Sunday, October 29, 2017

November Events: Milford R12 & Populaire

*** Update 1 ***

The Eastern PA Blue Mountain 200k will take place on November 11th leaving out of Milford, NJ. The start is at the Milford Bridge Street Bagels & Deli which will open 6AM on Saturday.  When we first used this facility in January the owner was delighted to be inundated with cyclists on an otherwise slow Saturday morning and is looking forward to seeing us again.

Please note that the municipal parking lot across from the Deli allows only 2 hours parking and please DO NOT do not park your car there. Parking is available in a parking lot off of Church St (down the the street from the Bakery).  There are "No Parking" signs but PA Randonneurs has permission from US Health Care: to use the lot for our event.

The controle in Water Gap is at another bakery.  But right next door, there is the Apple Pie CafĂ©  if you would like a more substantial sit-down meal.  You may get your brevet card signed at either location.

 I want to emphasize taking extra care with those RR crossings early on, as noted on the cuesheet -- especially if you find yourself in a large, fast bunch as you approach these hazards.  The second one at mile 7.2 will be extremely treacherous, especially if it is wet.

The finish controle is at the Ship Inn, just down the street from the Bridge Street Bagel & Deli start, where organizer Bill Olsen will greet you.

SPOT GPS Trackers will be handed out to a couple of riders at the start. The webpage with links to the trackers is here:

A volunteer preride was completed by Bill Olsen this past weekend.  Bill reports:

"... This was the first time we had ridden the Blue Mountain 200K in the Fall, having last run this route in March 2015 and it was great to be able to revisit the course again especially when the leaves were still in their full colors.  Thanks again for choosing this route for our November event.

I particularly enjoy the re-routing at mile 29.2 due to the continued bridge closure on Grand Central Road and original Pen Argyl Road routing.  I also enjoyed the last climb up Turkey Hill Road if only to provide me with a greater appreciation for our more frequent use of Tunnel Road for THAT climb up to Route 579, and the 3 mile descent down Sweet Hollow is a very welcome reward!
Following a very foggy start from Milford it was nice to take the LHT off of Creek Road onto Winters Road and emerge from the fog into the sun.  As with all the Eastern PA rides, the route was a fantastic mix of interesting terrain and beautiful scenery.

In general the cue sheet was pretty much spot on, and, in general, the roads were in pretty good shape, with a couple having been resurfaced since we last rode this route.  There were no real problems with any roads, but there were a few spots you may want to make note of.

-Mile 6.7 Caution crossing the RR Tracks and sharp RHT
-Mile7.2 Bad angle on RR Track crossing
-Mile 16.3 - right turn onto Abbott St - there is a pothole in the turn that could cause some pinch flats as well as other road expansion cracks to be aware of as one rides through Phillipsburg
-Mile 31.9 Merwarth Road is now marked
-Mile 34.3 - QR - Eighth St - There is a sunken metal grate in the turn that takes up almost the entire riding lane.  One should carefully steer around it.
-Mile 44.6 - Delps RD is probably one of the roughest roads on the route.  It is not horrible, but there a few spots areas where one needs to look for a good line and caution should be taken if riding in a large group.
-Mile 51.4 – Rt. 946/ Mountain View Drive is now marked.
-Mile 52.1 – Miller’s Market Controle parking lot is not paved.  Use caution when entering of of Rt. 946.
-Mile 53 - There is a lot of gravel and debris on the shoulder of the climb up Blue Mountain Drive.
-Mile 79.4 -Cherry Valley Rd – This stretch has some areas with broken up road surfaces as one enters town, just prior to 611.
-Mile 93.6 - Sandy Shore Dr. - Gravel in this turn and as well as along the entire shore drive – Note the name of the road.
Mile 94.8 – River Road is now marked
Mile 96.9 – Riverton Road is now marked
-Mile 119.4 - Sweet Hollow Road - Gravel and rough road in this turn.

Other than these spots the course was in pretty good shape, as we mentioned before.   And a couple of other important reminders:
- Lighting and reflective gear will be inspected at the start
- Print out a cuesheet for yourself
...And most importantly, be sure to have a **safe ride***!

Bill Olsen
- organizer

*** Original Message ***
Following the highly enjoyable October Fall Classic, we return to the lower key R12 events for the rest of the year starting with the Milford 200k R12 brevet on November 11 and the Milford 100k populaire on November 18.  Organizer Bill Olsen pleaded to have the two occur on different dates so he could further boost his annual mileage toward K-Hound status.

The website will be updated soon, but the 200k route (we know this is what most of you want to see anyway) is here:

The populaire route is here:

Registration for both is open.

So mark your calendars and make plans for one or both.

Registered Riders, Nov 11 200k (as of 11/10)
1 Jimmy Aspras
2 M Bernardo
3 Timothy T.  Creyts
4 Matthew Farrell
5 William Fischer
6 Gregory W Forshey
7 Diane Goodwin
8 Michael J Gorman
9 Vadim Gritsus
10 James R Haddad
11 Eric  K Hannon Ford
12 Greg Keenan
13 Jeff Lippincott
14 Christopher Maglieri
15 Nicholas Manta
16 Alexander Manta
17 Rudi Mayr
18 Chris Nadovich
19 William Olsen - organizer
20 Michael D Povman
21 Zachary Rachell
22 Chris Readinger
23 George Michael Retseck
24 Bob Torres

Registered Riders, Nov 18 100k (as of 11/16)
1 Jimmy Aspras
2 Marc Bernardo
3 Jane M  Brown
4 Joe A Brown
5 Sean O'Connor
6 William Olsen - organizer
7 Michael D Povman
8 Aleksey M Vishnyakov
9 Naomi Wyatt

The December R12 event on December 2 will return to Lancaster County with a redux of the Little Britain 200k.  I've been following the PennDOT Bridge Work website and believe that all required bridges will be intact.  A planned pre-ride in a couple weeks will confirm.

Thanks for the patience and perseverance this year you've all shown this year.  We focus our efforts on organizing the events so oftentimes the website is a bit slow to catch up.  If you could only see behind the curtain of the PA Randonneurs internet presence ....

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Monday, October 23, 2017

Ride Summary: Fall Classic 150/200K

In September the weather seemed ideal for a brevet. It would be too much to ask for another perfect day in October, but somehow we were blessed with glorious weather yet again. Although a bit chilly at the start, once the sun rose in the near cloudless blue sky, the temperatures climbed to the low 70s. All twenty-nine riders that clipped in for the 200K brevet finished in good time for a 100% completion rate. Sadly, there were two DNFs in the nine 150K populare riders, for a 78% completion rate.  Congratulations and well done to all.  Can we have 70F again in November again, please?

There were seven first time brevet riders, all of whom finished within the limit on one of the most difficult courses you'll find anywhere. We now welcome you to a very special cycling brother and sisterhood: you are now officially randonneurs. Chapeau!

Peter Macholdt receives the special randonneuring never-say-die determination award for repairing an electrical problem with his transmission. His electronic shifters were totally without life at the start. A lesser man than Peter would have given up on the ride, but he tweeked and hacked at the high-tech thingies (I think I saw him using an oscilloscope) and eventually resuscitated e-shifting technology. He dashed off from the start about 40 minutes in the hole, but somehow made up that time and finished with plenty in the bank. Well done!

Although Peter and most of the rest of us need working gears to deal with the numerous climbs in the Fall Classic, James Haddad rode the course in good time on a fixie.  James seemed unphased by the effort.

James writes...

Thanks for putting on another fantastic ride. The PA classic continues to   be the most challenging and my favorite 200k route. The seemingly endless climbs slowed me down so I could  truly enjoy the beautiful panoramas of the PA and NJ valleys and hills. By the time I got to the top of Red Cliff  Rd, the gentle climbing back to the hostel felt more like downhills. A fast day and large field of riders meant plenty of people back at the hostel to enjoy burgers with and trade stories.    
 Speaking of fast times, kudos to150K populare riders Bob Torres and first timers Christopher Daly and Ari Kaputkin for somehow preserving their 50 km head start and staying ahead of  Scotty Steingart who zoomed around the 200K course faster than everyone else on either ride. I believe Scotty's 7:42 time for the 200K is now the course record. Wow!

Despite the hills, there was a lot of positive feedback about the course. It seems that everyone on the 200K seemed to enjoy the stop at Columcille and answered the megalithic controle question correctly. 

CJ Arayata comments ...
Couldn't have asked for a better day. Gorgeous scenery, vibrant fall colors, perfect weather, and top-notch company. Not only were five out of the six Wandering Pups present, but I was also very excited that Nick is growing our Philly contingent by having converted two of his Indego friends to the dark side! (Speaking of the dark side, congrats to James on his  fixed course completion!). 
I was blown away, and still am, by the PA SR award. It means so much more to me than "just" 4 rides. I am extremely grateful to be a part of PA  Randonneurs and for all of the work to make it happen. Cycling caps off to Chris, PA volunteer extraordinaire, as well as George, Bev, and Jim B.!
Pictures here . Hope everyone enjoys.     
As CJ alludes, there were 10 recipients of the PA Super Randonneur award, most of whom (including CJ) were there to collect their award plaques. Earning this award is not easy -- it represents a serious achievement in ultra-sport As we move toward the PBP qualifier year,  those of you thinking about PBP should keep in mind that earning a PA SR award in 2018 does more than just qualify you for early PBP registration, it will significantly raise your chances of success in France.

Jimmy Aspras, CJ Arayata, Sean Connelly, James Haddad (2), Guy Harris (6), Greg Keenan (4), Rudi Mayer, Bill Olsen (8), Bob Torres (5), Aleksey Vishnyakov

Finally, I'd like to thank George and Bev Retseck, and Jim Bondra for volunteering to manage the finish, grilling burgers for all. PA Rando events are not possible without volunteers. If you want to see these excellent events continue, please consider helping out.