Monday, September 22, 2014


John riding with Greg C.

*** Update 3 (10/20) ***
John writes: "...Well yesterday my R12C came to an end. Since last month I learned that my cancer, which had been nicely suppressed for almost a year, was getting smart and growing again. So onto a new, more aggressive chemo regimen I went. Early last week I was down with a fever and wasn't up to par by yesterdays attempt at Crista Borras' North by Northwest perm out of Frederick. A chummy group of 14 set off on a cold blustery day into the North wind. It was evident to me early on that this wasn't my day. Discouraged, I decided to turn back after only about an hour but was encouraged to at least ride the 35 miles to Gettysburg and then head back. So this we did. Brother Art who came all the way from Florida with fiancé Rorie Anderson, as well as Mike Lewis, Greg Conderacci, and Andrea Matney rode into town, took our time truly touring the battlefield and enjoyed a non-rushed sit-down at a coffee shop before heading home with the wind at our backs. 
The really nice thing was what a good time everybody had. Nobody cared one little bit that they didn't get official credit for the ride. Staying together seemed to be the only mortar we needed as a group. 
So ends the R12C attempt on the sixth month. I hope to do more brevets, but will not get one in this month. But I really had a great time. I guess it is the journey after all...."

Congratulations to John on a fantastic R5-C streak -- as far as I know, he's the first to reach that inspirational accomplishment.  I'm hoping he will consider starting a new streak, and perhaps strive to better it.

*** Update 2 (9/22) ***
John has now notched an R-5C with his completion of the Woodbine permanent.  John writes: "... Jon Erwin did a nice write up of our ride and he and Bill Beck did a stellar job of documenting it photographically... I was disappointed that Bob Casciato had to withdraw at the last minute due to an illness in his family, but was elated to have Joe and Jane Brown sign on the day before. Their kindness and good company seem worthy of more than just mere appreciation. Jon Erwin was a surprise, to me, late addition to our crew as well. So with my good old friend, and new randonneuring buddy Mike Lewis, our group of five set off on a surprisingly warm September morning. We would soon be joined by Bill Beck riding north from our turn around in Woodbine. As per my more recent 200s I was escorted by loved ones who also happen to be stronger riders than myself but who were happy to ride my slowish pace without any shows of frustration. I always had a wheel to sit on and a good story to listen to. Also as per my more recent rides I hit a physical and emotional low between the 50 and 90 miles marks. Not being able to do any training rides longer than thirty miles and being literally poisoned two weeks out of every four eats into my conditioning. Fortunately I have some neuro-muscular memory that kicks in and my body is able to accomplish with difficulty what it used to be able to do at the drop of a hat. And the final 40 miles or so see me rebound from my emotional ebb such that some joy if not downright elation emerges from the darkness to leave me with a pleasant memory of the whole affair. On this occasion the strong tail wind out of the South played a big role in our return leg. It is hard to envision carrying this on for another 7 months, so I take em as they come: one at a time.  The next one is also a permanent, Crista's North by Northwest out of Frederick on Sunday October 19th. There is already a small group of good friends committed including my brother Art who is coming up from Florida just for this ride. More are certainly welcome!  -John Fuoco"
Bill Beck's photos are at:
Jon's RideWithGPS data and photos are at:
... and Jon's ride report is at:

*** Update 1 (8/31) ***
John now has an R-4C, with his completion of Eric Keller's "Happy Valley to Buffalo Valley" permanent in August.  Riding companion, Doug Haluza writes: "..The ride went well. Weather was perfect. We stopped at Brookside Bikes, an Amish bike shop in Mifflinburg. It's 3/4 of a mile off the route, but came in handy because I flatted in the lot at the start, and again in Rebersburg. ...Happy to Buffalo Valley is a really nice easy century route if you get a ride back from Millheim instead of riding those last 30 miles. ... you lured us in with this nice gently rolling course until we're tired, then lowered the boom at the end with some nasty little climbs in the Tussey Mtn. foothills! Were your ears ringing today? ;-)  ....."
John adds: "...  Eric, Doug doesn't mince words. And to be honest I joined in slinging invectives unfairly in your direction during the last 30 miles. Of course that was all part of the fun. Great course, lovely day​.. Thanks for putting it together for us. I may revisit it this winter...."
Mike Lewis: also rode with  John, and writes: "... I knew I was in trouble after saying halfway into the ride, 'This course is pretty easy.' On the ride back I rode in silence as I thought about the course design, choosing to heed the adage 'If can't say something good about someone, don't say anything at all.' But I will talk now now and throw your way a big "Thank You" for creating a course that made my second brevet such a rewarding experience. Great company, beautiful day, and a challenging ride through beautiful countryside...."

*** Original Post ***
John Fuoco sent me the following note:
"... I am interested in sending out a note or two about a couple of 200k perms I plan to do in the next couple of months and want to notify and invite other club members to join me. My goal is to do an R12 on chemo. So far its an R3. Don't put any bets down on me but then again don't bet against me either! I am hoping to corral some company with my old friend connections. As it is, I am sick two weeks out of four and unfortunately cannot do many of the R-12 200k's already scheduled by PA and DC hence the need to do permanents..."

John's plans for August through October are::
- Friday 8/29. Eric Keller's "Happy Valley to Buffalo Valley 205K", out of Boalsburg PA at 7 AM. Route #2400
- ​Saturday 9/20, Bill Beck's "Dillsburg-Woodbine via Gettysburg 200k", route #2383, also a 7AM start.
- Saturday 10/18 is set aside but as yet, no route selected.

Best of luck to John on his R-12C quest.  If you would like to join John on any upcoming rides, you can post a comment below or send me an email to get in contact with John.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Monday, September 8, 2014

Brandywine 200k Ride Report

Preliminary results for the Brandywine 200k have been posted at:  
...Results will be submitted shortly, and become final, pending RUSA certification.

What a difference a day can make.

George sent me an email in late June to let me know that he would not be able to take on his head chef role on September 6 due to a family conflict.  I declined his offer to use Café Metzler solo and set about the process of changing a brevet date.  With the help of RBA Tom Rosenbauer and the RUSA organization, the date was shifted to Sunday, the 7th. 

Fast forward to September 6th.  I arrive at George’s house a little after 5am with the intention of completing the final course checkout ride.  Neither of our schedules allowed both of us to spend a day together doing a full course checkout ride.  I wasn’t overly concerned as collectively we’d ridden or driven the route on numerous occasions, but the fact that I’d not seen the entire route in one outing bothered me.  The 6th was my last opportunity. 

Morning temperatures in the low-70s were forecast to rise to 90 in the afternoon.   More troubling was the humidity which was extremely high and predicted to give rise to strong afternoon thunderstorms as a cool front passed.  I reasoned an early start would allow more time in relative cool and allow me to finish before the storms arrived.  George’s day allowed time for him to tag along for the first 10 miles, but he’d have to turn back at that point and I’d be solo the rest of the day.  We set out at 5:30 and spent our time together working on a menu for Sunday.  My cue sheet was damp within the first 5 miles and the early start did little to mitigate the effects of high heat and humidity on my efforts.  Progress was slow, but steady.  I kept hoping the cool front would arrive.  The first rain drops started falling on me as I was checking in at the information control.  The finish was a mere 20 miles ahead and I knew the route well.  I was enjoying riding in the cool rain for about a mile.  Then the deluge began and I had trouble seeing the road ahead, both due to limited visibility and that the road was turning into a stream.  The thunder began and I headed for cover.  It would take 2 more hours for me to reach the finish.  Approximately 4 inches of rain fell along the route in those 2 hours.  Localized flooding was significant.  But at least I felt good about the route and the cue sheet.

Sunday morning broke with temperatures near 60, a high forecast in the mid- to upper 70s, clear skies, and low humidity.  What a difference from the day before.  Twenty-three riders showed up for the start, including several new faces, all anxious to get started on what promised to be a beautiful day of cycling.  A few brief words at the start and they were off. 

George and I watched the SPOT trackers for a while as we finalized the cooking plans for the day.  As expected, the group made good progress in the early miles and was soon enjoying the scenic Brandywine river valley.  With many preparations remaining, we estimated first finishers at 9 hours and set our schedules accordingly.  The SPOT trackers saved us as first finishers Matt Farrell, Jim Holman, and Don Jagel rolled into the driveway about half an hour earlier than our initial predictions.  Riders trickled in for the rest of the afternoon, usually 2 or 3 at a time.  All relaxed and recharged at the Café while sharing their stories from the ride.  All 23 riders returned safely for another 100% finish rate.

Patrick Gaffney rode solo on a single speed while Glenn Ammons went a bit further and covered the distance on a fixed gear.  Patrick’s solo ride left honors for best tandem finish to Vadim Gritsus and Katherine Joubin who piloted a beautiful Co-Motion tandem.  Not surpisingly, they really loved the early miles in the Brandywine Valley and found the Susquehanna River hills very challenging.  Vadim commented that their granny gear had never been so fully exercised on a ride.

CJ Arayata notched yet another PA 200k and commented, “. . .what a beautiful day! Low humidity and low UV, but plenty of sun and mild temperatures. Kudos to Andrew for his self-sacrifice the day prior, and thanks to both him and George for a great new course. Being on such familiar roads for the first segment was a treat, as was passing some West Chester Cycling Club riders who keep successfully dodging my invitations for these brevets.
My knee pain started at mile 25 or so, and I kept saying that if it got any worse, I would throw in the towel. Thankfully, it managed to stay in check, one controle at a time for the next 100 miles, until I rolled back into Cafe Metzler. Jud, Eva and I stayed together for most of the day, until Eva had flatted on her 650c tri-bike about 12-ish miles from the finish. I couldn't stop to wait fearing my knee would tighten up, so I continued on, only to get passed by Joe and Mike. Slow and steady, but another successful PA 200k on the books.”

CJ’s pictures are available at  Thanks to CJ for bringing along now newly minted randoneuse Eva Van Stratum who completed her first brevet.

From rider Jon Erwin, “Thanks for a great route though some very scenic country. We really enjoyed the route and the bar-b-que!” Jon’s ride and pictures can be seen at

Completing his first PA brevet was Alexander Kojenikov.  He too found the Pennsylvania hills far more challenging than the hills in his native Ukrain.  Alexander hopes to ride PBP next year and believes riding in PA will better prepare him for the rolling terrain of France.  We wish him luck.

Jim Holman writes, "What a delightful and enjoyable course with plenty of great, low-traffic roads.  Highland Rd was a really nice way to start the ride.  Loved riding through the hollows!  Also a real challenge, especially after the Chadds Ford controle, with hills that just kept coming at you one after the other.  Very pleasant and comfortable weather conditions, if a bit breezy in some places - am wondering if you consulted a crystal ball  many days (weeks?) in advance to reschedule the brevet and make sure we did not get Saturday's dreadful conditions (sorry Andrew ).  Thanks for another great ride, and many thanks to Andrew and George for designing the route, organizing the ride and serving the delicious food at the finish." 

Jonathan Erwin writes: "...Thanks for a great route though some very scenic country. ... really enjoyed the route and the bar-b-que! ..." Jon's  RWGPS upload including several pictures is at:

Joe Fillip writes: "...What a spectacular addition to the PA Rando calendar! Thanks to Andrew and George for all of their hard work in devising this wonderful new route. (Having absolutely beautiful weather on ride day didn't hurt, either)...."

RBA, Tom Rosenbauer writes: "... Thanks for a great addition to the PA Randonneurs routes -- several of those roads were truly great destinations.  I've found that over the years, you can't go wrong with any road with the name "Creek"  in it.  And after yesterday, I'd add "Hollow" to that same category.  That Scalpy Hollow is a real gem!..."

As always, I have to express my sincerest appreciation to George and Erin Metzler for hosting this event.  By my count, this is the 7th visit to Café Metzler.  It sure makes for a fun brevet.  George also deserves credit for the enjoyable part of the route.  He showed me the initial miles shortly after the 2013 Silver Spring brevet.  I was hooked from our first scouting ride.  From that seed sprung the Brandywine 200 route.  I think it’s a keeper.  Finally, thanks to RBA Tom Rosenbauer for entertaining my initial question about changing the date and handling the ACP and RUSA paperwork to make the change.  Without his efforts, the brevet would have been held on Saturday. 

Andrew Mead

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Brandywine 200k

*** Update 2 (9/6) ***
The cuesheet has been updated to draft 3 (dated 9/6) with several corrections, additions and clarifications from Andrew Mead's volunteer preride. Andrew's description of his preride: "Epic"

*** Update 1 (9/3) ***
The cuesheet has been updated to draft 2 (dated 9/3) with some minor corrections and clarifications.  There is a preride planned for Saturday, so there might be some additional, last minute cuesheet updates.

*** Roster (as of 9/5) ***
1 Glenn Ammons
2 Charles J Arayata
3 Clair Beiler
4 Jeffery S Butt
5 Matt Eby - Guest
6 Dwight Engel - Guest
7 Jon Erwin
8 Matthew Farrell
9 Joe Fillip
10 Patrick Gaffney
11 Cecilie Gaffney
12 Stewart J Gouck
13 Vadim Gritsus - Guest
14 Matthew Groff - Guest
15 Judson L Hand
16 James P. Holman
17 Donald Jagel
18 Katherine Ida Joubin - Guest
19 Greg Keenan
20 Alexander Kojevnikov - Guest
21 J Michael Lutz
22 Andrew D Mead - Organizer
23 Ralph V Miller III
24 Chris Nadovich
25 Tom Rosenbauer
26 Bob Torres
27 Ivan M Umble
28 Eva Van Stratum - Guest

*** Original Post ***
The Eastern PA summer series concludes on Sunday, September 7th with the inaugural edition of the Brandywine 200K; a brand new route compliments of organizers, George Metzler and Andrew Mead.

Highlights include the meandering along Brandywine Creek, lots of shade, visiting THREE states, riding along numerous roads incorporating the word "Hollow," and an almost unheard of in Lancaster County 3 mile long descent.

Houses, Horses, and Hollows
After a few miles we begin on an uncharacteristically straight and level Highland Road, which follows the top of a ridge into Western Chester County. You gradually lose elevation as you meander along Buck Buck Run Creek, while skirting the edge of Chester County's horse country which once included a 13,000 acre northern connection of famous King Ranch in Texas.

We follow the Brandywine River South from Modena at mile 15. As the river grows and the valley widens you will begin to see the landscapes that Andrew Wyeth made famous in his artwork around his hometown of Chadds Ford which is mile 34 on the ride. As we climb out of the Brandywine Valley on Twaddell Mill road we enter the "House" part of the 200K and enjoy the classic colonial and federal style architecture of Delaware. The Centerville Bakery at mile 38 offers the tastiest treats of the ride which you don't want to miss.  Shortly after refueling, look for this home on left side of Way Rd, its a beauty.

We re-enter PA just south of the mushroom capital of the world, Kennett Square, which produces over a million pounds of mushrooms per week. 100,000 people will be in this town of 6,000 people on this weekend to celebrate the annual Mushroom Festival.  We'll skirt around town to avoid the worst of the crowds.  We hope.

We continue West and South entering Maryland in open farm fields as we reach the Southernmost point of the ride at the Landhope Farm controle. Rather than dropping all the way down to Susquehanna, we will remain up on the ridge following the Susqueahanna upstream, but inland. As we return to PA again we see horses, but rather than leading a pampered life in the stables of Chester County these are work horses used heavily by the Amish.

Having now seen houses and horses, we begin our focus on hollows. There are Tanning Yard Hollow and Scalpy Hollow, both rather bucolic, shaded roads along the way to Buck. You'll want to check your supplies before passing the Turkey Hill oasis in Buck. There aren't many options on course for the remainder of the ride. From Buck, we climb to the top of the ridge for another hollow visit, this time on Snyder Hollow with a glorious 3 mile descent along a little creek. Enjoy. A quick info control as we approach Pennsy Road and then its familiar roads eastward toward Quarryville. Yes, there are a few climbs remaining, but take heart that we bypass everyone's favorite Brick Mill Road and take a much easier path to Nobel Road, appropriately named Mt. Pleasant, for the final roll into the finish.

We know you have worked up an appetite by then. Cafe Metzler will be ready.