Sunday, March 23, 2014

Blue Mountain 200k Ride Report

Photo Compliments of Christine Newman

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

The spring weather so far has been a continuation of the wild roller coaster ride of this winter's extreme conditions.  But luckily for us, our ride coincided with temperatures hitting the mid 60F's with plentiful sunshine for a nearly ideal, early spring day.  The rain that was in the ominous forecast for several days never amounted to more than a few drops that barely got the road wet.  And as a bonus, the winds held off until riders turned the corner at Danielsville.  And then the wind obligingly kicked-up out the west with gusts over 30 MPH to speed everybody along to Water Gap.

All 33 riders on the roster finished in good time for another 100% finish -- congratulations to all the participants for that excellent result.  Of note Greg Keenan completed his very first brevet -- that's one down, and 11 more to go for an R-12 series.  Several other riders were first time Eastern PA participants: Ed Bernasky, Kenneth Herbert, Michelle Nguyen, and Wade Wegner -- welcome, and well done!

It's been about 15 years since Ed Bernasky rode his last brevet, and is one of RUSA's earliest members with a 3-digit RUSA number.  At the other end of the spectrum, CJ Arayata, back for his 2nd PA event, is one of RUSA's newest members, and the numbers are now approaching the 10,000 mark.  Ed writes: "... Don and Tom, Thank you very much for providing an excellent route yesterday and for the work putting this Brevet together. I do not think you could have selected better or more scenic roads for a 200k in this area.  Pretty much perfect says it all...."

Jim Holman writes "...Thanks to you and organizer Don Jagel for another excellent and challenging ride.  Terrific river and mountain views, great riding companions and improving weather conditions as the day wore on made for a fantastic early spring day.  All topped off with some brew and food at the Ship Inn...."

First finisher Norman Smeal writes: "...Thank you and Don for putting in the show yesterday.  Another great day for a ride and a great turn out.....That Stats hill is a killer.  Love the finishing location and always love those Milford Starts...."

Bill Fischer writes: "...thanks to you and Don for a wonderful ride yesterday.  After a horrendous winter, it was great to finally get outside and enjoy some sunshine with friends on a beautiful route.  I was privileged to be towed through the course by Jim, Matt and Gavin who were kind enough let me regain contact with the group on the descents (I'd rather forget about the climbs...."

Nigel Greene writes: "...The ride was a fun way to start Spring.  The great scenery provided some much needed distraction and a decent reward for all that climbing and it was good to see so many people I haven't seen for a while. I took a few pictures along the way. ....Last but not least, please thank Don again for all the time and work he put in to make the ride happen. Looking forward to another season of PA Rando adventures!..."
Nigel's photo album is posted at:
... and he got a great shot of that big tom turkey, "...staking a claim to his hens:"
Nigel has also posted another one of his eloquent ride reports at:

Christine Newman writes: "...Thanks for a great ride and thanks to Don too for managing the event.
The route was beautiful, the tailwind was perfect and the hills manageable with gears. The gathering at the Inn was the perfect finish. way too many pictures taken with my new camera:
[with over 200 pictures, that works out to about one shot for each km ridden! This one showing the long shadows and silhouettes cast by the fading sunlight:
... is one of favorites -Tom R.]

Special thanks to organizer,  Don Jagel, for checking out the course ahead of time, signing everybody in at the start, sending us off on our way, and then checking in on everybody at the Danielsville controle. And then Don was back again at the finish, to make sure everybody was safely in.  It's volunteers like Don, that make it possible to put on events every month though out the year.  And with a busy spring series underway, I'm looking for a few more volunteers to help out -- remaining opportunities to help out are posted here:

The Eastern PA spring series continues with another 200k on April 12th.  We'll be headed back to our rando-home-base at the Weisel hostel in Quakertown -- details have been posted at:

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Blue Mountain 200k

*** Update 2 (3/21) ***
As you can see from the current roster posted below, we have a pretty good turn-out for an early spring event.  Please note that there is additional seating at the bakery start controle in a room down the hallway past the bathrooms.  There are a number of first-time participants, and I trust that the vetern riders will help welcome the newcomers.  I know a couple of you are still sitting on the fence -- if you decide not to clip-in at the start, please drop me a note.

The controle in Water Gap is at another bakery.  But right next door, there is the Water Gap Diner if you would like a more substantial sit-down meal.  You may get your brevet card signed at either location.

I want to emphasize taking extra care with those RR crossings early on, as noted on the message board and cuesheet -- especially if you find yourself in a large, fast bunch as you approach these hazards.  The second one at mile 7.2 will be extremely treacherous, especially if it is wet.

SPOT GPS Trackers will be handed out to a couple of riders at the start. The webpage with links to the trackers is here:
... if you have a personal SPOT tracker not listed, please send me a link to your tracking webpage.

And a couple of other important reminders:
- Lighting and reflective gear will be inspected at the start
- Print out a cuesheet for yourself
- Monitor the message board and website for any last minute updates

...And most importantly, be sure to have a **safe ride***!

*** Update 1 (3/18) ***
The current cuesheet is draft 5, dated 3/14/14:

Hopefully, the rain in the forecast for Saturday morning will hold off until at least the temperatures warm up a bit. The bakery opens at 6AM, so you will be able to top off with coffee and breakfast before the 7AM start.  Organizer Don Jagel will be meeting you at the start and sending you off on your way.  You should park your car in the big lot off of Church St, which US Health has granted us permission to use.

*** Course notes ***
As noted on the cuesheet, there are a couple of RR crossings early on.  The one at mile 7.2 is particularly hazardous, with a bad angle, and will be extra treacherous if wet.  Please take extra caution here, especially if you are in a large group.

Don Jagel completed a volunteer pre-ride this past weekend and reports: "...My ride on Saturday started out chilly at about 30F degrees.  There were some small ice patches encountered where water had seeped onto the road while riding up along the Delaware River to Phillipsburg.  I also ran into some larger ice patches between Wind Gap and Danielsville, particularly near mile 41, with two ice patches completely covering the road and being about 20 feet long.  Also, West End Road, starting at mile 41.2, has had some severe asphalt deterioration over the winter, so riders will have to be careful to avoid the soft, muddy portions that are mainly towards the center of the road. 

Since we had such a good winter, ski traffic was plentiful while climbing and descending Blue Mountain, and I would expect a number of cars to be present on March 22, as the ski area still has quite a bit of snow.  After passing over Blue Mountain, the roads were pretty dry and ice free for the remainder of the day, but that could all change by next weekend.  The roads throughout the ride, except for intersections, were relatively gravel free considering the winter we had.  Gravel patches can also pop up anywhere at this time of year, so descend steep hills and sharp bends with caution.

Wildlife was plentiful indicating that spring can't be far away.  During the ride I saw squirrels, deer, racoons, hawks (in winter plummage), two flocks of turkeys, several large flocks of snow geese, ducks (of course), mergansers, and a blue bird (a sure sign of spring).

All in all, it looks like the route is in very good shape and ready to be ridden. ..."

And as always, be sure to check the website and message board for any last minute updates.

**** Roster as of 3/21 ***
1 Barbara Solis Anderson
2 Ronald Anderson
3 Michael Anderson
4 CJ Arayata
5 Ed Bernasky
6 Gavin Biebuyck
7 Jeffery S Butt
8 Janice Chernekoff
9 Jonathan Clamp
10 Dawn M Engstrom
11 Matthew Farrell
12 William Fischer
13 Nigel Greene
14 Judson L Hand
15 Steve Harding
16 Kenneth E Herbert
17 James P. Holman
18 Donald Jagel
19 Greg Keenan
20 Eric Keller
21 Christopher Anson Knight
22 Robin C Landis
23 Jonathan Levitt
24 Chris Nadovich
25 Christine Newman
26 Michelle Nguyen
27 William Olsen
28 Peter C Phillips
29 Tom Rosenbauer
30 Norman Smeal
31 Christopher C Solarz
32 Bob Torres
33 Gilbert Torres
34 Wade Wegner

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA