Monday, March 30, 2015

Blue Mountain 200k Ride Report

Even the horses, still with their winter blankets, are wondering when spring will finally arrive.  Photo compliments of Nigel G.

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

According to the calendar, it was a spring event, but it definitely still felt like winter, as the 25 riders will attest to. Temperatures were below freezing at the start, and never made it out of the 30F's.  Gusty winds out of the northwest made it feel much colder all along the leg from Wind Gap to Little Gap.  Last December's ride was balmy in comparison.  Despite the very chilly conditions, all 25 riders made it to the finish for a 100% completion -- congratulations and well done to all!

First finisher Ed B. writes: "...Thank you (and Eoghan) for a wonderful 200k... Yesterday was hard. The first 70 or so miles into a 20+ mph wind with 25-28F temperatures froze my one lone container of "emergency use only" Goo solid and the fact that I reached for that vile "food" and that it was rock solid says it all.  The Blue Mountain is one of my favorite rides because it has everything a rider could want and despite the challenging conditions, it was perfect.  It has two good manageable climbs, lots of rollers, flat sections, rivers, valleys that are all wrapped up in quiet, low volume country roads with spectacular scenery.  Nice riders.  Finishing up at the Ship Inn with others was a treat and a perfect personal celebration marking my 1 year anniversary of returning to randonneuring..."

Jim H. writes: "...This was one of those rides that I was very glad to be finished with.  Needless to say, it was a cold one, especially before the Blue Mountain crossing.  Not long after that crossing, I began to feel flat on the bike ....  But, as always, thanks to you and Eoghan for another great ride; and to Pat and Cecilie for their scouting report.  A challenging course, terrific mountain and river views, great riding companions and excellent brew and chew at the finishing controle..."

Nigel G.  writes: "...Thank to you and Eoghan for putting on this ride. I've grown quite fond of this particular route and yesterday's quiet roads and bucolic setting did not disappoint. The wind and the cold on the other hand, certainly upped the ante...Spending four hours riding uphill into a freezing headwind gives you lots of time to question your decisions ...."
You can read the rest of Nigel's ride report at

Eric K. writes: "... I  must have been so excited to ride my first 200k since October that I didn't feel that the headwinds were too bad.  We did run into a few tough stretches -- one before Phillipsburg, and then the approach to Wind Gap. But I guess that's why the call it Wind Gap. We seemingly had tailwinds on both stretches paralleling Blue Mountain, which was a welcome surprise. I was concerned that I was under-gloved, but I didn't have serious hand freezing issues until the end. Overall, I like the course a lot, and the change involving Turkey Hill was very nice. Other than being cold and windy, the weather cooperated.  On the way in from State College, I hit quite a bit of snow. It must have veered north..."

Tim C. writes: "...Thanks to you and the rest of the PA randos for organizing this.  It was a very pretty ride, and the weather held out.  That wind was terrible for the first part, but the ride from the ski resort to Water Gap made up for it.  I stopped at that bakery on my way out of the park a year and a half ago with my touring bike, tent, and supplies.  I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled up to it, and the other riders who were there got an earful about how I had been there before.  That's a great place for a controlle...."

Rudi M. writes: "... I was very impressed by the route; the many beautiful roads, near perfect cue sheet, friendly controle people, and so on, all really great..."

Special thanks to organizer,  Eoghan B. for sending the riders on their way at the start and greeting them at the Ship Inn finish.  Thanks also, to volunteer preriders Cecilie and Patrick G. for their course checkout. And thanks also, to Bill O., Chris N. and Chris' dad for helping to greet all the riders at the Ship Inn finish with a warm welcome after a very chilly ride.
 It's volunteers these who make a big difference on the Eastern PA series.  There are still plenty of opportunities for other volunteers to step up an make a difference on future events, which are listed here:

The Eastern PA 2015 spring schedule continues with the Fleche on the weekend after Easter.  This year, there are a total of 8 teams that will be converging to Quakertown.  Team rosters have been posted at:
 -- hopefully, spring weather will arrive by the time teams take their start.  And the following week the Eastern PA SR series continues with the 300k, along with a shorter 200k for those of you just looking to keep an R-12 streak going. Event details have been posted at:

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Blue Mountain 200k

Blue Mountain as seen on the 2014 edition, compliments of Nigel Greene

*** Postponed (3/20) ***
Due to snow and icy road conditions, the Blue Mountain 200k originally scheduled for 3/21 has been postponed until Saturday, 3/28.  Hopefully, we'll have some spring weather conditions by then.  Please let me know if you plan to ride on the rescheduled date.

 *** Update 1 (3/19) ***
With a winter storm forecast calling for 3-6" of snow on Friday along with the below freezing temperatures overnight into Saturday morning, there's a good chance that the Blue Mountain 200k will need to be postponed.  An assessment will be made around midday on Friday on whether it will be safe for us to ride or not.  Be sure to check back on the website and message board for updates.

*** Course Notes (3/17) ***
The Eastern PA spring calendar kicks off with the Blue Mountain 200k on March 21st out of Milford, NJ. The start is at our favorite bakery.  But due to the limited parking spaces at the Milford Station Bakery, please do not park your car there. Parking is available in a parking lot off of Church St (across the street from the Bakery).  There are "No Parking" signs but PA Randonneurs has permission from US Health Care: to use the lot for our event.  The March event typically has a pretty good turn-out - there is additional seating at the bakery start controle in a room down the hallway past the bathrooms.
The controle in Water Gap is at another bakery.  But right next door, there is the Water Gap Diner if you would like a more substantial sit-down meal.  You may get your brevet card signed at either location.

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

The finish controle is at the Ship Inn, at the other end of Bridge St, where organizer Eoghan Barry will greet you.  Eoghan is also riding as a participant, so if you finish before he does, you can leave your signed brevet card with the hostess if you leave before he arrives.

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

A volunteer preride was completed by Pat and Cecily Gaffney this past weekend.  Pat reports:
"...Thanks again for a wonderful route.  Despite the fact that the temperatures never seemed to get anywhere near their advertised highs, a pretty stiff headwind through the first two controls and some sleet and freezing rain we had a great time.  
As with all the Eastern PA rides, the route was a fantastic mix of interesting terrain and beautiful scenery.  We didn't find any issues with the cue sheet, and given the winter we had, we thought all the roads were in pretty good shape.  There were no real problems with any roads, though I must say there was a fair amount of gravel and cinders over the entire course, which i think could be expected. It was never a real big concern, but there were a few spots that we thought you may want to make note of.
- At mile 16.3 - right turn onto Abbott St - there is a pothole in the turn that could cause some pinch flats
-Mile 21.7- N Delaware Dr - - There is a fair amount of gravel on the shoulder
-Mile 34.3 - QR - Eighth St - There is a metal grate in the turn
-Mile 34.6 - Roosevelt St is unmarked
-Mile 44.6 - Delps RD is probably one of the roughest roads on the route.  It is not horrible, but there a few spots along the whole stretch of Delps that have to be picked through with a little extra caution, particularly if a large group is moving through.
-Mile 49 - Red Maple Drive - Gravel in this turn
-Mile 52 - There is a lot of gravel on the shoulder of the climb up Blue Mountain Drive.
-Mile 79.1 -Cherry Valley Rd - This stretch has some rough patches between 191 and 611.
-Mile 93.3 - Sandy Shore Dr. - Gravel in this turn
-Mile 119.1 - Sweet Hollow Road - Gravel and rough road in this turn.

Other than these spots the course was in pretty good shape, as we mentioned before.  The climb up Turkey Hill was not too bad.  We made it up without any issues and the 3 mile descent down Sweet Hollow with out turning the pedals over was worth it.

Hopefully the weather will be a little better for the group this weekend, but I am sure everyone will enjoy the ride regardless..."  -Pat and Cecilie

And a couple of other important reminders:
- Lighting and reflective gear will be inspected at the start
- Print out a cuesheet for yourself
- Monitor the message board and website for any last minute updates.  There's another round of winter weather in the forecast late in the week that I'm keeping a close eye on.
...And most importantly, be sure to have a **safe ride***!

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

**** Roster as of 3/27 ***
1 Glenn Ammons -
2 Whit Anderson -
3 Dan Barbasch -
4 Eoghan Barry - Organizer
5 Ed Bernasky
6 Gavin Biebuyck -
7 Ronald Burdalski II - unconfirmed
8 Janice Chernekoff -
9 Jonathan Clamp -
10 Tim Conway -
11 Timothy Creyts -
12 Ed Dodd -
13 Alfred Dolich - unconfirmed
14 Chris Errico -
15 Matthew Farrell -
16 William Fischer -
17 J Scott Franzen -
18 Cecilie Gaffney - Volunteer
19 Patrick Gaffney - Volunteer
20 Zachary R Goodrich - unconfirmed
21 Nigel Greene -
22 James P. Holman -
23 Greg Keenan -
24 Eric Keller -
25 Alexander Kojevnikov - unconfirmed
26 Robin C Landis -
27 Gil Lebron -
28 Gary Mass - unconfirmed
29 Rudi Mayr -
30 William Olsen -
31 Tom Oswald -
32 Keith A Spangler - unconfirmed