Wednesday, May 27, 2015


*** Update 1 (5/29) ***
- Registration is CLOSED 
- Mile 106: The bridge across the Lackawaxen River is closed to vehicle traffic, but you can dismount and walk your bike past the construction sign.

*** Start/Finish ***
The start/finish is at the Weisel Hostel.  There is a parking lot at the hostel, halfway down a long driveway between the house and the road on the right. Don't park in the few spots right next to the house -- these are reserved for the house parents and event personnel. Your RBA will be there Friday night for the start.  As usual, breakfast items, including hot oatmeal will be available one hour before the start. 

*** Hostel Overnight Accommodations ***
Hostel is now FULL for Friday Night (5/28)
Gerri Anne and John are the hostel parents … if you meet them, you can identify yourself being with the "Bike group/PA Randonneurs" There are 3 dorm rooms on the second floor designated as: Male, Female, and Family. Friday night arrivals before 9:00PM should go to Female dorm, afterwards, to the Male dorm. You can claim a bunk in your dorm room and find sheets and pillow cases in a metal cabinet on the second floor landing.  You can keep your bunk for use on Saturday night.  There are kitchen facilities available for your use (refrigerator, stove, etc.). You may store your bike in the Great Room, to your left when you walk in.  There are 2 showers available at the hostel in the upstairs bathroom (there is a sign on the door to
indicate male/female usage). When you are ready to leave, strip the sheets off your bed and place them in the hamper on the second floor landing.
You may want to consider bringing along:
o Pillow
o Ipod and/or ear plugs and eye mask
o Flashlight

*** Course Notes ***
While 90% of the roads are in good enough shape, 9% are in pretty rough condition, and the remaining 1% are in appalling shape.  After two pretty rough winters in a row, the untreated cracks from last year have now become gaping potholes and craters this year -- if you hit one of these at speed, it will most certainly ruin your day.  Unfortunately, this is especially true for just about all the roads in Bucks County, where you will be riding in the dark at the start and as you later return to the overnight controle. Some of the bigger hazards have been highlighted on the cuesheet, but you should be on the look-out for potholes at all times, and keep a safe distance while riding in a group so you can safely maneuver around these hazards.  Day 1 is a ~400k loop through the Delaware Water Gap and points north that returns you back to the hostel for the overnight controle, where  volunteers Bill O. and Guy H. will be taking care of you.  Food will be available when you arrive and depart along with dormitory bunks for you to rest. Day 2 is a 200k out-and-back segment through French Creek and into the Lancaster valley.  There is a 200k brevet starting on Sunday that runs concurrently with the 600k's day two 200k   The 200k brevet mileage is indicated in parentheses in the notes below.  
- Mile 59 and 187 Controle 2 and 6: You will be passing through Water Gap twice on day one.  The controles listed are the Bakery and Diner, respectively, but you may use either one you like.  There are also two nearby mini-marts and a pizzeria you may use as well for a controle stop.  Those of you passing through later in the evening may find the diner closed in which case the pizzeria is your best bet.
- Mile 137: One of the high-lights on day one is Hawk's Nest; as noted on the cuesheet, there are scenic vistas you can stop at to take a good look.
- Mile 143 Controle 5: The Port Jervis Diner is the listed controle but you may instead use the mini-mart on the opposite corner.
- Mile 186: 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 walkway.
- Mile 230: As previously mentioned, the roads in Bucks county are in terrible shape, and as noted on the cuesheet, Gallows Hill Rd is pretty rough with many big potholes.  Most of you will be passing through here in the dark and you should be extra careful on the many little rollers you will encounter. 
- Mile 235: As noted on the cuesheet, you will encounter a wooden bridge with uneven surface. And as indicated on the cuesheet, you should dismount and walk across this bridge to avoid a mishap.
- Mile 270 (26)  Controle 9 (2): You will be stopping at a 24-hr mini-mart but this is an untimed information controle.  This will allow any 600k riders who get a late start after the overnight controle a bit more time to catch up on the time limit.
- Mile 296/316 (52/71) Morgantown: You will be passing through Morgantown twice.  There are many restaurants, fast food and mini-marts available for you to replenish your supplies.  There are limited services available in the next 20 miles as you head out into the Lancaster valley.
- Mile 306 (62) Blue Ball Controle: This is another information controle located at a restaurant that will probably be closed for most of you.  There is a mini-mart across the street if you need to replenish your supplies, but as noted above, you have many more options in Morgantown for food.

*** 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 we usually don't see until July.  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 and as outlined in the course notes above, 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 start of the ride.

- Helmets are mandatory.  Riding without a helmet will result in an immediate disqualification.
- 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: 
.. Dorm rooms are available at the hostel finish, and we'll find a spot for you whether you have made a reservation or not.

Have a safe ride! 

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

*** 600k Roster as of 5/28 ***
1 Chip Adams - 
2 Michael Anderson - Friday Night Hostel
3 Eoghan Barry - Friday Night Hostel
4 Gavin Biebuyck - 
5 Chris Errico - 
6 Matthew Farrell - 
7 Joel Frushone - Friday Night Hostel
8 Cecilie Gaffney - 
9 Patrick Gaffney - 
10 M. Patricia George - 
11 Zachary R Goodrich - Friday Night Hostel
12 Michael J Gorman - 
13 Greg Keenan - 
14 Eric Keller - Friday Night Hostel
15 Gil Lebron - Friday Night Hostel
16 Tom Oswald - Friday Night Hostel
17 Stuart Stevens - Friday Night Hostel
18 Bob Torres - Friday Night Hostel
19 Gilbert Torres - Friday Night Hostel
20 Dougin Walker - Friday Night Hostel

*** 200k Roster as of 5/27 ***
1 William Forbes - Saturday Night Hostel
2 Stewart J Gouck - 
3 Evan Molyneaux - 
4 Edward T Schantz - 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Blue Mountain 400k Ride Report

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 ACP certification.

18 of the 19 starters made it to the finish in good time -- congratulations and well done for that excellent result on one of the more challenging courses in Eastern PA.  In talking with several of the finishers, a big part of that successful finish rate is due to the volunteer efforts of Len Z., who was Johnny-on-the-spot with water and food on a couple of the longer segments. Len is one of those treasured volunteers who can anticipate exactly where to be and what to do.

Although the on-road temperatures were a bit on the warm side for some, the long range forecast for the rest of May is indicating temperatures well above average, so it appears we managed to squeeze in a "spring" ride into a very small window of opportunity between winter and summer conditions.

First finisher, Ed B writes: "...Thanks very much to you, Len, and Norm for a perfectly executed Brevet on a somewhat hilly, choppy course that to me felt like a series of staccato karate chops to the legs and lumbar muscles especially past the Ski Area. But it could not have been a nicer day to be out on the bike and to be alive.  What a challenge!  What a beautiful route!  My Garmin only indicated 14,032 feet of climbing but it sure felt like more to me.  But then again, PA Brevets always feel like more....  It was especially thoughtful for Len to provide water on the route.  My Garmin was reading 84F for the on-road temperatures in the afternoon hills and it was incredibly nice of Len to provide some revitailement along that tough stretch ..."

Greg Keenan writes: "...Thanks for arranging the 400k.  Such a beautiful course and perfect weather.  After such a hard winter it was a treat to be shedding layers.  Len managed the rare ability to be in two-places-at-once, supplying much needed water and snacks on both sides of the mountains.  And thanks to Norman who gave up a nights sleep at the finish.  Thanks see you at the 600...."

Michael A. writes: "...I like to referring to this ride as 'Classic PA.' Nothing super mountainous, but enough climbing and pushing to train one for pretty much anything. Not to mention some awesome views, perfect weather, and fun roller coaster-like descents. Thank you again for organizing another super event, to Lenny for coming to the rescue once again, to Norman for keeping dinner warm and fresh all through the wees, and the roosters for keeping us awake and hopeful as daylight approached.

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. Thankfully, all the riders honored their "preride oath" to watch out for potholes and ride safely.  For the next edition, I'll be scouting out some route alternatives to avoid the first couple of miles of Old Rt 22/ Hex Highway and perhaps use more of Rt 222 towards the end.

Special thanks to Len Z., who as always, went above and beyond the call of duty as a volunteer.  Len not only helped with the hostel setup, start and finish, but also spent most of the day out on course providing revitalment stops on the long and remote segments.  Len also swept the course and ensured that all riders were on track to finish safely. Thanks also to volunteer Norman S. for holding the fort at the finish, cooking the postride meal, and helping with the hostel cleanup.

The Eastern PA 2015 SR series concludes with the PA600k on May 30th. Event details will be posted shortly.  A number of riders have an Eastern PA Super Randonneur series within their grasp -- best of luck to them all.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA