Monday, February 4, 2013

Beyond Hope to New Hope 200k Ride 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 certification.

Sixteen riders braved the frigid weather and clipped in at the start. The temperatures started out in the low teens, and never made it past the mid 20F's.  Bright sunshine at the start gave way to increasing clouds, which ultimately brought snow showers later in the afternoon.  Nearly half the field stuck together, arriving as first finishers just as the initial snow squalls struck late in the afternoon. The snow came earlier and heavier than forecasted, which certainly ratcheted up the "winter weather conditions" to a whole new level for the later finishers.  Ultimately, the cold weather gear was not up to the task for 2 riders, prompting an early withdrawal at the Milford controle.  And the deteriorating road conditions prompted another withdrawal, with just 12 miles to go.  While coming up short is a disappointment, it is always better to err on the side of safety and thankfully, everyone made it back OK, despite the challenging winter conditions.

Special thanks to organizer, Don Jagel, who went way beyond the call of duty as a volunteer.  In addition to his volunteer preride (with even colder conditions than Saturday) and getting everyone on their way at the start, Don shuttled 2 riders back to the start from Milford (adding another 90 miles or so to his day).  Thanks also, to organizer Bill Olsen for staffing the finish controle and making sure everybody was safely accounted for.

Chris Nadovich completed his first (and he tells me, his last) R-12.  As the final finisher, Chris saw the worst of the road conditions.  He writes: "...B-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r I r-r-r-realy er-r-r-r-rned this R-R-R-R-12. But if truth be told, I stayed comfortably warm most of the day. Venting tweeks of the shell. Good gloves. Good balaclava. Coffee. Booties. And chemical toe warmers. That was my strategy....
Epic ride! ...By the way, Tom, I appreciated you checking on me periodically as I rode in the snow.  This helped keep my mind in a good place. Following Norman's wheel tracks also helped. Of course, once I found Hope again,the rest was easy.  ..."

Norman Smeal writes: "...A little chilly to be called a great day for a ride, and the added snow fall makes the day a bit more memorable. Thank you Don, Bill and Tom for putting this ride together.
Until the next ride..."

Matt Farrell writes: "...The weather conditions yesterday proved why Hope to New Hope is a great choice for a winter brevet. With minor road ice and temp. well below freezing at the start the route choices were perfect. The group of us Chip, Bill F, Bill O, Tim and Gavin stayed together as a group for most of the ride. It made for a nice day to be in less than idea temps. We were fortunate to finish just as the snow started to fall.  I enjoyed the day sharing stories in the group. It's something that is often missed in my local club rides. Thanks goes to you, Don & Bill Olsen for your work in putting the ride on. ..."

Eric Keller also completed an R-12, composed of all Eastern PA events -- in doing so, he becomes only the 5th person to attain that distinction -- Well done!  Bill Olsen completed his 6th R-12 series, and has extended his streak of Eastern PA finishes to 29 months. Bill writes: "...had conditions at the start looked like those when I drove home, I would have ridden my daily commuter which is a fixie with studded Nokians.  Clair made the right decision to choose not to continue...."

Bob Dye writes: "...A big thanks to you, Don and Bill for another well organized ride. We've 
proved there is really very little difference between the terms bicycle and icicle. ..."

Chip Adams writes: "... Tom, thank you for another great ride.  Thanks to Don and Bill for getting us on the road and making sure everyone was accounted for.   I suffered a minor mechanical when I was approaching New Hope.  My shift lever for the rear D stopped up shifting and pedaled the last 6 miles into the WaWa in my 28.   I never could  figure out how to release the tension.  The cable was still tight so I figured it wasn't broken.  I was pretty sure no moisture had gotten inside frozen.  I ended up releasing the tension on the derailleur and letting it slide outward  and picked up a good cruising mid-range gear.  There it was locked in and I was able to use it between my big and small chainring.  It worked well, but on the flats I couldn't keep up with Gavin.  We had a good group of riders with Matt, Bill F, Bill O, Gavin, and Tim.  We had Jon, I believe, on his fixed gear in there for most of it...
This ride is one of my favorites and I'll look forward to coming back for another go at it next year..."

First time participant Amit Shah writes: "...thanks to Don for helping me with a ride back. Looking back now, I absolutely regret quitting. Should have stuck around and finished the ride! I definitely want to join for March ride  ..."

This concludes the Eastern PA winter schedule.  But Spring is right around the corner, and what better way to kick-off the spring schedule on March 23rd than with the Spring Forward 200k.  Organizer Andrew Mead has made some route tweaks to improve what already was a great tour of Lancaster county.

Also, if you're planning to participate in the Eastern PA Fleche on April 5th, now is a good time to start putting your team together and planning your route.  Route submissions are due by March 22nd.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA