Friday, December 31, 2021
Start the New Year with Rule 9
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
Hope to New Hope
The first brevet of 2022 is on the first day of the year using the new version of the Hope to New Hope course as a figure 8, with a start, midpoint, and finish control in Pohatcong Shopping Center in Phillipsburg. This brevet is FREE for PA Rando Members. See the event web site for all the details.
|Beyond Hope Fedex Box Info Control|
The start of the brevet is the super Wawa on US 22. You can park in the
Wal Mart lot behind this Wawa. Alternatively, given that the finish
control is Franks Trattoria pizzeria next to the Regal Cinema on the opposite side of
the shopping center (and more convenient at the midpoint of the figure 8 course),
you might park over near Franks and then ride your bike over to the
Wawa start to make your life easier at the end of the day.
The figure 8 course and info controls allows you to complete this brevet without entering a convenience store. To take best advantage of this resupply option, remember to provision your car as you will be passing it near the middle of the ride.
A pre-ride of the course was conducted on 23 December. All roads are open with no detours. The shoulders were mostly clear of debris. This can change if there is any significant snow/wind/rain before the ride date. The worst debris on shoulders is typically found along the narrow area just south of the Hope turnaround, early in the brevet, and the northbound approach to Frenchtown returning from New Hope at the end of the brevet. It's also possible to see some fallen rock and ice on River Rd past Milford.
The start time is 7AM, which is before dawn. Please have reflective gear and lights at the start. Sunset is around nine and a half hours later. If you are riding past sunset, please put on your visibility gear or you will be DQed.
Sunday, December 5, 2021
Tscheschter Kaundi 200K Ride Report
Preliminary results for the Tscheschter Kaundi 200K brevet are posted on the website. Please review the results and inform me if anything needs to be corrected. The results will be submitted to RUSA for final verification. There was an incredible turnout of 35 riders, which is especially impressive for a December brevet. All of the riders finished well within the time limit for a completion rate of 100%.
|Riders in Tscheschter Kaundi (photo by Dan Chabanov)|
|Riders gather for the start (photo by Mario Claussnitzer)|
Josh Armstrong set a blistering pace and established the course record. Christopher Maglieri was not far behind. A few minutes later, Bradley Simon, Michael Kimelman, Scott Rosenthal, Dan Chabanov, and Matt McLoone arrived at the finish, completing their first brevet in very impressive time. Steven Handleman, Johannes Burge, Devin Green, and Erik Wright also completed their first brevets. Attempting a first brevet in December is no easy feat!
Scott Rosenthal took an unfortunate spill on a trolley track in West Philly. Mark Caplan reported that a group of riders gathered around Scott to help him back to his feet. Luckily, the mood in the group immediately improved when a pedestrian asked if any of the riders had a spare cigarette.
All of the riders successfully passed through a secret control set up at the top of a hill around mile 47. While riders caught their breath after the climb, they enjoyed Clif bars, bananas, and water.
|Joe Ray, Matt Farrell, Gavin Biebuyck, and Bill Fischer reach the secret control|
Riders reached Cafe Metzler, the midpoint control, and were treated to hot sandwiches, drinks, and other snacks. Many riders expressed their appreciation for the hot sandwiches. It was a real treat for the club to return to Cafe Metzler.
|Josh Armstrong, Matt McLoone, and Bradley Simon enjoy hot sandwiches, snacks, and drinks at Cafe Metzler (photo by Dan Chabanov)|
Some riders reported a surprise visit from Santa riding down Fairview Rd on a fire engine. Hopefully they were able to put in their requests for a new PA Rando jersey as he flew past.
|Santa greets riders on Fairview Rd (photo by Gavin Biebuyck)|
|Multiple modes of transport in Tscheschter Kaundi (photo by Matt McLoone)|
At the finish area, many riders proudly displayed their photos from the photo controls and other scenic spots along the course. These controls were chosen for their position along the route but also to provide riders with a souvenir showing two bridges in contrasting settings. The photos prove that riders were at one moment in the big city and later in the quiet countryside, far from the urban hustle-and-bustle. Many of the local riders enjoyed seeing the South Street Bridge overtaken by randonneurs clad with their bright, reflective wear.
|Riders, including Ryan Stanis and Keean Mansour, reach the photo control on South St Bridge|
|Chris Nadovich on South St Bridge|
Randonneurs warmed up by the fire and enjoyed some food and drink at The Landing Kitchen. Riders hung around sharing stories of their adventures.
|Bradley Scott, Michael Kimelman, and Scott Rosenthal cross the Pencoyd Bridge as they arrive at the finish|
|As Nick Manta and Rudi Saldia finish, their attire made it evident that the weather was much nicer than on the day of the pre-ride|
|Dawn Engstrom at the finish|
|Riders and friends gather around the fire pit to warm up at The Landing Kitchen|
Many thanks are due for this event. A huge thank you to George for re-opening Cafe Metzler (two weekends in a row!).
|The parking lot of Cafe Metzler (photo by George Metzler)|
Andrew Mead, Regional Brevet Administrator of Eastern PA, also volunteered at Cafe Metzler, helping with sign-ins and reconfiguring SPOT trackers. Sue Proulx volunteered at the start and finish of the event and also brought her famous brownies. Matt McLoone graciously opened the Cadence Cycling Center for riders to use the restroom before the start.
Chris Nadovich answered many questions from this first-time brevet organizer. CJ Arayata also provided helpful information after organizing his first (and very well-attended) brevet in November. Pat Gaffney also assisted with the pre-ride, volunteered at the ride, and provided water and snacks at the start.
It has been a pleasure to dive into the world of randonneuring this year. The joy of volunteering and organizing a brevet rivaled that of actually riding the brevets. I encourage all riders to consider volunteering for an event in the future.
|"There were a lot of geese in that pond" -multiple riders (photo by Matt McLoone)|
The organizer wasn't sure if this was some kind of reference to the number of randos going into a Wawa or a literal comment. Maybe both?
Joe Ray writes:
This was a very fun and enjoyable route today - thanks to you and Iwan for putting it together and executing it so well and to George for again hosting and creating a perfect control with good food options and such an efficient in-eat-brevet-card-fill-waters-keep-moving-opportunity. Start and finish locations were pretty ideal. Visiting afterward around a firepit is pretty sweet!
Steven Schoenfelder writes:
Thanks to ride organizer Brad, and volunteers including Iwan, Patrick, Sue, George, and Andrew for hosting yet another epic Philly ride.
The brisk weather at the start was mitigated by our brisk pace as we fled the streets of Philadelphia. I loved the complete absence of convenience store controls that rendered steering into a Wawa completely optional. The route was beautiful, running through nearly vacant city streets in the early hours, picturesque suburbs, and pastural farmland complete with grazing livestock, recumbent horses, miniature goats, and a solitary pot-bellied pig on a leash. And...I cannot remember a PAR 200K that had less climbing. Brad’s “secret controle” was greatly appreciated, and the well-positioned Cafe Metzler controle was brilliant; including gourmet grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, caffeinated beverages, and salty chips providing enough calories and electrolytes for me to remain a barnacle on Greg’s wheel for the rest of the ride, even when he mercilessly cranked up the pace on the SRT in a failed hate-drop attempt. The patio at the finish was the perfect venue for warming by the fire, enjoying a celebratory brew, and trading lies. Well done Brad et al, let’s do this again next year!
Chris Nadovich writes:
This was a phenomenal event. The course was excellent and quite enjoyable to ride, but most impressive and delightful to me was the excellent organization. Brad gets official credit as organizer, of course, but all could see the great help he received from the rest of the Philly crew. So many people helped out that I'm starting to think there's a PA Rando Philadelphia renaissance rising. Two super people need special mention. CJ Arayata of course, who ran the event last month and has kept the Philadelphia rando torch burning even while he's mostly been kicking along on a skate board rather than riding his bike. Thank you CJ. The other Philly rando hero is Iwan Barankay. Iwan was the guy who showed us this Philly rando thing was possible with the Chamounix event, and has been a force behind every subsequent Philly event. Iwan's been scouting routes, pre-riding, promoting, arranging for this and that and everything in between. Thank you Iwan.
For a collection of photos from this ride, check out this Google folder: https://photos.app.goo.gl/vxa5qdJjG517WDCE7 Note that Google gave me credit for Dan Chabanov's photos after I moved his into this folder. If the file name of a photo starts with "DC," please give credit to Dan.
Join us again on the first day of 2022 for the Hope to New Hope 200K Brevet. This brevet is FREE to PA Rando members! Find out all about it on the event web page. Also be sure to check out the PA Rando Store for the jersey order, which is open until December 20 (or forward the link to a loved one as a hint for a holiday gift idea).
Eastern PA RBA
Sunday, November 21, 2021
Tscheschter Kaundi 200K Course Notes (updated)
On 11/27, a pre-ride of the Tscheschter Kaundi 200 route was completed by Brad Layman, Iwan Barankay, and Pat Gaffney. It was a blustery day. If the weather turns out to be similar on the day of the event, be prepared for some challenging winds from the west, particularly on the segment from Doe Run to Atglen because the terrain opens up to exposed farmland. Cafe Metzler was a lifesaver to these riders.
The parking lot of the theater, Cadence Cycling, and Fine Wine & Good Spirits is easy to spot from Main Street. Please park away from the businesses and close to Main Street. The organizer will be there bright and early so you can look for him to be sure that you park in the right area. Note that there are no bathroom facilities at the start. The closest convenience store with a bathroom is the Shell/Dunkin (4268 Ridge Ave) in East Falls.
After the photo control on the South St Bridge, the route moves to city streets with bike lanes. Be careful crossing the intersection of expressway ramps on the South St Bridge - wait for green straight arrows. When turning left on 40th St and right on Baltimore Ave at mile 7.6, be extra cautious as you cross junctions of trolley tracks. Also be cautious in the bike lane of Baltimore Ave because you will have limited space to maneuver if encountering an errant driver or wandering pedestrian due to parked cars to your right and trolley tracks to your left. Ride slowly when crossing intersections with turning trolley tracks and when crossing the tracks to turn left onto Whitby Ave (mile 8.9).
After crossing Cobbs Creek we enter Delaware County and ride through some of the denser communities of the county. The route follows the “Bicyclists Baltimore Pike” to Swarthmore, which is marked with street signs. After Swarthmore, the route crosses Crum Creek and passes through quiet neighborhoods around the edge of the DelCo seat, Media. Look for the Giant Sequoia in the Tyler Arboretum on the right around mile 23.7.
|Giant Sequoia, Tyler Arboretum|
The next section is a peaceful stretch along Brandywine Creek. There is a road closure sign at the intersection of Embreeville and Stargazers Rds which you can ignore. The closure signs are there due to a closed bridge another mile down Embreeville Rd. We were able to maneuver through the bridge barricades, so a detour was not made to the route. If a detour becomes necessary, riders can backtrack to Harveys Bridge Rd, make a left at the next bridge, and left on Brandywine Creek Rd which will bring you back to the course.
|Embreeville Rd Bridge is passable|
There is a bridge with a metal grate surface crossing Doe Run at mile 51.1. The miles from here until Cafe Metzler are tough if there are strong winds from the west.
Cafe Metzler is easy to spot on the right as you approach on Noble Road. Look for the garage at the bottom of the driveway. Be sure to thank George for opening Cafe Metzler for us.
Once you reach Ludwigs Corner around mile 91, it is mostly downhill and then flat. For the photo control, take a picture of the Sheeder Hall Bridge - do not cross the bridge. A short and smooth gravel section follows. There is a bridge with a metal grate surface following a bend at mile 98.3. Bridge Street in Phoenixville is closed to traffic but passable on bike. Ride slowly and be respectful of the pedestrians enjoying their night on the town. Once you cross the Schuylkill River, follow Walnut St and Port Providence Rd to the SRT. There has been a "Trail Closed" sign at the Port Providence Trailhead of the SRT since the area was damaged by Hurricane Ida in September, but the trail is passable with minimal obstruction.
|Sheeder Hall Bridge (photo control)|
There is a new trail pattern in Norristown. Riders who know the SRT well know to be prepared for a sharp right after crossing the bridge over Rt 202. Instead of a right turn, the trail follows a new S shape pattern. It is easy to navigate but might surprise riders who know the old pattern or pass through at night. The section just opened and has not yet been updated on maps, so the organizer did his best to draw the approximate route line on the RWGPS map.
The route follows the gravel Manayunk Towpath from Shawmont Ave to Lock St. Be cautious after crossing Shawmont Ave: there is a downhill section that crosses train tracks and cobblestones and then through bollards to get on the towpath. It is a tricky section, especially in the dark. Two miles later, make the left on Lock St and then right on Main Street and follow it back to the parking lot where we started. When you turn right into the parking lot, look for the Pencoyd Bridge. You can ride the wide sidewalk or the road across the bridge, but note that the roadway is only wide enough for one car. Be careful of bollards if using the sidewalk. The Landing Kitchen is on the left after crossing the bridge. The cafe is closed from 4-4:30pm. During that time, volunteers will be sitting on the patio outside the cafe awaiting early finishers.
|Center City from South St Bridge|
|Creek Rd along the Brandywine|
With less than 10 hours of daylight available, riders will need lights and reflective gear.
Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Ride Report: Keystone Brevet Co. 200k
Preliminary results for the inaugural running of the Keystone Brevet Co. 200k brevet have been posted on the website. Please review and inform me of any necessary corrections. The results will be submitted to RUSA in the coming days and become final pending RUSA certification.
|Volunteers, co-owners, and two brevet riders PJ S. and Corrie T. at the start of the inaugural KBC 200k. Well, 17 minutes after the start, anyways.|
Despite a scheduling "conflict" with the Philly Bike Expo, the urban-start event managed to attract a near-record turnout of 39 riders who clipped in for a chilly November brevet start. 38 of them finished for a very impressive 97% completion rate of a challenging and new PA brevet, including 14 newly-minted randonneurs (*used gender-neutrally) completing their first 200k event. Bravo to all! At least two out-of-towners (and many locals) completed the brevet on Saturday and attended the Expo on Sunday, ensuring a fun bike-filled weekend.
- 24 of the 39 riders, or 62% of the roster, hailed from Philadelphia.
- 16 riders (41% of the roster) had RUSA numbers in the 14000s, and were participating in either their first randonneuring event, their first 200km event (after having participated in the recent Philly Women's Day / Chamounix 100k events), or their first PA Randonneurs event (after having participated in another region).
- 8 riders (21%) had RUSA numbers in the 7000s or less, with some dusting off the wool after long hiatuses.
|Riders relaxing outside at the post-ride gathering.|
|Joe Ray reflects deeply about his awesome sub-10 finish.|
|Would you watch a Gary W. and Jimmy A. buddy comedy? I would.|
|The Gaffneys had enough time to stop at home, shower, walk the dog, watch some Netflix, swap bikes, AND get to the party before dark. Must be nice.|
|We accidentally cheered on Ed and Mary upon arrival until we realized who they were.|
|Lorrin, Corrie, and PJ all smiles!|
|What do you mean, "there's no organizer 'how to' guide??"|
|Andrea and Sue. Thank you!|
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the tireless contributions and thank the worker-owners of Keystone Bicycle Co: Natalie "Woody" Felice, Ag Manta, Nick Manta, Zack Rachell, and Ryan Stanis. All of them were crucial in this event running as smoothly as it did, not to mention even opening a bike shop in the first place so that we could stage an event here at all. From opening the gate at 5:45AM before dawn, to setting up the space for check-in and breakfast, to running their own business in the middle of the day while also keeping an eye out for finishers, to transitioning to the brevet post-ride gathering and tending to the needs of riders, and then the final transformation into the hosts of the "unofficial" Philly Bike Expo after-party on Saturday that went until midnight, it was a long day for Keystone Bicycle Co. They have certainly cemented themselves as a community hub for our small-corner, big-tent niche in the cycling world. How many cots do you think we can fit in there?
|Peak party. There were tiny bike races and lots of shenanigans.|
|Eve and Sean celebrating a job well done.|
CJ, thank you SO MUCH for this fabulous route, and for organizing with likeminded individuals (all the KBC staff) whom altogether have greatly impacted my newfound cycling life. I’m sold - a randonneur life is a gift and an immense privilege.Hear that, Andrew?
So many favorite sections. Everything west of Goshen was new to me. Miles 30-55ish were a delight - that ripping decent after first Wawa, the glorious climbs, and that 10 mile stretch after Downingtown that follows the creek. All the sections of narrow low-car farm/forest roads were excellent. Viewing Twin Valley climb from a distance was iconic. I hope someone got a pic!
Finally, it's worth mentioning that having KBC as the home base for this ride was SO AMAZING. Coffee/bathroomS/food at 6 AM and 6 PM NOT TO MENTION the ability to buy a front light or something if your current one suddenly breaks? I think if KBC were to be able to host an entire 200/300/400/600k series it would get the rando-curious city folks like me at every single one of them (hopefully). Thanks again!
Event 'co-organizer' Iwan Barankay writes...
Thank you for putting together such a memorable event. Special thanks to the whole Keystone Coop team for their generous hospitality. It was just awesome to be able to start inside with benches and restrooms. What a luxury! The route was special and something I hope we can do again and again (except for the trail sections ::smile::) Those little spicy hills just kept on coming – yes, I mean you Skelp Level Road! – providing plenty of opportunities for inner growth. The controls were also placed really well. I was particularly happy to see so many new riders and even some coming from far away for some brevet fun combined with the Bike Expo and all finished in time – except for one due to a mechanical. The party at the end was also a nice touch. The whole event was one for the memory books.Of note, Iwan did the course twice in two weeks: Once as an 'unofficial' check-out ride sans brevet card where he played hare and eventually caught up to Chris N. on the Perkiomen Trail after a 2+hour head start, and officially on the day-of. Randonnerd or rando-nut? (Trick question.)
Nigel Greene writes...
I thoroughly enjoyed the November 200K. The route was a visual delight beginning from the sunrise illuminated majestic entrance of west Fairmount Park through the vibrant fall leaves that served as a backdrop to the farms and towns we rode through and the crunchy mixed path finish along the Perkiomen and Schuylkill trails. While the climbs were frequent none were overly long and the long stretch along the trails at the end was a good place for a slow climber like me to make up some time. That route coupled with the big breakfast and post ride food options made for a wonderful Rando event. Well done!
We know we did good when we get the Iron Rider seal of approval.PA veteran Norman Smeal writes...
Firstly, I would like to thank all of the volunteers for their time and hard work.
Secondly, congratulations to everyone, especially the budding Randonneurs for completing this challenging course.
Hope to see more Philadelphia starts.
Thank you CJ for organizing this ride! The route was great, the foliage was lovely, and the weather was perfect. The fact that the start was only a few miles from home was pretty fantastic, and the turnout was evidence that a Philly start is very accessible for a lot of people who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to get to this ride. I hope that the stoke continues for next month’s ride out of Manayunk!
The evidence is compelling, indeed.
Steve Schoenfelder writes...
Thanks to ride organizer CJ, the Keystone Bicycle Co., Chris N, Sue D, and all of the other volunteers for hosting an epic PAR 200K in the land of brotherly love.
We were greeted with a crisp autumn morning as the light was coming up with temperatures in the mid 30’s. Racing through the streets of Philadelphia at dawn, unhindered by stop signs or traffic lights was a highlight for me. After escaping the inner city and suburbs, I could see a hard frost on the ground as my GPS computer registered a temperature of 29 degrees. In spite of this, the blue sky and rolling hills warmed the heart, and it was clear that this was the only place to be on this majestic day.
The route was both beautiful and challenging with hills at the front end and a prolonged gravel grind near the end. I had to stop briefly after pounding the canal boardwalk to be sure that my fenders had not separated from their mounts. All in all, a pretty rad course design. But what else would you expect from a rando punk rock skateboarder?
The large number of riders on the course provided the opportunity to catch up with old friends, meet some new folks, and most importantly, draft. I am grateful to the two (newly minted) Philadelphia randonneurs who shepherded me through Saturday night traffic, road closures, and potholes during reentry.
A special thank you to Keystone Bicycle Co. for providing the venue. What a great shop! And, did I mention the afterparty? This was definitely not your Weisel Hostel event. And a huge thumbs up to CJ-you really did it this time bro!
I'm flattered, but I think Ryan would call me a poser. Steve, you win the "last PA Rando to leave the party" award. Cheers.
|Steve, Mike Anderson, and Rosy from NER talkin' rando.|
Pat and Cece Gaffney write...
Thanks to you, Chris, and the Keystone crew for putting on a fine ride this past Saturday. It was a beautiful day and the routing had us going through some great scenery. It got a little frigid as we passed by West Chester, thankfully there were those steep punchy climbs to warm us up.
This was also not the first time that we have stopped home during a brevet, but it was definitely the first time we showered, changed, switched bikes, and picked up the dog before heading into the finish. Please make sure Connie is credited with 5.9K towards his K hound status. The post ride festivities were great as well. It was nice to be able to hang out and cheer on so many newly minted randonneurs. Thanks again!
I couldn't find Connie's RUSA number in the database. Could you please submit so I can add his results?
Joe Ray writes....
Great ride Saturday! I am not super-familiar with the suburbs west of the city and it was really nice to head out that way and put some of the names and places together. It was great to see some places from a different angle too. I thought an intersection at one point looked familiar and then I saw the Arcola bridge on the left and realized where I was and that I had been there a couple times before but only at night.
It's funny how that works.
If you couldn't get enough of the Philly vibes, join us again in December for yet another brand-new event out of Manayunk that heads westward towards Cafe Metzler in Atglen, followed by a finish gathering at The Landing Kitchen. Details are posted on the PA Rando event page. Hope to see you there.