Saturday, January 25, 2020

Feb R12 -- Beyond Hope to Hopewell

The PA Randonneurs 2020 R12 series continues on 1 February with the Beyond Hope to Hopewell 200k, a route that usually benefits from excellent winter maintenance. Fingers are crossed. Some of you may recall the 2017 edition of this event where a surprise snow squall had riders stranded along the course and Guy Harris rescuing them with his 4WD truck.

We are hopeful for a better outcome this time. The ride begins at  Bridge Street Bagel & Deli in Milford, NJ.  Arrive early enough to eat one of their delicious breakfast sandwiches. Parking is down the street in the US HealthCare lot across Church St. from the Milford Market.  Online registration is open and will remain so through midnight Thursday, January 30.

Riders are also reminded that lights and reflective gear are mandatory in view of the limited daylight hours and frequent overcast skies. See the reflectivity guide for best practices.

A pre-ride of the course was conducted on 23 January by Chris Nadovich and Bill Olsen. Chris writes:

The course is in decent shape, at least it was this past Thursday. The shoulders were mostly clear, but the usual winter hazards are still present. Look out for potholes, rocks, tree branches, and occasional ice patches on the shoulder, especially approaching Hope, and double especially on 29 from Stockton to Milford at the end of the ride -- a segment many will ride in the dark.

The controle in Hope has two port-a-potty style restrooms. Riders might be reluctant to use them, but Bill inspected one of them (not sure which) and passes on his assurance that it was five-stars.

Besides the official controles, there are numerous mini-marts along the course. These can provide a solution for cold extremities or frozen water bottles in the form of hand-warmers and 24 oz cups of hot water, not to mention a brief respite in a warm indoors.

Personally, I thought there were still some potholes on the descent after Sourland mountain, but in Bill's opinion I don't: "fully appreciate the improvements to the road into Hopewell. The ruts and broken pavement on the downhill were a real hazard. Compared with what it was, the surface is now ‘glass smooth.’" Fine. Please look out for any 'broken glass' when approaching Hopewell, OK?

The Brick Market in Hopewell is a congenial place. It offers an amazing variety of delicious food. I enjoyed an amazing bowl of prosciutto soup. Be aware, however, that they have several "Order Here" counters that offer different things. To minimize lost controle time, plan your purchase strategy carefully.

The climb out of Hopewell is relatively narrow and trafficy. I'd recommend putting on reflective gear at Brick Market before tackling the grade out of town. 
Speaking of gear, riders will want to make sure that their winter riding gear is fully sorted before clipping in. Past experience suggests that riders need to be ready for anything. The key word for the day is layers, and lots of them. A water/snow resistant shell should be among them. Riders should also have good solutions for protecting face, hands, and feet.

Chris Nadovich
Brevet Organizer

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Little Britain Ride Report

Preliminary results for the January R12 Little Britain brevet are posted on the website.  Please review the results and let me know if they match your recollection.  The results will become final in a week when they are submitted to RUSA.

Riders at the Start.  Photo by Joe Ray's camera.
Saturday proved once again that the weather prognosticators are just guessing.  Forecasts ranging from a day of steady rain, scattered showers, cold temperatures, moderate temperatures reduced gear selection to a crap shoot for most.  Thankfully, the Little Britain route's mid-point return to the start allowed for adjustments.  Eleven riders started out in foggy conditions with temperatures in the upper 40s.  Ten riders completed the route for a 91% completion rate.  Bill Russel hauled his velomobile down from Massachusetts to have a go at a course record, but had to abandon his attempt about 19 miles in when he broke his steering mechanism.  The failure thankfully occurred as he was slowing for a stop sign and not during his earlier 45mph blast through Middle Creek.  The remaining riders pushed on through foggy conditions that persisted into the early afternoon.  Roads remained damp all day, but the rain held off.  Only the later finishing riders had to deal with a few sprinkles after dark.  With the velomobile out of contention, Chris Maglieri blazed around to lay claim to first finisher honors.  With this completion Greg Keenan notched his 70th consecutive month with a brevet finish, but more significantly completed his first PA R-12.  Congratulations Greg!  All riders enjoyed a bit of food and beverage at the Highland Pizzeria finish to wrap up a good day.

Next up is the Beyond Hope to Hopewell brevet on February 1 starting in Milford, NJ.  Registration details are on the posted.  Registration remains open through January 30.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Thursday, January 2, 2020

2020 PA R-12 Series Kickoff: The Little Britain 200

Pennsylvania Randonneurs kicks off its popular R-12 brevet series on Saturday, January 4 with the Little Britain 200k.  This Figure-8 route starts in Lancaster, travels north into Berks county, returns to the start, and then explores the southern end of Lancaster County before finishing at the start.  The start-finish offers several small restaurants, a Turkey Hill convenience store, and the Highland Pizza Shop which will serve as our finish control. 

A few versions of this route exist.  We will be using the "winter" configuration that was used last February which avoids the sometimes slippery assault on Hill Rd near Wommelsdorf and the no winter maintenance gravel Lakeside Drive near Octoraro Lake.

Event details and registration are available on the PA Randonneurs website.   Please park on the north side of the parking lot next to the Landis Valley Road entrance away from the store fronts so we don't inconvenience the businesses or patrons.

The January R-12 event is free to members of PA Randonneurs as a way to promote club membership.  New in 2020 is a requirement from RUSA that all brevet participants be current RUSA members.  So dig out your winter togs and get your 2020 randonneuring season off to a strong start.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA