Monday, July 25, 2022

Opulent Outhouse Course Notes

A route checkout was conducted on 7/23.  I’m hopeful the weather will be cooler on 8/6.  Overall, I think riders will enjoy the route although it has a little more traffic than some other PA events.  It should also be noted that this is a very challenging route that probably rides harder than the advertised 8,800 feet of elevation gain would imply.

 There is essentially nothing open in Portland before the ride starts.  Although the Dunkin Donuts opens at 5:00, it ONLY has drive-through service.

 You’ll want to start the ride with adequate provisions to last you through the first 54 miles. The only water you’ll find before Barryville is at the Millbrook Village Historic Site at mile 17.9.  Sadly the eponymous Raymondskill Falls “opulent outhouse” is essentially closed and has 3 portable toilets on its porch therefor no water is available.  You’ll still need to stop at the opulent outhouse to answer the control question which can be seen on the “Forest Restoration Project” sign. 

Road Notes (these are documented on the cue sheets):

Mile 3.8: The Station Road Bridge is closed to traffic and an impenetrable concrete barrier has been installed.   You’ll need to lift your bike over this and a second barrier after crossing the bridge.


Mile 17: After crossing the Appalachian Trail, the Millbrook Rd. descent is littered with pot holes (some quite deep).  Take extra precautions on this steep descent and don’t outrun your guardian angel.

Mile 20.1: Walpack Flatbrook Road remains closed and you’ll have to squeeze by the 2 barriers as we did last month.

Mile 30.8: This is a seldom used (by PA Randonneurs) stretch of Old Mine Road that has not been resurfaced.  Much like Millbrook Road, take care on this descent as you slalom around the pot holes.

Mile 31.8: Although cyclists do not pay a toll when crossing the Dingmans Ferry Bridge, please remember to slow/stop as you approach the toll takers lest you draw their ire.

Mile 85: A section of Pa390 has been chip sealed.  The chip seal is relatively well compacted in the lane but some loose gravel is still present along the shoulder.

Mile 116.8: You’ll be crossing a fairly busy stretch of US209 with limited site lines.  Although the speed limit is 35, it appears that the locals think it’s an interstate.  It may be best to walk if (like me) you sometime have trouble clipping in under duress.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Hawks nest (Bushkill Approach) 200k ride Report

20 riders started and completed the Hawks Nest (Bushkill Approach) 200k on 7/9 under sunny skies with little wind and just a little heat later in the day.  All riders completed the event with smiles on their faces and enjoyed post ride food and beverages at the Village Bakery.   Results have been posted on the PA Rando website; please review and advise if you see any errors.  It was especially great to see a mix of experienced riders and some new names to PA Randonneurs.

Congratulations to first time randonneurs Paul Knight and Alisa Olmsted, welcome to randonneuring!  I think most riders would agree that this is a fairly challenging course for a first brevet – chapeau!

Special thanks for Gavin Biebuyck for manning the start and allowing the organizer an extra hour of sleep.

The next event on tap is a new 200k which visits an old favorite site of the past.  See y’all on August 6th!

Chris Nadovich writes....

To be able to ride a brevet as a participant, for a change, is wonderful beyond words. I can just ride my bike, socialize or ride alone to enjoy the day as I choose. Thank you so much volunteers Matt Farrell, Gavin Biebuyck, and organizer Bill Fischer for giving me a day of joy, reaffirming why I love riding my bike.

Except for when my handlebar bag fell off. That wasn't so joyful. It was my own damn fault, of course -- I forgot to fix the velcro straps on the bottom of the bag.  My decaleur doesn't have a lock clip and these straps are the sole retention system. Maybe I should work on that.

I was bombing down River road, just 2.5 miles into the brevet. Just as I was preparing to slow down and make the left onto Hollow Rd I hit some minor bumps and the bag popped off. This itself would have been a mere embarrassment, but the large Swift bag hit the pavement just ahead of my front wheel. Moving at about 20+ mph, too fast to avoid it, I'm pretty sure I rode over the bag square with both wheels.  I had switched my hands fully into the drops a few seconds earlier with my weight shifted back in preparation for breaking, so I was in good position to control the bike through the impact. Nevertheless, it must have been my guardian angel that kept the bag smashing under my wheels from snagging on the bike somewhere and sending me down to the pavement at speed.

The gear from the bag exploded everywhere -- yard sale! Fortunately, I was able to recover everything relatively intact. A few Lara bars were crushed by passing cars unsympathetic to my plight, but the important stuff (phone, wallet, brevet card) were recovered unscathed.

After that inauspicious start, it was all good. What a beautiful day for a bike ride!

From Steve Schoenfelder

Thanks to PAR, and organizer Bill Fischer for yet another spectacular ride through the wilds of PA, NY, and NJ.

 The weather was much better than predicted with clouds parting and blue skies emerging early in the day.  I was feeling youthful at the start and maintained a spritely pace.  After a bit, I found myself  drafting behind Jon, who was sporting a well-worn PA Randonneurs wool jersey.  Turns out Jon, who was planning to ride LEL for a third time, had cut back on his brevets in 2015, the year I started with the club.  At any rate, the fellowship that emerged made for a great ride with the miles flying by.  Jon was instrumental in scoring some water at a firehouse/senior center just before the Roebling Aqueduct when we were running low. 

During most rides, I can recall some periods of enduring (some would call it suffering).  This ride was unique in that I enjoyed every mile.  The sky was blue with puffy clouds.  The traffic on 402 didn’t seem all that bad.  The run along the Lackawaxen was as beautiful as ever.  The potholes on Old Mine Rd were not as bad as feared.  It was, in fact, rainbows and unicorns all the way.  Alright...I would have preferred to ride over the I-80 bridge, rather than push my bike as is required.

And so, thanks again to the volunteers who made this event possible: Bill, Matt, and Gavin.  Special thanks to Chris N for distributing wool jersey orders at the start.

Patrick And Cece Gaffney write:

Thanks to PA Randos, Bill, Gavin, and Matt for putting on a lovely 200 this past weekend.  The weather was great and the course was beautiful.  We saw our first ever rattlesnake on a PA brevet, curled up on the double yellow line on PA 590.  Riding with a nice group of new, old, and regular faces, made for a lovely day.  Thanks again, see you down the road.