Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Philly - Pagoda - Pocono 600K Course Notes (update 3)

*** Update 3

Gavin note:  the worst rail crossing he experienced - diagonal tracks with big ruts at about mile 278.5 on Masthope Plank Rd shortly after the RR  underpass before the Lackawaxen river crossing. Cuesheet version 12, RWGPS 2021-06-2 21:02:13 EDT.

*** Update 2

Drop bag service is available for one small bag brought to the 600K overnight control Pine Grove Cottages.  Make sure your name is clearly marked on the outside of your bag!


*** Update 1

Minor cue error in Blairstown, mile 342.4. Dale's Market is actually on the right. Latest cues are now version 11, RWGPS updated 2021-06-2 09:50:28 EDT


*** Original Post

On 31 May a pre-ride of the 600K course was completed by Gavin Biebuyck. Based on his observations, and the observations of several others who scouted parts of the course, the route has been updated. The latest cuesheet is version 10 and the latest RWGPS was last modified 2021-06-1 20:19:48 EDT.   You will find these, along with other important information on the event web site.

Note: some GPS units (e.g. Garmin) may not be able to handle the full course. You will need to split the route into three segments. Splitting at the Pagoda and the overnight control seems to work well.
The following are some important notes regarding the course.

mile 36.4 -- You will need to temporarily become a pedestrian to go straight across old US202 using the pedestrian crosswalk.  Then immediately return to the road.  Don't follow any bike trail yet.

mile 38.2 -- After crossing new US202, turn right onto the bike trail. To be precise, this is the multi-use trail off US202 to the left while heading south, not the "bike lane" physically on US202. The multi-use trail is generally nice, but it does require you to follow pedestrian rules at every crosswalk. Please use the buttons and follow the signals. Cars are generally sensitive to the presence of bikes at the crossings, but keep your eyes peeled.  

mile 49.3 -- This is easy to miss but otherwise simple. Basically you want to go straight on Knight Rd. They built a landscaped median to prevent cars from doing this. So you need to take the little connecting crosswalk through the grass berm TRO Knight Rd. 

To remain on Knight Rd

mile 65.5 -- You probably want to get on the Schuylkill Trail here at the Falls Bridge. Because of the high speed traffic on Kelly drive, it's generally safer to ride on the bike trail, but the trail is multi-use, which presents a different sort of hazard. Use your judgement for where to ride and be respectful to other users of the trail. Also, be careful entering or exiting the trail.

mile 70 -- Martin Luther King (MLK) Drive was under construction and may still be under construction the day of the 600. Fortunately, the bike path between MLK and the river has been recently paved and is very good to ride on. There's some confusion at the beginning and you may need to search for a safe place to enter the trail, but once you are on the trail, there you will stay till you reach the Falls Bridge. 

mile 113.6 -- The exit from the SRT to the Morlatton Village control is very easy to miss. There's a small interpretive sign with a map next to a narrow path on the left side of the trail. The map is pretty good to look at and will help you understand where you are headed. Follow the path and then go straight across the paved road following the unpaved road to the info control at the historic homes. When you return, backtracking from the control, you will turn right on Old Philadelpia Pike with the White Horse Inn on your left. Bear right again at River Bridge, and right onto 724. This 3 mile segment of 724 is necessary to avoid the trail bridge construction. Route 724 is PA Bike Route L here, and there is a reasonable shoulder (no worse than the 20 miles of NJ 519 you will ride tomorrow). Please do not take the illegal scramble route across the SRT construction.   

Leaving the SRT at Morlatton Village

mile 128.8 -- If you rode the Pagoda 200K you should recognize this spot as the place you joined the SRT after riding across downtown Reading. You had to walk up the grassy slope to the trail just before the painted bridges. This time you will be on the trail  and this location is a little harder to recognize. I always know I'm approaching Reading because after two tall bridges with beautiful views, the next Schuylkill River bridge has high metal sides that block any view -- as if nobody really wants to see the city of Reading. Shortly thereafter you cross the small painted bridges (which you can't see are painted) and the grassy slope to walk down will be immediately on your right.  If you find yourself with Reading Area Community College (RACC) to your right, you missed the exit.  

mile 132 -- I don't know who designed the bike lane on Skyline Drive, but it's problematic for a number of reasons, the worst of which is that it is usually filled with debris. While it may be safe enough for climbing at slow speed, it can be a real hazard when descending at higher speeds. Please consider riding as usual on the right side of the main road, especially on the fast descent.

mile 195 -- The section from Wind Gap to the overnight control will be ridden at night. The roads are dark, twisty, and narrow. Please bank enough time earlier in the brevet so you aren't pressured to ride faster than your guardian angel through this difficult section.  Be especially cautious of the descents, as there are many potholes. 

mile 262 -- Most will ride Beach Lake Hwy at night. This is a paved road but there are numerous potholes on the shoulder and some traffic. Please be very cautious here.  

mile 266.1 -- Adams Pond Rd is unpaved and has many potholes. If you are leaving the overnight before dawn, take extra care on this road.

mile 306 -- Railroad Ave in Port Jervis is probably the roughest road in the course. Skinny tire riders need to take it down a notch. 

mile 346 -- NJ 519 has narrow shoulders and fast traffic.

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