Sunday, June 10, 2018

Ride Report: Hawk's Nest 200k

Preliminary results for the New Holland 200k are also posted on the website at:
Please let me know of any corrections or changes necessary.  These results will be submitted to RUSA in a few days and will become official pending ACP certification.

Congratulations and many thanks to long-time PA Rando regular and now first-time event organizer Bill Fischer for handling the duties for the Hawk's Nest 200.  Any brevet resulting in a 100% finish rate and 0% emergency RBA call is successful in my book.  If you aren't aware, Bill sandwiched the inaugural Blue Ride to Bay 1200k in between his course check-out ride on Memorial Day weekend and the Hawk's Nest 200.  Knowing Bill, I'm certain he would have enjoyed riding again yesterday just as much.

It was a great day for a ride.  Sixteen riders clipped in for the start and all sixteen returned for a 100% completion on the day.  Many new folks joined us for this beautiful ride in the Poconos, up through Canadensis and Promised Land to Lake Wallenpaupak before leisurely working their way down along the Lakawaxan and Delaware Rivers back to the Village Farmer & Bakery (Apple Pie Deli) for their delicious fresh smoked barbecue.  Congratulations to newly minted randonneurs Robin Rootkin and Darryl Southwood as well as first-time PA brevet finishers Brian Hanson-Harding, Jim Vreeland, and Oliver Zong.

The weather cooperated and several of those riding last weekend’s events in NJ and DC commented it was nice to be able to finish a ride in dry gear.  Temperature were in the mid-70s and between the shade coverage provided by the vegetation in the Poconos and the late afternoon cloud coverage, riders were treated to relatively mild Summer (Late-Spring) riding conditions.

The ascent up Old Mine Road was still marked by the rough road surface from multiple years of superficial patching but riders noted that the loose gravel on the initial steep pitches was noticeably missing.  As it was still on the upper, more level top of the climb it was concluded that all of the rain this Spring may have washed the gravel off this section.

The Spring weather also had resulted in numerous new potholes on River Road as it enters the last Worthington State Forest section along the Delaware.  While riders needed to watch for the potholes, and could steer around them, it did also serve to slow the automobile traffic down as they avoided the potholes, and although still not down to the ‘posted’ 15 MPH, was conserably less that what drivers have been previously noted speeding through this area. (Not a proponent of lousy roads, but in this section it was nice to see it slow down the excessive speeds.)

Those that weren't too busy watching the road apparently spent a lot of time nature watching.

Tim Creyts writes, Thanks to all the volunteers and organizers who made yesterday's ride run smoothly. That was a great day for riding.  One if the highlights of the ride for me was the porcupine crossing Old Mine Road (yes, it was alive) and a mile or two farther down the road, a quail hen and her chicks crossed in front of me. (Not so secretly, I am envious of Don Jagel's bobcat sighting).

Bill Olsen observed, I saw a turkey hen w/ about 8 chicks.  When she saw me she stopped and squatted down in the grass.  I could still see her but the chicks disappeared in the grass.

Two riders completed the route on fixed gears:  James Haddad and Rudi Mayr.  James reports, Joe and Greg we behind us for a little bit (then they blew past us) and commented that it was hysterical watching us, Rudi was riding ~67 gear inches and I am riding ~55 inches prepping for some hilly rides, I was spinning out of control on everything that wasn't a climb. Congrats to you both!  It's not the worst, but it's far from the most fixie-friendly route in the PA Rando catalog.

Under the heading of Rando Camaraderie comes this story from CJ ArayataIn the haze that was post-Hawks Nest, my partner and I managed to forget the dynamo front wheel to our tandem in the Park-N-Ride lot. I don't think there are any extremely close randos in the area, and I don't have much hope, but does anyone know anyone that might be able to swing by and potentially retrieve?  He posted his plea early Sunday morning and by mid-day, local rando Scott Steingart who lives in nearby East Stroudsburg had retrieved the forgotten wheel.

Next up we head to Easton for the Yet Another River to River Ride 200k organized by Chris Nadovich on July 7.  Event details are on the website.  Registration will open soon.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Friday, May 25, 2018

PA R-12 Series Resumes: Hawk's Nest 200k

*** UPDATE June 8 ***
The Hawk's Nest route enjoys generally low traffic roads and cooler temperatures.  The cost of those benefits is that control locations can be scarce as many local businesses in the region maintain limited hours.  Some have folded altogether. 

You will likely want to grab breakfast before reaching the start on Saturday.  We depart 90 minutes before the Village Farmer opens.  Our early start gives all riders a good chance to reach the Flats Deli control before it closes at 4pm and return to the finish while the Village Farmer BBQ is running (until 8pm).  The downside to our early start is that fast riders may reach The Corner at Eldred before it opens at 11am. 

You have options.  You can take a more relaxed pace to Eldred so you arrive near 11am.  There is plenty of beautiful scenery along the route to enjoy.  You can relax and wait for The Corner to open.  You've obviously been riding hard if you arrive closer to the control opening time of 9:37 and deserve a rest.  If you arrive before 9:37, you must wait until then to check into the control.  While waiting, you can contemplate stepping up your game in one of the endurance cycling competitions that occur each June.  Or you can use an alternate control due to the primary control being closed.  Unlike the Flats Deli location, Eldred offer options.  There is a diner on Rt 55 just before the control and the C-store and grocery across Rt 55 from The Corner which are all open during the open times of the control.  Have them initial and time stamp your card, save a receipt to indicate where you controlled, and ride on.

Hope this helps.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

*** UPDATE May 29 ***
Course checkout rides were completed over the weekend.  An updated cue sheet has been posted.

Our original plans for a leisurely late-morning start have been changed due to limited operating hours of Flat's Deli and the closure of the Apple Pie Cafe.  There is also summer heat to consider.  As such, the ride will begin at 6:30am, NOT 8:30 as previously mentioned.  While this means we will miss breakfast with the Village Farmer, we have confirmed that it's summer BBQ will be operating in the front yard until 8pm.

We are also strongly recommending that all riders park in the Park-N-Ride lot near the I-80 Interchange, across the street from the Pennsylvania Welcome Center. It's just a short roll down Broad St from there to the Village Farmer.

*** Original Post ***
Details and registration links for the Hawk's Nest 200k have been posted on the website.  This event will take place on June 9 under the organizational skills of Bill Fischer.  Please note that the start time for this popular event has been changed to a leisurely 8:30 am so that all riders can enjoy a hearty pre-ride breakfast at the Village Farmer & Bakery.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Registered Riders (as of June 7)
1 Charles J Arayata
2 Timothy T.  Creyts
3 Natalie Felice
4 William Fischer - organizer
5 James R Haddad
6 Brian Hanson-Harding
7 Donald Jagel + membership
8 Greg Keenan
9 Rudi Mayr
10 Chris Nadovich - volunteer
11 William Olsen
12 Joseph Ray
13 Robin Rootkin
14 Paul G Shapiro
15 Daryl Southwood
16 Scotty Steingart
17 Jim Vreeland
18 Oliver Zong

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Water Gap 600 / New Holland 200 Ride Report

Preliminary results for the Water Gap 600k have been posted on the website at:

Preliminary results for the New Holland 200k are also posted on the website at:

Please let me know of any corrections or changes necessary.  These results will be submitted to RUSA in a few days and will become official pending ACP certification.

Weather has been a big factor in the 2018 PA SR Series and the 600k was no exception.  Rain was the big story for the 600.  Lots of rain.  Fifteen riders clipped in for the 600k and rolled out into light rain with the thermometer registering around 48F.  Temperatures climbed only sightly and the rain persisted throughout the day and into the night.  A tropical air mass moved in Sunday morning and steamed the riders who had shivered the day before.  By Sunday afternoon only nine of the fifteen completed the adventure to qualify their 600k effort.  These fellows are a tough bunch of randonneurs.

With the completion of the 600, five riders have earned the prestigious PA SR award:  Jimmy Aspras (2), James Haddad (3), Jeff Lippincott, Chris Nadovich (2), and Bill Olsen (9).  Congratulations to you all!  Noteworthy is that James Haddad notched his third PA SR in the difficult Fixed Gear class.  He's not the first, but joins a very select (and small) group of riders to brave the PA Series with only 1 gear.

Chris Nadovich also joined the more exclusive list of PA Randonneurs who have completed an R-12 comprising only PA Randonneur events.  Chapeau Chris.  Well done! [Oops, not yet.  While Chris has a string of 12 consecutive PA events, the PA 400 and PA 600 both occurred in May leaving him with one month to go.  Here's hoping he can squeeze in a finish on the June event.]  Chris has this to say:

Many rides are hard to finish, and this 600K certainly was tough to complete. But, given the certainty of at least 24 hours cold rain as we pedaled over uncompromising terrain, this 600K was also hard to start. Congratulations are due to anyone who finished, or started, on that miserable Saturday morning. I can't count how many times in the days leading up to the ride, and even minutes before the start,  I almost decided to not clip in. 

Out in that rain I saw some old-school rando heroism. You've been told James gutted it out on a fixie, but I actually saw him do it. It was incredible to watch. Somehow he never seemed tired. He was always in good spirits, cracking jokes, and just having a great old time. Unbelievable.  And then there was Hans Evan Jatzke who was completely waterlogged and frozen to the core at Canadensis. Doug Haluza and I spent some time with him at the nice deli there. Doug and I were OK, but Hans was suffering. Sometimes being old and encased in some blubber has its advantages; I never really felt the cold other than in my hands. Anyway, without protective rando-flab Hans was really feeling it and was pondering a DNF. To me he seemed done for.  Nevertheless I watched him do all the right rando things: he ate, he drank warm fluids, he dried off gear, making no rash decisions he burned as much time from the bank as he needed to get his mind, body, and soul back into the game. A flawless pro move! Soon he was back on the bike and riding better than ever, finishing in great style. 

Jimmy Aspras offered these comments:
A big thank you to all volunteers on this year's 600k. Additional kudos to Len who hadn't even planned to be at his usual spot before the climb up Old Mine Road but showed up anyway despite the weather just to make everyone's day a little brighter.

Well, Saturday was a nice day to be a fish. It took us (Mario, Cuneyt, and Joe Ray) about 23.5 hours, and all of it was either light rain, heavy rain (a couple notches shy of a downpour), or mist The chilly and wet weather made for slow moving and poor motivation. Mario, Cuneyt, and Joe were great riding partners for the 18 and some odd hours that we spent together. and that was the only perk that made the day any kind of bearable. Misery loves company.

My shoes' rain covers failed within the first hour or so leaving me wondering why I even bothered to buy them, but worse than that was the cold. I think the coldest part of the day was at the Exxon after the climb to Promised Land. We were all shivering. On Gavin's recommendation, we turned the directional attachment on the hand dryer in the bathroom to hit our torsos/faces. Probably the best feeling of the day.

We rolled into the hostel at around 3:30 am. After a quick clothing change and food cramming, I got to roll out for day 2 with Gavin and CJ, Ryan, and George, who were riding the 200. We ended up riding together on and off the whole day. The light rain and cloudy skies quickly gave way to sun. Day 2 was remarkably better, with the exception of Route 23, which I loathe. I was very happy to be done this ride.

Congratulations to everyone who attempted this 600!

Joe Ray had this to say:

Thanks to you and the fine volunteers for managing this so well.  
I was disappointed to dnf Sunday but at least it was mechanical and I feel pretty confident I could have finished in time otherwise.  I was really happy with being able to see the course from near Limerick to the finish in daylight.  The only other time I had been there was at night - beautiful spots with a rushing river.  
Speaking of limerick, my fingers weren’t working very well Sunday morning so I am forwarding what I recall writing on my postcard in case it is illegible:

The first lady, of considerable allure
Wanted to show the President the door.
She said with no mirth
As she studied his girth
“Should have wed a Randonneur.”

Cuneyt, Mario, Jimmy & Joe at Hawks Nest -- in the rain
Speaking of Limericks, I will be updating this report as the Limerick postcards arrive.  Check back often.

Rudi Mayr was among the DNFs.  A mis-aligned derailleur found its way into the spokes and ended his day.  Gil Torres was riding with Rudi and missed a control cutoff time by staying to help Rudi.  True rando spirit.  Coincidentally, Rudi and Al Dolich experienced a mishap on the way to the start that could have been the root cause.  Al's ride before it even started when his rear wheel was taco'd in the mishap.

Many thanks for the SR series!  I am sorely disappointed that I couldn't finish the 600k this weekend.  I can't say I was enjoying the ride, but I had no thoughts of quitting until I shifted my derailleur into my spokes.  By the time Gilbert and I had the bike rideable, we had already missed the cutoff at the next controle.  And the bike wasn't really rideable at all; a single speed with one brake and a badly wobbling rear wheel, it was unsafe on the hills, especially in the rain.

My congratulations to everyone who finished, and profound thanks to all the volunteers, especially Bill for organizing our rescue from Wind Gap, and Jeff for driving up there to collect us.  I would also like to thank Alf for giving me a ride on Saturday morning; Rajesh for driving me home Saturday afternoon; and above all to Gilbert for heroic efforts to get my bike riding again, good cheer, and staying with me when in trouble in miserable weather.

I would also like to put in a kind word about Cycle Masters bike shop in Wind Gap, where Marvin, the owner, replaced my broken spokes and trued my wheel while we waited.  It's a mountain bike oriented shop, but I got brilliant service and it was good fun to hang out there for a little while.  Highly recommended!

Among the 200k riders, Guy Harris wrote this:
Thanks to Bill for pulling extended duty over the weekend. Many thanks to you, Jeff, and others for organizing. I wanted to try the 200K course on fresh legs for once rather than as day 2. It's amazing! The hills aren't as steep, it doesn't take 13 hours, there are tailwinds, the birds sing,.... 
Also, Congratulations to James for completing a fixed gear SR series!

Guy is one of two (now three) riders to complete a PA SR using only one gear and knows what it takes.

Pat & Cece Gaffney had to abandon their planned 600k due to scheduling conflicts, but came out to enjoy Sunday's 200k.
Just a quick note to thank everyone for the 200K yesterday. We find this course to be much more enjoyable when we are not doing a 600K. Hats off to the 600 riders for putting up with some seriously tough conditions.  Also, thanks to Bill for sending us off and greeting us when we returned with his usual wonderful hospitality.

Special thanks to the volunteers for this event.  Bill Olsen and Jeff Lippincott handled the course checkout ride as well as most of the hostel operations.  Michael Poveman and Len Zawodniak monitored soggy riders on Saturday and covered arrivals in Delaware Water Gap after all the shops had closed for the evening.  Chris Nadovich gathered the PA Randonneurs "stuff" and de-camped the hostel after finishing the 600k!  These brevets would not happen without volunteers like these.  Remember to thank them the next time you ride with them.

This concludes the 2018 PA Randonneurs SR series events.  Thanks to all who participated and to the volunteers who made it happen.

Our regular monthly R-12 brevets will continue with the Hawk's Nest 200k on June 9.  Bill Fischer will be handling organizer duties.  Registration is open.  Chris Nadovich is organizing his Yet Another River to River Ride yet again in July.  August promises a new route in Lancaster finishing at Cafe Metzler to celebrate RUSA's 20th Anniversary. 

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

2018 PA Randonneurs SR Series, Round IV: The Water Gap 600k

*** Update May 15***
The cue sheet has been updated to reflect tweaks from the pre-event course checkout ride.  Be sure to download the version labeled Draft 3, 5/9/2018.

*** Original Post***
The final round of the PA Randonneurs Super Randonneur Series will be held on May 19-20, 2018:  The Water Gap 600k.  Event details and registration are available on the website.  The brevet will start and finish at our rando clubhouse, the Weisel Youth Hostel near Quakertown, PA.  The route returns riders to the hostel after about 400k before heading west toward Lancaster for the final 200k loop.

The course checkout ride was completed the same weekend as the 400k.  The cue sheet is being updated and will be available on the website in the coming days.

As has been customary for several years, we will also stage the New Holland 200k on Sunday, May 20.  This route follows the same route as the final 200k of the 600k.  History has shown that the relatively fresh 200k riders can be welcome company and cheerleaders for the weary 600k riders.  It also assures a larger crowd to cheer at the finish.  Event details and registration for the New Holland 200k are also available on the website.

Registered 600k Riders (as of May 18)
1 Jimmy Aspras
2 Gavin Biebuyck
3 Mario Claussnitzer +Fr
4 Alfred Dolich
5 Cuneyt Eviner +Fr
6 James R Haddad +Fr
7 Doug Haluza +Fr
8 Hans Evan Jatzke +Fr
9 Eric E. Keller +Fr, Su
10 Jeff Lippincott  - volunteer
11 Rudi Mayr
12 Lawrence A Midura
13 Chris Nadovich - volunteer
14 Rajesh Nayak
15 William Olsen - organizer
16 Joseph Ray +Fr, Su
17 Jim Vreeland +Fr

Registered 200k Riders (as of May 18)
1 Charles J Arayata
2 Marc Bernardo
3 James Bondra +Sa
4 Chris Errico
5 Cecilie Gaffney
6 Patrick Gaffney
7 Guy Harris
8 George Michael Retseck
9 Edward T Schantz
10 Ryan J Stanis
11 Gilbert Torres +Sa

Monday, May 7, 2018

Mountain Blue 400k Ride Report

The Blue Mountain
Photo by Rajesh Nayak
Preliminary results for the Mountain Blue 400k have been posted on the website:  Please let me know of any corrections that may be necessary.  These will be submitted to RUSA later this week and become official pending ACP certification.

Seventeen riders clipped in for the 4am start after a hearty rando breakfast by Hostel Master Chris Nadovich.  Sixteen would eventually return to the hostel having covered the entire brevet distance.  First finishers Jimmy Aspras and Will Sherman rolled in just before midnight to keep the entire ride in the same day.  The remaining finishers trickled in the rest of the morning with the entire field having finished before dawn Sunday morning.  All were greeted by the Hostel finish crew of Chris Nadovich, Bill Olsen, Jeff Lippincott, and Pat Gaffney. Congratulations to first-time PA finishers Hans Jatzke and Emily Ranson.  The Blue Mountain 400 route is nice, but an eye-opening introduction to Pennsylvania brevets.

Rajesh Nayak writes:
I am writing to let you know that I really enjoyed riding this picturesque course with smooth roads and little to no traffic. There were no steep climbs but the rollers were endless and I did suffer from cramps around mile 80 while riding with James Haddad.

I was feeling weak and uneasy and I almost threw in the towel around mile 85 but then I took a 15 minute break, enjoyed the lovely views of the countryside, assessed the situation and decided to soldier on till the next controle. I enjoyed a hearty milkshake and burger in Jonestown and carried on, however two bottles of water weren't enough until Blondie's.I was flagging 10 miles from Blondie's, another milkshake and sandwich at the diner provided me a boost and rejuvenated my mood. 

The next 50 miles until the Columbia controle was mostly spent riding in the dark after Bowmanstown with the silhouette of Blue Mountain bearing down on me to my right. I met Joe Ray at the TA Service center controle and we rode back to the hostel together. We faced a cold shower in the last 10 miles and were welcomed by a clapping Chris Nadovich into the comfort of the hostel.

At one point I thought that I could not finish the ride and the situation seemed hopeless but the mantra of 'continuous forward progress' kept resonating in my mind as I rode 120 miles solo until the Columbia controle. All in all, it was a day well spent and provided me a tremendous boost of self confidence.

A big Thank You to all the pre-ride volunteers, Chris Nadovich and to you for planning the course, recce and pre and post ride nourishment.

Notable for this event is that volunteers Bill Olsen and Jeff Lippincott spent Friday on a check-out ride for the upcoming Water Gap 600k.  They returned to the hostel just before the start of the 400k and were able to enjoy access to the hostel and hot food (not normally available for the 600k pre-ride).  They departed just before dawn to complete the remaining 200k New Holland loop and then pitched in to welcome the 400k riders back from their day.  Chappeau to these two for going the extra mile (or 375) for the group.

The SR series concludes in two weeks with the Water Gap 600k on May 19-20.  We will also host the New Holland 200k on May 20, a unique event that allows the 200k riders to rub elbows with the 600k riders as they wrap up their long rides.  Registration for both events is open.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

2018 PA SR Series, Round III: The Mountain Blue 400k

***Update 1***
Course checkout rides are complete and the cue sheet is updated.  Make sure you download the version last updated 4/29/2018.

With several riders opting to spend Friday evening at the hostel, the Rando-Concierge has asked me to make the following announcement:

All Women sleep in the Family Dorm
All Men Arriving BEFORE 10pm sleep in the Women's Dorm
All Men Arriving AFTER 10pm sleep in the Men's Dorm

*** Original Post***
The third event in the PA Randonneurs SR Series for 2018 will be held on May 5, 2018.  Registration is open and details available on the PA Randonneurs website.  The route is the popular Blue Mountain route that travels generally east-west along the northern and southern slopes of the Blue Mountain.  We will again be running the route in reverse of the normal direction, staying south of the ridge for our westward trek and returning along the north slope of the mountain.

A course checkout ride is scheduled for April 26 so check back afterward for any last-minute cue sheet changes.

Clarification for those riders considering hostel accommodations:  we assume that all riders will want to rest after completing the ride.  As such, beds for Saturday night/Sunday morning are included in your registration fee.  Choosing "Hostel Stay Night Before" on the registration form means Friday night.  Choosing "Hostel Stay Night After" means Sunday night.  

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Registered Riders (as of 5/3/2018)
1 Jimmy Aspras +Fr
2 Marc Bernardo
3 Mario Claussnitzer
4 Alfred Dolich +Su
5 Cecilie Gaffney  - volunteer
6 Patrick Gaffney  - volunteer
7 James R Haddad +Fr
8 Hans Evan Jatzke +Fr, Su
9 Jeff Lippincott  - volunteer
10 Rudolf Mayr
11 Chris Nadovich - organizer
12 Rajesh Nayak
13 William Olsen - organizer
14 Calista Phillips +Fr
15 Emily Ranson +Fr
16 Joseph Ray +Fr
17 Will Sherman
18 George Swain +Fr
19 Gilbert Torres +Fr

Thursday, April 19, 2018

2018 PA Randonneurs Flèche

The 11th Annual PA Randonneurs Flèche was by all accounts a success.  Ten of ten teams qualified and only one rider failed to reach the Weisel Hostel finish.  Well done everyone!  Preliminary results have been posted on the website at: and will be submitted to RUSA in the coming week.

The weather cooperated keeping teams dry, only slightly cold overnight, and generally happy upon arrival. Winds were not so much of a factor this year which contributed to happy randonneurs.  Most teams enjoyed well-known routes which minimized bonus miles.  A few teams discovered the need to fully verify what businesses offer under the guise of "24 hour operations" as a couple reported only drive-thru service being open at their controls.  With several teams criss-crossing southern New Jersey, reports of team sightings were also common as teams relaxed after their rides.

A HUGE thank you goes to Jane & Joe Brown for once again preparing the spread that riders enjoyed on Sunday.  I don't believe anyone left hungry.  Thanks also to Jeff Lippincott and Chris Nadovich for helping with the setup and cleanup at the hostel.  Many hands make light work and all was back to normal by 11.

We will return to the hostel in two weeks with the Mountain Blue 400k on May 5.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Team photos at the finish on Sunday are included below.

The Teams:

Escargot Volants Team Members
Janice Chernekoff, Captain
Dawn M Engstrom
Jonathan Levitt (T)
Christine Newman
Katie Raschdorf (T)
Paul G Shapiro

Fistful of Xanax, V3 Team Members
Michael J Gorman, Captain
Gil Lebron
Rajesh Nayak
Christopher C. Slocum
Steve Weng

Flèche Mob Team Members
Rudi Mayr, Captain
Mary Foley
Gregory W Forshey
Neal Lerner
Michael Povman

Fleshe Eating Rumble Ponies Team Members
James R Haddad, Captain
Zachary R Goodrich
George Michael Retseck

Les Chiens Errants
Team Members
Jimmy Aspras, Captain
Charles J Arayata (T)
Natalie Felice (T)
Ryan J Stanis

Les Chiens Errants, Deux
Team Members
Nicholas Manta , Captain
Alexander Manta 
Zachary Rachell

Now You've Gone Too Far Team Members
Eric Keller, Captain
De'Anna Caligiuri
William Huber
Greg Keenan
Steven J Schoenfelder

Sinister Nuts (now the 11th Edition, still all fixed gear!)
Team Members
William Olsen, Captain
Joseph C Dille
Guy Harris
Paul D Scearce
Bob Torres

Sins of the Flèche Team Members
James Bondra, Captain
Patrick Chin-Hong
Erica Jacobs 
Steve Yesko

The Fist of New York Team Members
Will Sherman, Captain
Mario Claussnitzer 
Cuneyt Eviner 
Vadim Gritsus
Simon Korzun

Monday, April 16, 2018

Water Gap 300k Results: What Happened to Spring?

Preliminary results for the Water Gap 300k have been posted on the website: . These will be submitted this week and become official pending ACP certification.

The roller coaster weather patterns continued with Saturday's ride occurring on a definite upswing in temperatures.  Saturday's high crested 80 F across most of the region accompanied by clear skies and bright sunshine.  Winds help cool riders, but also required more effort.

First finisher Jimmy Aspras sent this:

Just wanted to thank you and all of the volunteers for putting on the ride yesterday.

It was a pretty tough ride relative to last year. It was the first truly hot day of the year, and this coupled with a decent headwind on the way out and back made for slower times and a brutal ride. I rode most of the day with Chris Errico, and it was a blast. He was a bit faster than me especially after our attack on the headwinds on Route 209, and we ended up splitting off right before the climb up Old Mine Road. We joined forces again at the Citgo in Bloomsbury and made it back to the hostel together a couple hours later, exhausted and spent.

Of note were the wild temperature swings in the morning. It was hot taking off from the hostel, but the ups and downs left me shivering and wishing I had brought gloves. I also saw more deer on this ride than any other ride I've ever done. At one point right as the sun was starting to come up, we startled a group of 7 deer that ran alongside of us in a field for about 100 yards. It was one of the coolest things I've seen in awhile.

Another interesting element of the ride was the bridge that was unexpectedly gone on the way into Delaware Water Gap (picture attached). Fortunately, there was a temporary bridge that allowed
everyone safe passage.

Thanks again and I'll see everyone next weekend.

Gilbert Torres sent this picture from Flats Deli, allegedly "right before the heat started to beat us."

Thanks again to the volunteer team of Chris Nadovich, Bill Olsen, Jeff Lippincott, and Patrick & Cecile Gaffney.  This crew made sure that the cue sheet was spot on (missing bridge above notwithstanding), registration and results made it to me, riders were well fed, and the hostel cleaned and ready for our use next weekend.  Be sure to thank them next time you see them.

Next up is the PA Flèche.  Ten teams will make their way back to the hostel for a celebratory breakfast on Sunday.  After that is the PA 400k, the Blue Cinco de Mayo 400k on May 5.  Registration will open soon.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Monday, April 2, 2018

PA SR Series Round II: The Water Gap 300k

Update 2: Pre-Ride Report
 The course was sticky. Really sticky. The recent high winds littered the roads with sticks, branches, boughs, trunks, whole trees, even forests almost. Although I expect most of the fallen wood will be removed by the ride date, the armies of chainsaw wielding, chipper towing arborists will leave behind many sticks. Lots of sticks. A stick stuck in the spokes will stop your steed on the spot. Look out!

A really big stick blocking the road.
 Some of the roads are hopelessly blocked. Community Drive, specifically, is not suitable for a bike ride. There's a considerable distance covered by fallen trees that extend berm to berm. One of these might be a fun drag-over or crawl-under, but there are just too many. The DRAFT 3 cue sheet has a detour for Community Dr. It's 0.8 mi longer, but the section is downhill and passes a Turkey Hill, convenient for replenishment before the next 20 miles that have no services. 

A few of the sticks blocking Community Dr.
  One blockage I'm really puzzled about occurs on Cherry Valley Rd just before entering the hamlet of Delaware Water Gap. It seems this road is blocked by a pile of fallen "Road Closed" signs. Other than these hazardous signs, it's a perfectly fine bridge and road. My suggestion is to steer cautiously around these signs, but not to read them.

Road blocked by hazardous road closed signs.
Other than these sticky situations, the course is wonderful. Almost all the pavement is in excellent shape, with the usual exception of the climb on Old Mine Rd into Milbrook Village. Which reminds me: there is a very nice rest room at Millbrook Village. It's just to the left of the main gate. The rest room is open 24x7, has running water, and is heated! Keep this fact in mind on the 600K.

--- Chris N

Update 1: April 6
Course checkout rides are complete and the cue sheet has been updated.  You will find it on the website at: . Make sure you get the version noted as DRAFT 3.  The route map has also been updated and has a new link: . As always, riders are cautioned that use of the GPS files is at your own risk.  The cue sheet is the official route instruction.

Original Post
Registration details for the SR 300 in the Pennsylvania Randonneurs series have been posted on the website at:
Registration is open.  A pre-ride was conducted over Easter weekend which may require some minor course adjusting.  Be sure to watch this space for any announcement regarding an updated cue sheet.

Andrew Mead
Easter PA RBA

Registered Riders (as of 4/12/2018)
1 Jimmy Aspras
2 Marc Bernardo
3 Mario Claussnitzer + membership
4 Alfred Dolich
5 Chris Errico
6 Cecilie Gaffney  - volunteer
7 Patrick Gaffney  - volunteer
8 Michael J Gorman
9 Vadim Gritsus
10 James R Haddad + Fr
11 Doug Haluza + Fr, Sa
12 Guy Harris
13 Greg Keenan + Fr
14 Jeff Lippincott  - volunteer
15 Rudolf Mayr
16 Chris Nadovich - organizer
17 William Olsen - organizer
18 Joseph Ray + Fr, Sa
19 George Michael Retseck
20 Steven J Schoenfelder
21 Will Sherman + Fr
22 Ryan J Stanis
23 Gilbert Torres

Sunday, April 1, 2018

2018 PA Randonneurs Flèche

Update 1, April 5

Ten Teams have entered riding nine unique routes.  All routes have been reviewed and approved.  I am awaiting receipt of entry fees from several captains at this point, so those route approvals are pending completion of the registration process and receipt of registration fees.

You can check your registration status on the roster:

The RUSA Card-O-Matic control card generator will be used to create control cards.  I hope to have the control details loaded for each team by April 8.  If your team wishes to use a custom logo, please send those to me by April 12 and I'll include it on your cards.  Team member information will be loaded on or about April 13 and pdfs for the team cards emailed to the Captains.  Any captain lacking card printing capabilities should let me know before April 12 so I can make arrangements to print and mail the cards.

Captains and team members are reminded and encouraged to read/re-read the Flèche rules.  You will find them at: It is highly recommended that each captain print a copy of these rules and carry them during the Flèche since your mental faculties may be somewhat diminished after 18 hours on the road.

Original Post, February 2018

In keeping with tradition, PA Randonneurs will host its 11th Flèches-USA with riders converging on the Weisel Youth Hostel near Quakertown, PA on April 22, 2018.  Event details have been posted on the website.  All participants (captains AND team riders) should complete an entry form and waiver.  These should be mailed with entry fee to the RBA.

A few team captains have already started floating route ideas my way which is most appreciated.  Earlier is good as April is a busy time for brevet organizers.

Important Dates:

March 30    Team Captain registration closes
April 6        Route submission deadline
April 13      Brevet cards mailed to team captains
April 18      Rider registration closes
April 19      Noon: Earliest start time
April 21      8AM - 9AM: Preferred start time
April 21     10AM: Latest start time
April 22     7AM - 11AM: Brunch Banquet

Please contact me with any questions.

Team Roster  (as of 4/4/2018)
Escargots Volants, Janice Chernekoff, route approved
Fistful of Xanax V3, Michael Gorman, route approved pending captain registration
Flèche Eating Rumble Ponies, James Haddad, route approved pending captain registration
Flèche Mob, Rudi Mayr, route approved
Les Chiens Errants, Jimmy Aspras, route approved pending captain registration
Les Chiens Errants, Deux, Nicholas Manta, route approved pending captain registration
Now You've Gone Too Far, Eric Keller, route approved
Sins of the Flèche, Jim Bondra, route approved
The Fist of New York, Will Sherman, route approved pending captain registration
The Midnight Ride of the Sinister Nuts, Bill Olsen, route approved

Andrew Mead
-Eastern PA RBA

Monday, March 26, 2018

Lackawanna 200k Results

Morning Sky
Photo by Michael Povman
Preliminary results for the Lackawanna 200k have been posted at  These will be submitted to RUSA in the coming week and become official pending certification by the ACP.

The roller coaster weather of winter threatened once again and dumped well over a foot of snow on the area on Wednesday.  Spring thawing began in earnest but with overnight lows in the mid-20s each night, re-freeze remained a significant concern.  A delayed start to near sunrise allowed riders to see the slick spots in time to avoid them as well as melting any icy spots.  No cycling incidents were reported, though one group managed to find a ditch while driving to the start.  All 25 riders who clipped in finished.

Greg Keenan writes, "I wanted to mention what a great call it was to move yesterday's ride start time to day light hours.  Safety was greatly improved by being able to see the little ice patches from the melt that froze over night.  Thanks for another great ride."

From Steve Schoenfelder:  We were able to avoid scattered patches of ice due to the delayed daylight start.  My GPS read 23 degrees at the hostel, but reached a high of about 55 degrees in the afternoon.  The winds and climbs made it a challenging ride, but the usual randonneur camaraderie helped reduce the suffering.  It turned out to be a beautiful day to be on a bike.  The route was spectacular, crossing the Delaware four times; coursing through picturesque countryside and historic villages.  We meandered along the historic Lackawanna Cutoff railroad grade with its many tunnels, and passed under the impressive Paulinskill Viaduct.  Here are a few pictures:
Climbing Sweet Hollow Rd
Steve Schoenfelder & Brandon Detweiler crossing the Delaware

Relaxing at Portland
Congratulations to Brendan Detweiler for notching his first brevet finish to join the ranks of Randonneurs.

From Michael PovmanThanks again to Chris, Bill and all the other volunteers for another well-run Pa. ride.  Moving the start back an hour was a great call as any patches of ice were on the road were pretty easy to spot in the daylight.   The hills and the wind seemed relentless, but  I really enjoyed the snow-covered vistas on this very scenic route, not to mention the company of my fellow riders.  Here's a picture of Rudi Mayr and Neil Lerner.

Rudi Mayr writes, Many thanks to you, Chris, Bill, Jeff, Lenny, chili chef Joe, the hostel's staff, and everyone else who contributed to yesterday's ride! It was truly memorable.

Beautiful sunny day and a great scenic route that protected us from the winds most of the time.  There was always some snow in sight, but often only small patches here and there, on northerly hillsides etc. Spring has not yet come to the trees, so we could see a lot of stuff that's going to be hidden in a couple weeks.

The most spectacular thing I saw was something that can only happen to a cyclist (and perhaps only to a cyclist wearing black pants and a bright yellow windbreaker). I was cruising along at a good clip, having just come off a descent, nice smooth pavement with the warm sun over my right shoulder, my shadow to my left. A little cloud of shadows passed right through my own, and I realized a tiny flock of birds had just gone right over my head. So I looked up and there, almost within reach, were a dozen male goldfinches flying in tight formation, brilliant yellow in the sun against the blue sky. Just at that moment they separated like an explosion of sparks flying in all directions, and then they came together again. My road turned to the left, they went straight, I was alone again... bedazzled. 

A little while later there was a huge flock of blackbirds in the trees to the left, and as we rode along they all flew up and passed over us, dense clouds of birds above and their shadows below,  moving sideways as a unit, giving the illusion of a world torn into two planes... almost enough to confuse a cyclist's balance. And really loud!

Many thanks to organizers Chris Nadovich and Bill Olsen for handling details on the ground and to volunteers Jeff Lippincott, Pat & Cecile GaffneyJoe Ray, George Retseck, and Len Zawodniak for stepping up to make sure the route was navigable,  riders were well fed, and cleaning up after it was all over.

We will return to the hostel in three weeks (April 14) for the 300k.  Details and registration information will be posted soon.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

PA SR Series Begins - Lackawanna 200k

***UPDATE 3***
The Lackawanna 200k remains scheduled for Saturday, March 24.
The start time will be delayed by 1 hour to 7:00am.  This allows a little extra time for roads to warm up AND allows riders to start in daylight.  Historical performance on this route suggests that riders should finish in the daylight as well.

The Hostel parents inform me that only a very small portion of the parking area was cleared of snow. Parking will be extremely tight.  If you can carpool, please do.  When you arrive, please park efficiently so everyone can park.  I am also advised that the ground is quite soft, so keep that in mind when parking.

Everything else will be as always.  The hostel will be open; they even have power!  There is plenty of space for those wanting to stay Friday or Saturday.  Breakfast will be available 1 hour before the start.  The post ride food will be there.   The route should be pretty with plenty of snow-covered vistas and hopefully dry, black pavement.

***UPDATE 2 March 22***
Winter weather is to be expected in January & February and this winter has certainly challenged my play-calling.  The latest Nor'easter blanketed the area on the second day of spring.  Totals in my area range from 12 to 18 inches.  I'm certain northern New Jersey got at least as much.  Thankfully warm and windy conditions should melt and dry the roads.  I will be consulting with locals today to assess road conditions on the Lackawanna route.  Given the logistical complications of a hostel-based ACP brevet, my preference is for the brevet to occur on Saturday.  Stay tuned.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

***UPDATE 1***
Course checkout rides were completed over the weekend.  The cue sheet has been updated and posted on the website.
You'll want to make sure you have the 2018 edition or you may find yourself backtracking quite a bit due to bridge construction.

***Original Post***
With the worst (hopefully) of winter behind us, it is time to look toward the ACP-sanctioned portion of our 2018 schedule and the PA Randonneurs SR series.  Details of the first event, the Lackawana 200k have been posted on the website.  Registration is open.

At long last we are also moving forward with a non-wool option for the classic PA Randonneurs jerseys.  We will be using Ascend Sportswear to produce the jerseys.  Three options for materials are planned: Elevate, Volare, and Apex.  These may change slightly as I finalize the details with Ascend.  Sizing and material samples will be available at the March brevet for interested people to see first-hand.  Ordering is handled by Ascend.  You will have the option of having your jersey mailed directly to you from Ascend or you can save the postage and pick it up at one of our later events.  Ascend will create a "store" for us on it's website where you can order and pay for your jersey(s).  That store will be opened a few days prior to the brevet and remain open for approximately three weeks.  The jerseys will be produced at that time.  Delivery is expected 5-6 weeks after the store closes.  My morning ride group commissioned custom kit with Ascend last fall.  I ordered an Elevate jersey and am very satisfied with the quality and comfort.  There is a minimum order quantity for this project.  Hopefully you all saved a few cycling budget dollars for a new warm weather jersey.  The best aspect is that we can easily arrange for additional runs should the demand exist, even if that is next year.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Registered Riders (as of 3/21/2018)
1 Charles J Arayata
2 Jimmy Aspras
3 Marc Bernardo
4 Gavin Biebuyck
5 Shawn Bowles
6 Brendan Detweiler + Fr
7 Alfred Dolich
8 Chris Errico + membership
9 Matthew Farrell
10 Cecilie Gaffney  - volunteer
11 Patrick Gaffney  - volunteer
12 Vadim Gritsus
13 James R Haddad + Fr
14 Guy Harris
15 Greg Keenan
16 Eric E. Keller + membership
17 Neal Lerner
18 Jeff Lippincott  - volunteer
19 Nicholas Manta + Fr
20 Rudolf Mayr
21 Chris Nadovich - organizer
22 Rajesh Nayak + Sa
23 William Olsen - organizer
24 Walter J Pettigrew
25 Michael D Povman + Fr
26 Joseph Ray
27 George Michael Retseck
28 Steven J Schoenfelder + membership
29 Ryan J Stanis
30 Bob Torres + membership

Friday, March 16, 2018

PA Rando Jerseys: The Vegan Option

The PA Randonneurs "Store" is now open.

For anyone interested in jerseys made from modern synthetics, a reminder that PA Randonneurs is about to begin an ordering process for jerseys from Ascend Sportswear.  You can check out sizing a material options on the Ascend Website.  Jerseys will be available in Elevate, Volare Elite, and Apex materials.  You will also have the option for long sleeve, short sleeve, or sleeveless.

Ordering will be though a specific page on Ascend's website (our store).  The store will "open" on March 24 and remain open for 3-4 weeks or until we reach a minimum order point.  The jerseys will be completed roughly 5 weeks after the store closes.  You can opt to have your jersey delivered directly to you or save shipping and pick it up at a brevet later and save the shipping costs.  

The design mimics the classic PA Randonneur wool jerseys.  The rendering below is close, but I can confirm that the vertical positioning of the black band is the same as on the wool jerseys (the top of the band is at the armpit) which differs slightly from the rendering.  

You will find sizing guidance here.  Samples of the jerseys will be available at the March 24 200k for those wanting to confirm sizing and materials.  I recently ordered one of their jerseys and am very pleased with fit (sport cut) and material quality (Elevate).

While I do not yet have a link for the store, check back around the 24th.  I will update this post with the link when it is created.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Lancaster Loop Results

Preliminary results for the Loop Around Lancaster in Reverse 200k have been posted on the website and will be submitted to RUSA later this week.  Please have a look and point out anything amiss.

The day wasn't too bad for a winter brevet day.  Sunny skies made it feel warmer.  It's all relative since it was 14F at the start.  Everyone was dressed accordingly and as a result notched another 100% completion rate.  Congratulations!!  Finishers enjoyed food and drink at the St. Boniface brewery In Ephrata.  The personal pizzas were a big hit.

The field saw a little more of first finisher Tim Creyts than usual as a flat had him off the bike for a while.  The combination of cold hands with a tubeless rim/tire setup made dismounting the tire a real chore.  James Haddad notched another completion aboard his fixed gear bike.  Tom Dermody persevered though a few (a dozen by his estimate) bonus miles resulting from a failure to print ALL pages of the cue sheet to complete his first brevet.  He resorted to reviewing the cue on-line and trying to memorize the next few turns.  Those who regularly ride in this area know how daunting a task that can be as the criss-cross maze of roads makes for lengthy cues sheets.  Chappeau Tom!

Speaking of perseverance, Saturday's finish marked Rudi Mayr's completion of the difficult PA R-12 award.  The R12 is challenging enough, but Rudy managed to clip in for a dozen PA events, including January's moving schedule target, to join the small group of Randonneurs who have earned this award.  Well Done!

The most unusual happening involved Bill Fischer and SPOT2.  I routinely check on rider progress during brevets.  Its what organizers do.  I noticed that Bill had stopped along the NW River Trail near Bainbridge and remained there all afternoon.  No calls for help so I assumed he had the situation under control.  Turns out the SPOT fell out of his bag.  He had no idea where, but I did.  Thankfully, the SPOT was still pinging away and was easily recovered the next morning.

We will take a short break to regroup before diving into the ACP SR events commencing with the 200k on March 24.  The 300k will be held on April 14, the 400k on May 5, and the 600k on May 19-20.  All of the spring ACP SR events will be staged out of our unofficial rando clubhouse at the Weisel Hostel near Quakertown, PA.  Details will be posted on the website.

The PA Randonneurs Flèche will be held on April 19-22, with our traditional Flèche finish breakfast at the Weisel Hostel on April 22.  Details and registration deadlines will be announced soon in a separate communication. Teams and captains should already be talking.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Hopewell Finish and February R12 Announcement

Results of the January 20 Beyond Hope to Hopewell 200k have been posted and, following a correction to include a missing Bill Fischer, have been submitted to RUSA.  The results tabulation is on the website:

By all accounts the weather finally cooperated and riders enjoyed a nice day, especially compared to weather conditions on our cancelled event dates.  The organizer and RBA are both thankful for another 100% completion rate.

Michael Povman commented: Thanks again to you and the other organizers for putting on another well-run ride yesterday.  The third time was the charm!  The weather was about as good as I could have expected for a January brevet, although the strong wind gusts from the west (along with Tunnel Road and all the rollers) made the section between the third and fourth controls particularly challenging.  After that, Brick Farm Market was a welcome break – an excellent choice for a control.  Great job all around!<

PA Randonneurs will head west in February to reprise last year's popular Lancaster Loop in Reverse using the St. Boniface Brewery as the finish destination.  Details will be posted on the website soon.  In the meantime, you can check out the details from last year's event ( as little has changed.  A course checkout ride was completed on Saturday (1/27) and an updated cue sheet will be posted soon.  You can view the route here:

Notes from the course checkout ride:

Mile 61.8: River Rd was closed at Blue Rock Rd due to flooding. River Rd and Water St were wet and muddy but safely rideable on the crown of the closed road. The wettest section was at mile 65.0 where Water St crossed an ice jammed Strickler Run. Ice jam flooding is not expected to worsen in the coming week so the route should remain passible.

Mile 66.2: The Northwest Lancaster River Trail is entered by crossing to the left shoulder of the new section of SR441:
Entrance to NWLCRT in Columbia (looks like a sidewalk here)


The Northwest Lancaster River Trail is gorgeous.  With the exception of a few very short sections of gravel it is paved the entire route and is well marked.  There are a few tricky sections but the cues provided are accurate.  I would recommend that riders follow the trail signs as seen in the photo. 

Mile 67.7: Furnace road is a little confusing as it looks like a private drive when approaching on the bike path.  It’s certainly easy enough to figure out. 

Mile 68.9: Here the River trail diverts away from the river and onto city streets as it passes through Marietta.  Riders should refuel at one of the pubs or off route stores as the next services are another 30 miles away in Annville. 

Mile 74.4: The River trail was wet and muddy where it dips under the Shanks Mills railroad bridge.

Mile 112.9: The shoulder of 322 had some branches and minor debris that should be OK in daylight but will need some caution for those hitting this section in darkness.

Thanks to volunteer Scott Franzen for handling the pre-ride duties.  You can thank him when you finish on Saturday.

The cue sheet has been posted on the website.
Make sure you have a draft that is dated in 2018.

The registration link is already live on the website.  Registration will remain open until Friday, Feb 2 at 5pm.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Registered Riders (as of 2/1/2018)
1 Jimmy Aspras
2 Gavin Biebuyck
3 Timothy T.  Creyts
4 Jan Peter Dembinski
5 J Thomas Dermody
6 Matthew Farrell
7 William Fischer
8 Gregory W Forshey
9 J Scott Franzen - volunteer PR
10 James R Haddad
11 Greg Keenan
12 Rudolf Mayr
13 Chris Nadovich
14 George Michael Retseck

Monday, January 8, 2018

2018 PA R12 Series Kickoff: Beyond Hope to Hopewell 200k

***. Update 4 ***

We will try again.  The Beyond Hope to Hopewell brevet will be run on Saturday January 20.  All other details remain unchanged.  There will be no further postponements.

I have updated the registered riders list based on confirmations received since January 13.  If you still intend to clip in this weekend, please send me an email or re-register on the event page.  Thanks!

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

*** Update 3 January 12 ***

It's hard to fathom that I was out in shirt sleeves at lunch and now I'm drafting a notice of winter weather impact on a brevet.  Such is the nature of winter brevet scheduling.
The Beyond Hope to Hopewell brevet scheduled for tomorrow, January 13, is POSTPONED AGAIN.  It appears as though the advancing cold front will bring a significant period of sleet and freezing rain early in the day with plummeting temperatures after that.  Rider safety is paramount and there's no way to assure that in such conditions.  We are investigating a postponement at the moment. Should that prove to be too difficult, the event will not be rescheduled.  Riders chasing the elusive PA R-12 can talk to me about options for a January completion to keep a streak alive.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

*** Update 2 January 7 ***
The Beyond Hope to Hopewell brevet has been rescheduled to Saturday, January 13, 2018.  All other aspects remain the same.  The on-line registration form should be working; you can email your request to register me if you have problems.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

*** Update 1 January 4 ***

The Beyond Hope to Hopewell brevet has been POSTPONED due to weather conditions that have made travel on roadways dangerous.  A reschedule date will be announced soon.

*** Original Post ***
Welcome to the 2018 PA Randonneurs R12 series.  It seems not so long ago that we were struggling against the weather to get our 2017 R12 series kicked off and here we are again.   We will reprise the Beyond Hope to Hopewell 200k, a route that usually benefits from excellent winter maintenance.  Fingers are crossed.  Organizer Bill Olsen will greet riders at the Bridge Street Bagel & Deli in Milford, NJ.  Parking is in the US HealthCare lot across Church St. from the Milford Market.  Ride details have been posted on the website.  Registration is open and will remain so through Thursday, January 4.

The route map link is here:
As always, riders are cautioned that the official route remains the cue sheet.  Navigation by GPS is at your own risk.

This year's kickoff promises to be memorable with forecast single-digit temperatures.  Riders will want to make sure that their winter riding gear is fully sorted before clipping in.  You'll know whether you make the proper selections relatively quickly.  The key word for the day is layers, and lots of them.

Riders are also reminded that lights and reflective gear are mandatory in view of the limited daylight hours and frequent overcast skies.

As in years past, PA Randonneur members will ride for free.  It you haven't renewed your membership for 2018, you can simply renew it at registration and enjoy the benefits for the rest of the year.  For those of you who have already renewed check-in will be quick.

Gear up, register, and get your 2018 randonneuring season started.

Andrew Mead
-Eastern PA RBA

Registered Riders (as of 1/18/2018)

1 Michael Anderson
2 Jimmy Aspras
3 Marc Bernardo
4 Gavin Biebuyck
5 Sean P Connelly
6 Timothy T.  Creyts
7 Matthew Farrell
8 J Scott Franzen
9 Jeff Lippincott
10 Rudolf Mayr
11 Cameron O'Mara
12 William Olsen - organizer
13 Michael D Povman
14 George Michael Retseck
15 Darin Stine

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Cold Weather Riding Challenges: It's Not Just Clothing

Winter 2018 is looking to redefine epic weather for our January brevet.  Ironically the next issue of American Randonneur will include an article on clothing for winter riding which is likely to be a little late for near-term challenges.  Hint:  LAYERS and lots of them.

The challenges of cold weather brevets are not limited to clothing.  Bill Beck of DC Randonneurs recently offered his experiences on a New Year's Day permanent.  I've reproduced the essence of his findings below, with permission.

Yesterday, Emily Ranson, Jack Nicholson, and I set off on a New Years adventure on the Woodbine-Dillsburg permanent. Indicated temperatures at the start ranged from -0.3F on Emily's Garmin to +1F on my Wahoo Bolt. Temperatures warmed to around 19F at one point, and then dropped back to the single digits after it got dark. Here were some observations and lessons learned.

1) The "Extreme" Bar Mitts worked. I used light wool gloves inside the Bar Mitts, and my hands were pretty comfortable. With the standard Bar Mitts, my hands get cold below 20 degrees. I think Emily's hands were cold yesterday in the standard Bar Mitts.

2) Standard plastic "insulated" bottles were no match for the cold. Jack's Gatorade froze solid. Emily added salt to her water bottles, and there was some liquid remaining, but it was inaccessible since the top had frozen. Two things that worked: My Camelbak was underneath two out layers of clothing and remained liquid. Unzipping the two layers and pulling out the hose allows drinking while riding. Before pushing the hose back inside the clothing, it's worthwhile to close the lever at the bite valve to prevent leakage. (I know from bad experience.) Two stainless steel, vacuum thermos water bottles were also fully liquid at the end of the ride. The Ibera models are really nice since the valve is recessed into the bottle where it's protected from freezing, but sadly it doesn't seem that they make them anymore.

3) Much of our electronics was not happy in the cold! I brought along my new Gear 360 camera and wanted to try it riding along Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg. Would have been pretty cool, right? But it turned on for about 5 seconds, went off, and would not revive. Both Jack and my phones were dead by the end of the ride. When I tried to connect my USB charger to the phone, the phone said it was too cold to charge! Please try again when it's warmer. (Emily's phone was still working, as of 100 miles into the ride.) The battery in my Wahoo Bolt ran down much faster than normal. Connecting a USB power pack had no effect, so the Bolt ended up running out of battery and turning off around 10 miles from the finish. Once things were warmed up at home, the Bolt charged and ran fine off of the USB power pack, so the no-charging problem was definitely cold-related. (Jack's Bolt performed much better. When my Bolt was down to 10%, his still had over 40% left.) So you think that you are protected by having a USB power pack, but it was no protection for either my phone or my Wahoo Bolt.

While I've not tried Bar Mitts, I can speak to the second and third points.  A CamelBak under my jacket has made quite a few cold weather rides possible.  It allows me to stay hydrated AND I get to enjoy relatively warm fluid which helps to maintain a comfortable core temperature.  Most convenience stores have a hot water available.

It's not just GPS and phone batteries that suffer in the cold.  Most important is your headlight if you rely on battery-powered lighting.  My own headlight battery, normally good for 6 hours, gave me the 30-minute reserve warning about 45 minutes into my New Year's Day adventure. As you'll likely need your light at the end of the ride, you might consider carrying the battery in your pocket for an hour or so before dark to warm it for use.

As you prepare for this weekend's brevet, plan ahead.  You and your gear will be tested. A solid plan will get you through to the finish.

Andrew Mead
-Eastern PA RBA