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