Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Forward 200k Ride Report

Photo Compliments of Rick Carpenter

“Have a great ride and stay safe.”  Those were my parting words to 26 riders starting the Spring Forward 200k brevet.  After the "eventful" January and February PA brevets, I was hoping for an uneventful day.  I wasn’t disappointed as all 27 starters finished within the time limit for a 100% completion rate.  Results are posted at  Please let Tom know of any corrections or other issues.  Results will be submitted this week, and become final, pending RUSA certification. 

The Spring Forward brevet route and the permanent on which it is based have been enjoyed by many over since its creation in 2009.  After a fall filled with numerous scouting rides around the area, I decided to see if the route could be improved.  My similar effort to develop a “kinder, gentler” 200k for PA Randonneurs in January didn’t quite work out as intended, but I was cautiously optimistic this time. 

Clear skies greeted the riders as we assembled for the check in and the sun soon appeared to offset the chilly temperatures.  Unfortunately, the winds that plagued the Lancaster area all week soon picked up and offset the reduced elevation gain on the course.  On the plus side, riders were treated with a wonderful 15 mile, generally downhill and tailwind stretch from the top of the White Oak climb into the Parkesburg controle that put a smile on everyone’s face.  Being spring, riders were also treated to some of the finest farm aromas Lancaster County has to offer and the winds assured that those aromas were well dispersed along the byways.

Undaunted by the wind, first finisher Patrick O’Donnell showed that it’s ALL about the engine as he rolled in to set a new course record on his Surly Long Haul Trucker.  Not far behind were Kate Marshall and Victor Urvantsev who are preparing for another shot at this summer’s Endless Mountains 1240.  They look to be on track for a strong season.  Several riders finished the final 26 mile into the headwind slog to log very respectable sub-10 hour times.  Rider Tim Creyts left his overly freewheeling freewheel at home this week and along with Rudi Mayr notched a first PA brevet finish.   Congratulations!

As always, thanks to PA Randonneur Volunteer of the Year nominee Bill Slabonik who helped with check-in and greeted riders at several of the controles.  Bill along with George Metzler helped me with the final cue sheet checks when my planned pre-ride fell victim to a crush of work in February and early March.  Curtis Palmer also stepped up to help out at the finish so I could ride the event.  It’s these guys that make it possible, at least for me. 

From RBA Tom Rosenbauer:  "With the many route tweaks, one of my favorite Eastern PA routes was even better this around.  My favorite section was the stretch after the White Oak climb into the penultimate controle.  And most memorable on this segment, was the silhouetted view of a 6-horse team plowing a field on a distant ridge.

Appearances can be deceiving, as any rider knows, who has been chased down by one of the many Cat-1 Amish women on a scooter with firewood in a basket.  And Patrick O'Donnell, on his Long Haul Trucker with jeans and sneakers, hardly had the appearance of a typical first finisher.  But Patrick was not only a first finisher, he set a new course record as well -- I present to you the most important component to make a bike go fast!"

Kate Marshall writes:  “It was great to be back riding in PA and seeing familiar faces. We enjoyed the scenic vistas- a treat to see farmers standing on plows pulled by horse teams- organic aromas abounded- a great route overall.  We were pacing ourselves to train for EM1240- getting the most from the daylight, so we missed socializing but enjoyed chatting with the triumphant first finisher- forgot his name – [Patrick O’Donnell] but he was awesome. My chain jammed after the 4th control, which resulted in a bent derailleur and no big ring for the rest of the ride.  That was okay because between the hills and brutal headwinds I didn't need it!  Thanks for everything and hope to see you all soon.”

A bit chilly at the start, Spring?  That finishing headwind will not be forgotten.  It made for one 25 mile hill to conclude the event. Another great ride.  Thank you and Andrew for putting the ride together.  Thank you Bill S. for managing the controles.  Norman Smeal

From Bill Fischer:  Tom – thanks to you and Andrew for a wonderful 200k yesterday.  The route changes were absolutely beautiful and I believe this new route would in fact have been “kindler and gentler” had it not been for the ugly headwind at the end……

Says Bill Olsen "Tom and Andrew - Thanks for laying out such a beautiful routing.  Still a couple of steep climbs but they didn't seem as bad as I remembered them, perhaps because of the sunshine that made the day appear to be warmer than it really was.  Thanks also for they strong tailwinds mid-course.  They came just when I needed them. And of course, just like the climbing we've come to expect on the PA brevets, I'll be thankful for the extra training I got pushing the headwinds at the start and finish when I'm out riding a randonnee this summer.  Fighting a headwind is almost more mentally challenging than a long climb, as one isn't immediately rewarded with a tailwind as one is with a downhill immediately following a climb, or more frequently a climb following a nice descent."

Finally, Rick Carpenter writes:  Thanks again for hosting the first brevet of the PAR 2013 ride calendar, and a most fitting start to my seventh season of Randonneuring. 

Rick has posted pictures from the ride at:

Next up is the Fleche on April 4 – 7 followed by a PA 200/300k brevet event on April 20.

Andrew Mead
- organizer

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spring Forward 200k

*** Update #1 (3/21)***
The cuesheet has been updated to draft 2, dated 3/20/13,  with several corrections and clarifications.  Be sure to always use the "refresh" button on your browser, in order to update any stale, cached pages.  There is one additional minor correction that slipped through the cracks and did not make it to draft 2: The "SS" at mile 35.9 has recently been changed to a "TFL" -- since this cue was mainly for spotting and caution, it is of little consequence but you can mark-up your copy of the cuesheet, if you like.

*** Original Post ***
The Eastern PA spring schedule begins on March 23rd with the Spring Forward 200k.  Organizer Andrew Mead has put together a beautiful course through the quiet backroads of Lancaster.  The 2013 edition is newly revised with many improvements.  Event details have been posted at:

The Pancake Farm offers a fantastic preride breakfast.  Afterwards, we'll gather at Two Cousin's Pizza down the road from the finish.  Directions are posted on the event webpage.

With just a little over 12 hours of daylight, lights and reflective gear will be checked at the start, unless you have previously completed this course in less than 11 hours.  A course checkout is in the works, so be sure to check for cuesheet updates, which will be posted on the PA Randonneurs website:

Organizer Andrew Mead is looking for another volunteer or two to help out with this event -- you can sign-up at:

Please send me a note by Thursday, if you'd like to join the roster.

*** Ride Roster (as of 3/21) ***

1 Michael Anderson
2 Dan Barbasch
3 Clair Beiler
4 Gavin Biebuyck
5 Bob Burdalski
6 Jeffery S Butt
7 Timothy Creyts
8 Eric Dahl
9 Matthew Farrell
10 William Fischer
11 Nigel Greene
12 Steve Harding
13 Donald Jagel
14 Eric Keller
15 Christopher Anson Knight
16 Robin C Landis
17 Kate Marshall
18 Rudi Mayr
19 Andrew D Mead
20 Frankie Milliman
21 Chris Nadovich
22 Patrick S O Donnell
23 William Olsen
24 Peter C Phillips
25 Tom Rosenbauer
26 Chris Roth
27 Norman Smeal
28 Ivan M Umble
29 Victor Urvantsev