Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The ACP SR Series Begins: Pagoda 200k

PA Randonneurs moves in to the ACP sanctioned events beginning in March with the Pagoda 200k Brevet scheduled for March 16.  Event details are posted on the PA Randonneurs website.  This brevet will be staged from the Holiday Inn Express/Cask Restaurant near the 25th St exit off of Route 22 in Easton that was used for last year's Fall Classic events, but the route is all new.  Chris Nadovich will be handing the organizer responsibilities.  As with all PA Randonneurs brevets, pre-registration is required.  Registration will remain open until March 14.

The route has been slightly refined since it was originally posted, so be sure to check back if you downloaded a map and cue sheet prior to February 18.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Ride Report: Little Britain 200k

Preliminary results for the February PA R12 brevet have been posted on the PA Rando website.  Please review the results and let me know if something doesn't agree with your recollections.  The results will be submitted to RUSA for certification later in the week and become final at that time.

The roller coaster weather continues.  A week ago saw a postponement resulting from a 3-inch "dusting" of snow and single digit temperatures.  By Friday temperatures were back into the 50s, but didn't stay there long.  It was a brisk 20 degrees when 17 riders clipped in to start the Little Britain brevet.  Fifteen riders finished which is not bad under the circumstances.  Unlike the last running of this route which also saw temperatures around 20 degrees with little wind, riders this time faced a stiff wind out of the northwest for most of the day making the first leg up to the Wommelsdorf control a real struggle.  The winds generally helped everyone for the next 50 miles, but at a cost of once again facing the winds for the final push home from Little Britain.  Combined with temperatures that never rose much above freezing all day made for challenging conditions.

The field had quite the international mix in addition to well-known regulars.  Ultra racers Anton Lindberg (Sweden) and Amy Lippe, both veterans of the Trans America Bike Race (4200 miles across the US) and the Transcontinental (4000 kilometers across Europe), were looking for some early season training miles and decided to join us.  They write:
Thank you for making us feel very welcomed! We really enjoyed the ride. Great ride, great people and a perfect place to finish with beers and pizza! Everyone was super welcoming, and we hope to join you guys again in March! 

Also of interest was Iwan Barankay (Germany) who, prior to this event had only posted a RUSA finish on a 600k.  I didn't get a chance to ask Iwan how this 200 compared.   Iwan had this to say:
Just wanted to drop a line to thank you for putting together an stunningly scenic route yesterday.
I was glad that I installed the arm rests (not the bars) from my tri-bars as that way I could stay low and out of the wind by leaning on my bars. Nevertheless the wind really drained me. I was first at the first control but then struggled with cramps despite copious hydration and nutrition. So I had to ease off the pace and things went better. I was “stuck” between the first rider and the next group so I was quite proud of myself of having completed the entire ride without being able to hide behind someone’s wheel.  I was happy to finish second just after sunset.
This being but my second brevet I noticed that previewing the route and the details of each control could have helped. I got confused about what to do at the first control (I thought it would be staffed) and wasted time figuring that out (Chris helped me). Then I got lost on my way out from control one. Oh well, lesson learned. In terms of equipment I was so happy I bought Barmitts (inaugural ride!), brought my ski goggles, and wore my snow boots. I never really felt cold but I think the chill really froze my thighs especially on the way up to the first control.
The sandwich bar at the Little Britain store really hit the spot. My tuna sandwich thoroughly re-lubricated all my joints from the inside.  
I can’t wait to come out again for the next ride in March.

The conditions didn't seem to phase first finisher Tim Creyts all that much as he blazed around the route at an only slightly slower than normal pace (for him).  Tim writes:

Thanks to you and all the volunteers for making yesterday's brevet a success.  
The wind was a friend and a foe.  The tailwind in the middle seemed largely unnoticed except in the gain in speed relative to effort. I think the wind caused more mental stress than physical. I think we were all pedaling but felt like we were not moving fast enough. The covered bridges were a nice touch.  I'm glad they weren't listed on the cue, as they were a welcome surprise.  A couple highlights included the long, long line of cars parking for Witmer Fire Co ox roast near the at the Mt. Sidney--Stumptown intersection.  There was also a large group (more than 20) turkey vultures early in the last segment.  A few were soaring, but mainly they were on a fence staying warm.  Then, there was the Red Caboose Motel, which I had never ridden near --- so weird but friendly. 
Thanks for a great ride.

The organizer had forgotten about the Witmer Fire Company Ox Roast (over 3,000 served yesterday) and might have thought to detour that intersection if he had.  As it was, riders could get around the long lines of stopped cars waiting to park.   

Thanks Patrick & Cecilie Gaffney for completing the final course checkout a couple weeks earlier and to Steve Kraybill for staffing the finish control for ~4 hours while the organizer crawled around the course.  Steve filled in for Patrick who couldn't make it out for the rescheduled event.  Teamwork!

With winter somewhat behind us (hopefully), we move into the ACP events.  Next up is the first of the SR Series events on a totally new route:  the Pagoda 200 on March 16.  Event details and registration information for the Pagoda 200 as well as the other SR Series events is active on the web site. 

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Friday, February 1, 2019

February R12: Little Britain 200

*** February 1 Update ***
The Little Britain Brevet is postponed until February 9 due to unsafe road conditions on the route.  Registered riders have been automatically transferred to the new date.  Contact the RBA if you cannot make the new date.  If you were not registered for tomorrow's brevet, you now have until Thursday, Feb 7 to register.

*** January 30 Update ***
Winter weather is nothing new on our January and February brevets.  Each year at least one of these brevets causes a few headaches for the RBA.  I am monitoring weather and road conditions on the Little Britain brevet route and will make a final decision on whether to hold the brevet on Saturday as scheduled no later than noon on Friday, February 1.  An announcement will be posted on this message board regardless of the call.

*** January 28 Update ***
A pre-ride and course checkout ride was completed this past weekend.  Minor edits to the cue sheet have been incorporated and the updated cue sheet posted on the website.  Thanks to Pat & Cecilie Gaffney for a wheels-on-the-ground check and to Bill Fischer for his eagle-eyed check from afar.  Make sure you have the revision dated 190128.

Forecasters promise the coldest temperatures so far this winter in the coming week.  The weekend should moderate a bit, but it will still be quite cold.  Live by the rando creed:  there is no bad weather, only bad gear.

The brevet starts at 7:30 am on Saturday.  Registration remains open through this Thursday.

*** Original Post ***
Event details for the Little Britain 200k to be held on February 2, 2019 are available on the PA Randonneurs website.  In case you haven't visited the website in a while, you can (and should) register on the website.  You can even pay on-line now.

For those that have already registered or checked out the route and/or cue sheet, please return and look at the UPDATED route and cue.  In light of the long-range forecasts indicating winter may have finally arrived and the tendency for this particular route to harbor icy patches on certain roads long after the skies have cleared, I've adjusted the route a bit to bypass the worst.  This re-route along with a required adjustment to bypass a long-term bridge construction project should result in a noticeably easier route. Riders should thank Matt Farrell for reminding me that this route has many options.  Be sure you are looking at the Rev. 1A cue sheet with a 190116 date code.

I look forward to seeing a good crowd for what has historically been a fun ride.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA