Monday, March 21, 2016

Lackawanna 200k Ride Report

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.

Although spring was a mere 24 hours away from the start of the event, it was a decidedly cold day for a ride.  And although there were some peeks of sun during the day, the plentiful sunshine in the forecast did not materialize.  But thankfully, the strong gusty winds from the frontal passage the day before had at least abated.  All 28 starters made it to the finish in good time.  Congratulations to all, and well done for that excellent result, to start the Eastern PA spring series.  Of note, there were several first time participants, including:  Timothy C. and George R. who both notched their first brevets.  Shawn B. who has recently moved into our area from San Francisco, clipped-in for his first PA event, and writes: "...My first ride with the club was great. The route may have been my toughest 200k. PA sure does hit your legs hard with those leg-breaker hills. Everyone was super nice and I look forward to future rides...."

 CJ writes: "...I had a good ride on a now-familiar course with flèche teammates Shawn and Jimmy. It was Shawn's first PA ride, and I think he now has a much better idea of what we are about here in Eastern PA! We yo-yo-ed through the middle of the pack for the beginning part of the day, but as the miles grew on and the hills didn't stop coming, we were showing our bruises. However, we made it through the last leg to finish before dark, which was my goal when I started out the day. The weather, while never really warming up, seemed to stay comfortable for me and *both* of my teammates (see pictures for the disparity of their clothing choices, hah)...Kudos goes to Chris, Bill, and Guy for ensuring yet another smooth hostel stay with warm meals and good company. ..."
CJ has posted many nice photos at:

Nigel G. writes: "...The Pennsylvania Randonneurs delivered again. I believe this was my first time riding this course and it was fun to see so many familiar locations coming from the opposite direction. The climbing was a reasonable challenge for an early-season ride. And the only bonus miles I picked up were totally due to my lack of attention as I was busy chatting with James Haddad. Luckily we were on a flat stretch and were able to get back on course without too much of a delay.
The 77 miles to the first control with food was an interesting change. However I think I like that because it gave me time to build up a cushion of time to sit down and enjoy a meal at the bagel diner. Plus the places to get food along the way were well marked on the cue sheet. Finally I enjoyed the food at the beginning and at the end. Good selection, nice and hot, and plenty of it. Thanks to everyone who contributed and special thanks to Bill Chris and Guy for their work at the beginning and at the end of the ride ..."
You can read more of Nigel's thoughtful reflections on his Iron Rider blog at:

Jimmy A writes: "...Just wanted to send out a thank you to everyone who organized the ride and made yesterday possible including you, Andrew, Bill, Guy and Chris. The ride started out cold and stayed relatively cold for most of the day with the exception of the sun breaking through here and there throughout the day. As I have come to expect with PA brevets, the route included a lot of climbing, though I did not think Gallows Hill was quite as bad as it was talked up to be - it's the steep rollers elsewhere on the course that took their toll on my legs. I enjoyed the more gentle climbs, including the climb out of Milford at the beginning of the day (I was thankful the entire way that we were not riding up tunnel road again) and the climb up River Road after the Portland controle which I thought provided some of the best views of any PA brevet I have ridden so far. Thanks for a great event! ..."

First finisher Ed B. writes: "...I want to thank you, Andrew, Guy, and Bill for putting on a wonderful Brevet and especially to Guy's wife for the tasty soup at the completion! I can normally sort of keep up with Gavin, Bill, Chris, Matt and others on the climbs but I joined The Old Men who Get Fat in Winter Team and simply could not maintain their pace on those early testy climbs; so, I resigned myself to lumbering along at my pace simply enjoying the day out on the bike. This running of the Lackawanna 200K seemed longer and harder than I remember and it was indeed a good challenge on what I thought was a great route.  Thanks again...."

Eric Q. writes: "...Beautiful ride this weekend. Thanks so much for all your efforts along with the volunteers'..."

Your safety is the number one priority on an Eastern PA event.  Please mention any safety hazard you might have spotted or near-miss incident your saw.  Your feedback will help us to improve things for next time.

Special thanks to a superb crew of volunteers who made this event possible: Chris N, for the Friday night setup and checking in riders in the evening; Bill O. for cooking breakfast, checking in riders, and getting everyone on their way; and Guy H. for preparing the postride meal, and manning the finish.  Guy and Bill also performed the preride course checkout, and suggested the couple of route tweaks along with making sure the course was as safe as possible.

The Eastern PA spring series continues with the Fleche on the weekend of April 9th.  This year, we have 9 teams and a record number of participants.  And after that, the SR series continues with the 300k and a shorter 200k on April 30th.  There are still some volunteer opportunities we're looking to have filled for the 300k -- if you'd like to take your turn to help out, you can sign up at:

Tom Rosenbauer, Eastern PA RBA
Andrew Mead, Eastern PA RBA Designate

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

PA SR Series Begins: Lackawanna 200K

*** Update #1 (3/13) ***
The cuesheet has been updated to draft 5, dated 3/13/16, with the following changes:
1) Route tweak at mile 92.4
2) Moved controle 5 to a new location

A volunteer preride was completed this past weekend by Bill O. and Guy H.  Guy reports: "...Great day to be out and we took full advantage of it! Very nice evening with the spring peepers and crescent moon through the broken clouds. I enjoyed the last few miles after Old Bethlehem Road into hostel "backwards" (this was new to me). With the time change people should finish before dark...."  Bill adds: "...The mild winter has left the road in quite good shape for this time of year. The usual fine gravel but nothing too significant except for a couple of areas [outlined below]...."  Traffic along the river from the Post Office up to the Millford bridge was surprisingly courteous - Guy and I were not necessarily over in the far right but were on the right half of the lane and it appears that cars recognized we were riding outside of potholes and gravel and gave us good berth when passing. Gallows Hill wasn't any worse than previous years (but it isn't any better either) and we were passing that section just after dusk when it was too light for one's headlights to be effective and yet dark enough for the passing car lights to blind one. Next week, with an hour more light (and faster riders than me) this should not be an issue. ..."

Please note that the first two controle stops are info-type controles.  The first is at a post office, and although the second one is at a general store, the hours of operation are somewhat erratic, so you shouldn't count on the store being open.  Although the number of services available are a bit sparse, there are the following good opportunities to replenish your supplies:
-Mile 23.1: Milford Bakery -- almost a must stop for coffee and baked goods!
-Mile 38.6: Minimart off to your left as you cross Rt 31 at the traffic light
-Mile 52.7: Nykun's food market at the junction of Old Cemetery Rd and Rt 46.
-Mile 76.8: Controle 4 is the Portland Bagel and Deli, which closes at 2PM.  If you arrive after then, there is a Minimart at the end of the pedestrian bridge and food market you can use instead for a controle and supplies.
-Mile 86.7: A deli and other stores are available in Belvidere.
-Mile 106.9: Deli on your right.  This was the original controle 5, but the proprietor is not especially rando-friendly.
-Mile 111.0: Controle 5 Borderline Cafe.

Additional course notes:
The following outlines some areas that you should take extra caution and care:
-Mile 12.8: Headquarters Road after the bridge barrier down to the Erwinna post office. The road is rough with some parallel, diversion grooves. Since you may find yourself bunched up with other riders and full of energy at this point, please give yourself enough room to look for and maneuver around these hazards.
-Mile 52.5: As noted on the cuesheet, there is a short stretch of rutted dirt road on a downhill.  If you are unsure of your ability to handle this, please dismount and walk this stretch.
-Mile 113.9: Gallows Hill from Rt 212 to Hunter Rd. No worse than normal here but it is bad across the entire road and there is some traffic.

*** Original Post ***
The PA Randonneurs return to the Weisel Youth Hostel near Quakertown for the beginning of the 2016 traditional SR events.  This year's 200k is the Lackawana 200k to be held on March 19.

Starting from our rando clubhouse, 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.  The northern extent of this route parallels portions of the Lackawanna Cutoff, a modern marvel in the early 1900's.

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.  Several are identified Points of Interest on the cue sheet offering a good reason to revert to "traditional" brevet navigation practices.

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.

Event details and a link to the event sign-up are available on the event page All riders planning to clip in for this classic event must pre-register.  The pre-registration deadline is Thursday, March 17 at 5pm.

Riders are also reminder to review the status of both their PA Randonneurs AND RUSA memberships.  You must be an active member in BOTH to receive the discounted entry fee. You can check your RUSA status at the RUSA website and your PA Randonneurs status on the membership roster.

Finally, a reminder to all that deadlines for the fleché are approaching.  Team Captain registrations are due on March 18 with route submissions due one week later.

Roster (as of 3/18/2016)
1 Michael Anderson - NM Reg + Friday Night
2 Charles J Arayata - Reg + Friday Night
3 Jimmy Aspras - Reg
4 Eoghan Barry - Reg
5 Ed Bernasky - Reg
6 Gavin Biebuyck - Reg
7 Shawn Bowles - Reg + Friday Night
8 Timothy S Conheeney - NM Reg + Friday Night
9 Timothy Creyts - Reg + Mem Renew
10 Chris Errico - NM Reg
11 Matthew Farrell - Reg
12 William Fischer - Reg
13 Patrick Gaffney - Reg
14 Michael J Gorman - NM Reg
15 Nigel Greene - Reg + Mem Renew
16 Jeffrey A Gregg - Reg
17 James R Haddad - Reg + Friday Night
18 Eric  K Hannon Ford - Reg + Friday Night
19 Guy Harris - organizer
20 Greg Keenan - Reg
21 Gil Lebron - Reg
22 Kate R Marshall - NM Reg + Friday Night
23 Rudi Mayr - Reg + Mem Renew
24 Chris Nadovich - volunteer
25 William Olsen - organizer
26 Eric Quinn -  Guest
27 George Michael Retseck - Reg
28 George Swain - Reg + Friday Night
29 Bob Torres - Reg
30 Gilbert Torres - Reg
31 Victor Urvantsev - NM Reg + Friday Night

The list indicates those who have requested hostel accommodations.  "NM" means that a current PA Rando or RUSA membership is missing.    You can always choose to update both/either membership to receive discounted registration fees for the rest of 2016.