Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Stillwater Retour 200k Report

Len Zawodniak headed towards the  Lackawanna Viaduct
(photo by Christine Newman)

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 certification.

For the second time in a row, a scheduled event had to be postponed due to weather -- this time, a last minute freezing rain advisory issued Friday afternoon was the cause.  While Sunday proved a much safer day for riding, the mid 50F's that were promised in the forecast never materialized.  Despite foggy conditions that persisted for most of the morning and mostly overcast skies, there can't be too many complaints about the weather for a December ride: the high 30F's at the start were certainly above average, and the adverse winds were limited to the segment from Lafayette to Great Meadows.  The sun did manage to make a brief appearance in the afternoon, warming things up briefly to the high 40F's; and thankfully, the heavy rain showers held off until the last finishers were safely in and eating pizza at the finish controle.

The roster originally had around 24 riders, which is a pretty good number for a December event.  But due to the postponement and dense fog in the morning, only 15 were able to make to the start. All 15 starters made it around the course in very good time for another 100% finish rate: congratulations to everyone, for another excellent result.  The threat of rain in the late afternoon provided a motivation to get around the course efficiently as possible.  The first riders made it in with a time of 8:47, well before the evening rains.  The later finishers saw a few spritzs, but beat the heavier rain showers by a good hour.

Of note, Gloria Safar completed her first PA brevet -- congratulations!

Bill Fischer writes: "...as always, thanks for a terrific brevet Sunday.  Our group of 5 kept things moving and made short stops in an effort to get in before the rains appeared.  I hope everyone else was as fortunate.  Although it remained overcast, temperatures were reasonably comfortable while riding.  It was good to see all the signs of post-Sandy recovery throughout the course.  Happy Holidays to all, I look forward to seeing everyone in January!..."

Bob Dye writes: "...Another hearty thank you to you and Bill for the opportunity to punish myself in bucolic NJ and PA.  I was amazed at the scarcity of traffic. There were so few cars on the road, I thought the world may have ended and we were  the last to find out. I hope everyone who does any of your rides remembers to vote in the RUSA elections....." [Thanks Bob! -- you can cast your vote electronically by following this link:  http://parandonneurs.blogspot.com/2012/11/rusa-elections.html  ]

Christine Newman writes: "...
Thanks for another great ride - and for changing the date so it fit my schedule! 

Although the sun flirted with us only a few times, the rain managed to hold off until the drive home. With the grey skies and the bits of snow on the ground, it truly felt like the first ride of the winter. 
And here is a link to some information about some places along the route. Len was explaining the origin of  the name "Foul Rift" so I hunted around the internet for more info. It's quite the historic region
Christine took a number of really great pictures, which are posted here:
... there are a couple of photos of tunnels and viaducts which were a part of the Lackawanna Cutoff, an engineering marvel created in the early 1900's.  For a fascinating read on this, check out this link:

Len Zawodniak writes: "...I had a good time riding along with Chris and Christine. The early and extended foggy morning lent a dreamy quality to the landscape. Sounds and colors were subdued. It took 3 years for me to learn to ride fast when I first started Randonneuring, It has taken another 7 years for me to learn how to ride slow! There are so many details that I notice during each minute of the ride, the vast majority are lost in the flow of the road and time. Many are not quite forgotten, but wait to be remembered, like that small farm pond that always seems to be the first one frozen and the last to thaw. New this year was the smell of wood from a backyard smoker. I wanted to see what was in that little shed.
   Much of the time spent riding alone is filled with music, mostly ( for the benefit of the general public) playing in my head. If I were unfortunate enough to pass "Penny Lane " along the course, i would sing it internally for 15 or 20 minutes, blending and warping it seamlessly into other songs bearing only a passing resemblance of a few notes or merged guitar solos. This rides free association trigger award goes to Christine- who told a story about long distance riding with a younger rider, and his statement that the other riders seemed so old. That launched me into a rendition of Little Feats "Old Folks Boogie"- so appropriate for this ride: "You know that you're over the hill, when your mind makes a promise that you're body can't fill" . In this case, If you get over the hill, you're not.   Thanks for another great ride! Len ..."

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 organizers Andrew Mead and Bill Olsen for their good advice on rescheduling the event as the weather forecast deteriorated.  Bill also staffed the finish controle, and was there to greet all the riders.

This concludes the 2012 calender of events... and the last couple of events have certainly have been most "eventful", whew!  Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be working on the year-end mailing which includes your validated brevet cards, 2012 season recap, and the 2013 calender of events.  The 2013 season kicks off on Jan 5th with a brand new course compliments of organizer Andrew Mead.  The start/finish will be in Morgantown, PA, and is designed with winter road conditions in mind.  Andrew also promises that this ride will be a bit more kinder and gentler than the PA Dutch 200k we've run in recent years in January (we'll soon find out if that hold true!); Event details we be posted shortly.

And speaking of the new year, John Lee Ellis has sent out this reminder from RUSA-HQ: "..You may wish to remind your riders to renew their RUSA membership (if expiring 12/31) ... before the distractions of the holiday season:
That way they'll be all set for that early-season event or permanent. Thanks and happy year-end riding! ..."

-Tom Rosenbauer, RBA


  1. Christine - thanks for the "New Jersey Skylands" link - some facinating history about the roads we frequent in the area....

  2. Tom - thanks for the Wikipedia link. I love those viaducts - really beautiful!

  3. Christine, I would like to echo Bill Fischer's appreciation of that Skylands link -- it cover's many of the roads we use on PA brevets. I now have some things I need to take a closer look at! -Tom Rosenbauer, Eastern PA RBA