Sunday, February 13, 2022

Stillwater 200K Ride Report

Luck was with us for the rescheduled Stillwater 200K. Instead of black ice and a temperature in the teens, we had an excellent (for February) day of partial sunshine and temperatures in the mid 50s.   Of those that clipped in at the start/finish at Pohatcong Plaza, 16 of the 18 completed the whole course within the time limit for a 89% completion rate. Congratulations and well-done to all!  Preliminary results have been posted on the website.  Please review the results and let me know if they align with your memory.  The results will be submitted to RUSA after review and will become official once certified.

Heading toward Milford along River Rd.
New rider Ben Keenan  completed his very first brevet with excellent style. Chapeau and welcome to Randonneuring!  

Jan Dembinski had the misfortune of losing his brevet card -- but then later Tom Dermody found it -- and then the card also escaped Tom's grasp. What was going on with that accursed card? Jan's result is under RBA review. Sadly, I don't think there is an ACP/RUSA exception that grants mercy to a rider hate dropped by their brevet card. The card needs to be filled out correctly and somehow wrangled to the finish for the ride to qualify.

Although the weather was quite nice most of the day, there was an annoying wind to contend with, and the temperatures did plummet at the end of the day. There was a technical gitch in the form of RWGPS weirdness toward the end of the ride as the route veered off 519 several times onto short, parallel lanes (some quite muddy). Riders in the know stayed on 519, but some were briefly delayed by this glitch.

And several of the controls were somewhat arguable. Who knew there were two historical markers in Portland within close proximity?! But the more perplexing info control confusion was the change in historical gas price at the Geo D. Garris general store. 

It seems that since the last time we ran the Stillwater 200K (in 2019) the gas pump at Geo. D Garris was "renovated" in a way that rewrote history. Those of us old enough to drive in the 1970s remember when the price of gasoline rose above $1/gal for the first time and older pumps were forced to switch to liters so the price could "fit" in the available digits. Like the moon landing and disco, this really happened. 

Pump in 2019 -- Price in Liters


Pump in 2022 -- Price in Gallons

Many thanks to Bob Dye who ran the finish control. Because Bob was willing to volunteer to cover the finish, the organizer was freed to ride the actual event. I can't even begin to express how wonderful that is.  It may seem like a small thing -- covering a finish control -- but the benefit to the organization is huge. Please consider volunteering to cover a finish some day. It's not hard and you are allowed to pre ride, which has some advantages (eg cherry picking the weather). Seriously, every event could use a finish volunteer.

By the way, Bob had a tough time on his preride, a failed headlight forcing him to walk several miles in from Belvidere. That's rando. 

Also thanks are due to Jim Bondra who drove down from Ithaca to deliver the most excellent PA Rando cycling caps. Jim orchestrated the purchase of these caps from Walz, which involved considerable back and forth to get the color right. Those of you who ordered caps for pickup, your cap will be available at upcoming PA Rando events. Those of you who selected shipping should see your cap arrive at your address in a few weeks.

Iwan Barankay wrote ....

What a spectacular day.  So great to be finally out on the road again with an ever expanding list of regulars including riders that come from NJ and DC to join our fine routes. This was my first Stillwater and now I know what all the fuss is about. I loved the virtuous routing along 519 to Harmony – really broke up the grind up that hill. I was glad we could ride together and I got this nice pic of you on the way to Milford. The first 100m were great fun then the legs "resigned" and the wind became gusty but all in all I can't believe our luck with the weather: black ice just a week ago and more snow the night after.           

Dale Houck wrote ...

Great ride today!  We couldn't have asked for better February weather.  And what a great route!  I really appreciated the flat opening 30km that allowed us all to roll together and chat for a while before the climbs separated us.  The downhill trend in the back half of the ride was nice too, even in spite of the headwinds.  Really beautiful string of roads throughout the ride.Thanks as always for your efforts to make PA Rando rides consistently excellent.  And kudos to James for delivering on the caps

Joe Ray wrote ... 

Thanks for such as fine brevet yesterday.  I had thought of the Sweet Hollow climb last fall and remembered that it was a really pleasant stretch, so it was nice to get back there and reaffirm how enjoyable that was for a morning ascent. The scenery for the whole route is terrific, but those north-facing cliffs of ice along the river north of Belvedere were better than I have seen them before, usually later on in March for the SR series water gap 200k. 


Friday, February 11, 2022

Stillwater 200K Pre Ride Course Notes

 A Pre-ride of the Stillwater 200K route was conducted on 10 Feb by Bob Dye. Based on his notes and comments the route has been updated. The latest Cue Sheet is Version 3 and the RWGPS was last modified 2022-02-11 09:47:22 EST. Make sure you have the latest route as there have been some important changes.  Download the latest route info here.

Many have reported that the Millside Cafe in Lafayette is no longer operating. On his pre-ride Bob discovered that Morris Farm Rd is under construction. For these reasons we have changed the control in Lafayette to be the Quick Check on NJ94/15.

Bob also noticed that at certain road crossings (eg. mi 28.3 crossing NJ173, mi 34.2 crossing NJ31, etc...)  his GPS showed some confusion even though the cue is straight (and straightforward). While we understand the value of GPS, the cue sheet should be your constant companion in navigation as it never runs out of batteries or becomes confused. 

Sadly, Bob was unable to complete the ride under the time limit as his headlight failed and he was forced to walk the last several miles. This is an important lesson. All riders should have adequate lighting plus a backup lighting plan if their main lighting system fails.  As we approach the SR series where extensive night riding is required, everyone should be using a reliable lighting system (with a backup).