Sunday, April 13, 2014

PA200k Ride Report

Tinicum farmhouse in the fading sunlight.
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.

There could hardly be any complaints with the weather for this event. Temperatures at the start were in the high 40F's, and with the plentiful sunshine, it quickly warmed up to a pleasant 70F. But despite the recent warm-up, some piles of snow were still hanging on all along Riverton Road, just north of Belvidere.   The winds for much of the day were gentle but picked up later in the afternoon -- adding to the challenge of all those rollers through Bucks County on the last segment to the finish.

All 28 riders on the roster finished in good time for another 100% finish -- congratulations to all the participants for that excellent result on arguably, one of the toughest 200k's you'll find anywhere.  And adding to the difficulty, a cuesheet error had a number of riders logging bonus miles riding up and down a ridge looking for River Road atop of the Lommasson's Glen/Buckhorn/Castner climb.  I heard reports of one rider going part way down Fiddlers Elbow, which of course, is one of the steepest roads around the area.

Also in the category of bonus miles, of the hilly variety: Don Jagel must have had last October's 200k route in mind when he arrived at Geigle Hill Road.  Instead of taking the left turn to the covered bridge, he instead turned right and traversed the Geigle Hill ridge and eventually arrived at Creamery Road in Ottsville the same as everybody else.  But then realizing his error at that point, he retraced his route all the way back to the covered bridge in order to get to Creamery Road the correct way,  logging nearly 13 miles and two crossings of Geigel Hill in the process!  Don explains: "...When Jim H. and I got to Geigel Hill Rd., being such a nice day, and with plenty of time to spare we turned right so we would not miss getting in the last good climb of the day.  Only after we crossed Durham Rd. in Ottsville, and passed below the Route 611 over pass did I go to flip over my cue sheet and realize that we were really supposed to turn left at Geigel Hill Rd. and follow Headquarters Rd. to Ottsville.  So, we made the trip back down Geigel Hill Rd., and got back on the proper course eventually ending up on Creamery Rd. again, where we had turned around earlier.  I think we deserve the 10% bonus mileage award for that one (yep, it was a full 12.6 miles detour)!  That was definitely a personal record for me.  To make matters worse, Jim and I had been talking about Geigel Hill earlier during the day, and Jim even pointed out the Geigel Hill cue to me when we were in Milford.  Oops! ..."

In light of that exemplary adherence to the rules, Don and Jim win the Honest Abe 10% Bonus award.

Don additionally writes: "... Once back on track, Craig M. caught up with us.  Craig had his bonus mileage up by Brass Castle Rd. where went down to hills by mistake before finally finding the right way.  As we closed in on Lake Nockamixon we picked up Robin L., so we finished as a group of four, as Jim and I congratulated each other on completing the long 200k.  When we got back to the hostel Patrick had the lasagne warm and waiting, which was well needed.  Thanks Patrick!...Looking forward to the PA300 (without the 10% bonus mileage)..."

Jim Holman adds: "...Extra miles or not, it is always great to ride with Don.  I also enjoyed riding with CJ up to the Milford controle where we split up... the route was beautiful!  Challenging and scary :-) at the same time.  The food and refreshments at the hostel were most welcome after such a difficult ride. Many thanks to you and your volunteer crew (Patrick and Cecilie)! And Thanks also for the Honest Abe Award...."

Nigel Greene writes: "...When I saw the route profile, I was expecting a challenging course, but reality exceeded the expectations. I am glad I had a great-granny gear as good balance to keep me from falling over as I was riding at walking speeds up those many rides. Great weather, beautiful course, good food at the beginning and end. All in all another PA pleaser and good confidence builder...."
You can read Nigel's complete ride report at:
... I always look forward to the interesting perspectives Nigel comes up with. Reading his write-ups and looking at the gorgeous shots he takes (posted here):
... is one of the things that helps me keep going as an RBA!

Ed Bernasky writes: "... When trying to decide whether to do yesterday's 200k or drive down to DC for a 300K, I was torn.  Needing a good hard ride and previewing the cuesheet illuminated that you "took" Blue MOUNTAIN from us sending us over the Appalachian trail the easy way THAT time but we were ultimately compensated with the smattering of those cute little rollers along the way over the last 2/3 of the route.  Seriously.... beautiful, challenging route with just the right amount of gravel sprinkled in.  The long, difficult stretch from the Portland to Milford Controles was good training (nutrition and hydration) for any (new) randonneur.  Is there a more challenging and beautiful 200k routes out there?  Is there?  Thank you.  (I think) ..."

Chris Newman writes: "..Thanks for a challenging ride - all of my favorite hills in one 200K!
And thanks to Patrick for manning the finish. ..."
Chris also took some fantastic photos, which have been posted here:
... her Garmin ride data has been posted here:

First finisher Norman Smeal writes: "... yesterdays ride was for sure a test. ....  Again, the weather gods were watching over us and gifted the PA Randonneurs another perfect day.  I want to thank you, Patrick and Cecilie for the pre-ride notes and Patrick for being there at the finish....."

Bill Olsen writes: "...Thanks for running this "old standard" route again this year.  It always brings back fond memories of my riding this as my second brevet, ever.  The hills keep coming, and although your ears may have been burning from all of us out on the route today, we'll all thank you later in the season for providing this opportunity to kick start our training for the events of the upcoming season.  Thanks also to Patrick and Cecilie for pre-riding the course and also for Patrick for volunteering to check us all in at the finish....."

Special thanks to both Cecilie and Patrick Gaffney for checking out the course with their volunteer preride. Patrick also ran the finish controle, provided the postride meal, and helped with the cleanup at the end.  Having all that good help allowed me to enjoy a fantastic day on the road with all the others -- thanks!

The Eastern PA spring series continues in two weeks with 6 Fleche teams headed to Quakertown from various starting points. And the week after the fleche, you have the choice of either a 300k or 200k on May3rd.  Details will be posted shortly.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

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