Ahh, to see lots of people riding big brevets again! Dare I say that the pandemic is over? For the first time since 2019 we ran a full slate events, 18 in total, including a 1000K. There were 295 total finishes by 152 different riders collectively riding over 80,000 Km. The last time we had more rider finishes was 2018. I don’t know if the pandemic is “really” over, but people are riding brevets again, that’s for sure. I hope this excellent trend will continue in 2023. As this will be a PBP year, I’m pretty confident it will.
Another trend, which I also think is a good one, is that more and more of our events are starting in or near Center City Philadelphia. This leads to more participation by riders from Philly, but also now we are seeing riders from the New York City and other metro areas at our events. I think a Philly area start makes an event more accessible to riders in nearby cities, especially to those who prefer to travel without using a car.
The Covered Bridges 200K in March of 2022 was the best-attended PA Rando brevet ever. There were 55 finishers in this event, which started and ended in Manayunk. An epic course, the brainchild of Brad Layman, crossed ten covered bridges in a scenic tour of Bucks County. There were waffles at the start near Cadence Cycles, a “gourmet” brunch control at Tinicum Park, and a finish at Manayunk Brewing Company. Of course, such Philly area starts wouldn’t be possible without continuing efforts and willingness of the Philly volunteers (specifically Iwan Barankay, Pat Gaffney, Ben Keenan and Brad Layman, and the folks at Keystone and Cadence Cycles) to support events in or near Center City. Thank you!
In contrast to events that start in the city, the 2022 edition of the PA Randonneurs SR series was hosted in an extremely rural venue, Flint Hill Farm. This was possibly the most unusual start-finish venue we have ever used. Thanks go to Kathleen Fields, president of Flint Hill Farm Education Center, who hosted us and wrangled her horses, cows, and chickens to safety as our bike riders passed through the farm. Congratulations to the nine SR series finishers who rode the tough SR courses, with that grueling finish climb up Flint Hill to the farm at its summit.
Cecilie Gaffney (5)
Patrick Gaffney (5)
Brad Layman (2)
Ryan J Stanis (2)
The SR Finisher received commemorative laser-cut Super Randonneur Plaques courtesy of Nicole Aptekar, who is an artist living in Brooklyn with the necessary lazer skillz. In fact, Nicole personally owns a very excellent laser and was nice enough to cut the PA Rando SR plaques for us this year. As a newly minted randonneur who's first 200K was the TK in November, Nicole looks forward to riding longer events and earning one of these plaques in the future.
Another good trend to emerge in 2022 was the return of the grand brevet in the form of the Endless Mountains Liberty Bell 1000K. Congratulations to the nine EMLB 1000K finishers. Tough riders all:
The last time PA Rando ran an event longer than 600K was in 2013. When planning the 1000K for 2022, there was concern about whether PA Rando volunteers still had “what it took” to run such a big, multi-day event. Such concern was unfounded. As it turned out, many great people volunteered to support the event, and the organization was excellent. Significantly, these volunteers included some veteran randonneurs who stepped up to support the overnight controls in far-away towns, and who performed the lonely (but essential) duty to monitor riders on the course.
We continue to be a strong randonneuring club. Without a doubt this is a result of a large collective of volunteers who organize and host events, create and check routes and cue sheets, staff controls, and/or prepare/serve food. Please be sure to thank them the next time you see them. In 2022 our crew of event volunteers included:
Iwan Barankay and Brad Layman expanded their role as event organizers in 2022. Organizing a brevet is no small task and the future of our club depends on volunteers “leveling up” to the rank of organizer. Along with Iwan and Brad, Steve Schoenfelder reprised his organizer duty for the Rusty Rail 200K, and Bill Fischer ran the 2022 edition of Hawk’s Nest and the Portland Opulent Outhouse 200Ks. Both Bill and Steve also ran overnight controls on the 1000K.
Leadership roles in the club were somewhat rearranged in 2022. Andrew Mead stepped down as RBA, with yours truly, Chris Nadovich, taking over the RBA job. Andrew continues to serve on the PA Rando board, along with Chris and another RBA emeritus, Tom Rosenbauer. The passing of the RBA baton was celebrated at the October “Fall Classic” event held at Cafe Metzler. There was a cake decorated with the PA Rando keystone, along with gifts for retiring RBA Andrew Mead that included an engraved mug and a brevet card enumerating Andrew’s accomplishments during his tenure. Thank you Andrew for serving the club all these years. Our club remains strong because of your dedicated work. I hope I can live up to the standard that Tom and you have set.
As the new RBA, I will be depending on a high level of volunteer support in 2023, as we have a full slate of brevets scheduled for the coming year. Please help. Contact me, or any organizer, if you can help us at any level.
The full calendar of events, available online at parando.org, includes the Endless Mountains 1000K, a complete SR series with all new routes, a Fleche, and our R-12 series of monthly 200k’s. Current plans are to stage the SR series and the 1000K out of Chamounix Carriage House in Philadelphia. The Fleche is on the schedule for early April. It’s unclear at this time where the finish will be located. Alternative finish venues are being explored and will be announced as soon as settled. Follow the website, message board, and other social media outlets for the latest updates.
It promises to be another exciting year. I look forward to seeing you on the road, and by my side volunteering to help run events!
Eastern PA RBA