Sunday, December 13, 2015

Brandywine 200k Ride Report

Photo compliments of Doug Haluza

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 RUSA certification.

After a little initial confusion at the start resulting from the organizer failing to bring along post cards for a post card controle requiring a change to an information controle (thank goodness for pre-ride scouting), nineteen riders started out into the budding dawn on a chilly morning.   The rising sun warmed nicely as the day progressed and made for an uncharacteristically nice December day for cycling.  Lest anyone have any doubts, recall the December 2009 brevet, which coincidentally occurred on the 5th and stopped by Cafe Metzler.  Riders that day were treated to wet snow and 34F temperatures most of the day.  Sunset that day dropped the temperature a couple degrees and allowed snow to accumulate on the road.  Yes we should be very thankful for temperatures in the 50s and no precipitation.

Reports indicate that a couple riders had minor mishaps in gravel along the way.  Thankfully the riders involved managed to continue riding and finish the brevet.  With winter approaching we must all step up our efforts to watch for unexpectedly changing road conditions and remember Tom's sage advice:  "never ride faster than your guardian angel."

Among the notable finishes is Ed Bernasky, who instead of his usual leading the pack style took a more "stop and smell the .... whatever" approach, also wrapped up his first R-12.  Congratulations Ed!  Bob St. Pierre and Allison Wong notched their first PA finishes as well as their first 200k brevet completions.  The Brandywine 200 is a tough introduction to the 200k distance and they handily met the challenge.  Chappeau!

Jeff Gregg writes:  "Just a short note to say thank you to you, Andrew, George Metzler and Jeff Butt for a great ride.  the thought and energy that goes into your planning is really appreciated.  As usual, the ride was challenging and, if I may also add, a little 'hillish.'  I have really enjoyed riding with the Pa. Randonneurs and with Saturday's ride I just added 2 more states to my list." 

Patrick Gaffney, who completed the inaugural Brandywine on a single speed and wisely opted for a fuller compliment of gears this time and rolled in a few minutes after the first finishers (not that gears make much difference to his results).   "Just a quick thanks to PA Rando organization for another fine ride.  The cold temperatures at the start were a bit of a shock to the system, but the day turned out to be quite nice.  As usual, the course was scenic and challenging and the great group of riders made the time pass quickly. Thanks to Andrew for organizing and George for hosting and manning the finish with Jeff."  

CJ Arayata offered excellent feedback on the route conditions which reminded this organizer that things look very different in the dark.  He writes, "Beyond those few hiccups, I enjoyed myself thoroughly on the ride yesterday. From seeing a frosty sunrise, to tons of scenic photo-ops that I missed because I was fumbling to get my camera, to seeing how long a shadow a banana on a curb can cast at 4pm... It's definitely a treat to have such a nice route on some of my 'home turf.'"  As usual, CJ took a few pictures and has posted them for everyone's pleasure.

Doug Haluza decided to try the Dutchway Restaurant for breakfast and discovered that there's a tradeoff.  He was pinched for time at the start, but the hearty breakfast offered plenty of energy for him to catch up with the group and finish strong.  "Hope you like the edited version of the sunrise photo I sent you from Beaver Dam Rd.  [Indeed I do!]  There was still a little fall color in a few trees (mostly ornamentals) so you might consider scheduling this ride for November next year. Fall color in the higher areas of PA peaks in October, but I bet this area peaks much later like it does on Long Island.  I thanked George for helping you out, and I also wanted to thank you for helping Tom. I'm just sorry I can't be more help because of the travel time required."

I would like to thank George Metzler for being such a great co-organizer for this event and so many others in the past.  The Brandywine route was his brainchild.  He and I rode many miles scouting out the nicest roads the Barndywine Valley has to offer.  Shortly after committing to the December event I learned that I would also be hosting a rather large Christmas party at my house on the same day and would not be available for the finish.  George stepped up and said he had the finish covered.  Jeff Butt offered his assistance a couple weeks later which allowed me to worry a little less about dropping a bomb on George.  This ride would not have happened without the efforts of these two.  Thanks to you both!

This concludes the PA Randonneurs 2015 calendar.  Thanks to all who have made for another successful year of randonneuring.  Tom will be returning results and cards in the coming weeks.  The 2016 Ride Schedule is posted kicking off with a January event on the 2nd.  Watch this blog for updates as scheduling the January event is frequently affected by weather and other circumstances.

See you on the road in 2016!

Andrew Mead

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