Saturday, December 26, 2020

The NEW Hope to New Hope 200K

Ever hopeful for a better new year, we are indeed running a New Hope 2 New Hope 200K brevet on 2 January 2021 starting from a new location: The Pohatcong Shopping Plaza in Phillipsburg, NJ. Start time is at 7AM. All the information, and an online registration link, are on the event web page.  You will find a link to the RWGPS data for the route (last modified 2020-12-27 09:55:30 EST) and links to cue sheets (version 6 is the latest).

Park away from active stores down by the Movie Theater. There are numerous drive-in joints, gas stations, and even a Wawa in this plaza if you need anything, but the idea is that you will show up self-sufficient and have some personal supplies stashed in your car. The course is a figure 8 and you will return to your car at Pohatcong after each loop.

Many services can be found near the Start/Finish

The turnaround control for the Northern loop is the Dunkin Donuts at the I-80 interchange just beyond Hope, but riders seeking a quick cup of coffee at a lower traffic location might better choose the US Gas convenience store passed twice just a mile South of the turnaround, as the DD can sometimes be very crowded. 

The Southern loop passes twice through all the Delaware River towns providing many options for service. If seeing the water flowing in the river, and all that coffee you drank, is making you seek a rest room, consider stopping at Bull Island Rec Area (mi 78.7 and 94.2). There are rest rooms located on the right side of the main office building. In the winter, these rest rooms are relatively low traffic.

All riders must be a paid-up member of RUSA at the time of the event, so be sure to renew your RUSA membership for 2021 before you register. If your membership expires in 2020 the system will refuse you. You can join or renew RUSA membership here. PA Rando membership is not required for riding this event, but to promote PA membership this new-year event is traditionally FREE for PA Rando Members. If you were a PA member in 2020, you were automatically renewed for 2021 and this event will be automatically free for you.

Under pandemic rules, all intermediate controls are info controls. It is not required to enter any business to complete this 200K, although there are several stores available along the route if you choose this option. Masks are generally required at the start/finish and to enter businesses if you choose to do this.

The start and finish extend during night hours. The organizer will strictly enforce the rules regarding lighting and reflective gear.

There was a pre-ride of this event on 23 December. On that day, the roads in question seemed in great shape. Famous last words. Always be aware of the possibility of black-ice when the temperatures are near or below freezing. It's also common to find debris on winter roads, so be on the lookout for rocks, unexpected potholes, and ice clumps. 

You will pass by your car after each loop.

The figure 8 shape of the course has a common exit on Greenwich St from the Pohatcong Shopping Center start/mid-control. Soon after the start, when you reach the flashing light in Stewartsville you will turn LEFT for the first (northern) loop. Then when you ride out Greenwich St the second time to the flashing light in Stewartsville, you will turn RIGHT for the final (southern) loop. This repeated segment is sure to confuse your GPS device, so please use your human brain and Cue Sheet Posititioning System to navigate out of the start of both loops and make sure you do the North loop first. If you want to ride the loops in reverse order, come back for the event next month when we'll do South loop first.

Bonne route!

Chris Nadovich

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Ride Report: Little Britain Redeux

 The December R12 brevet continued a long-standing tradition of "epic" rides that cap off our cycling season.  Seven hearty riders clipped in.  Six completed the route for an 86% finish rate.  Results are posted on the website.  Please review your results to confirm they match your recollection.  I will submit results to RUSA later this week to finalize them.

While it looked like the day would be a washout, the forecast began to improve on Friday and by Saturday morning the rain was subsiding.  Our timing was near perfect.  Indeed as riders zoomed down Bell Rd the line of rain was clearly visible just east of the route--maybe as close as a half-mile to the east.  It was obvious that it had been raining on the route mere moments before.  In spite of several recurring bits of darkening skies, the rain stayed away for the day.  The price for staying dry, however, was a strong and persistent wind from the north which forced everyone to dig deep, fight their inner demons, and keep turning those pedals over no matter how slowly.  The winds made the ride from the southern tip at Little Britain to the northern tip in Wommelsdorf (nearly 70 miles) seem like an entire brevet in itself.  More than one person remarked that abandoning at the mid-way control was considered.  

First finishers Gavin Biebuyck and Bill Fischer had this to say:

Brutal winds!  Bill and I almost called it quits when we got back to the start but had some let-up and shelter up past Middle Creek.  Still a very tough day but I liked doing the southern loop first. Let me know if you want gps EPP but mine will be identical to Bill's. We were so impressed George and Christian were riding solo in those winds.  Christian caught up with us early but he wanted to ride alone a few hundred feet back I think probably COVID cautious - but poor guy in those winds cause' we would have loved to draft George!  Anyway hope you had some shelter riding with/behind someone!

No promises, but I am seriously considering offering the option of electronic proof of passage (EPP) as part of our pandemic procedures for future brevets.  It certainly simplifies finish protocol.

George Metzler writes:

Thank you for organizing the brevet.  I had a great ride.  Temperatures really dropped towards the end.  However I stayed comfortable the entire day.  I saw Bill and Gavin leaving headed back in as I was several miles from the Wommelsdorf turn around.  

George pulled off the catch-up of the day.  He left the Little Britain control with the last group on the road and pulled to within 40 minutes of the leaders mostly on a solo charge into the wind.  Very impressive day.  Chappeau!

Conditions were more than Ron Anderson had anticipated; he wisely chose to abandon his effort at the mid-way control.  

Thanks for doing what you could to help me get around yesterday and sorry if I spoiled the club's 100% finish rate. I checked Chris's SPOT tracker, and it looks like you guys must have gotten it done with plenty of time to spare. 

If I'm going to get back to some of these rando rides it seems like I'll need to put in a little more effort to get some strength and fitness back.

Aspiring soigneur Ron set a high standard for the self-supported, well fed randonneur:

Ron Anderson's Well-Stocked Musette

Says Chris Nadovich:
I really liked the reversed Little Britain 200K although I can't say the same for that Lancaster County wind -- my goodness what wind! With the corn all down it just sweeps through that farmland unimpeded. I saw puddles with whitecapped waves, birds flying backwards, and cows tumbling across the fields (only kidding about the cows). And all that "fresh air" did not seem to diminish the "honey" aroma. Eeeew!

Although it felt like 2/3 of the riding hours were into a cold headwind, it certainly could have been worse -- way worse. As I drove in from Easton, it was pouring rain almost all the way to the start. And then suddenly the sun comes out just in time for the ride to begin. As we started off, we could see areas in the distance where the rain was still coming down, but not a drop fell on us all day. The wind blew it all away!

Thanks again for a "blast" of a route and congratulations to all the other brave riders who considered the various dire forecasts and still clipped-in to battle the Lancaster wind on a glorious December day.

I owe a huge thank you to Chris for providing motivation for two while my mental mojo was in the cellar.  I'm not sure I would have finished otherwise.

This brings the 2020 Pennsylvania Randonneurs brevet season to a close.  This was the year that almost wasn't as we had to cancel nearly half of our planned events, including the fleche and the SR series.  While we are surely happy to put 2020 in the rearview mirror, the start of 2021 will likely see our pandemic protocols remaining for a while.  Winter brevets typically see last-minute adjustments due to weather, so pandemic related adjustments or cancellations shouldn't be anything new.  

The 2021 season kicks off with a route figure 8 route starting in Phillipsburg, NJ, the New Hope to New Hope Next on January 2.  Event details are available on the website.  As has been our tradition, the January brevet is free to active members of Pennsylvania Randonneurs.  Due to the forced suspension of brevets for much of 2020, active members in 2020 have been extended through 2021.  You can check your status on the website using the Join/Renew link at the top of the page.  Once identified you can see the expiration date of your Pennsylvania Randonneurs membership.  You can also use your log in credentials to access the site; your membership expiration is reported in the upper right.

Until next year....

Andrew Mead
Eastern PA RBA