Thursday, November 22, 2018

December Event: Back to Our Routes 200K

We dug through our old archives of routes and found an interesting 200K brevet to run on the first of December. It's good old RUSA route #680, a figure-eight course along the Delaware River, starting in Easton, crossing itself in Portand, and reaching as far North as Hainesville and Dingman's Ferry. We haven't run this route for a long time. Dating back to the roots of PA Randonneurs,  originally this course started at Tom's front porch. I considered moving the start to my front porch, 300 feet higher up the Paxinosa Ridge, but decided instead to start it lower at the Wawa on Cattell Street in College Hill.

Along with the usual rolling hills along the Delaware, this route has one very significant climb: a Westbound transit of Kittatinny Mountain.  This is a double-hump climb beginning immediately after the controle in Blairstown, the first hump on Millbrook Rd crossing the AT and the second hump comprising a reversal of the usual Old Mine Road climb.

Just one example of graffiti lampooning the state of Old Mine Road
That means this route descends the Old Mine Road hill. To describe what passes for "pavement" down that hill as "rough" is an extreme understatement. I recommend a descending speed roughly equal to your climbing speed, which is to say, just around walking pace. In fact, even if you can pedal up the steep slope from Millbrook Village, unless you have mountain biking skills and suitable tires, this hill merits dismounting and walking down. Even at the very bottom, where the slope flattens and it seems like the pavement has become smooth, there is a bone-jarring gap at the creek bridge that always catches me by surprise.

Immediately before these major climbs and descents, is the controle in Blarstown at the Gourmet Gallery. This tiny little luncheonette has some seriously delicious food. I'd recommend sampling lightly, though, given the work that follows.

Beyond the Kittatinny transit, is the usual beautiful NPS615 route up to Hainesville. Because of the intermittent service at Flats Deli, the Hainesville controle has been moved to the Hainesville General Store, which (IMHO) is a much nicer venue.

The return down the Ho-Chi-Minh (Rt 209) and then River Rd, Hidden Lake, passing Shawnee, leads back to Delaware Water Gap and the Village Farmer and Bakery. Note that the traffic light at the end of River Rd by the I-80 entrance has been replaced by a traffic circle. The circle is passable by bike, but is under construction. Please obey the signage, and yield to traffic as you ride counter clockwise 3/4 lap.

South from the Gap we follow the usual route through the "little bastard" climbs next to Foul Rift. The route stays along the Delaware (not taking the usual left toward Harmony). After one or two final grunts, it rolls on flat roads into Easton.

Parking at the Start

Please park on the Wawa side of Cattell street, but not too near Wawa itself. Go back one block to Porter street or beyond to find a place for your car. Most of the parking spots are legal, although signage is confusing.

Sign on Porter Street indicating a legal (sic) parking spot.
The finish controle, College Hill Tavern, is only a block away from Wawa. After a long, hard, chilly ride, please come in to warm up and share your tales of epic adventure before heading home.


Chris Nadovich

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