**** Update 1
Course updates based on the 24 March Pre-Ride scouting have been incorporated into the Cue Sheet and RWGPS route. Be sure you are using R1 of the route, available from the event info page. There have been some important changes.
Mile 73.8 -- It's now near certain the 402 Cafe will be closed.This has been converted to an information controle. There is no food for about 45 miles after the Winona Turkey Hill. Plan accordingly.
Mile 113 -- Soon after the Hawks Nest, the route through Port Jervis has been significantly altered. Long time PA Rando riders should turn off their auto-pilot and pay attention to the cues or GPS. The route leaves 42/97 onto Sleepy Hollow Rd before town and follows the edge of the river to the Matamoras bridge. After the controle, the route continues along the river using Railroad Ave, which becomes a gravel road, suitable for most tires.
NOTE: The route contains several miles of rail trail. Since this is
encountered early in the ride, riders still will be concentrated in one
tight group. Be aware that the trail can be narrow at times, especially
at road crossings through chicanes and bollards. Please spread out and
ride single file through the tight spots.
**** Original Post
On Wednesday, 20 March, I (Chris N) conducted a pre-ride of the Hawk's Nest 300K course. As a result of information gathered on this ride, there are some course changes that are being tested on a second pre-ride 24 March by the Patrick and Cecilie G. Expect a revised cue sheet and RWGPS to be published soon. Watch this space for updates.
PreRide Course notes:
Who knew there was so much new-growth PA State Forest land? Although I saw some immanent budding down near Easton, there was no bud swell visible in the Poconos -- the trees up there don't yet know it's Spring. I saw a lot of snow still in the glens, ice on the cliffs, and some lakes still part frozen over. Maybe by event date this will be gone.
Mile 8 -- Returning to the rail trail, it may be difficult to spot the entrance. As the cue says, it's just past the electrical substation, which is lit up. The paved parking lot at the trail entrance is not lit. There are several trail like paths here. The real trail is the middle one: a paved path that doesn't have a private drive or do not enter sign.
Mile 27.1 -- National Park Drive. This is a gravel road. There is some steep, windy descending on it. Please control your speed. If you aren't familiar with descending gravel roads, the way I do it is primarily with rear brake only applied against gentle pedaling (gotta keep the wheels spinning, especially the front one). Only about half the descent is gravel. The second half is paved, so you and your guardian angel might consider going a little faster on the solid ground. Or not. Be aware the descent ends in a T-stop with PA611.
Mile 44.7 -- The Winona Falls Turkey Hill Controle is almost the last store you'll see for the next 50 miles. There are a few general stores open near Bushkill Falls, but then nothing, I mean nothing for the next 50 miles other than (maybe) the 402 Cafe.
Mile 73.8 -- It's unclear if the 402 Cafe will be open. I hope you stocked up at the Winona Falls Turkey Hill.
Mile 116.4 -- The routing through Port Jervis / Matamoras is being revised. The new cues will be published after the second pre-ride verifies the new route.
Mile 147.1 -- This is the beginning of the big climb up Millbrook Rd, immediately following the big climb up Old Mine Rd. If you've not climbed Millbrook from this side, it's worse than you've heard. If you have climbed it, it's worse than you remember. Fortunately it's smoothly paved and followed by almost 6 miles of descent.
Mile 155.7 -- Heller Hill Rd. You thought the climbing was done when you summited Millbrook?
Mile 165.9 -- This right turn TRO Upper Sarepta Rd needs, like, a million warning asterisks. It come out of nowhere on a rare bit of downhill. It's abrupt, turns sharply uphill, is covered with gravel, and if you're slow like me, you'll encounter it in the dark. The way you know this turn is coming is the 15MPH warning sign with the squiggly arrow about a quarter mile before.
Mile 184.3 -- Riding Northampton St through the center of Easton isn't that bad, not considering the two moderate hills it crosses. If there's any traffic, it will be calmed by the plethora of traffic lights. The one thing to remember is to stay away from the parked cars. The street is pretty wide. If you hold your line, you should be able to keep away from those scary car doors without causing any traffic too much concern.