Monday, May 20, 2019

Philly - Pagoda - Pocono 600K Ride Report

Preliminary results for the fourth and final ride in our ACP Super Randonneur series, the Philly - Pagoda - Pocono 600K brevet, have been posted on the PA Rando website.  Although several riders claimed this event was one of the most difficult PA 600K events ever, I think this may be the toughest bunch of randonneurs ever, as 27 of 28 starters finished under the time limit for a 96% completion rate. Congratulations and well done to all. 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 on and become final at that time.

Sixteen riders completed the full 200/300/400/600 Pennsylvania Super Randonneur series in 2019, seven of them for the first time. The honorees are:
Charles J Arayata (2)
Jimmy Aspras (3)
Iwan Barankay
Gavin Biebuyck (5)
Shawn Bowles
William Fischer (3)
Cecilie Gaffney (4)
Patrick Gaffney (4)
Vadim Gritsus
Greg Keenan (5)
Nicholas Manta
Chris Nadovich (3)
Steven J Schoenfelder
Ryan J Stanis
Gilbert Torres (3)
Nicolaas van Rhede van der Kloot 
Many of these riders are using this early PA SR series completion as a qualifier for Paris-Brest-Paris. There is no doubt that each and every one of these PA Super Randonneurs has what it takes to complete PBP in fine style.

Additional commendations and special accolades go to Jimmy Aspras, who completed the entire PA SR series on a fat bike. Chapeau to Jimmy and his compatriots. When I asked Jimmy whether the fat bike afforded him any advantage on the gravel and dirt sections of the course, he agreed that it did help, but "other times it was just really heavy."

Some riders had trouble with punctures. First finishers Ann and John Jurczynski had six flats on their tandem. By fortunate coincidence they were re-united with their drop bag at the Wind Gap controle and could stock up on tubes. And Joe Ray wins the rim-abuse award, riding a flat tire the last few miles from the Free Bridge to the final controle in an attempt to finish by the cutoff.

Riders take a break at the Wind Gap Controle
Volunteers for the 600K deserve special thanks. With the loss of the Hostel, the organization of this year's PA SR series required entirely new routes and venues. As we were intent on maintaining event quality at the high level established by Tom Rosenbauer in previous years, the daunting reorganizational logistics would not have been possible without the hard work of several volunteers. Pennsylvania Randonneurs owes a debt of gratitude to all those who helped out along the way.

Specifically at this 600K, the volunteer support began early with route auditing/editing/vetting by Gavin Biebuyck, Matt Farrell, and Janice Chernekoff. Pre-rides by Chris Nadovich, Bill Olsen, and Steve Schoenfelder were assisted by volunteer support. Tom Dermody escorted the pre-riders through his home turf near Philly and then all the way to Reading, where he scouted some alternative routes for future events. The pre-riders had staff support at the Rocky statue, including Patrick Gaffney and CJ, who were bearing gifts in the form of iced coffee and brownies -- much appreciated! On event day, Tom and Sue Proulx were staffing the Rocky controle.

The start controle was opened, stocked with groceries, and set up by Matt Farrell with some help by Bill Fischer. Matt's support at the start was critical as the organizer pre-ride was pushed to Thu/Fri, meaning that Matt had to open the start venue all by himself and stand ready to run the event if need be. After setting up the start, when the organizer survived the pre-ride, Matt moved on to staff the Gibraltar controle. An additional good deed for Matt was somehow retrieving a lost document from the women's rest room in Gibraltar and returning the document to it's owner at Fleetwood.

The northern portion of the course, beyond Wind Gap, was staffed by roving purveyor of spring water and bananas, Len Zawodniak. Len clocked 276 miles on the course, supporting and monitoring riders all through the Poconos. I believe that the high completion rate for this difficult event was partly due to Len's volunteering.

The other reason for the high completion rate was the skillful staffing of the overnight controle by Andrew Mead. I heard numerous compliments from finishing riders recounting how Andrew helped them through their struggle to find some replenishment and return to the bike a second day. Andrew also staffed the finish for some hours, and has toiled behind the scenes with me on many different logistical issues, pulling together a totally new SR series in a PBP year.

The finish controle was staffed by Bill Olsen, Eric Keller, Andrew, and myself. Bill assisted with the pre-ride, did a grocery run, and served as the impartial, late finisher arrival umpire -- unbelievably Bill's eyes are so good he can see riders finishing all the way to the Free Bridge.  Myself, Bill, and Greg Keenan did the final clean up and gear packing at the Holiday Inn. 

Yours truly also did a lot of volunteering for the series. No doubt some people will be thanking me in words, in writing, or in beer for my effort. To that, I say: "you're welcome". Thanks enough for me was seeing all the tough bike rider friends who finished a worthy 600K. But to really thank me, to really, really thank me, you (yes, I mean you) should volunteer for a PA Rando event. In fact, we could really use an organizer/start/finish volunteers for the July event (Hawk's Nest).  Contact Andrew or me for more information.
Chris Nadovich, Event Organizer

Joe Ray writes...

What an exhilarating experience - some pretty low lows and some very high highs with a panicked race to the finish. I nearly wiped out a time or two with a completely flat rear tire that would not stay fixed. I thought I would finish with perhaps an hour to spare, but finally ran out of time due to multiple stops gave up on foul rift and on river road to deal with it.

Thanks to Andrew and Chris for everything you do to make this club work and to Bill, Len and the other volunteers.

The first 300k were fantastic - a lot of fun to ride in a pack for so long and to move rather quickly. Those two events on either side of the river in Phila were nice to have - once you got past the zoo that was at the boathouses and their parking areas. I have never used the Schuylkill trail and absolutely loved it - I think my family May come down for some trail and Manayunk/Phoenixville exploring soon.

I had my stomach issues Saturday night but somehow recovered and was feeling great all day Sunday — I think it was the Mac and cheese Sunday morning. Again, thanks for all that support you all provided all weekend long.
Pat and Cece write...
Thanks for all of the hard work you put into the 600 this weekend. It was quite a ride. We really enjoyed the route and the challenges that came with it.

Thanks also to all the volunteers who are out on the course. It’s always nice to see a friendly face at a control and it wouldn’t have been a PA 600 without seeing Len at the base of Old Mine Road. Thanks again see you down the road      
Iwan Barankay writes...
Thank you and all the many volunteers. I only started randonneuring last year and this is my first series and the experience will stay with me!

I had a bad mechanical pulling my rear wheel out of the drop outs at a most inopportune time (4:51am of day one) with most of the bunch right behind me causing a pile up and some cuts (Amy) and blue nails (Bill). Anton (the Swedish angel) stayed to help me fix my bike and then we raced to catch up.

The overnight was like a Haven with a kind host. Then came the heat and I was ready to quit but the Pat/Cecilie Tandem helped me get to the finish.
 Paul Weaver may have said it best...
In my Marine Corps Service in Iraq and Afghanistan, I never did anything more difficult than this 600K. 

With the SR series complete, we return to the less punishing R-12 events and our Beeraneuring theme. The June event is A Victory to Remember, starting and finishing at the Victory Brewery in Parkesburg. We hope to see you there.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Chris, Andrew, and all the volunteers! Great route, we were glad to be a part of it!