Monday, September 9, 2013

Silver Spring 200k Ride Report

Photo Compliments of Mary Gersema

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

We have certainly enjoyed a nice string of great weather on brevet day this summer.  Saturday's Silver Spring 200 was no exception.  A slightly chilly start soon dawned to beautiful blue skies with light winds, exceptionally low humidity, and a high temperature of 80.  It was a much nicer day than the previous weekend's high temperatures and high humidity endured by the pre-riders.  Eighteen riders departed the start near Atglen at 7am and headed for the Susquehanna River.  I offered my usual pre-ride talk along with a cautionary forewarning of the challenges awaiting them in the second leg and the need to keep a mindful eye on the clock until at least the third control.  Most riders sported arm warmers and fingered gloves which would be appreciated during the first few downhill miles along the Octoraro Creek.      

Eventual first finishers Gavin Biebuyck, Bill Fischer, Don Jagel, and Norman Smeal took my pre-ride advice to heart and checked into the third control at the halfway mark just over four hours later.  These front-runners were closely followed by a large contingent of the rest of the pack led by the tandem team of visiting DC Randonneurs Ed Felker and Mary Gersema.  All riders cleared the controle within the time limit.  With the recent closure of the Mt. Nebo General Store, we staffed the controle with cool drinks and bananas which everyone seemed to enjoy.  We will surely miss the deli and ice cream counter of the Mt. Nebo store, but it was nice to get a live check-in on rider progress and conditions.  Organizers like knowing these things.

Midday temperatures were approaching 80 and riders were definitely warmed up as they continued through Lancaster County farmland on their way back to the finish.  The terrain softens slightly and allows more time to enjoy the sights and smells of farmland.  The field spread out as everyone settled into a comfortable pace.  A few strategically placed SPOT trackers allowed us to watch rider progress.  And stops.  Organizers like knowing these things.

Co-organizer George Metzler once again opened Café Metzler for the occasion.  A menu of grilled hamburgers, hotdogs and brats was just the motivation needed to bring the group to the finish.  Motivation is high as over half the field posted sub-10 hour finishes, including first-time and now freshly minted randonneur CJ Arayata.  Most of the rest were not all that far behind.  Several riders posted finishes after long absences from brevets, including Ivan Umble, Chris Roth, and our own RBA Tom Rosenbauer.  On the other side of that coin is Bill Olsen who came out to loosen up his legs having just finished the Granite Anvil 1200k a week ago and will be headed out for the Last Chance 1200k this week.  I'm pleased to report that each and every starter reached the Café and was served.

Riders enjoyed time at the finish to eat, drink, relax and share stories from their adventure.  It's a nice way to finish a ride.  Hearing their tales is my favorite part.

Norman Smeal writes:
Thank you for putting on the event yesterday.  Nice to finish at Cafe' Metzler for some good home grilling.  Great ride, and the ride was not as bad as the profile appeared.  The few climbs were not all that bad, Douts Hil Rd. at mile 59 was a kicker.  It also did not hurt that it was probably the best day of the summer, perfect day for a ride.

Ed Felker, a.k.a. The Daily Randonneur, has posted a very nice ride summary at:
and his full set of photographs at:

Mary Gersema's ride summary is posted on her Chasing Mailboxes blog at:
and her pictures are at:

CJ's pictures:

Our next event is the fall classic 150k/200k at the Quakertown hostel which coincidentally includes food at the finish.

As always, I would like to thank George Metzler for being my co-conspirator for this brevet and for hosting a crowd of hungry randonneurs.  Without his help, this would be just another hilly Pennsylvania brevet.

Andrew Mead

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September R12: Silver Spring 200k

*** Update #1 (9/6/13) ***
The Dutch-Way Farm market opens at 6AM.  The start/finish is 4 miles away (~7 minutes according to googlemaps).  You can follow the cue sheet instructions from mile 124.6.  The traffic light for the Rt. 41 crossing is visible from Dutch-Way.  The start is ~1/4 mile past the finish on the right.

*** Roster (as of 9/6/13) ***
1 CJ Arayata
2 Clair Beiler
3 Gavin Biebuyck
4 Bill Blank
5 Jeffery S Butt
6 Eric Dahl
7 Matthew Farrell
8 Edward R Felker
9 William Fischer
10 Mary Gersema
11 Judson L Hand
12 Donald Jagel
13 R. Mark Kaufman
14 Eric Keller
15 Andrew D Mead
16 George Metzler
17 Chris Nadovich
18 William Olsen
19 Tom Rosenbauer
20 Michael Ross
21 Chris Roth
22 Norman Smeal
23 Ivan M Umble
24 Leonard Zawodniak

*** Original Post ***
We're returning to Lancaster County in September with the second running of the Silver Spring 200k.  The route is slightly reworked to smooth out some of the rough edges. 

Starting out near Atglen, PA you'll wind your way south though the Octoraro watershed, meandering for a while by the bucolic Octoraro Creek, eventually entering Maryland on the way to Port Deposit along the Susquehanna River. 

The route heads upstream from Port Deposit where you will be treated to a rare stretch of “River Road” that is generally level. Enjoy it while you can, for once you spy the Conowingo Dam, the challenges begin.  The route continues northwesterly for the length of the Conowingo Reservoir as we pass through farmland located atop a bluff overlooking the Susquehanna.  Naturally, the roads themselves are sprinkled with numerous dips and climbs as we cross numerous creeks that empty into the Susquehanna.  The route skips the dip into Fishing Creek (ironically, just written up in the local paper) and instead stays on top of the bluff as we head toward the Muddy Run Pumped Hydro facility.  Riders from last time will be thankful for the omission.  From Muddy Run, the roads plunge you back toward the level of the Susquehanna to take you past the Tuquan Glen Nature Preserve before the route's toughest climb, Douts Hill Rd up to the Mt. Nebo controle. 

Upon departing Mt. Nebo, the route descends (with a few climbs sprinkled in) to visit Safe Harbor. Instead of a climb up River Rd towards Highville or the long slog up to Conestoga that several of you know and love so well, we’ll follow yet another escape from Safe Harbor that features a more gradual ascent and, more importantly, shifts the route toward the Salunga controle to roads with less car traffic.

The route remains unchanged from the 2012 edition between the Salunga controle and the finish.  This includes the finish cook-out at George Metzler's house.

There are a few notes from the pre-ride.
1. The cue sheet has been updated to Draft 2 (9/1/13) to account for the latest round of "is the turn marked or not" changes that seem to plague Lancaster County.
2.  Businesses that previously served as controles for Controle 2 in Port Deposit and Controle 3 at Mt. Nebo are no longer.  The updated cue sheet notes additional services on course to supplement.  As a word of caution, the route between Port Deposit and Salunga features extremely limited services so you'll want to plan accordingly. 
3.  There are several strategically placed portions of new asphalt, including a few on some descents.  Remember to listen to your guardian angel. 
4. We finally documented the turn every brevet organizer want to place on a cue sheet:

Addition details are posted on the event website:

Drop me or RBA Tom Rosenbauer a note if you plan to join us.  And as always, be sure to check back on the website and message board for updates.

Andrew Mead - Organizer