Monday, June 15, 2015

Lackawanna 200k Ride Report

Gilbert T. riding towards a Lackawanna tunnel. Photo compliments of CJ A.

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

Although summer is not officially here yet, we certainly have already settled into a summer weather pattern of hazy, hot and humid plus the thunder storms.  But fortunately, a cold front came through a bit quicker than expected and cleared out all the humidity, leaving overcast yet rain-free skies for nearly perfect riding conditions.  The wind even cooperated by picking up at out of the north to speed riders back from Portland.

All 17 riders who made it to the start finished in good time for a 100% completion -- congratulations and well done to all! Of note, Erin R. completed her first brevet and is now a freshly minted randonneuse.  Previously, her longest ride had only been 60 miles. Erin writes: "... Zach and I had a lovely day, ate a good dinner, and then slept for twelve hours! I hope to be back in the area and see you and the other riders again before too long..."

Jim H. writes: "...Thanks to you and Guy for yesterday's ride.  It was a great route with many enjoyable, low-traffic backroads.  If either of you pleaded with the weather gods, given the high heat/humidity in the forecast, then that was much appreciated.  The weather could not have been much better on the northern portion of the course - overcast and around 70 deg. with a slight cool breeze.  On the road back to the hostel, the sun was out but the heat and humidity was less than anticipated.  Thanks also to my riding partners for towing me to the finish as I struggled to stay with them over the last part of the ride - Gallows Hill Rd. certainly lived up to its name ...."

PBP bound Vadim G. writes: "...Thank you for a wonderful ride yesterday!  I learned a great deal more about randonneuring and this was my best time for a 200K despite all the hills and hot weather. Your wisdom of a 5AM start was much appreciated later in the day as we cleared most of the climbs before the heat built up.  Also my special thanks to Bob T. whom I was trailing the entire ride, for fascinating tips about smooth and efficient riding as well as sharing his knowledge about brevet strategies. Looking forward to the next PA brevet and thanks for the tips on PBP preparation... "

CJ A. writes: "...Had a great ride yesterday. Glad to feel like I am back in the spring swing of things after the slog of winter brevets. After having a taste of being in the "PA Front Crew" (it feels good!) for the beginning part of the ride, I fell back and quickly got picked up by Gilbert. We were able to catch up while enjoying the rest of the ride at a nice pace. The overcast skies in the AM hours were more than welcome, and the tailwind, relatively low humidity, and shaded sections tamed the sun for the early afternoon finish. The route may be a newbie, but it's definitely a goodie!  Thanks to Guy for the Friday night reception and strong coffee to start us off right, and to both you and Guy for the warm welcome upon our return..."
CJ has posted some great photos at:

Special thanks to organizer Guy H. for running the hostel start and finish controles, and packing up our rando club house for the summer as we wrap up the spring series there.  The summer series kicks off next month with the Hawks Nest 200k out of Water Gap. The route will be updated with some of the new roads we used on this year's 600k.  Event details will be posted soon.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern  PA RBA

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Lackawanna 200k

*** Update 1 (6/11) ***
The cuesheet has been updated to Draft 4, dated 6/11/15 with a:
1) Route change at mile 71.6 -- the Station Rd bridge construction is complete, so the detour cues have been reverted back to the previous route that crosses over the bridge.  There is fresh chip seal on the new bridge -- as noted on the cuesheet, you should watch out for loose gravel as you cross.
2) The construction detour at mile 108 is complete, so the detour cues have been deleted.

It looks like some hot and humid weather for Saturday.  There are not that many places along the course to replenish your water, so you should take advantage of the ones that you do see.  Some good opportunities to top off your supplies are at:
- Milford (mile 23)
- Mile 38.6 (mini mart on your left on Rt 31 as you cross at the traffic light)
- Great Meadows (mile 52.7) As previously noted, the store at controle 3 may be closed
- Blairstown (off-course straight ahead on Rt 94 at mile 66.8)
- Portland (controle 4)
- Belvidere (mile 86.7)
- Warren Glen (controle 5)  Please do not leave any half-filled water containers behind for other riders -- there was an issue with this on the last event.
- Rieglesville (mile 108)

Volunteer Guy H. will be at the hostel on Friday night and sending you on your way at the start.

Lackawanna Tunnel Photo compliments of CJ Arayata

*** 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. Guy Harris will be there Friday night for the start.  As usual, breakfast items, including hot oatmeal will be available one hour before the start.

Course Notes:
The first controle stop at mile 17.4 is an info controle (at a post office) with no services nearby.  But just a bit further down the road at mile 23, you'll be passing through Milford where you can stop at the Bakery (highly recommended) or one of the many other stores along Bridge St. in order to get some food.  Controle 3 in Johnsonburg has been changed to an information controle at Chrusz's General store.  The store may or may not be open . You should plan on replenishing your food and water at the Nykun's general store (mile 52.5) in Great Meadows.

The patching of roads from the rough winter we had is still a work-in-progress, so you'll need to be vigilant for potholes and rough roads.  Please keep a safe follow distance if you're riding in a group.

For those of you familiar with some of the route segments on this course, there have been some route tweaks to use some new roads this time -- so you'll need to take the auto-pilot off and pay attention to the cuesheet. Some of the features of the Lackawanna Cut-off we'll be passing near have been called out on the cuesheet as a "POI" (point of  interest).  Unfortunately, due to bridge construction the route bypasses one of the more dramatic features, the Paulinskill Viaduct.  However, as noted on the cuesheet, you can take a 1.4 mile detour at mile 71.4 to see this structure.  The bridge construction does seem to be moving forward, so perhaps next time we won't have to use the bypass.

We'll be heading north to Johnsonburg, NJ and then turning west to Blairstown.  The northern extent of this route parallels portions of the Lackawanna Cutoff, a modern marvel in the early 1900's.  Starting from our rando clubhouse at the Weisel hostel in Quakertown, we first pass through Tinicum township as we drop down to the Delaware River.  The first controle stop is just a postcard drop on Headquarters Road, but we'll soon pass through Milford NJ where our favorite bakery will be open for coffee and baked goods.

We then continue our journey north through the quaint town of Little York, where we then begin a long gentle climb up Sweet Hollow Rd and a descent on Tunnel Rd to the Musconetcong River, which we'll ride along all the way to Port Murray, where the second major climb of the day awaits.  After dropping down to Great Meadows, where you can replenish your supplies, we'll ride along Shades of Death and pass Ghost Lake and the Fairy Hole.

Johnsonburg marks the northern extent of the route, and as we ride west, what looks like a small ridge is actually the man-made railroad bed of the Lackawanna Cut-off.  Many tunnels go through this rail bed, and we'll see a several of them after Blairstown.

As we head back into PA into Portland across the pedestrian bridge, the Lackawanna Cut-off RR trestle can be seen looking south down the river.  And once the Station Rd bridge is fixed, we'll also be able to ride past the Paulinskill Viaduct - when it was completed in 1910, it was the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world.

Upon arriving in Portland where we stop at the Portland Bagel and Deli, we begin our return trip southbound along the Delaware River through Belvidere and Reigelsville.

*** 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! 

*** Roster (as of 6/11) ***
1 Michael Anderson - Friday Night Hostel
2 Charles J Arayata - Friday Night Hostel
3 Gavin Biebuyck -
4 Larry E Brenize -
5 Jonathan Clamp -
6 Matthew Farrell -
7 Joe Fillip -
8 Joel Frushone - Friday Night Hostel
9 Brian Gavin -
10 Zachary R Goodrich -
11 Vadim Gritsus -
12 James P. Holman
13 Greg Keenan
14 Robin C Landis - Friday Night Hostel
15 Eric Quinn -
16 Erin Redding -
17 Gilbert Torres - Friday Night Hostel

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

PA600k and New Holland 200k Ride Reports

View from Hawk's Nest (photo compliments of Greg K.)

Preliminary results for the 600k have been posted at:
...and for the 200k:
Results will be submitted in a couple of days to RUSA, and then become final pending ACP certification.

The weather forecast for this past weekend called for hot conditions on Saturday, thunderstorms throughout the weekend, and cooler temperatures on Sunday.  What we ended up with was exactly the opposite of that. A couple of riders at the end remarked that this was one of the hardest, if not the hardest edition of the PA600k ever.  While there were a couple of new climbs added this year -- those quieter roads do come with a high price, after all -- the exposed climbs between Gilbertsville and Blue Ball certainly made for a challenging 100k segment especially in weather conditions more akin to July and August.
11 Eastern PA Super Randonneurs earned their plaques

19 of the 20 registered riders made it to the start for the 600k, and 17 finished for a 89% finishing rate.  Of note, 11 riders completed an Eastern PA Super Randonneur series and will be added to the PA Honor Roll:
-Eoghan B.
-Gavin B.
-Chris E.
-Matt F.
-Cecilie G.
-Patrick G.
-Greg K.
-Gil L.
-Tom O.
-Bob T.
-Gilber T.
Also of note, several riders completed their very first 600k:
-Chris E.
-Joel F.
-Gil L.
Joel also further distinguished himself by not only finishing his first 600k, but came in with the first finishers and joins a select group of riders who ace their very first PA event. Joel comments: "..Thank you for organizing an adventurous 600 km.  What a treat it was to do my first on your course and with such nice riders.  And thanks to all of the volunteers..."  Dougin W. also joins that select group of acing their first PA as well.

3 of the 4 registered riders made to the start of the 200k, and 2 finished.  Of note, Edward S. completed his very first brevet and is now a freshly minted randonneur.  Ed tells me he also just completed his very first century a week ago.  Also of note, Bill Forbes was the first randonneur all the way from Texas to join the roster for an Eastern PA event.

Chip A. writes: "...Thank you for all of you hard work and putting this very challenging 600K together.  I can't tell you how much I love coming up and riding with you and the PA Rando's.  What a great and strong group you have up there, but based on what I rode on this weekend, you have to be.  
My story is that I got in with a great group of riders and we ended up riding together until the last 10-15 miles.  In our group were, Joel, Tom O, Matt, Gavin, and Dougin.  I had some navigational issues when I saw my cue sheet holder cracking and eventually breaking off....  Later on Saturday my Garmin 705 totally froze up.  So, I was somewhat navigationally handicapped, but riding with others who had their stuff together helped a lot.  Matt is amazing navigationally. ... since I am planning on riding Team RAAM this year, I thought I'd try to replicate my sleeping conditions by using my air mattress and built in pillow.  It was not quite a success, but I must have gotten some rest since I needed only one Espresso Love Gel pack during the day.  Matt and I finished a few minutes later than the other 4 due to having been beaten up pretty well.  It was a very good group to ride with....  thanks again for a great ride!"

Two-time Eastern PA Super Randonneur, Greg K. writes: "...Thank you  for organizing such a beautiful route.  You and the cast of volunteers helped me reach my riding goal and complete the SR for the year.  Once again Gilbert and I managed to stick together and pace each other for the entire 600K.  (have fun at PBP, Gilbert!)  Zach made it into a perfect trio by joining us for day two as we tried to keep from melting.  What a great adventure... "

Three-time Eastern PA Super Randonneur, Patrick G. writes: "...Cecilie and I wanted to thank you for a great ride last weekend and a great series this year.  The Eastern, PA series is such a great way to get ready for PBP.  Last weekend's ride was both challenging and scenic (as usual) and we are glad to have been able to complete another PA SR Series.  Thanks to Bill, Guy and Len, who seems to know the exact right spot to set up his mobile refreshment station. ... "

Special thanks to superb group of volunteers -- without whom, this weekend's events would not have been possible:
- Bill O. and Guy H., who scouted the course and ran the first half of the overnight controle
- Len Z. (secret controle and course sweep on Saturday afternoon and evening)
- Ed B.(second half of the overnight controle and 200k start)
- Jon C. (post ride meal and first half of the finish controle)
- Bill S. (second half of the finish controle and hostel clean-up)

The Eastern PA spring series concludes on June 13th with the Lackawanna 200k.  Event details will be posted soon.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern  PA RBA