Thursday, August 23, 2018

PA R12 Brevet Series: Hawk Mountain 200k

*** Update 1 ***
A pre-ride course checkout ride was completed on August 26.  The cue sheet has been updated to make some minor corrections on road signage and to incorporate several cautionary warnings.  The current version is Rev. E, Draft 3 dated 8/26/2018.

A few highlights:

~8.0 Reinholds:  There are two RR crossings as you enter Reinholds.  The crossings are perpendicular, but very rough.  Use caution.

14.6  A sewer replacement project had Hill Rd in Wernersville closed.  There is a short detour marked.  You can also walk your bike along the left side of the road and get around the construction.  Given the state of the project you may encounter nothing but fresh pavement patches.

15.6 The RR crossing leaving Wernersville has been given a caution notice.  Not only is the crossing quite rough, trains pass through at least hourly.  This is one where you really should look both ways before crossing.

21.2 It bears repeating that the metal deck bridge just before the turn onto Pallisades can be tricky.  Even when dry the grating grabs at bike tires.  If it is wet, please walk.

29.8 As long as we've used this route there has been loose gravel in a downhill turn on Gin Mill Rd just before the intersection with Grove Rd.  There have been crashes and near-crashes all along. The gravel is especially deep this year.  A caution note has finally been added to the cue.

52.5 The descent from Hawk Mountain has been tarred and chipped.  The good news is that it is one of the nicest T&C jobs I've seen.  The bad news is that loose stones remain, especially in a few of the turns.

~56.0 The final mile or so of Pheasant Run leading to the turn onto Lake Front Dr has been freshly tarred and chipped.  While it may clear somewhat by the brevet, much gravel is likely to remain.  Use a LOT of caution making the turn onto Lake Front.

78.3 There is a Stop Sign intersection at the bottom of the long descent into Pine Grove.  It has been noted on the cue sheet.  You'll want to pay attention as there may be traffic entering that intersection from your left as you arrive.

79.9 After years of being a crappy road, Long Stretch Road has fresh asphalt.  You can let it rip on the descent to Oak Grove Rd.

85.8 - 94.0 Sadly, Swatera State Park remains in rough shape and we're forced to rely on Suedberg Road and Rt 72 to get though the Gap.  There is a generous shoulder in many places, but not all.  Traffic is fast.  Be careful when moving between the shoulder and the lane as there is a milled rumble strip in the fog line.

109.3 Use caution when making this turn.  For reasons unknown, the right-of-way has been given to Prescott-Reistville Rd instead of remaining with Prescott.  Cars approaching from the opposite direction on Reistville may swing wide and into your lane (first-hand knowledge) so you'll want take a wide line through this turn.

Have a safe ride!

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

*** Original Post***
The PA Randonneurs R12 Brevet Series continues in September with the Hawk Mountain 200k on September 8.  Event details are on the website. and registration is open.  New member Rich Lucchese is rapidly embracing randonneuring and will be the Organizer for the event.  He even conducted an advance route check (one advantage of using routes that are approved as both brevets and permanents) so the event announcement could contain an updated and checked cue sheet.

A few notes about this route:

The start/finish venue has changed compared to past runnings of this route that some might remember.  The start is now located at Martin's Country Market on the west side of Ephrata (similar to last February's Loop Around Lancaster brevet).  We will finish at the nearby St. Boniface Brewery.  This is much improved over the K-Mart parking lot we once used.  I took the opportunity of a cue update to address a few other parts of the route.

If you downloaded a cue sheet or copied the GPS track prior to August 23, 2018 you will have a difficult time completing the route.  PennDOT has once again tossed a spanner in the works and decided to replace a bridge near the start.  More significant, though is that the DCNR has closed significant portions of the Swatera State Park.  The seemingly never-ending summer deluge has washed out portions of the Swatera Trail.  A repair schedule remains uncertain, so we will revert to the original (and not as nice) descent along Rts. 443/72 through the Swatera Gap.  Links for the latest cue sheet and GPS are available on the event page.

Hawk Mountain remains a very scenic route, especially on clear days.  If you liked it before, chances are you will still enjoy the adventure.  It also remains a very challenging route.  Most believe the rewards are well worth the effort.  We will be starting just after sunrise so everyone will get to enjoy sunrise vistas in the early miles.

*** Ride Safely *** 

Your safety is the number one priority on an Eastern PA event.  While the risks outlined in the event waiver cannot be completely eliminated, the following will hopefully help keep you as safe as possible.
Your responsibility as the rider includes:
- Showing up in reasonable physical condition for the event
- Bringing a reliable bike in good working order
- Complying with all traffic laws along the course
- Respecting the rights of all other users of the route (including pedestrians)
- Planning for the situation where you can’t finish the ride

Although every effort has been made to provide you with a scenic route that minimizes car traffic and other hazards, the following list highlights some areas to take some extra care:

- Summer weather often means heat and humidity.  The route includes several stretches of unshaded roads that can get very warm in the afternoon sun.  Be mindful of your fluid and electrolyte levels and it might also be a good idea to carry an ice sock with you if you need to cool down.
- With the summer of non-stop rain you should be extra vigilant for debris that has washed onto the road and perhaps even washouts of the road surface.
- One of the most dangerous things you will encounter on the road just might be another cyclist.  Keep a safe following distance when riding with other cyclists you are not familiar with.  Please avoid forming a large bunch at the start of the ride.

- Helmets are mandatory.
- Please note that the bike inspection checklist includes redundant lighting for both the front and rear lights.  The finish cutoff is roughly an hour after sunset.  While many may finish in the daylight, you don't want to risk disqualification by showing up lightless at the finish due to a mechanical-induced delay.
- Bringing along a cell phone is highly recommended.
- Mechanical assistance is not provided.
- SPOT trackers will be handed out to selected riders. If you are given one, they have a feature to call for help if you need it and are out of cell phone range -- if you are unfamiliar with how to use this feature, a volunteer will be happy to explain it to you.  If you have a personal unit not already listed on the PA Randonnerus SPOT Tracking webpage:
Please send me a link to your SPOT webpage.

Food / Hydration
- In general, the route heads you into some desolate areas, with limited opportunities for food and water.
- Plan on replenishing supplies at the controle stops.  The controles are typically at a store or restaurant.

- If you feel like abandoning the ride, it may be an indication that you are not eating and drinking enough.  Take a break, eat something, and it's likely that your outlook will improve.  Before you know it, you'll be making that last turn back to the finish.  And remember the golden rule of "… eat before you're hungry and drink before you're thirsty."
- If you are still riding past the ride time limit or if you intend to abandon the ride, please contact the organizer or the RBA.  Phone numbers are provided on the cue sheet.
- It is your responsibility to make arrangements for alternate transportation.

In case of accident 
Should you become injured, or arrive just after an accident resulting in an injured person (rider, motorist, or passer-by):
- Call 911 for an ambulance, describing where you are and the condition of the injured person(s)
- Contact the RBA along with any other organizers listed on the cuesheet
- Be sure to carry identification along with your emergency contact information in case you are knocked unconscious
- Please mention any safety hazard you might have spotted, or near-miss incident you saw. We value this feedback highly and it will help PA Randonneurs improve the next edition of the event.

Registration remains open until 11:59pm on September 6.  Register now!

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

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