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

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