Tuesday, June 20, 2017

July Hawks Nest 200K

*** Update 2 ***

The Village Farmer has agreed to open extra early on the 22nd to feed us. Please patronize them if you can. The VF breakfast sandwich is heavenly and will power you for at least 100K, maybe further. They have awesome pies to bring home. Organic honey. Locally made cheese. And many other goodies. 

After the ride, the Apple Pie Cafe has delicious Bar-B-Cue.   Please patronize them as well -- both establishments are owned by the same person who is getting out of bed early just for us. Thanks.
Chris N

*** Update 1 ***

A pre-ride was completed on 16 July by James H and I. James was on a fixie -- his first 200K without a deraileur. Chapeau!  It also should be noted that James recently completed the Catskills SR600 -- one of just a handful of people to have done so. Double chapeau!

The Hawk's Nest course is in good shape. Your main concern will be water. Water should be available at most  controles, but this will not be enough if the weather is ultra hot. Monitor you water bottle fluid levels and take advantage of the numerous "non-control" facilities along the way, including, but not limited to those noted as additional cues on the cue-sheet.

Here are the main non-controle water stops I know about:

19.4 Deli on Left

55.0 Spring by wood fence on Left
61.9 Convenience Store on Right
65.8 Supermarket opposite controle
71.5 Convenience Store on Right near top of climbing

99.7 Bar and Deli on right (useful if Controle was closed)
105.7 Wallpack Inn on left (not last water)
113.6 ***Millbrook Vilage on left (pump/fountain back behind gate near tables)

That last one, the water at Millbrook Village, is not obvious. Few riders seem to be aware of it. Nevertheless, it's not far from the road, near some shade, and very excellent water. You need to pause at the stop sign at mile 113.6 anyway.  You just finished a tough climb. Why not cool off? It'll make the last 10 miles of the brevet so much more enjoyable. Also, there's really no reason to carry full water bottles up the climb. You can fill immediately after the climb. 

Also of note are the various unofficial swimming facilities. There is public access to the Delaware across from the Zane Gray Museum (mi 57) and slightly off course to the right at mile 76.3. At Lake Wallenpaupack (mi 38) the sign says "no swimming" but James told me if you keep your feet on the bottom, that's not swimming. Also, at mile 111.5 it's pretty easy to get into  Flat Brook just before the big climb.

Road conditions are relatively good, but there are a few difficulties of

40.6 Rt-6, The edge of the road has 28mm wide cracks that weave in and out of the shoulder. Because of the traffic on this road, riding the shoulder is recommended, but be aware of the cracks. When riding in a group, space out so that everyone can see to pick out a safe line.

45.3 Towpath Rd, REPAVED! Not airport grate asphalt, but a lot better than it was.

76.3 Rt 97 to Hawks Nest. The shoulder was clean of debris. Stayed on the shoulder till reaching Hawks Nest, then took the lane. 

111.5 Old Mine Rd is as bad as ever. Lots of potholes. The good news is that you'll be riding past them at 3 mph. Keep in mind that there's water at Milbrook Village just on the other side of this mountain.

115-125 Old Mine Rd continues to be potholed, but now you are riding at 15-25 mph, dizzy from the heat, and the dappled late day shade makes these holes hard to spot. Please be careful. 

Chris N

*** Original Post ***

Once again, to avoid the summer heat the July  22nd Hawk's Nest 200k course will be heading north into Promised Land, where the temperatures are typically several degrees cooler than points south.  Most of the route is shaded, which will also bring some relief from the heat. Fortunately, positive waves have restored the bridge across the Brodhead Creek allowing us to use the classically "fast" Hawks Nest route. Riders typically finish this course about an hour faster than other Eastern   PA 200k's.  Event details are posted at the PA Randonneurs web site:  http://parando.org/2017-07-22-200K.html   

If you would like to join the roster, please use the online registration form http://www.parando.org/RegistrationForm.html , by 5PM Thursday, July 20th.  

*** Start/Finish ***

The start/finish is at the Village Farmer and Bakery, right next to the Apple Pie Cafe (formerly the Water Gap Diner). The Bakery has promised to open early 6:30AM, so you can top off with a good breakfast before the start. Please show your appreciation to the Bakery manager who is getting out of bed extra early to help feed us. At the end of the ride, also consider patronizing the Apple Pie Cafe (same management).

IMPORTANT Note: Do not leave your car at the Cafe or the Bakery. Parking is in an empty lot behind the Cafe -  Directions are posted here: http://parando.org/WaterGapParking.pdf

Course Notes:
If you've never been across the Rt 80 bridge near Water Gap, it's a little bit tricky.  You need to look for a sidewalk/ramp about 50 yards past the Rt 80 underpass which you will cross under. The picture below shows the ramp on the left, which is in between the road you will be traveling (on the right) and Rt 80 (far left):

You will be facing on-coming traffic as you go across the bridge.
Given the hot weather, hydration is key. There are several opportunities for obtaining water and ice along the course in between the controles. Keep a sharp eye out, monitor your water supply, and think ahead!

*** Ride Safely ***
Your safety is the number priority on an Eastern PA event.  While the risks outlined in the event waiver cannot be completely eliminated, the following will hopefully help keep you as safe as possible.

Your responsibility as the rider includes:
- Showing up in reasonable physical condition for the event
- Bringing a reliable bike in good working order
- Complying with all traffic laws along the course 
- Respecting the rights of all other users of the route (including pedestrians)
- Planning for the situation where you can’t finish the ride

Although every effort has been made to provide you with a scenic route that minimizes car traffic and other hazards, the following list highlights some areas to take some extra care:

- Summer weather has arrived with a vengeance with a forecast calling for heat and humidity.  Be mindful of your fluid and electrolyte levels and it might also be a good idea to carry an ice sock with you if you need to cool down.
- With the rough winter we just had you should be extra vigilant for potholes and rough road surfaces.
- One of the most dangerous things you will encounter on the road just might be another cyclist.  Keep a safe following distance when riding with other cyclists you are not familiar with.  Please avoid forming a large bunch at the st
art of the ride.

- Helmets are mandatory.
- Please note that the bike inspection checklist includes redundant lighting for both the front and rear lights.
- Bringing along a cell phone is highly recommended.
- Mechanical assistance is not provided.  
- SPOT trackers will be handed out to selected riders. If you are given one, they have a feature to call for help if you need it and are out of cell phone range -- if you are unfamiliar with how to use this feature, a volunteer will be happy to explain it to you.  If you have a personal unit not already listed on the PA Randonnerus SPOT Tracking webpage:  http://www.parando.org/SPOT_Links.html
please send me a link to your SPOT webpage.

Food / Hydration
- In general, the route heads you into some desolate areas, with limited opportunities for food and water.
- Plan on replenishing supplies at the controle stops.  The controles are typically at a store or restaurant.

- If you feel like abandoning the ride, it may be an indication that you are not eating and drinking enough.  Take a break, eat something, and it's likely that your outlook will improve.  Before you know it, you'll be making that last turn back to the finish.  And remember the golden rule of "… eat before you're hungry and drink before you're thirsty."
If you are still riding past the ride time limit or if you intend to abandon the ride, please contact me on my cell phone: (267) 218-0418
- It is your responsibility to make arrangements for alternate transportation

In case of accident  
Should you become injured, or arrive just after an accident resulting in an injured person (rider, motorist, or passer-by):
- Call 911 for an ambulance, describing where you are and the condition of the injured person(s)
- Contact me along with any other organizers listed on the cuesheet 
- Be sure to carry identification along with your emergency contact information in case you are knocked unconscious

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.

Driving after the event
If you are very tired when you reach the finish, it may be a good idea to take a nap before a long drive home, so you don't end up with serious injuries like David Nakai did: 

 Keep the rubber side down!

Registered Riders  (as of 7/20/2017)
1 Jimmy Aspras
2 M Bernardo
3 Gavin Biebuyck
4 George Brandt
5 Sean Burgess
6 Kathleen  A Casner
7 Gregory W Forshey
8 J Scott Franzen
9 James R Haddad - volunteer
10 Eric  K Hannon Ford
11 Robin C Landis
12 Jeff Lippincott
13 Christopher Maglieri
14 Rudi Mayr
15 Andrew D Mead - RBA
16 Chris Nadovich - organizer
17 William Olsen
18 Althea Grace Pineda
19 Michael D Povman + membership
20 Rudi E Saldia
21 Steven J Schoenfelder
22 Daniel T Schreck
23 Scotty Steingart
24 Aleksey M Vishnyakov 

Chris Nadovich 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Ride Summary: Water Gap 600 & New Holland 200

Preliminary results for the June brevets have been posted on the website.

600k Results:  http://parando.org/PA600k_Results170610.pdf
200k Results:  http://parando.org/PA200k_Results170611.pdf

Results will be submitted to RUSA in a few days and will become final upon ACP certification.

After a season of below average temperatures and generally bad weather for our SR events, the weather cleared for the final leg of the PA ACP SR series.  Riders enjoyed sunny and dry conditions.  that was the good news.  The weekend also ushered in the first official heatwave of 2017 pushing temperatures toward 90F and beyond.  That was the cost for beautiful skies.

Eleven of the thirteen riders who clipped in for the Water Gap 600k managed two returns to the hostel within time limits.  More impressive is that of the eleven, nine are now Eastern PA Super Randonneurs.  Congratulations to CJ, Arayata, Jimmy Asparas, James Haddad, Guy Harris, Greg Keenan, Rudi Mayr, Bill Olsen, Bob Torres, and Aleksey Vishnyakov for this significant accomplishment.  There are no cakewalks in the Eastern PA brevet series.

First finisher Sean Connelly blazed around the course in his usual fashion, trimming over 2 hours from Don Jagel's long-standing record.  His secret is not just speed, but efficiency.  He arrived at the overnight control just after 8:30 pm on Saturday, ate, freshened up, and was headed toward New Holland by 9:15.

Favorite quote came from Jimmy Asparas who finished his first 600k and thus first SR this weekend.  When asked at the finish about his experience on his first 600, he could only muster the words, "pretty brutal," and headed off for a shower.

The well-oiled organizer crew of Bill Olsen and Guy Harris managed a just-in-time course checkout ride Thursday and Friday before the brevet which necessitated some creative route adjustments to the 600 Day 1 route and a complete cue update for the 600 Day 2/200k route.  The fact that these two got a mere 2 hours of sleep Thursday night, managed to get the riders fed and started at 4am on Saturday, feed all the riders Sunday morning, and cover the finish (which spanned from 6:30am to 7:30pm on Sunday) is truly incredible and shows their dedication to maintaining quality brevets.  Making it all work, Chris Nadovich, after having spent the entire week in his kayak on the Schuylkill River,  made the grocery run and opened the hostel Friday night while Guy & Bill got some sleep.

Special appreciation goes to Len Zawodniak for knowing the 600k route so well that he could locate the secret control just where riders needed him the most.  Most credited Len for their being able to finish the first leg.

As Sunday dawned and some 600k riders were still making their way back to the hostel, nine additional riders showed up for the New Holland 200k which is the Day 2 route for the 600k as well. All nine 200k riders finished for a 100% completion rate.  This format provides an interesting opportunity an intermingling of riders.  Being among the "fresh" riders, I can say with confidence that the 600k riders are a strong bunch.  There were more than a few times when I was pushing my own limits to keep a 600k rider within sight.  Topping it all off, Steve Kraybill joined the ranks of randonneurs as he finished his first brevet.

We will give the hostel a rest for awhile and resume the monthly R-12 brevet series beginning July 22 with Hawk's Nest.  Registration details will be posted once we recover from this past weekend.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

From the riders:

Nigel Greene: Thanks again to you, Len, Bill and Guy, for putting on this event. I enjoyed the route and especially like how the format allows for interaction between the two different rides and the riders. Looking forward to doing the full 600 again at some point in the future.

You will find Nigel's own report on his blog, Iron Rider. Always interesting reading there.

Jimmy Asparas also completed his first 600k and thus conquers the SR with the prestigious Eastern PA SR.  He writes:

I want to give a big shoutout to all of the volunteers for the 600k; you, Bill, Guy, Len, Chris, hope I didn't forget anyone. I'm always impressed that our core group is always willing to devote so much time.

This was my first 600 and the hardest ride I've ever done. I felt that the whole leg after the Snydersville diner was the hardest of the first 400k. Just a constant uphill struggle into the controle. I welcomed the company of Greg, Rudi, Bob, and Mario at the Exxon controle, and we rode together most of the rest of the day and night. The unusually hot weather made for a very difficult day. The heat completely stole away my energy during the day, and then on the way from Bloomsbury to the hostel, saddle sores stole my ability to ride in the saddle comfortably.

It had initially been my plan to ride through the night to take advantage of the cool weather and calm winds, but as is often the case with this kind of riding, plans didn't sync up with reality. I dozed off at the hostel for a few minutes - not really sure how long - until the 200k crew came in. The demons in my head made me briefly entertain abandoning the ride in light of the saddle sores, but I collected myself and rolled out with CJ shortly after the 200k riders. It was a rough ride, especially the 27 mile stretch on Route 23, which in retrospect was the most difficult part of the entire 600k to me.

The best view hands down as always was the Delaware River from Hawk's Nest. I'm looking forward to it again on next month's "short" ride.

Congratulations to everyone who tried and/or completed this ride; it wasn't easy for any of them!


CJ Arayata has posted his photo album for the 400 and 600 brevets here.