Tuesday, November 17, 2020

December R12 Brevet: Little Britain Redeux

*** Dec. 2 Update ***

Though I'm not usually one to put much faith into weather forecasts, forecast conditions for Saturday continue to deteriorate.  The NWS as of Wednesday afternoon calls for lots of rain (3/4 - 1-inch) and temperatures in the low to mid-40s.  The weather combined with the Little Britain route itself will make for a challenging day in the saddle.  Please be sure your bike is in tip-top shape and your rain gear will keep you as comfy as you need to be to ride.  

*** Original Post ***

Initial plans to introduce newer riders to one of the original Lancaster County brevet routes were scrapped when the new infection rate for COVID-19 took a sharp turn upward following Halloween and Election Day.  The Loop Around Lancaster route was always a crowd favorite, but its large loop architecture is not conducive to fully self-supported events.  Instead the December brevet will use the Little Britain route with its Figure-8 layout that allows riders to visit their vehicles at the midway point.  Instead of the usual northern loop first running, we will ride the southern loop first.  This should provide an opportunity for riders to see the views they were missing in that final stretch from lower Conowingo Rd, often ridden after sunset.  

You will return to the shopping center where the start-finish control and your vehicle is located around mile 71.  You can replenish supplies from a stash in your vehicle or you can take advantage of the food options at the center.  That's up to you.  The control itself will be an information control which does not require entry into any establishment to answer.  The northern control is at a Turkey Hill C-store.  It is an info control, but you can replenish supplies if needed.  Its a short jaunt back to the finish without major climbs (I didn't say flat).

As of mid-November I am still planning to use a group start procedure. This could change based on changes in recommended pandemic protocols or if the field grows appreciably over 10 riders.  I will make an announcement before the event if the free start protocol will be used.  If free start is used, I do NOT anticipate starting anyone prior to 7:00 am.  If you want to refresh yourself on the free start protocol, see Chris' Free Bridge post.  The only change is that there is no bridge separating parking from my start location.  I'll be operating from the back of my van as usual.  Walk up when you're ready to roll, drop off your signed waiver, receive your card and smile for the camera.  There will also be a container of energy bars and bottled water should you wish to grab something for later. 

You can review a summary of our pandemic protocols in the Riding in a Pandemic blog post.  

In addition to the logistical protocol recommendations for brevets, please respect the CDC recommendations for quarantine and isolation in this pandemic.  If you are experiencing symptoms (people I know who've been infected all comment about losing sense of smell and taste), if you have been in close contact with someone who is infected (you'll likely know this though a contact tracing phone call), or if you are confirmed infected and it has been less than 10 days from the onset of symptoms (or whatever the specific isolation guidance you were provided requires), please stay home, relax, and plan for the next brevet.  Your randonneuring friends and I will thank you.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA

Monday, November 9, 2020

Hawk Mountain Ride Report

What a difference a week makes.  The weather for Saturday's Hawk Mountain brevet was just about perfect regardless of the season.  Considering this is November, I don't see how it could have been any better.  Clear skies, moderate temperatures, and low winds, what could be better? Fifteen riders clipped in on Saturday and fifteen returned within the allotted time for a 100% completion rate.  Results have been posted on the website and will be submitted to RUSA later this week.  Please let me know if these results don't align with your recollection.

The field consisted of many seasoned randonneurs, some of whom are veterans of the route, and two rookies.  Congratulations go to newly minted PA randonneurs Karl Chen and Christian Mailloux for their accomplishment.  Hawk Mountain is typically Pennsylvania Randonneurs challenging.  It may not have Fox Gap, but near-constant terrain undulation connecting two significant climbs means its no cakewalk.  First finishers Chris Bella and Chris Maglieri blazed around the route just 5 minutes slower that the official course record.  Given the minor variations occurring in the route over the years, 5 minutes is not much difference.  All other finisher arrived well within the time limit with smiling faces and weary legs.  It's really hard not to be happy with 70s and sunshine for a bike ride in November.

Says Joe Ray:

Thanks to you and the crew for such a fine, challenging day yesterday.  This was my first time on this route, and I was ready for it to be over around Lickdale control, but having met up with Rudi a bit earlier we managed to get it done and enjoy some more scenery including a terrific sunset.

Hawk Mountain ahead!
Photo by Joe Ray

Iwan Barankay had these comments:

Thank you for a classic and historic brevet. Classic as it started and finished from the back of a sedan. It was my first time riding this brevet and that climb was loooong. Historic for all of our phones buzzing and ringing at about noon which is why I posted my ride as the Biden Harris 200k. Even for a non-partisan club, it was hard to escape the wide variation in mood between the riders on the road and the customers at the Turkey Hills along the route. It seems like global warming will extend the riding seasons further and further and I look forward to a balmy December ride.

Chris Nadovich writes:

I believe I've ridden this course 5 times, and although there have been more memorable laps (like that time I chain-ringed a Guinea Foul) no lap around this course has been more pleasant.  The views of the pastoral Autumn countryside were amazing. 

Of interest is that Iwan and Nick Manta decided to ride to the start of the brevet and logged 75 miles before they set out on the brevet.  Chapeau to you both.

Finally, thanks to my willing volunteers George Metzler and Steve Kraybill for staffing the finish control. I could not have done this without them.

We can all hope that the pandemic will be but a memory the next time we use this route so we can gather at the St. Boniface brewery for time of refreshment and the stories of epic adventure.

Next up is another perennial favorite, The Loop Around Lancaster on December 5.  Details are up on the website and registration is open.  I would recommend waiting before downloading the route or cuesheet.  I am investing another variation in the route which I hope to confirm next weekend.  I also plan to conduct a quality assurance visit of the recently reopened Pancake Farm on my course checkout ride.  Check this board and the website for updated details.

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA