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.

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