Sunday, November 29, 2015

Brandywine 200k

 *** Update 1 (12/4)  ***

Pre-ride breakfast options are somewhat limited.  The announcement page identifies Aunt Jenny's 41 Diner as a possibility, primarily due to its 24-hour operation.  I've never tried the food and can't comment.  The Dutchway Restaurant is closer to the start has a great breakfast buffet, but does not open until 6am.  Watch your time carefully should you choose this option.  New Jersey riders may feel more at home at the Wawa located at the intersection of Rts. 30 & 41 in Gap.  No further explanation necessary.

Parking at the Metzler residence is limited, but manageable for a group of our size.  George will be directing parking in front of his house and in the vacant business parking lot across the street.  Carpooling is encouraged and appreciated.  We plan to have registration/check-in set up at the top of George's driveway so you don't have to begin your journey with the climb out of George's driveway.  Those of you who have been here before know to appreciate this little detail.

The weather forecast is looking quite favorable for a December brevet.  Still, it is better to be prepared for a dramatic swing in temperatures.  Near freezing temperatures at the start combined with lots of shady sections for much of the route (this is normally a summer route) equals at least a couple hours of chilly riding to start.  Expect temperatures to plummet as the sun goes down.  Layers are your friend.

Finally, membership renewals in PA Randonneurs will be handled at registration for those of you needing to join or renew.


*** Original Post ***
The 2015 Pennsylvania Randonneurs R12 Series concludes this year with a favorite from 2014, the Brandywine 200k.

*** Houses, Horses, and Hollows ***
After an initial climb, enjoy an uncharacteristically straight and level Highland Road, which follows the top of a ridge into Western Chester County. You gradually lose elevation as you meander along Buck Run Creek, while skirting the edge of Chester County's horse country which once included a 13,000 acre northern connection of famous King Ranch in Texas.

The route picks up the Brandywine River from Modena at mile 15. As the river grows and the valley widens you will begin to see the landscapes that Andrew Wyeth made famous in his artwork around his hometown of Chadds Ford at mile 34 on the ride and a quick post card controle.  As the route climbs out of the Brandywine Valley on Twaddell Mill road you will enter the "House" part of the 200K and enjoy the classic colonial and federal style architecture of Delaware. The Centerville Bakery at mile 38 offers the tastiest treats of the ride which you don't want to miss.  Shortly after refueling, look for this home on left side of Way Rd, its a beauty.

The route re-enters Pennsylvania just south of the mushroom capital of the world, Kennett Square, which produces over a million pounds of mushrooms per week. This normally quiet town of 6,000 people hosts over 100,000 people in the late summer to celebrate its annual Mushroom Festival.

Continuing west and south, the route enters Maryland in open farm fields and reaches is southernmost point of the ride at the Landhope Farm controle.  Heading west from the controle, the route drops to the Susquehanna along the route of the abandoned Octoraro Branch of the Philadelphia & Baltimore Central Railroad.  See if you can spot signs of this landmark as you ride along before climbing back up to Conowingo.   You will also notice a change in the horses as you leave behind horses leading a pampered life in the stables of Chester County and see work horses used heavily by the Amish.

Having now seen houses and horses, we begin our focus on hollows. There is Scalpy Hollow, a bucolic, shaded road that gently climbs from the Susquehanna toward the southern ridge of Lancaster County.  Once on top, you will find Snyder Hollow Rd which offers a glorious 3 mile descent along a little creek. Enjoy.   A quick info controle and a eastward home stretch brings you back to the starting location.  As is typical, Cafe Metzler will be ready.

*** Additional Course Notes ***
A pre-ride checkout was recently conducted with the following areas you should take particular note of:
-Mile 11.9   Yes, we cross this closed covered bridge and enjoy a traffic-free road thereafter.
-Mile 16.2   The signs seem to have been turned a little leaving one to wonder which road is which.  You want the road with the "Road Closed" barriers.  Once again, you'll enjoy a nice road with no cars.
-Mile 80.5   The shoulder is in rough shape along this leg.  Please be very careful moving into the traffic lane to avoid the broken pavement as SR 222 may have some fast traffic.

With the limited amount of daylight, lighting and reflective gear will be inspected at the start.  Please note that the bike inspection checklist requires that you have redundant lighting for both the front and back.

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 Tom a link to your SPOT tracking webpage.

*** Roster (as of 12/4) ***
1 Charles J Arayata -
2 Ed Bernasky -
3 Gavin Biebuyck -
4 Robert Joseph Burdalski II -  Guest
5 Paul Currie -  Volunteer
6 Jono Crane Davis -
7 Matthew Farrell -
8 J Scott Franzen
9 Patrick Gaffney -
10 Jeffrey A Gregg -
11 James R Haddad -
12 Doug Haluza -
13 Eric  K Hannon Ford -
14 Steve Harding -
15 James P. Holman -
16 Greg Keenan -
17 Christopher Anson Knight -
18 Christopher Maglieri -
19 Daniel McGill -
20 Andrew D Mead -  Volunteer
21 Chris Nadovich -
22 William Olsen -
23 Bob St. Pierre -  Guest
24 Gilbert Torres -
25 Allison Wong -  Guest

Andrew Mead
- organizer


  1. Hi all,

    My RWGPS files (updated to 11/19/15 draft) can be found here:

    See you all on Saturday.


    1. CJ, I'm curious why you broke the route into segments. The map on the PAR website links to RWGPS for the entire loop.

    2. Andrew, simply a habit that I've done for myself since my first brevet; I find it more informative/less daunting knowing there is 18 miles to the next controle vs. 87 miles to finish the ride, as one example. This 'one controle at a time' strategy seems like a good mindset I can carry over when I start tackling the longer distances. I've also heard of Garmins locking up if there are too many waypoints/too long of a route, so the chunking also tries addressing that.

      Did not mean to steal your thunder. As you know, most of the brevets do *not* have GPS links so I just always make my own routes, then post them for others to use if they would like.

  2. No problem, CJ. Each of us eventually discovers an approach that best suits our style. I've been creating GPS tracks for brevets for many years. The exercise forces me to study a cue sheet in advance and has virtually eliminated bonus miles. Oddly enough most of my bonus miles these days are on routes of my own design, involve intersections where I have previously explored several options, and usually involve a good conversation with a riding companion as we approach.