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

No comments:

Post a Comment