Monday, February 13, 2017

Notes From The New RBA

Greeting PA Randonneurs,

With the excitement of getting three brevets organized and completed in the first five weeks of the new year behind me, I am catching my breath and want to address a few items concerning the organization of PA Randonneurs.  Perhaps most important is that you should see very little change from your perspective.  Long-established club traditions including the ACP SR Series, the monthly R12 series events, the Fleche, and the always popular fall classic 200/150 in October will continue as before.  There is much discussion within RUSA regarding increasing offering of populaires (rides of 100k-199k) which I believe would be worthwhile and likely quite fun.  I would like to be able to offer the 1000k and possibly the EM1240k at some point in the future, but not before my own circumstances permit me to devote the time necessary to assure that the high standard of excellence of past runnings is maintained.  Organizing these events takes tremendous volunteer support.  A small but dedicated group continues to step up to make the current schedule possible.  New volunteer help is always needed, esspecially if we are to expand our offerings.  There are many ways to help:  rider registration and finish check-in, secret control staffing, standby-by SAG support, route development, and even ride organization (YOU organize the whole event).  If you are unsure of what it takes for any of these roles, just ask any organizer at an event or me.

2017 Fleche
Fleche time is upon us!  The Fleche page is up running at :
All participants (captains AND team riders) should complete the registration form and sign the waiver that is included with the form.  Deadlines are provided, but earlier submissions are encouraged and appreciated.  This is ESPECIALLY true if you are a new team OR you intend to use a completely new route.

Website (
Several of you have noticed and identified several glitches on the website and the event registration page.  The best way I know how to describe these is growing pains.  The website originated with Tom who, from its inception, single-handedly created and maintained its content.  My skills as a webmaster pale in comparison, so I am working with Tom and Chris Nadovich to keep the website up to date.  It will be a work in progress for a while, but our objective is to simplify the site so that updates are less labor-intensive and easy enough for even me to undertake.  Please bear with us and point out any glaring errors you discover.

PA Randonneurs Membership
Many of you have asked about renewing membership in PA Randonneurs.  I have updated the old paper form and posted it on the website:
The on-line form is convenient but, until we can establish an on-line payment system, leaves everyone wondering how to pay and even how much.  By far the easiest way is to renew when registering for your first brevet of the season and many of you have used this approach.  The next best is to print the form and mail it to me along with your payment.  If you are an existing member, please note any changes to your contact information.  If you are a new member, please also fill in the Club Membership Form on the website which feeds the database of rider information.  Club membership remains $20 annually and gains you a free ride in January and a $5 registration discount for all other PA Randonneurs' events for the year.  

2016 Brevet Cards
I am mailing 2016 brevet cards on February 13 for all riders who did NOT complete the 2016 Fleche. You should see those in the coming days.  The fleche certification stickers for Eastern PA and a handful of other regions remain "in transit" for now.  Without them I cannot complete the year-end package assembly.  I will mail the packages for fleche finishers as soon as the missing certifications arrive.

This message board has proven to be the most reliable way for me to disseminate information without disrupting the delicate coding of the website.  It is normally the first location to be updated, at least for now.  You should link this page and check it out. You will also receive periodic email blasts when important notices are posted.   I am always interested in your feedback and am happy to answer any questions.  The best way to assure I see your question or comment is to email me.  Be sure to use a descriptive header so I can ignore it.

Andrew Mead
- Eastern PA RBA

Monday, February 6, 2017

February R12: Results

Preliminary results for the February R12 200k have been posted at:

Results will be submitted to RUSA for certification in a few days.

SUNSHINE was the word of the day as 18 riders set off from Ephrata in the morning chill (16F by some reports).  The sun made it feel warmer.  We were treated to a day with 0% chance of precipitation and riders made the most of it with several strong finishes, including a new course record, and a 100% completion rate.

As seems to be the tradition in PA Randonneurs, an unknown rando rookie, Sean Connolley showed up and aced the course.  He was followed closely by Tim Creyts, Gavin Biebuyck, and another relative newcomer Dale Houck.  Given the persistent northwest wind that picked up just as most were beginning the 50 mile westward trek, chappeau to these strong guys.

My appreciation also goes to Scott Franzen who helped with check-in duties in the morning and Gavin and James Holman who greeted most finishers at the end.  Be sure to thank these guys when you see them next.  Volunteer assistance is vital to this series.

The pre-ride efforts of Bill Fischer, Patrick and Ceclie Gaffney are also greatly appreciated.  Temperatures were a little warmer for them, but the winds were much stronger.  Thanks to them, the cue sheet was spot on.  I heard no reports of lost randos. 

Tim Creyts had this to say of the day:
Thanks for organizing a great ride.  The weather was great and held out for us.  The wind was fantastic when it was at our backs, but brutal when coming from any other direction. Having that tailwind for the last 30 miles was a great way to finish.  
My water bottles turned went into a "deep slush" before the first half, and I got a little dehydrated.  I drained them at the Conestoga controle and refilled them with warm water.  The rehydration was very welcome!  Crunchy snacks were better than soft chewy ones.  My granola bars had no change in texture in the cold, but I felt like I was gnawing on frozen cookie dough when I opened a Clif bar.
Thanks to the other volunteers and pre riders, too.
Jeff Lippincott writes:  Nice meeting you at yesterday's ride.  I wanted to let you know I had a really good time.  A little cold at the start, but the sun that came out around 8 am for almost the entire day made it nice.  Thank you very much for organizing the ride.

Jimmy Asparas sent this message:
Thanks for putting on the ride yesterday. It was the coldest 200k I've ridden to date, and hopefully it is the last time we have to deal with any kind of cold like that until next year. I had a good time riding with Gavin, Matt, and Dale but was eventually dropped after Conestoga due to wind, frozen water/Gatorade, and an inability to eat food with gloves. I thoroughly enjoyed the sights on the ride. I've never been up to Three Mile Island, so that was an interesting bit of history to see. I really liked the old stone houses on Boyd (Street?) a couple miles outside Annville in the old mining town. I also had the opportunity to see a bald eagle on the hunt about 10 miles out from the finish, so I'm going to say it was a pretty good day to ride bikes overall. Hope to see you at the next one!

The old stone houses are indeed on Boyd St as it passes through the old section of Cornwall, site of a historical iron furnace.

Steve Schoenfelder had this to say:  Thanks to Andrew, Gavin, and the volunteers for hosting a great February ride!

For me, brevets are all about exploring new places and gathering with other bicyclists.  Although a brisk 16 degrees at the start, the warm fellowship of the PA Randonneurs more than compensated for the chill.  I found the course to be challenging, with seemingly endless rollers of all sizes, but fun with great scenery including the Lancaster County farms, a covered bridge crossing the Conestoga River, many buggies, historic towns, and a really fun river trail that got me closer to the Three Mile Island nuclear plant than I had ever been before.  There was even time for a leisurely break in a Marietta pub with Joe and Greg.  The final controle proved to be a great venue to recover and socialize.  All in all, it was a wonderful event that I would gladly do again in a heartbeat!

Looking forward to our next adventure in March. 

We return to the Weisel Youth Hostel in Quakertown on March 25 for the beginning of the traditional ACP SR series.  Watch this site and the main PA website for additional details as the event date draws near.

Andrew Mead
- Eastern PA RBA