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

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