable by foot.

The larger towns, for the most part, all seemed to have power.  While riding through the sparsely populated backroads, the drone of generators was quite evident.  However, I saw many utility crews working in these areas; so slowly but surely, the clean-up and recovery efforts are progressing.

*** Original Post ***
Due to the effects of hurricane Sandy, the Stillwater 200k originally scheduled for November 3rd, has been postponed until November 10th.  Hopefully, clean-up and recovery efforts will progress enough by then to allow us to safely ride.

If you plan to participate, please drop me a note by Thursday, November 8th.

Be sure to monitor the message board and website for updates, as we assess the course conditions in the coming week:

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

PA150/200k Report

Preliminary results have been posted at:
... please let me know of any corrections or other issues.  Results will be submitted this week, and become final, pending RUSA/ACP certification.

The October 150/200k is one of my favorite events of the year -- and this year's edition is certainly one that was quite memorable for the fantastic weather, colorful foliage, fresh pavement, and excellent results.  Of course, the weather forecast earlier in the week looked like this event might be memorable, in a "epic character building" sort of way -- thankfully, the last of the torrential rain storms cleared out of the area, merely 6 hours before the start.  But then again, picking a date with "good" weather, is one of the most important jobs of an RBA!

At one point, there were 31 registered riders for the combined 150/200k.  25 made it to the start, with 9 opting for the 150k -- a nice increase over the number we had last year.  All 25 starters (including 2 preriders) made it around the course in very good time for another 100% finish rate.  And quite remarkably, all 13 of the 200k starters on Saturday (who came with gears) all finished in under 10 hours.  While this PA200k edition was missing a few of the "signature" climbs like Lower Saucon Valley and Lommasson Glen, it far from an easy course.  Congratulations to everyone, for such an excellent result, and more importantly, for riding safely through the early more fog and wet leaves.

Of note, Joe Kratovil completed the 200k on a fixed-gear, and still managed to finish under 11 hours.  And he did this by adding at least 8 bonus miles -- about half of these were on the other side of Fox Gap, since he missed the first turn past the info controle at the top, and went all the way down to Bangor.  But at least now, Joe can indeed confirm that the climb up to Fox Gap is much harder with the approach from Cherry Valley, than the one from Bangor!  Joe's 200k finish completed his K-hound challenge, and since all his brevets this year were on a fixed-gear, he can claim that he's now a fixed K-hound dog!   Joe writes: " ..Thanks for the great ride yesterday.  Despite my mental lapses in navigation it was a most enjoyable day on the bike.  I checked my RUSA k's and discovered that prior to the PA 200k I had exactly 9,800.  With the 200k credit for yesterday that will be 10,000k on the button.  Purely by accident and not design, as many of the RUSA permanents finish in odd numbers I never expected to hit it exactly. I hope to see you on future PA rides...."

Recently minted PBP ancien, Christine Newman also rode a fixed gear, and writes: "... Thanks for a great ride yesterday - I think 150K is my new favorite distance.  I saw some folks at the finish I usually only see at the start! The route was beautiful, the leaves seemed to be peaking and the weather was wonderful. If it weren't for all the hills the ride would have been perfect..."
Christine took a bunch of really great photos which have been posted here:

Hugo Safar introduced his son Julian to randonneuring by riding the 150k together.  Hugo writes: "..Just a quick note to thank you for the ride and BBQ!  it was a great day, and both Julian and I enjoyed it is quite a pleasure to participate in an event like this with your son...look forward participating in more PA rides, completing the series next years is my goal. ..."

Dave Thompson, on his way from Canada back to Florida, rode the PA150k in his quest for the RUSA cup challenge.  Dave writes: "...Thanks again Tom for your efforts pre-riding, putting on the ride, feeding us, great communication -- what can I say!  ... I'm starting to understand a little of what volunteers mean to these organizations with all the work that I'm doing with Randonneurs Ontario right now as Treasurer and playing a significant role in planning for the Granite Anvil 1200k..."

Bill Olsen writes: " ...Tom - Thanks for the great ride yesterday.  You couldn't have asked for a better day, and as an added bonus, all of the climbs had been recently paved.  Stats Road and Geigel Hill Road were so smooth one hardly noticed the climb. :-) ... "

Andrew Mead writes: "...After 5 years it was really nice to be able to make the Fall Classic 200k.  I enjoyed catching up with old rando buddies and meeting a few new ones.  I fell off the lead group at Wind Gap and solo'd my way to Portland where I met up with Robin Landis.  He and I rode together from Portland on.  We had a great ride, good conversation, and kept each other motivated to keep our wheels turning.  Route and cue were top notch as always and plenty of fresh asphalt made for smooth sailing down several scenic descents.  The BBQ at the end made me forget all about those Pennsylvania "rollers" in that last leg ..."

And speaking of old rando buddies, former NJ RBA Diane Goodwin joined us for the 150k.  As many of you may know, I got my start as an RBA by first working as a volunteer under the guidance of Diane.  Diane writes: "...Thanks for the awesome ride yesterday....As usual, everyone had a good time. I'm just now realizing how uncommon that is on club special events, where there's usually complaints about something...."

Don Jagel writes: "..Thank you for all the hard work you did in getting the 200k/150k brevet together.  Your continued effort is really appreciated by everyone more than you can imagine.  The task of putting together two cue sheets, preriding to verify the cues, keeping tabs on everybody, and then getting together great pre and post ride meals is more than anyone should ever expect from one superhuman person.... The ride was about as perfect as an autumn ride can get.  The wet roads and scattered leaves kept the pace reasonable from the start, allowing for good conversation and time to take in the scenery.  The climb up Staats Road was made a little less painful with the new, smooth asphalt.  The traffic was surprisingly heavy when I went up Red Cliff Road, as the other nearby roads (Bridgeton Hill and Jugtown) were closed for construction leaving Red Cliff as the only access for the locals. I did enjoy riding along Geigle Hill Road for a change. The asphalt conditions were very good, it was a good change of scenery, and the traffic was light as a result of the covered bridge closure.  Now if someone would only put in a bridge, or a ferry across Lake Nockamixon so Rt 313 could be avoided the ending would be perfect..." [alternatively, you could also stay on Old Bethlemhem Rd instead of following 3 Mile Run at the end -- the only problem through, is that the road is probably buried under 6 feet of muck, as it passes under Lake Nockamixon (which of course was formed when they built the dam) -Tom R.].

If you have any other comments to share, you can forward them to me for inclusion on the message board ride report.

Special thanks to Chrintine Newman for the pasta salad and Hugo Safar for the cheese cake.  Thanks also, to Eric Keller for the volunteer preride.  The R-12 series continues next week with the Stillwater 200k on November 3.  Event info has been posted at:
... with a bit of luck, there'll still be some fall foliage left to enjoy!

-Tom Rosenbauer, RBA