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

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