Monday, November 4, 2019

PAR Rusty Rail 200 Ride Report

Nineteen riders clipped-in to brave the challenge that is the Rusty Rail 200.  The autumn day dawned crisp and clear, a hard frost whitening farmers' fields and pastures as randonneurs charged across the valley floor to the foot of Jacks Mountain, the first of four epic ascents.  Yet, in spite of the low temperatures and the strenuousness of the route, all participants who embraced the task prevailed, completing the course within the allotted time.

The Rusty Rail Brewing Company proved to be the ideal reward for our victors where tales and legends were shared, where spirits were consumed and spirits restored, and where woes of the day were soon forgotten.

Kudos to first finishers Tim Creyts and Chris Maglieri who made the route look easy, rolling into the finish in only eight hours and ten minutes.  Additional recognition is due Chris for achieving his 2019 K-Hound distance on this ride.

Chapeau to Mark Caplan for completing his first brevet with an astonishing time of nine hours and thirty-five minutes.  And thanks to Iwan Barankay for introducing Mark to the insanity that is PA randonneuring.
Iwan writes:

Thank you for an outstanding route. I was so happy to have made the long trip out there plus give Mark a proper introduction to the world of randonneuring with his first brevet.

The first hours were stunning but my toes felt positively Siberian. (I ordered new overshoes but they did not arrive in time. Grrr/Brrr).
The route was so beautiful that I did not take pictures as they could not have done the colors justice.

Chris Nadovich writes...

Central PA is a decidedly different cycling experience than the Pocono
plateau and Delaware gorge region we normally ride. Well worth the
trip. In Central PA, it seems the big climbs are combined with long,
easy spins through flat valleys and sojourns alongside meandering
creeks. There are tailwinds, sunshine, and beautiful foliage.  The
four giant climbs in Rusty Rail were seriously painful undertakings
(they seemed equivalent in difficulty to Fox Gap or Millbrook), yet
there was so much beautiful, easy riding in-between that I felt almost
completely recovered (and thawed out from the screaming descent)
before my battle began with the next climb.

Speaking of those painful climbs, in my agony while struggling up some
of those relentless grades I might have called one or both of the
organizers a foul name or two. Out loud. Really loud. I hope they
forgive me because I very much enjoyed their event. What a beautiful
course! Let's ride out there again. Thank you Eric and Steve.

And now...this:

Iwan warming his toes
Bill Fisher spins up Jacks
Greg remembered to wear his shoe covers
Matt fighting cramps
Gary rolling along
Paul has got this!
Tim is first over Ulsh Gap
Chris is next in spite of pausing for cattle photos
Gavin being Gavin
Jeff leads the chase group over the climb
A great day for Joe Ray
George Retseck represents with a classic ride and club colors
Bill Knowles-Kellett cresting Ulsh Gap

First Finisher Chris earns his K-Hound!
First Finisher Tim celebrates
Newly-minted randonneur Mark and bad influence Iwan in with a time of 9:35!
Bill Fisher!
Gavin still smiling in spite of a missing chainring
Joe Ray throws down an awesome ride!
Greg after crushing the course into submission
Nick is in!
Gavin, Gary, and Matt in resuscitation mode
Jeff and Greg: still friends after the hate-drop incident
De'Anna & Rudi triumphant

George and Paul: still smiling after all those miles!
Chris survives!

Let's do this again next year!

-Steve Schoenfelder

A tremendous thank you to first-time organizer Steve Schoenfelder who enthusiastically responded to my request for new event organizers even though he had no idea what all that might entail and to Eric Keller who greeted weary riders with a friendly face and encouraged them the rest of the way home.  Next up we return to the Delaware River with the Beyond Hope to New Hope brevet starting in Blairstown, NJ on December 7.  This out and back route has the distinction of being one of the flatter routes in the PA Rando catalog which should be a welcome relief after the challenges of the central Pennsylvania mountains.  Event details and registration are available on the website.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA


  1. I love a good ol' fashioned hate-drop!

  2. I'm just discovering this sporting endeavor. Ironically, its because I encountered a bunch of you in my back yard on New Lancaster Valley Road. I look forward to trying this next year.