Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Morgantown 200 Ride Report

Preliminary results have been posted at:
http://users.rcn.com/trosenbauer/PA200k_Results130105.pdf... please let Tom know of any corrections or other issues.  Results will be submitted this week, and become final, pending RUSA certification.

Twenty-one riders clipped in for the inaugural running of the Morgantown 200 route to kick off their 2013 randonneuring season.  This new route promised to be kinder and gentler than the Pennsylvania Dutch 200 route we have used to kick off each new year for the past few years.  If this route is any kinder or gentler, then it is not much so.  The combination of a persistent headwind for the 55 miles to Middletown, temperatures that started in the mid-20s and never climbed out of the 30s all day, and roughly 8500 feet of elevation gain made for a tough day.  At least the sun was shining and roads were free from ice.
A strong group of riders including Gavin Biebuyck, Jeffrey Butt, Jon Clamp, Matt Farrell, Bill Fischer, and Norman Smeal set a benchmark fast time of 9:37 on this new route, reaching the finish just as darkness fell.  The rest of the riders took a more leisurely approach, perhaps stopping at the Subway in Columbia for real food or pausing to take in the scenery.   I particularly enjoyed the turn at Middletown and finally having the wind at my back for a while.  The good company of Mike Lutz, Bill Olsen, Clair Beiler, and Pete Phillips made the return trip all the more pleasant. 

Volunteer Bill Slabonik was on hand at the Brickerville and Middletown controles to handle check-in duties and offer friendly encouragement as the riders faced the wind and then at the finish to welcome riders back.   Volunteer help makes a HUGE difference on brevets, so be sure to thank Bill the next time you see him.  He promises to join us on two wheels (or maybe 3) soon.

Misfortune struck for regular rider Doug Haluza when he crashed along Yoder Rd resulting in a broken collarbone, a few cracked ribs, and a trip to the hospital.  Thankfully riders Janice Chernekoff, Chris Nadovich, and John Peltier were nearby and able to contact Emergency Services and stay with Doug until the EMTs arrived.  Doug writes: "In spite of all the other mechanical problems I've had, this is my first DNF on a brevet.... I remember sprinting uphill out of the saddle, and riding in the ambulance, but nothing in-between..."  John Pelteir reports: " ...I was only about 20 yds behind Doug and saw the entire thing. We had just crested a hill on Yoder and as we were going down into a dip before another slightly lower crest, Doug decided to power through the dip and honk up the next rise.  I was coasting and I estimate he was going about 30 MPH.  About 2/3 of the way up the hill it literally looked like his back wheel shot to the right as if it was "sprung".  ....  Afterwards, I did see that the chain was both off the big side of the crank chainwheel and that it was partly sucked up into the rear cogs, so it appears that the crash was likely caused by a jammed chain after a bad shift while climbing out of the saddle...." Chris reports, “I've carried a space blanket with me for the last 5 years -- including at PBP -- never using it ‘till yesterday. As it turned out, the ambulance arrived well before Doug started to chill, but at least I now feel justified for having toted the silly thing 20,000 miles.  Doug was released from the hospital on Sunday and is expected to recover just fine.  This group then remained on the scene until support crew extraordinaire Bill Slabonik arrived to retrieve Doug’s bicycle.  The calm actions of this trio earned them the Outstanding Randonneur Award for the ride.  I can only hope that they are nearby should I ever need them. 
Don Jagel comments:
"Thank you for putting together the Morgantown 200k (AKA Turkey Hill Tour). The cue sheet was perfect, with great spotting cues, especially since you had not actually completed a preride of the course. Hats off to your excellent car scouting.

We definitely could not have asked for much better weather for the begining of January. After I pushed too hard into the the headwind (you would think I would know better by now), I found myself having to knock it back a bit. This led to an afternoon of slow climbs giving me a chance to take in all of the sights and smells of Lancaster County. On a short climb, after turning onto Stony Lane, I was almost out-pace by a power walker. Definitely humbling, and my low point of the day, although I did have to chuckle at the sad state I was in. The afternoon also led to the "kinder and gentler" (flatter with a slight tailwind) portion of the ride that gave me a chance to recover slightly.

This is a great ride with a nice diversity of terrain, scenery, and Turkey Hill stores. Also, a great thanks to Bill Slabonik for all of his wonderful support and cheerfully meeting us at the controls. The effort Bill put in to making it around the course to greet everyone is really appreciated. I also understand that that Doug hit the deck at some point during the day. Hopefully Doug will have a speedy recovery and make it back next month.
Thanks again,
Don Jagel"

Janice Chernekoff responds:
"I wanted to let you know that I enjoyed yesterday's route very much. The navigation issues that we discussed last night seemed to all occur in the last 25 miles of the route. Until then, the cue sheet worked very well and the scenery along the back roads was peaceful and quite lovely. Even the temperature became mild for a while in the afternoon. My plan had been to get very close to Strasburg before dark but obviously that didn't happen after the accident delay. Last night was long and cold, for you and Bill as well as for us, I'm sure. I'll look forward to riding this route again when it's not quite so cold and hopefully without having to see someone go flying off of his bike. In any case, I wanted to thank you for hosting the ride, and please, could you pass my gratitude along to Bill as well."

Note thet the cue sheet contained a mileage error at mile 123.3 which confused several riders trying to find their way back in the dark. Tom and I have located the source of the error and corrected the cue for future use.

Chris Nadovich also commented on the "kinder, gentler" aspects of the route:
"Thanks for an "interesting" ride through beautiful countryside -- beautiful day and night. I'm not sure about the "Kinder, Gentler" adjectives in the ride description. It was decidedly rolling, as my sore back is now telling me."

Thanks to all who came out to ride and especially those who helped out with our emergency. 

Next up is the Beyond Hope to New Hope brevet on February 2.  Details are posted at http://users.rcn.com/trosenbauer/R12ClubFeb3.html
Andrew Mead


  1. I wanted to thank Thomas and Eric from State College for letting me join them on the Morgantown 200k. Thomas and I saw a shooting star while riding through the darkness heading to the finish. How cool is that!

  2. Hey Keith - we enjoyed your company as well. I was starting to get grumpy that last hour or so and you kept me going. That star was really something else. Only the second one I have seen in my life. Was an unexpected surprise, for sure.