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