Monday, May 16, 2022

Blue Redeux 400K and Hexenkopf 200K Ride Report

The third event(s) in the 2022 Super Randonneur Series, the New New Blue Redeux 400K and Hexenkopf 200K, again started and finished at the second highest point in Northampton County, Flint Hill Farm 1000' ASL. So I guess it's rando-logic that the difficulty level was notched even higher this time with a day (and night) of rain.    Of those that clipped in for the challenging (and soggy) 400K course 16 of 20 finished within the time limit. This was an overall 80% completion rate -- good given the conditions. On the 200K, 2 of 3 finished in time. Congratulations and well-done to all!  Preliminary results have been posted for the 200K and the 400K.  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.

Flint Hill Farm continued to charm riders. Many riders bought farm-fresh goodies from the farm store. Some riders enjoyed real beds in the farmhouse, while others opted for the wilderness camping option -- even in the rain. Many had happy interactions with the livestock.


Bill Fischer makes a new friend

Flint Hill Farm Education Center is a very cool place. Their mission is to bridge the gap between the Urban/Suburban community and they are doing exactly that with these events as they host our riders from the urban jungles of New York City and Philadelphia. Flint Hill has been a congenial venue for our rando events, trusting us to be respectful guests of the Farm as they provide a unique experience for us all.  Special thanks go to Kathleen Fields who runs the place and has helped us in countless ways. Please patronize the farm store if you can.

At the start, Jim Bondra and Sean Keesler helped set up gear and tables at the Farm arena, and at the finish Bill Olsen and Jeff Lippincott staffed the long vigil waiting for each rider to arrive and helped tear down gear. 

The indefatigable rando volunteer, Len Zawadniack, scouted potential flooding on the Swatara trail and supported riders as they passed through that area. He also rescued Andres Prandelli who busted a derailleur cable in Pine Grove.

Iwan Barankay and Jimmy Aspras staffed the Phoenixville control. This control was a critically important boost for riders as they entered the final 50 mile push through the dark, rainy night. Several riders passed on their appreciation for this support.

Ben Thompson looked quite glamorous in the marquee lights of the Colonial Theater.

A couple of experienced randonneurs, Jim Bondra and Mike Anderson abandoned the 400K early on, quickly knowing that they "weren't feeling it". I have a lot of respect for a rider who can make that hard decision early. It takes wisdom, hard-won experience, and not a little humility to know yourself at this level. Chapeau!

Sean Keesler created yet another excellent video of his brevet experience


Speaking of "hard won experience", relatively newly minted randonneur Olin Johnson was cursed with a mishap on the Hexenkopf Hill 200K that we've all worried about, but (fortunately) few of us have experienced: wiping out on a steel deck bridge, specifically the Rieglesville Roebling bridge. The rain made the metal deck quite slick and OJ, never having ridden over a Delaware bridge before, didn't realize that us Del-riding vets all cautiously walk these bridges, even in dry weather. Skating away from his guardian angel and into the steel curb not far from the "Walk Bikes" sign, OJ cracked some ribs and needed to have his leg wounds stitched up in the hospital. Fortunately his bike was relatively unharmed. I hope this negative experience doesn't sour him on randonneuring in general, or riding along the beautiful Delaware in particular. Heal quickly, OJ. We hope to see you riding again soon. 

On a dry, sunny day it doesn't seem dangerous, but....

Patrick and Cecilie write...

Thanks to you, Bill, Jeff, Len, Iwan and all the other volunteers at the 400 this past weekend.  We really enjoyed the course.  The hilly section from Bowmanstown to Blondies was not as bad as we remembered, but the nontraditional headwind through Lancaster county made for a challenging afternoon.  It's always good to see Len and his van of goodies out on the  course and the coke and croissant from Iwan in Phoenixville really helped. Thanks again, see you at the 600! 
Brad Layman writes...

This was one of my favorite PA Rando events. Hanging out with fellow randos in the barn the night before and after the ride as the rain pattered on the roof was memorable. The farmhouse provided comfortable lodging. The volunteer support was excellent - especially at the Phoenixville control as  it was great timing to see a familiar face. Thank you Iwan, Jimmy, Len, James, Randi, Jeff, and especially Chris. I had a double flat with four  miles to go which was very frustrating, but on the bright side, it gave me a moment to gather myself before the final "grunt" up to the farm. Three  V8s, four sandwiches, and several treats fueled me through the muggy day.  Hope to see everyone at the 600! 

Join us again in June for the final event(s) in the PA Rando SR series: the Philly Pagoda Pocono 600K starting 4 June, paired with the Pagoda 200K starting 5 June. Info on these events can be found on the PA Rando website.

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