Monday, December 28, 2015

2016 PA R-12 Series Kick-Off: Beyond Hope to Hopewell

**** UPDATE ****
If you are planning to ride on Saturday, please send an email to Andrew ( and let him know.  You should also complete the on-line entry form.  The email to Andrew is a back-up plan so we can be certain to have brevet cards ready on Saturday.  You can check the list of registered entrants below to confirm that your entry was received.

**** Original Post ****
What better way to get your randonneuring season started in style than with a brevet on the day after New Year's?  Event details for the Beyond Hope to Hopewell brevet have been posted on the website at  With the potential of winter weather always present, this course sticks to primary roads with wide shoulders.  Based on the Beyond Hope to New Hope course, we start in the middle at the Milford Bakery from which we head north to Hope and points beyond.  We turn around at Hope and head to Hopewell, the southernmost point on the route, before heading back to Milford.

The start is at the Milford Bakery, but you should park your car in the big parking lot on Church St.  There is a sign indicating private parking, but PA Randonneurs has secured permission from the owner, US Health (which will be closed).  The Bakery will be open by 6AM and in addition to baked items, breakfast sandwiches can made to order.  The finish controle is at the Ship Inn just a couple of stores away from the Bakery.

Organizer Bill Olsen recently completed a course check-out and reported that the when he rode it, the roads were in relatively great shape for this time of the year, but as always, riders should remain aware of changing road conditions.  Recent rains can leave piles of gravel and debris in the most convenient locations.

Sunset is at 4:46 PM; riders are required to bring lights and reflective gear, including primary and backup lighting front and rear.  Any riders finishing after sunset without the proper safety gear will be disqualified.

If you're planning to ride, please complete an entry at the PA Randonneurs Event Registration page by 5PM Thursday afternoon.  If your name doesn't appear in the list and you're planning to clip in, email Andrew.

Registered Riders 12/31/2015

1 Ed Bernasky - 
2 Gavin Biebuyck
3 Jono Crane Davis - 
4 Barry Eoghan
5 Matthew Farrell - 
6 William Fischer
7 Patrick Gaffney - 
8 James R Haddad - 
9 Eric  K Hannon Ford - 
10 Robin C Landis
11 Gil Lebron - 
12 Jonathan Levitt
13 Peter Macholdt - 
14 Christopher Maglieri - 
15 Christine Newman
16 William Olsen - Organizer
17 Mark Olsen - Guest
18 Steven J Schoenfelder - 
19 Paul G Shapiro
20 Bob Torres
Andrew Mead

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Brandywine 200k Ride Report

Photo compliments of Doug Haluza

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.

After a little initial confusion at the start resulting from the organizer failing to bring along post cards for a post card controle requiring a change to an information controle (thank goodness for pre-ride scouting), nineteen riders started out into the budding dawn on a chilly morning.   The rising sun warmed nicely as the day progressed and made for an uncharacteristically nice December day for cycling.  Lest anyone have any doubts, recall the December 2009 brevet, which coincidentally occurred on the 5th and stopped by Cafe Metzler.  Riders that day were treated to wet snow and 34F temperatures most of the day.  Sunset that day dropped the temperature a couple degrees and allowed snow to accumulate on the road.  Yes we should be very thankful for temperatures in the 50s and no precipitation.

Reports indicate that a couple riders had minor mishaps in gravel along the way.  Thankfully the riders involved managed to continue riding and finish the brevet.  With winter approaching we must all step up our efforts to watch for unexpectedly changing road conditions and remember Tom's sage advice:  "never ride faster than your guardian angel."

Among the notable finishes is Ed Bernasky, who instead of his usual leading the pack style took a more "stop and smell the .... whatever" approach, also wrapped up his first R-12.  Congratulations Ed!  Bob St. Pierre and Allison Wong notched their first PA finishes as well as their first 200k brevet completions.  The Brandywine 200 is a tough introduction to the 200k distance and they handily met the challenge.  Chappeau!

Jeff Gregg writes:  "Just a short note to say thank you to you, Andrew, George Metzler and Jeff Butt for a great ride.  the thought and energy that goes into your planning is really appreciated.  As usual, the ride was challenging and, if I may also add, a little 'hillish.'  I have really enjoyed riding with the Pa. Randonneurs and with Saturday's ride I just added 2 more states to my list." 

Patrick Gaffney, who completed the inaugural Brandywine on a single speed and wisely opted for a fuller compliment of gears this time and rolled in a few minutes after the first finishers (not that gears make much difference to his results).   "Just a quick thanks to PA Rando organization for another fine ride.  The cold temperatures at the start were a bit of a shock to the system, but the day turned out to be quite nice.  As usual, the course was scenic and challenging and the great group of riders made the time pass quickly. Thanks to Andrew for organizing and George for hosting and manning the finish with Jeff."  

CJ Arayata offered excellent feedback on the route conditions which reminded this organizer that things look very different in the dark.  He writes, "Beyond those few hiccups, I enjoyed myself thoroughly on the ride yesterday. From seeing a frosty sunrise, to tons of scenic photo-ops that I missed because I was fumbling to get my camera, to seeing how long a shadow a banana on a curb can cast at 4pm... It's definitely a treat to have such a nice route on some of my 'home turf.'"  As usual, CJ took a few pictures and has posted them for everyone's pleasure.

Doug Haluza decided to try the Dutchway Restaurant for breakfast and discovered that there's a tradeoff.  He was pinched for time at the start, but the hearty breakfast offered plenty of energy for him to catch up with the group and finish strong.  "Hope you like the edited version of the sunrise photo I sent you from Beaver Dam Rd.  [Indeed I do!]  There was still a little fall color in a few trees (mostly ornamentals) so you might consider scheduling this ride for November next year. Fall color in the higher areas of PA peaks in October, but I bet this area peaks much later like it does on Long Island.  I thanked George for helping you out, and I also wanted to thank you for helping Tom. I'm just sorry I can't be more help because of the travel time required."

I would like to thank George Metzler for being such a great co-organizer for this event and so many others in the past.  The Brandywine route was his brainchild.  He and I rode many miles scouting out the nicest roads the Barndywine Valley has to offer.  Shortly after committing to the December event I learned that I would also be hosting a rather large Christmas party at my house on the same day and would not be available for the finish.  George stepped up and said he had the finish covered.  Jeff Butt offered his assistance a couple weeks later which allowed me to worry a little less about dropping a bomb on George.  This ride would not have happened without the efforts of these two.  Thanks to you both!

This concludes the PA Randonneurs 2015 calendar.  Thanks to all who have made for another successful year of randonneuring.  Tom will be returning results and cards in the coming weeks.  The 2016 Ride Schedule is posted kicking off with a January event on the 2nd.  Watch this blog for updates as scheduling the January event is frequently affected by weather and other circumstances.

See you on the road in 2016!

Andrew Mead

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Brandywine 200k

 *** Update 1 (12/4)  ***

Pre-ride breakfast options are somewhat limited.  The announcement page identifies Aunt Jenny's 41 Diner as a possibility, primarily due to its 24-hour operation.  I've never tried the food and can't comment.  The Dutchway Restaurant is closer to the start has a great breakfast buffet, but does not open until 6am.  Watch your time carefully should you choose this option.  New Jersey riders may feel more at home at the Wawa located at the intersection of Rts. 30 & 41 in Gap.  No further explanation necessary.

Parking at the Metzler residence is limited, but manageable for a group of our size.  George will be directing parking in front of his house and in the vacant business parking lot across the street.  Carpooling is encouraged and appreciated.  We plan to have registration/check-in set up at the top of George's driveway so you don't have to begin your journey with the climb out of George's driveway.  Those of you who have been here before know to appreciate this little detail.

The weather forecast is looking quite favorable for a December brevet.  Still, it is better to be prepared for a dramatic swing in temperatures.  Near freezing temperatures at the start combined with lots of shady sections for much of the route (this is normally a summer route) equals at least a couple hours of chilly riding to start.  Expect temperatures to plummet as the sun goes down.  Layers are your friend.

Finally, membership renewals in PA Randonneurs will be handled at registration for those of you needing to join or renew.


*** Original Post ***
The 2015 Pennsylvania Randonneurs R12 Series concludes this year with a favorite from 2014, the Brandywine 200k.

*** Houses, Horses, and Hollows ***
After an initial climb, enjoy 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 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.

The route picks up the Brandywine River 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 at mile 34 on the ride and a quick post card controle.  As the route climbs out of the Brandywine Valley on Twaddell Mill road you will 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.

The route re-enters Pennsylvania just south of the mushroom capital of the world, Kennett Square, which produces over a million pounds of mushrooms per week. This normally quiet town of 6,000 people hosts over 100,000 people in the late summer to celebrate its annual Mushroom Festival.

Continuing west and south, the route enters Maryland in open farm fields and reaches is southernmost point of the ride at the Landhope Farm controle.  Heading west from the controle, the route drops to the Susquehanna along the route of the abandoned Octoraro Branch of the Philadelphia & Baltimore Central Railroad.  See if you can spot signs of this landmark as you ride along before climbing back up to Conowingo.   You will also notice a change in the horses as you leave behind horses leading a pampered life in the stables of Chester County and see work horses used heavily by the Amish.

Having now seen houses and horses, we begin our focus on hollows. There is Scalpy Hollow, a bucolic, shaded road that gently climbs from the Susquehanna toward the southern ridge of Lancaster County.  Once on top, you will find Snyder Hollow Rd which offers a glorious 3 mile descent along a little creek. Enjoy.   A quick info controle and a eastward home stretch brings you back to the starting location.  As is typical, Cafe Metzler will be ready.

*** Additional Course Notes ***
A pre-ride checkout was recently conducted with the following areas you should take particular note of:
-Mile 11.9   Yes, we cross this closed covered bridge and enjoy a traffic-free road thereafter.
-Mile 16.2   The signs seem to have been turned a little leaving one to wonder which road is which.  You want the road with the "Road Closed" barriers.  Once again, you'll enjoy a nice road with no cars.
-Mile 80.5   The shoulder is in rough shape along this leg.  Please be very careful moving into the traffic lane to avoid the broken pavement as SR 222 may have some fast traffic.

With the limited amount of daylight, lighting and reflective gear will be inspected at the start.  Please note that the bike inspection checklist requires that you have redundant lighting for both the front and back.

SPOT trackers will be handed out to a few selected riders. The units are about the size of a cell phone and can be carried either in your back pocket or in a bag, away from the saddle. If you happen to have a personal SPOT tracker, not already listed here:
... please send Tom a link to your SPOT tracking webpage.

*** Roster (as of 12/4) ***
1 Charles J Arayata -
2 Ed Bernasky -
3 Gavin Biebuyck -
4 Robert Joseph Burdalski II -  Guest
5 Paul Currie -  Volunteer
6 Jono Crane Davis -
7 Matthew Farrell -
8 J Scott Franzen
9 Patrick Gaffney -
10 Jeffrey A Gregg -
11 James R Haddad -
12 Doug Haluza -
13 Eric  K Hannon Ford -
14 Steve Harding -
15 James P. Holman -
16 Greg Keenan -
17 Christopher Anson Knight -
18 Christopher Maglieri -
19 Daniel McGill -
20 Andrew D Mead -  Volunteer
21 Chris Nadovich -
22 William Olsen -
23 Bob St. Pierre -  Guest
24 Gilbert Torres -
25 Allison Wong -  Guest

Andrew Mead
- organizer

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Milford 100k Ride Report

Photo compliments of CJ A.

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 day got off to a chilly start in the upper 30F's but the plentiful sunshine eventually warmed things up to the upper 50F's by early afternoon. All 29 starters were official finishers for another 100% finish,  -- congratulations and well done for an excellent result. Of note, four riders completed their first brevet and are now freshly minted randonneurs: CJ A. introduced Brendan G. to our sport, Michael P. introduced Jay and Wynn S., and Razvan B rounded out the field of first timers.

Jeff G writes: "... Hi Tom I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bill Olsen on a very enjoyable 100k ride. As always the ride was very well organized, the traffic was as advertised light and the course though shorter was still challenging. It was nice to have some time to talk, eat and relax after the ride at the Ships Inn. I do have some questions about the rides from Milford. Why does the traffic light at 519 and Bridge Street always  get farther away as you approach it at the end of the ride?  Why is the last mile on Javes Rd longer then all the other miles on these rides? And can anyone tell me where the tunnel is on Tunnel Road? I still haven’t found it and if I could take the tunnel to Javes Rd instead of going over the hill I might not mind riding that longer mile into town. Thanks again for another fun day on the bike...." [ There is indeed a tunnel near Tunnel Rd, but you wouldn't want to use it since its only meant for trains -Tom R. ]

Bill S. writes: "...Tom, thanks to you and Bill O. and the rest of your fine troupe of volunteers for another great ride. The course, cuesheet and cast of participants made for a completely enjoyable day of fall riding. Other than an exciting round of dodge Chris's glove and a puncture halfway up Tunnel Rd. the day contained plenty of pleasant peddling, wonderful weather and a minimum of mad motorists....."

Jimmy A. writes: "...Great ride yesterday!..."

Gilbert T. writes: "...thank you again for another great route. It was a great day to be on the bike..."

Jim H writes: "...Thanks for another great ride yesterday.  Even with the chilly start, it was a pleasant late autumn day for a leisurely ride.  Thanks also to Bill for organizing the ride, and to Guy and Grace for helping with pre-ride course intelligence...."

CJ A. writes: "...Yesterday's ride was a great route, great company, and pretty agreeable weather (minus the bit of winds, of course). It was interesting to see how the shorter distance changed the dynamic of the ride; everyone wasn't as spread out temporally as is made apparent for the 'usual' 200k distance. I managed to recruit a new Philly friend, Brendan, who had a very good time. When I showed him the route profile, he said "some of those climbs seem intense, which makes me want to do it!" A promising sign, and hoping I'll have made a convert by next Spring.Had a good (half) day out with Jono and Brendan for the most part, save Jono snapping his rear derailleur cable at about the midpoint of the ride. We managed to field-repair with a borrowed Leatherman to extract the cable head, and I knew that the spare cable I've been carrying for over a year would come in handy someday. It was a strange yet pleasant feeling finishing at lunchtime.... Jono and I joked that it was like "getting out of work early". Not that brevets are a chore, but it's nice knowing that if it had been a 200k, it would have been hours after dark at the finish. Thanks to Bill for the route and for the send-off and finish greeting! Hoping this event becomes a fixture on the PA calendar...."

CJ posted some very nice pictures which can be viewed here:

If you have any other comments or pictures to share, you can forward them to me for inclusion on the PA Message board.

Your safety is the number priority on an Eastern PA event. Please mention any safety hazard you might have spotted, or near-miss incident you saw. We value this feedback highly and it will help PA Randonneurs improve the next edition of the event.

Special thanks to organizer Bill Olsen, who suggested getting an autumn 100k on the Eastern PA calendar and proposed the route.  Bill not only ran the start and finish controles, but also spent the day out on course meeting up with riders.  Thanks also to volunteers Guy H. and Grace A., who along with Bill, checked out the course the weekend before.

The Eastern PA 2015 season concludes with the Brandywine 200k on December 5th.  Highlights include meandering along Brandywine Creek, visiting THREE states, riding along numerous roads incorporating the word "Hollow," and an almost unheard of in Lancaster County 3 mile descent.  Event details have been posted at:
Use the on-line registration form by 5PM on December 3rd if you would like to join the roster.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Monday, November 9, 2015

Milford 100k

The Milford 100k is on 11/15.  Please note that this is a rare Sunday event.

The start/finish is in Milford, NJ.  Organizer Bill Olsen will be sending you on your way at the Milford Bakery start and greeting you at the Ship Inn finish. Do not leave your car at the Bakery -- there is plenty of parking in the large parking lot on Church St in Milford (PA Randonneurs has permission to use the parking lot off of Church St which is now owned by the Medical supply store at the old bakery location). The Bakery opens at 6AM and has breakfast sandwiches along with an assortment of baked goods.  The finish controle and post ride gathering will be at the Ship Inn, a couple of stores down the street from the Bakery.

SPOT trackers will be handed out to a few selected riders. The units are about the size of a cell phone and can be carried either in your back pocket or in a bag, away from the saddle. If you happen to have a personal SPOT tracker, not already listed here:
... please send me a link to your SPOT tracking webpage.

Additional event details are posted on the event web page:

Additional Course Notes:
A volunteer preride was recently completed by Guy H. Grace P. and organizer Bill Olsen. The cuesheet was updated to draft 5 dated 11/9/15 with the changes noted below.  Organizer Bill Olsen reports:
The course is very gentle in the opening miles, but being a PA course, it of course doesn’t cut riders any slack once they get warmed up and into the ride.  By the time riders get over Charlestown Road and through Tunnel, they will appreciate this shorter 100K ride.

1.       Riders should park in the lot and NOT at the Milford Bakery.

2.       Due to the low Autumn sun, depending upon their speed, faster riders may find themselves riding directly into the morning sun on some sections of Creamery and Sugan Roads.  Be on the lookout for deer and don’t take the downhills too fast.  Fortunately there is very little traffic on all of the roads.

3.       The Controle 3 is officially listed as the WaWa, but you may also stop at the McDonalds on the corner to get your card stamped.  The WaWa has no facilities but if folks need them, there is the McDonalds across the road with McCafe Coffee

4.       The section from New Hope up to Perryville is on some very low-traveled, scenic roads.  Grace remarked how did we find them…to which Guy and I responded, every road in this area of PA NJ is pretty much this nice

5.       Featherbed Lane and Hammer Road were sealed and chipped in late Summer and there is still loose stone, primarily along the edges of the road, but there are some spots where it is still in the middle sections.  At Mile 28.8, there is a gentle downward slope prior to the SS onto Featherbed Lane.  Be VERY CAREFUL to check your speed early as there is quite a bit of loose gravel at the stop sign.  A note was added to the cuesheet to remind you of this hazard.

6.       The Bear Left at 32.7 really wasn’t that hard to miss, especially with the excellent spotting cue “Barbertown Point Breeze Road on Left.”

7.       At 33.7, Highway 12 is can be busy.  It was interesting that we saw a whole string of cars waiting for traffic to clear but by the time we got to the intersection, there were no cars, and very little traffic on 12…must have been a stoplight clearing up the road.

8.       Highway 513 in Pittstown can have some traffic so be very careful making the LHT onto Perryville Road at mile 40.5.  The oncoming traffic comes over the hill pretty much just prior to the turn.

9.       They are doing storm drain repairs on Grand Street and there is a fairly large cut in the roadway just at the turn from Upper Skillman onto Grand.  It is very visible and is also filled in but one could easily catch a wheel if one is not paying attention.  This is active construction and it could be repaved by the time riders pass on the 15th.

10.   The BP MiniMart (control 4) is relatively easy to get into.  Riders will be taking the left onto 31 with the light and there is a wide shoulder on the Northbound lane.  The course has you backtracking when leaving the controle.  But rather than taking a left hand turn out of the driveway across 3 lanes of highway, riders should instead proceed to the south entrance of the BP and walk their bikes the very short distance along the shoulder to the intersection and take advantage of the crosswalk and traffic light.  Highway 31 is two lanes in the Southbound direction with no shoulder and a curb on the right hand side.  The cuesheet has been updated with these instructions to get you safely across Rt 31 at the traffic light.

*** Roster (as of 11/14) ***
1 Charles J Arayata -
2 James Aspras -  Guest
3 Razvan Buciuc -  Guest
4 Janice Chernekoff -  Guest
5 Jonathan Clamp -
6 Robert Dye -
7 Matthew Farrell -
8 Patrick Gaffney -
9 Cecilie Gaffney -
10 Michael J Gorman -  Guest
11 Stewart J Gouck -
12 Brendan Graham -  Guest
13 Nigel Greene -
14 Jeffrey A Gregg -
15 Eric  K Hannon Ford -  Guest
16 Guy Harris -  Volunteer
17 James P. Holman -
18 Gil Lebron -
19 Christine Newman -
20 William Olsen - Organizer
21 Althea Grace Pineda -  Volunteer
22 Michael Povman -
23 Jay Schulz -  Guest
24 Wynn Schulz -  Guest
25 William M Slabonik -
26 Keith A Spangler -
27 Bob Torres -
28 Gilbert Torres -

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Stillwater 200k Retour Ride Report

Photo compliments of Chris N.
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 40% chance of rain in the forecast never materialized.  Clouds in the morning gave way to some peeks of sunshine with very mild temperatures for this time of year. All 25 starters made it to the finish in good time for another 100% finish,  -- congratulations and well done for an excellent result. Of note, first finisher Ed B. set a new course record of 8:04, despite logging an extra 5 miles when his Garmin GPS went haywire.  Ed completed PBP this year in Charly Miller time (under 56:40) -- you can read all about his preparations at:
Next up for Ed, is the 24 Hour World TT Championship next week in Borrego Springs where he hopes to crack 400 miles.  Best of luck to him for a successful and safe race!

Jeff G writes: "... I waited for 2 weeks with great anticipation for this ride and I must say I was not disappointed. The smells of autumn, the remnants of the fall leaves, the beautiful lakes with their reflections, the great views while riding across the ridge lines and the haunting ride across the “Shades of Death Road”, ( at least I found “Hope” to carry on at the end of this road), made for a memorable day.  Thanks for devoting so much time and effort to these events. I truly do enjoy them...."

Photo compliments of Chris N.

Mordecai S. writes: "...Beautiful scenery, light traffic, roads mainly in very good condition, great weather, and the camaraderie of fellow randonneurs made for a perfect day on the bike.  I really liked the start at the bakery (it was nice to head out after warming up with good coffee), the finish at Ship Inn, and everything in between.  The Tunnel Road climb wasn't quite as hard as I remembered, and there was the bonus of knowing that I'd be rewarded with mostly downhill roads to the finish. Thank you for creating this great route, thanks to Norman, Jon, and Len for volunteering, and thanks again to Patrick and Cecilie for giving me a cue sheet, since I had unaccountably neglected to print one out. Congratulations on successfully guiding the Eastern PA series for ten years....."

Fixed-gear rider Chris N. writes: "...Thanks for organizing the ride this past Sunday - it was great to be back riding in PA. Thanks to volunteers Norm, Jon and Len for making the day run so smoothly..."
Chris took some fantastic pictures along the course which can be viewed here:

Jim H writes: "...Just a brief note to thank you for yesterday's ride.  Thanks also to Norm and Jon.  And Len, who was cheering me on Javes Road as I neared the finish.  Some decent pockets of late autumn color along the route and, as usual, a very nice post-ride atmosphere at the Ship Inn...."

Patrick and Cecilie. write: "...Just a quick note to say thanks for the wonderful ride yesterday.  Cecilie and I had a great time enjoying some truly beautiful scenery and what was left of the Fall colors.  As I mentioned to some of the guys as we pulled into Nykun's, a trip down Shades of Death Road seemed very appropriate for a 200K on the Day of the Dead.  Also, many thanks to Norman and Jon for seeing us off and Jon and Len for meeting us at the finish. ..."

If you have any other comments or pictures to share, you can forward them to me for inclusion on the PA Message board.

Your safety is the number priority on an Eastern PA event. Please mention any safety hazard you might have spotted, or near-miss incident you saw. We value this feedback highly and it will help PA Randonneurs improve the next edition of the event.

Special thanks to a large number of volunteers who stepped up to make this event possible: Len Z not only helped with the course checkout the weekend before, but also manned controle 3, swept the course on the way back to the finish, and helped man the finish controle - whew! Organizer Norman S. ran the start controle and sent the riders on their way. Jon C. helped out at both the start and finish controles.  And Bill O. and Chris N. wrapped up the finish controle, collecting the SPOT trackers and getting the brevet cards back to me.

The Eastern PA fall series continues with the brand new Milford 100k populaire on November 15th.  This course is based on the lower loop of the Blairstown 200k we ran last December.  Hopefully, some of the colorful fall foliage will still be around by then.  Take note that this is another rare Sunday event.  Event details have been posted at:
Use the on-line registration form by 5PM on November 13th if you would like to join the roster.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Stillwater 200k Retour

The Stillwater 200k Retour is on 11/1.  Please note that this is a rare Sunday event.

The start/finish is in Milford, NJ -- the southern most extent of the course.  Please note that you'll need lights and reflective gear at the start.  Organizer Norman Smeal will be sending you on your way at the Milford Bakery start and Len Z. and Jon C. will be greeting you at the Ship Inn finish. Do not leave your car at the Bakery -- there is plenty of parking in the large parking lot on Church St in Milford (PA Randonneurs has permission to use the parking lot off of Church St which is now owned by the Medical supply store at the old bakery location). The Bakery opens at 6AM and has breakfast sandwiches along with an assortment of baked goods.  The finish controle and post ride gathering will be at the Ship Inn, a couple of stores down the street from the Bakery.

SPOT trackers will be handed out to a few selected riders. The units are about the size of a cell phone and can be carried either in your back pocket or in a bag, away from the saddle. If you happen to have a personal SPOT tracker, not already listed here:
... please send me a link to your SPOT tracking webpage.

Additional event details are posted on the event web page:

Additional Course Notes:
-Watch out for deer, especially on River Rd after the start, and on the descent down from the Tunnel Rd climb into the Milford finish.
-Mile 41.2: There is a road cut filled with gravel on the descent.  Please watch out for this hazard and proceed with caution.
-Mile 94.1: You'll be turning on to a short 0.2 mile stretch of dirt road that goes uphill.  While it's possible to find a good line to ride between the ruts, it might be more prudent to dismount and walk if you are unsure of your bike handling skills on dirt and gravel.
-With the rain and wind in the forecast, watch out for slippery conditions from any wet leaves on the road.

*** Roster (as of 10/31) ***
1 Ed Bernasky -
2 Gavin Biebuyck -
3 James Bondra -
4 George Brandt -  Guest
5 Robert Joseph Burdalski II -  Guest
6 Matthew Farrell -
7 William Fischer -
8 Patrick Gaffney -
9 Cecilie Gaffney -
10 Michael J Gorman -  Guest
11 Nigel Greene -
12 Jeffrey A Gregg -
13 James R Haddad -
14 Eric  K Hannon Ford -  Guest
15 Brian Hanson-Harding -  Guest
16 James P. Holman -
17 Greg Keenan -
18 Gil Lebron -
19 Jonathan Levitt -
20 Nicholas Manta -  Guest
21 Gary Mass -
22 Chris Nadovich -
23 Christine Newman -
24 William Olsen - Organizer
25 Peter C Phillips -
26 Mordecai Silver -  Guest
27 Bob Torres -

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Monday, October 19, 2015

PA 150/200k Ride Report

Photo compliments of CJ A.

Preliminary results for the 200k  have been posted at:
... and for the  150k at:
...Please let me know of any corrections or other issues.  Results will be submitted shortly, and become final, pending ACP certification.

25 of the 27 200k starters along with all 3 of the 150k starter made it to the finish in good time,  -- congratulations and well done for that good result on one of the most challenging courses in Eastern PA. Of note, there were 5 finishers who completed their first brevet and are now freshly randonneurs.  Although the temperatures during the day which ranged from the low 40F's to mid 50F's were quite a bit below normal, there was plentiful sunshine to light up the beautiful fall foliage which was nearly in peak color.  A brisk northwest wind helped push riders back home after the Fox Gap climb.

Chris N writes: "...I've ridden this loop many times -- I think it may have been my first brevet with PA Randonneurs -- but I've never seen Cherry Valley look so nice. The reds, yellows, along with the surviving greenery was  breathtaking. Even the dreaded Mountain View Drive was true to its namesake, serving up a fine vista. Thanks to you and the volunteers for a great brevet. ..."

Freshly minted randonneur Bob B. writes: "...I just wanted to thank you and all of the volunteers for a superb ride yesterday. The endless colors, quiet roads, and views from the many large hills were a great distraction from the thought that only a sadist could have designed such a punishing route.  I can't imagine many rides topping this one in the WOW factor, but the great group of riders and the impeccable organization will certainly keep me coming back for more.... Thanks again, and please forward my thanks to the volunteers for both their service and their jovial company.  They made both the pre-ride and barbecue afterwards much more fun than I thought a large group of exhausted men could have...."

Joe R. writes: "...Enjoyed the very challenging 200k today.  Handling those climbs feels like a good accomplishment.  The entire route is scenic, but some of the roads are absolutely perfect; the descent from Tunnel road heading toward Milford comes to mind.  Thanks to Jim for his organizing and the support at the top of Fox Gap. Here are a couple shots from the morning, including a great Cadillac at the Wind Gap controle.  We were pretty sure you could fit two bikes in the trunk. ..."
Photo compliments of Joe R.

Jim H writes: "...Many thanks to you and your tireless crew of volunteers for yesterday’s ride.  Beautiful fall foliage.  Great riding companions.  And, at the finish, all the food this very hungry randonneur could want. ..."

Volunteer and 150k rider Keith S. writes: "...What a day to be on the bike!  The 150k route was challenging as normal for eastern PA, the biggest difference was the outstanding colors of the foliage that lined the way north and south. Not sure it could be any better than that, nice job Tom.  It was also nice to share thoughts and stories with friends.  I personally won't forget the tailwind on Montana Road and crossing and descending Montana Mountain.  Montana Road was the first time I ever recorded 23 mph on a flat while riding my Surly Long Haul Trucker.  Thanks again Tom!. ..."

Grace P writes: "...Thanks for another wonderful hilly day!  I especially enjoy riding in PA and those routes of yours.... CJ's GPS routes were very helpful.  I kept checking them against the cue sheet and the only discrepancy I saw was at the control where Dunkin Donuts replaced Rossini.... it was good to see such a large turn-out yesterday..."

Jeff  G writes: "...How do I describe this ride let me count the ways, there was a hill around every turn and maybe 2 or 3 that day. I heard  climbing hills makes you stronger and that may be a fact but I probably think that most of the rides I do in the future may now be considered flat.  Thanks for a great day, good food and fellowship at the end of a hard ride.. ..."

Nigel G writes: "... I enjoyed the ride a great deal. Although, the suddenly cooler temps came a bit as a surprise, it turns out that the repeated climbing was more than enough to keep me warm (despite the wind). I'm pretty sure that this was my first time on this particular route and I've been missing out. The excellent collection of scenic climbs and rando-friendly back roads made this course well worth the challenge. Although I kept expecting some of the fast climbing 200K riders to catch me despite the extra distance, one odd result of doing the shorter route was that I found myself in the unusual position of being the first to arrive at the controls and the finish. There is a first time for everything. Thanks for putting on another memorable brevet...."

Eoghan B writes: "...Just wanted to say thanks again for the framed medal set - it's adding a lot of tone to my desk at the moment. Thanks also for all your work organizing the series this year - I used to organize three rides a year when I was back in Dublin, and that was more than enough work for me: doing a (baker's?) dozen is above and beyond the call of duty. [Actually, the PA Randonneurs 2015 calendar has a dozen and a half events - whew! -Tom R.] Great route for yesterday's ride - very demanding, very scenic, everything I enjoy about riding a bike and none of the stuff I hate (well, getting up at 4:45, maybe)...."

First finisher Patrick G writes: "...Thanks for another great ride.  As always, the course was challenging, but the wonderful scenery seemed to flatten some of the climbs a little bit.  Also, thanks to Jim B.  for manning the Fox Gap and finish controls and Bill and Keith for working the grill...."

Volunteer and 150k rider Bill S. writes: "...Tom,I really enjoyed getting a chance to help on Saturday and get a nice ride in to boot. The course was glorious in it's autumn splendor and the hills revealed my lack of preparation for the ride. the legs are doing ok now that I have given them a rest. ..."

Eric Q writes: "...That was by far the most beautiful ride yet. ..."

Freshly minted randonneur Paul I writes: "...Thanks very much, Tom. I was one of the first-timers, and I have to say that I really enjoyed the day, despite the headwinds early and late, the hellish climbs, and the flat tire as I was cruising down 519 towards Lomasons Glen Rd. It was a beautiful day for riding, and the course was challenging but still wonderfully scenic. Hope to do more of them in the future,  ..."

CJ A writes: "...Trophy Bikes in Philly (the shop that Bob Burdalski and Nick Manta work at) put on an overnight ride to Cape May last month. I meant to send out a message to more of the PA/NJ Randonneurs but didn't end up doing so. We started in Philadelphia around 7:30 pm. Those who went to Cape May got in about 105 miles. Myself, Jono, and another non-rando friend immediately turned around and hustled back upshore to catch a morning train in Atlantic City, putting us at about 150 miles total. Photo album posted at:
As for Saturday's brevet, I only was able to take a few pictures. My first ride on the new bike in cooler weather; I did not realize how cumbersome those little leather bag straps would be with gloves on! But, I did have a great ride on Saturday and spent the second half of it with newbie Brian P. The headwinds in the morning turned to tailwinds at Fox Gap (good timing), and while the weather was cool and the course was tough, the scenery made it all worth it. Thanks to you of course, Jim for checking up on us at Fox Gap, and to Keith and Bill for their stellar food/beverage service at the finish. Hoping that more and more younger riders will come out of the woodwork....
Photo album posted at:

Volunteer Jim  B posted the following photo album at:

If you have any other comments or pictures to share, you can forward them to me for inclusion on the PA Message board.

Your safety is the number priority on an Eastern PA event. Please mention any safety hazard you might have spotted, or near-miss incident you saw. We value this feedback highly and it will help PA Randonneurs improve the next edition of the event.  I know that 0.8 mile stretch of Rt 313 is very busy with fast traffic, While it is indeed a sharp contrast to the rest of the course which is very quiet, it does have a very wide shoulder and rumble strip to keep a safe separation between the riders and cars.

Special thanks to Jim B., who came all the way down from Ithica, NY to help run the start/finish controle as well as the not-so-secret control atop Fox Gap.. Thanks also to volunteers Keith S and Bill S.. for the postride BBQ and helping with the hostel clean-up.

The Eastern PA fall series continues with the Stillwater Retour on November 1st.  This is a 200k starting at our favorite bakery in Milford.  Take note that this is a rare Sunday event, and remember that the clocks change the night before.  Event details have been posted at:
Use the on-line registration form by 5PM on Oct 30th if you would like to join the roster.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Friday, October 9, 2015

PA 150/200k

*** Update 1 (10/14) ***
The cuesheets for both the 200k and 150k  have been updated to draft 9, dated 10/14.  The controle in Stewartsville  has been changed from Rossini's Market (which is no longer open) to a Duncan Donuts that is just a bit further down the road on Rt 57.  REMINDER: Be sure to use the "refresh" button on your web browser to avoid any stale cuesheets that might be cached on your computer.

With the help of volunteer Chris Roth, the entire course has been checked out.  In general, the course is in fairly good shape and there are even some new fresh ribbons of smooth asphalt in places.  However, there are some additional areas that you should take some extra caution:

- Some of the colorful foliage has already started to fall down on the road, along with fruit and other debris from trees.  You should watch out for these hazards, especially if conditions are wet.

- Just about all the roads in Bucks County (where the hostel start/finish is located) are in very poor shape. While many of the big potholes have at least a crappy patch job, there are still several large potholes and cracks, especially on Old Bethlehem Rd (mile 4.8) and Rt 212 (mile 9.9).  Please be on the lookout for these hazards, and leave enough room to maneuver if you are with a group of other riders (which of course, is a most likely situation at the start).

- There were warning signs for chip and oil road work on Lower Saucon Valley Rd near mile 16.  As of Wednesday (10/14), this has not been done yet.  Hopefully, this will still be case by Saturday -- but if not, you will want to take extra caution on the long steep descents on this road.

- Mile 27.1: There is some loose gravel in the turn onto Newlins Rd

- Mile 33 (150k only): Immediately after the turn onto Lower Little Creek Rd, there is road construction and a 1-lane bridge with a stop sign for traffic control.

- Mile 40.7 (150k only): There is some loose gravel on the shoulder from previous tar and chip work.

- Mile 87.0 (200k) / 55.4 (150k): There is a steep twisty descent with lots of leaves, gravel, and other debris in the corners.  Please take this descent a bit slower and with extra caution.  A note has been added to the cuesheet as a reminder.

*** Original Post ***
The PA Randonneurs fall series kicks off on October 17 and you have a choice of either a 150k or 200k course.  Hopefully, the fall foliage will be in peak color.  The start/finish will be at the Weisel hostel, with breakfast served 1 hour before the start  We'll also have the traditional post-ride BBQ, where we can recap the accomplishments of the past year and look forward to the challenges of the coming year. Registration and other event details are at:

With only about 10.5 hours of daylight available, 200k riders will need lights and reflective gear, unless you have previously finished  the course in less than 9.5 hours.

Long-time PA and NJ randonneurs will remember that the design of the 200k course is based on the "Hilly 100 miles" of the 2003 edition of the NJ600k.  It's been run as an October event ever since then, as one of the most challenging 200k's on the PA schedule.  The first notable challenge is the short but very steep climb up Lower Saucon Valley Road, as a warm-up. After the big climb up Fox Gap, another one awaits you up Lommason's Glen.  After the Montana Road descent, we head over to Tunnel Road, which is the "kinder and gentler" way up Jug Town mountain.  But in between, another little lump in the form of Mountain View Road awaits you. About half way up the climb, be sure to look out to your left, where a nice vista can be seen through a break in the trees.  The 150k course generally follows the 200k route until Mud Rud, where 150k riders will go directly to Belvidere while 200k riders head into Cherry Valley and up Fox Gap.

Additional Course Notes:
-Mile 40.9 (200k): As you descend the backside of Wind Gap, watch out for some very hazardous sewer grates in the shoulder -- they are actually more akin to wide open storm drains, and will most certainly ruin your day if you hit these at speed. You'll want to take a line more to the left in order to avoid these hazards.
-Mile 111.1 (200k) / 79.7 (150k): There is bridge construction that is closed to cars but is easily bypassed  if you dismount and walk around the barriers. Since the road is closed to through traffic, you'll practically have the road all to yourself.  But as you get closer to the road closure, the road becomes less maintained -- be sure to watch out for gravel, potholes, and debris, especially on the descent and curve about one mile away from the bridge that is out.

As noted on the website, you should park your car in the large parking lot half way down the driveway on the right -- Not  the few spots near the house (which are reserved). Breakfast items (oatmeal, bagels, etc) will be available 1 hr before the start.  If you are staying at the hostel on Friday night, early arrivals before 10PM should use the woman's dorm and later arrivals should use the men's dorm.  I'll be arriving late on Friday night after a high school football game, but the house parents John and Gerry Anne will be expecting you.

SPOT trackers will be handed out to selected riders.  If you have a personal SPOT unit not listed here:
... please send me a link to your tracking page.

200k Roster (as of 10/16)
1 Charles J Arayata - Friday Night Hostel
2 Eoghan Barry -
3 George Brandt -  Guest
4 Bob Burdalski -  Guest- Friday Night Hostel
5 Brian Campbell -  Guest
6 Richard G Carpenter -
7 Alfred Dolich -  Guest
8 Matthew Farrell -
9 J Scott Franzen
10 Patrick Gaffney -
11 Michael J Gorman -  Guest
12 Jeffrey A Gregg -
13 James R Haddad -  Guest- Friday Night Hostel
14 Steve Harding - Friday and Saturday Night Hostel
15 James P. Holman -
16 Paul Ilechko -  Guest
17 Donald Jagel -
18 Greg Keenan -
19 Paul S Kramer -  Guest- Friday Night Hostel
20 Gil Lebron -
21 J Michael Lutz
22 Nicholas Manta -  Guest
23 Gary Mass -
24 Chris Nadovich - Friday and Saturday Night Hostel
25 Brian Pho -  Guest- Friday Night Hostel
26 Althea Grace Pineda -
27 Eric Quinn -  Guest
28 Joseph Ray -  Guest
29 Bob Torres - Friday Night Hostel

150k Roster (as of 10/16)
1 Nigel Greene -
2 Sarah M Lutz -  Guest
3 William M Slabonik -  Volunteer
4 Keith A Spangler -  Volunteer

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Monday, September 14, 2015

September Brevet - Hawk Mountain Ride Report

Preliminary results have been posted at:
Results will be submitted in a couple of days to RUSA, and then become final pending ACP certification.

After weeks of hot, dry conditions, riders on the Hawk Mountain brevet got wet.  Really wet.  Early forecasts indicated scattered showers for much of the day with probabilities and intensity increasing toward the day's end.  The rain started early and never really stopped until after 6 pm.  Weather notwithstanding, all 20 riders who started under partly cloudy skies in the morning finished.  Another 100% completion under challenging conditions.  The completions are more impressive when one considers that four riders were attempting their very first brevets.  Congratulations to freshly minted randonneurs Larry Collins, Paul Curry, Steven Schoenfelder, and Julius Silberman-Gorn.

Zach Goodrich weathered the event to claim his first R12 which included the PA 600k in May.  Congratulations!  Equally impressive was watching Zach and the three friends he convinced to join him on the event squeeze their soggy selves and four bikes into a compact sedan at the finish for the trip home.  

The perseverance award goes to Ed Schantz.  Ed experienced a mechanical early in the day which put him alone at the back in the rain for most of the day.  He arrived in good shape and smiling.   True randonneuring spirit.

Patrick Gaffney writes:   I thought that the course was great.  Although the clouds and rain hampered some of the views there was still plenty to enjoy.  I particularly like the old rail trail and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was very rideable even in the heavy rain.  It was also nice to have some nice riding companions when the rain was at its heaviest; which made the time pass a little more quickly.  Thanks again.  It's worth noting that Patrick rode on a single-speed bike and managed to be among the first finishers.  Well done!

Greg K. writes:   Thank you Andrew for organizing such a nice route. The smooth tar on the decent from Hawk Mountain Sanctuary was a treat but the rain and more conservative riding soon set in. I finally got caught in a true rando rain, my rain repellent fenders did not scare the rain away this time. The Harrisburg gauge said 1.98 inches for the day. My guess is that the depth on the road was at least that much, at times my tire was submerged in running water.  FYI: My cue sheet was printed on “Rite in the rain” paper, an despite it sitting in a puddle for the last 4 hours of the ride it is still 100% in tact and legible.  This product actually works.   The company of Gavin, Patrick, Don, Peter and Jono and a popup visit from Tom made this one of my most enjoyable rides despite the “humidity.” Thanks to all. 

Next up we return to our PA Rando headquarters in Quakertown for everyone's favorite fall classic 150/200k events on October 17. Event details have been posted at:

Andrew Mead

Monday, August 31, 2015

Hawk Mountain 200k

We head west for the September R12 event, the Hawk Mountain 200k.  Last run in 2012, this route begins at the K-Mart in Ephrata, PA and heads northeast toward the Blue Mountain range and the namesake climb.  We skirt around Reading and the Blue Marsh Lake in the early miles, wind through a few villages along the Schuylkill River, and eventually reach the first controle in Kempton at the base of the Blue Mountain range.  The controle is now and information controle, but remains open for nibbles and drinks.  Restraint is urged as everything you pack on your bike at his controle has to be carried OVER Hawk Mountain.  Veteran Hawk Mountain riders will know to study the cue sheet and take advantage of the additional food/drink services identified along the route (hint: Shoemakersville) so they minimize bike weight for the climb.

Once over the mountain, we drop into the village of Deer Lake.  Construction along SR61 has greatly improved our crossing of this road; no longer does the route follow the shoulder of SR61.  I'm sure no one who's ridden this before will miss that part of the route.  We climb to Summer Hill Road with its scenic vistas of the Blue and Second Mountains and travel west along the ridge line to Pine Grove.

The biggest routing change comes after the Pine Grove controle.  We've given up the unshaded, deeply rolling SR 443 and the monstrous climb along Rt 645.  In their place is the shaded and generally downhill Swatera Rail Trail.  The trail features roughly five miles of compacted crushed limestone trail that is easily traversed with skinny tires as you ride alongside the Swatera Creek through Indiantown Gap. While the cue is easy to follow, signage at the trailhead is minimal.  Here's the view of the trail entrance from Swopes Valley Rd.
There is a sign identifying the trail about 100 feet in, so make sure you're on the correct trail.  The Bear Hole Trail trailhead is nearby.  Both trails end up at the same controle location, but you'll want the Swatera Trail.  The Bear Hole Trail has hills.

Sadly, we have to bypass the Lickdale Hess Express and its deli due to bridge construction.  You'll want to stock up in Pine Grove or check out the pizza or sub shop in Fredericksburg.  Regardless, make sure you have plenty of water as the final miles travel mostly through farmland with little shade.

A course checkout ride was completed on August 30.  The updated cue sheet has been posted on the website.  Roads are generally in great shape with several stretches of fresh asphalt, including much of the descent from Hawk Mountain.  Of course, there were also a few stretches of fresh oil & chips.  This is Pennsylvania, after all.  I don't expect any changes to the cue sheet before the event.  As always, follows this board for any last minute updates.

The ride starts at 7am, shortly after sunrise.  Sunset is 7:19pm.  While it certainly is possible to finish before then, unforeseen circumstances may keep you out on course longer than anticipated, so lights and reflective gear are strongly recommended.  If you are out riding past sundown without lights and reflective gear, a DQ will be the least of your problems!

It's always a good idea to start with a hearty breakfast and The Pancake Farm in Ephrata is just around the corner from the starting location.  It opens at 5:15am.  Directions are on the event webpage.

One final note:  please park along the east side of the K-Mart parking lot (furthest away from the Turkey Hill) so we minimize our impact on K-Mart's customer parking.

Additional details on on the event page
All riders must be registered.  Pre-registration is open until September 10 at 5pm.
Click HERE to pre-register.

Andrew Mead

*** Roster (as of 9/10) ***
1 Michael Anderson -
2 Gavin Biebuyck -
3 James Bondra -
4 Frederick R Collins -  Guest
5 Larry  Thomas Collins -  Guest
6 Paul Currie -  Guest
7 Jono Crane Davis -  Guest
8 Patrick Gaffney
9 Jeffrey A Gregg -
10 James R Haddad -
11 Eric  K Hannon Ford -  Guest
12 Donald Jagel -
13 Greg Keenan -
14 Jeffrey H Lord -  Guest
15 Andrew D Mead - Organizer
16 Ralph V Miller III - Volunteer
17 Chris Nadovich
18 William Olsen -
19 Peter C Phillips -
20 Edward T Schantz -
21 Steven J Schoenfelder -
22 Isaac (Julius) Silberman-Gorn -  Guest

Monday, August 10, 2015

August Hawk's Nest 200k Ride Report

Preliminary results have been posted at:
Results will be submitted in a couple of days to RUSA, and then become final pending ACP certification.

With low humidity and wind, mild temperatures, and some partial cloud cover, weather conditions for an August brevet were just about ideal. All 15 riders who made it to the start finished in good time for another 100% completion -- well done to all! Of note, newcomers Eric F. and Michael S. completed their first PA brevet -- congratulations, and hope to see you both again soon.

Although perhaps it is a question that might have been better left unanswered, we now know the terminal velocity of a velomobile on the decent from Eldred: 62 MPH.  Len Z writes: " ...  I was so concerned about getting my 60 pound velo up to the first controle on time, but actually made it there 20 minutes sooner than last time! After that, the ride was essentially in the bag. As opposed to last time, this ride was a ride of real extremes. extraordinarily slow up the steeper hills , and on steep uphill parts of mine road ,I felt my rear wheel start to slip if didn't pedal smoothly. The downhills were literally and figuratively a rush! I had hit 52 mph during the first segment. The 62 coming down from Glen Spey was an all time record for me. I felt fine on that run, the velo felt very stable, but considering the way the velo handled with a blowout at 30 mph later in the ride, I will be more circumspect about the very high speeds until I upgrade my rear tire. It seems my "guardian Angel" really is a "speed Demon"..."

Grace P. writes: "... an absolutely perfect ride!  Well, never mind that nasty piece of Old Mine Rd. .  ...."

Jim B writes "...Great day and a great route! I have wanted to do this one for years and it somehow has never fit into my schedule. If the NPS could fill it all the potholes on the climb it would be perfect. Thanks again for putting on this ride. ..."

After two visits to Hawk's Nest, the summer series wraps up with the Hawk Mountain 200k on September 12th.  Event details have been posted at:

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern  PA RBA

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

August Hawk's Nest 200k

With summer weather upon us, the August 8th Hawk's Nest 200k course will be heading north into Promised Land, where the temperatures are typically several degrees cooler than points south.  Most of the route is shaded, which will also bring some relief from the heat.  Riders typically finish this course about an hour faster than other Eastern   PA 200k's.  

As some of you may be aware from an earlier event page on the website, the original plan was to run this course in the reverse direction, heading counter-clockwise through the Water Gap Recreation Area first and up to Port Jervis and returning through Promised Land and Canadensis.  This past weekend, your RBA completed a volunteer check-out ride of this reverse loop.  While it was nice to ride through the sharp rollers in the park with fresh legs, that was about the only thing that worked better than the original clockwise loop.  And unfortunately, the reverse loop has many disadvantages and problems, including:
- The climb out of Port Jervis up to Hawk's Nest has lots of fast traffic
- The Hawk's Nest scenic overlook area is an uphill stretch with narrow shoulder, and poor views of the overlook.
- The climb to Eldred is harder from this direction, and has lots of exposed sections that many riders will see in the midday heat.
- The stretch along Rt 6, Rt 507, and Rt 309 are uphill with lots of late afternoon traffic
The original course works much better in these areas.  So the August event will be in the same clockwise direction as the July event, however, it'll be the 2014 course without the climb up Snow Hill Rd this time.

Event details are at:

If you would like to join the roster, please use the online registration form by 5PM Thursday, August 6th.  

*** Start/Finish ***
The start/finish is at the Water Gap Diner. The diner has promised to have the grill fired-up by 6AM, so you can top off with a good breakfast before the start.  
Important Reminder: Do not leave your car at the diner -- Parking is in an empty lot behind the Water Gap Diner -  Directions are posted here:

Course Notes:

Mile 42.1, Kimbles Rd is in pretty rough shape with many potholes -- please take extra caution.

At mile 45.2 on Kimbles Rd, there is a bridge across the Lackawaxen River that is closed to automobile traffic, but when last checked, is passable by foot.  Last weekend, the construction was in the same state as it was nearly two weeks ago, and the latest word is that the bridge will not be demolished after all.  However, in the unlikely event that it is not at all passable, use the following detour:

1) Backtrack to Rt 6 and turn right
2) Right at TFL to remain on Rt 6
3) Right on Rt 590 (after passing through the town of Hawley)
4) Bear right onto (unmarked?) Towpath Rd
5) After passing Kimbles Rd on right, you are back on course
A map of the detour is posted here:

Controle 4 in Port Jervis is at a diner, but you may instead stop at the MiniMart on the opposite corner.

Lights are not mandatory since the event is starting after sunrise, and except for 14 minutes at the end, the time limit is before sundown.  That being said, I recommend bringing along some lights and reflective gear just in case circumstances keep you out on course longer than expected.

If you've never been across the Rt 80 bridge near Water Gap, it's a little bit tricky.  You need to look for a sidewalk/ramp about 50 yards past the Rt 80 underpass which you will cross under. The picture below shows the ramp on the left, which is in between the road you will be traveling (on the right) and Rt 80 (far left):

You will be facing on-coming traffic as you go across the bridge.

*** Ride Safely ***
Your safety is the number priority on an Eastern PA event.  While the risks outlined in the event waiver cannot be completely eliminated, the following will hopefully help keep you as safe as possible.

Your responsibility as the rider includes:
- Showing up in reasonable physical condition for the event
- Bringing a reliable bike in good working order
- Complying with all traffic laws along the course 
- Respecting the rights of all other users of the route (including pedestrians)
- Planning for the situation where you can’t finish the ride

Although every effort has been made to provide you with a scenic route that minimizes car traffic and other hazards, the following list highlights some areas to take some extra care:

- Summer weather has arrived with a vengeance with a forecast calling for heat and humidity.  Be mindful of your fluid and electrolyte levels and it might also be a good idea to carry an ice sock with you if you need to cool down.
- With the rough winter we just had you should be extra vigilant for potholes and rough road surfaces.
- One of the most dangerous things you will encounter on the road just might be another cyclist.  Keep a safe following distance when riding with other cyclists you are not familiar with.  Please avoid forming a large bunch at the st
art of the ride.

- Helmets are mandatory.
- Please note that the bike inspection checklist includes redundant lighting for both the front and rear lights.
- Bringing along a cell phone is highly recommended.
- Mechanical assistance is not provided.  
- SPOT trackers will be handed out to selected riders. If you are given one, they have a feature to call for help if you need it and are out of cell phone range -- if you are unfamiliar with how to use this feature, a volunteer will be happy to explain it to you.  If you have a personal unit not already listed on the PA Randonnerus SPOT Tracking webpage:
please send me a link to your SPOT webpage.

Food / Hydration
- In general, the route heads you into some desolate areas, with limited opportunities for food and water.
- Plan on replenishing supplies at the controle stops.  The controles are typically at a store or restaurant.

- If you feel like abandoning the ride, it may be an indication that you are not eating and drinking enough.  Take a break, eat something, and it's likely that your outlook will improve.  Before you know it, you'll be making that last turn back to the finish.  And remember the golden rule of "… eat before you're hungry and drink before you're thirsty."
If you are still riding past the ride time limit or if you intend to abandon the ride, please contact me on my cell phone: (610) 417-7161
- It is your responsibility to make arrangements for alternate transportation

In case of accident  
Should you become injured, or arrive just after an accident resulting in an injured person (rider, motorist, or passer-by):
- Call 911 for an ambulance, describing where you are and the condition of the injured person(s)
- Contact me along with any other organizers listed on the cuesheet 
- Be sure to carry identification along with your emergency contact information in case you are knocked unconscious

Please mention any safety hazard you might have spotted, or near-miss incident you saw. We value this feedback highly and it will help PA Randonneurs improve the next edition of the event.

Driving after the event
If you are very tired when you reach the finish, it may be a good idea to take a nap before a long drive home, so you don't end up with serious injuries like David Nakai did: 

Have a safe ride! 

*** Roster (as of 8/7) ***

1 James Bondra -
2 Cecilie Gaffney -  Volunteer
3 Patrick Gaffney -  Volunteer
4 Zachary R Goodrich -
5 Jeffrey A Gregg -
6 Eric  K Hannon Ford -
7 James P. Holman -
8 Paul S Kramer -
9 John McMonagle -
10 Chris Nadovich -
11 William Olsen -
12 Althea Grace Pineda -
13 Tom Rosenbauer -  Volunteer
14 Scotty Steingart -
15 Michael Syracuse -
16 Leonard Zawodniak -

Monday, July 27, 2015

July Hawk's Nest 200k Ride Report

Preliminary results have been posted at:
Results will be submitted in a couple of days to RUSA, and then become final pending ACP certification.

With the recent heatwave just over a week ago, and a new one ramping up this week, there could hardly be any complaints with the low humidity and seasonably warm temperatures for Saturday's event.

All 22 riders who made it to the start finished in good time for a 100% completion -- congratulations and well done to all! Of note, Scotty S. impoved upon his 2013 result by a handful of minutes with an incredibly fast time of 7:30.  That's about an hour faster than the typical first finisher, and this year's edition which  included the climbs up to Eldred. and Snow Hill Rd, a couple of extra miles, and some rough roads is arguably harder than previous editions.

Nigel G. writes: "... Hawk's Nest may just be my favorite 200K route which is saying a lot when you considering that it includes the climb up Old Mine Road. The morning weather was delightful and I was thankful for the tree-shaded course in the warmer afternoon. This was the kind of ride that keeps me coming back.  ...."

Jim H. writes: "...Thanks to you and volunteers Norm and Bob for another great ride.  Very comfortable morning conditions gave way to an afternoon of full sun so the shade along the route was appreciated.  Great scenery throughout.  But, as I told Matt, I wanted drop a nuclear bomb on Old Mine Rd. :-)  ...."

Zach  G. writes: "...Thanks for another great ride and route. It seems that each ride I learn something new, this ride being no exception. It was my first without a thick, puncture resistant tire. I'll need to start paying better attention to debris, and to ride further out from the gritty shoulders. Changing 2 flats was no fun business, especially the second being 3 miles from the finish. I'll heed Bill and Gavin's advice and start carrying an extra tire. Despite the unpleasant flats, the light, supple tires added much comfort and speed to my ride. Though some of the roads were rough, the Hawks Nest 200k remains one of my favorites. From the climb up the Pocono escarpment, to the winding roads along the Lackawaxen River, to the cliffs above the Delaware at Hawk's Next, the route is full of interesting geologic features and natural beauty. Hitting Marshalls Creek Rd earlier in the day, the traffic was much more calm than when I had traversed this section on the 600k, a noticeable and welcome difference. As goes with all the PA brevets I've ridden, I was in good company throughout the ride. Thanks to Bill, Bob, and Gavin for helping me through the last miles on Old Mine road with good stories. Congrats to Bob on his sub 9 hour 200k! Looking forward to seeing everyone again in 2 weeks... "

Ed  B. writes: "... Beautiful ride and thanks to Bob and Norm. ...  Bob T. was a machine out there.  A nice day.  Very nice. ..."

Michael P. writes: "...Hi, Tom. Just wanted to send a quick note to thank you and the volunteers for an excellent riding experience last Saturday. This was only my second brevet and it was a heck of a lot more challenging than the first but I managed to complete it with plenty of time to spare, even after stopping several times to take a bunch of pictures. The views from Hawks Nest were nothing short of spectacular and the flats along the Lackawaxen made for some very enjoyable riding. That last climb up Old Mine was really tough but knowing that I had gotten through it made the last few miles particularly satisfying. I also enjoyed meeting some of the other Randonneurs and talking about bikes and such. Looking forward to doing another PA ride in the future. ..."

Special thanks to organizer Norman S. for running the start controle and sending everybody on their way. Special Thanks also to Bob T. for manning the finish controle. Without volunteers like Norman and Bob who step up to help out, putting on these events just wouldn't be possible.

The summer series continues in two weeks with a 200k on August 8th.  Event details will be posted soon.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern  PA RBA