Tuesday, September 27, 2022

2023 PBP Pre-Registration Info


Thinking about PBP in 2023?

PBP pre-registrations are open to those who have completed at least one BRM qualifying ride) from Nov 01, 2021 to Oct 30, 2022. The  preregistration date depends on the longest  brevet validated and spots are subject to availability at the time  of preregistration.  Preregistration starts at 12 PM French Standard Time (UTC +1) on the following dates.

1000/1200K: January 14, 2023                                       
600K: January 28, 2023                                                         
400K: February 11, 2023                                                        
300K: February 25, 2023                                                        
200K: March 11, 2023

Here are some details on registration itself:                                   
Registrations can only be made through internet on the Paris-Brest-Paris Randonneur® website  where you can view the status of your registration validation.                                     
You can register as soon as you have completed at least three of the four qualifying brevets which are scheduled between October 31, 2022 and June 30, 2023. 

Registration for preregistered riders, FFCT-licencees,  opens at 12 PM, French Standard Time) May 27, 2023.  For "Others" it opens June 3, 2023. The registration deadline is July 2, 2023.      

Registrations will be processed according to the date of payment until the limit of available places is reached. If said limit of availability is reached, you will be placed on a waiting list and your payment won’t be cashed.

The full rules for registration and other aspects of PBP are given here.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Endless Mountains Liberty Bell 1000K Ride Report


EMLB1000Out of 13 starters, nine extraordinarily tough randonneurs  braved mountains, wind, cold, rain, and moonless nights to finish the Endless Mountains Liberty Bell 1000K. In fact, they crushed it -- or rather they CRACKED the EM Liberty Bell with sub-70 times. It's an amazing achievement to finish this event, but to finish sub-70 hours surpasses amazing. Chapeau to these tough nine. Bravo!

  • Iwan Barankay
  • Darren Bartels
  • Jose Blanco
  • Ed Felker
  • Misha Heller
  • Dale Houck
  • Ben Keenan
  • Steve Kunsak
  • Brad Layman

And congratulations and well-done to all who had the confidence and strength of character to even attempt this audacious challenge!  Preliminary results have been posted to 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.

The ride began with an audax-style tour of Center City Philadelphia paced by Patrick and Cecilie Gaffney on their tandem.  There was a control at Independence Hall near the Liberty bell, where riders stopped to take pictures and have there cards stamped. Such a tour would have been impossible during normal hours, but at 4AM the roads were practically empty and the beautiful city could be admired without worrying about the traffic. 

Riders at the start heading past Philadelphia City Hall on the way to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall


Pat and Cecilie stamping brevet cards at the Independence Hall control

After that pleasant beginning, the party was over. The first day of the Endless Mountains series of brevets is among the most difficult of routes. Riders knuckled down to do the work. 

Unfortunatel, two riders DNFed because of crashes early in the event. At roughly mile 84 as the rain began, there was a stretch of road where the oil on the surface combined with the first mist of rain to make a downhill curve slick as ice. Two riders crashed here, Mimo DeMarco and Charles Coldwell, although several riders reported that they almost crashed.   Mimo seemed to be hurt worse and was evacuated by ambulance to the hospital, but turned out to have nothing broken and was released the next day. Mimo's bike didn't fare as well. The handlebars were broken along with other damage.


Charles Coldwell had road rash, and a de-trued rear wheel, but was concerned about some back  pain. He was evacuated by the organizer to the nearby train station where he returned home.

The rain got worse and worse into the evening of the first day, and the temperatures dropped. Several riders sought some impromptu rest during the first night as the cold rain wore on them. Travis Berry ditch napped for this purpose, sleeping in a lightweight bivvy. He gave it high marks for keeping him warm despite the wet conditions. What brand of bivvy was that Travis? I want one. 

Dawn Engstrom found a roof to shelter under, protected from the rain as she napped, but awoke to find she was at the muzzle of a shotgun. This shelter she found was the entryway roof of Marchio's Florist and Greenhouses,  which is pretty much the only civilized structure on the soul-sucking gravel climbs of Great Bend Turnpike. Dawn apparently tripped the security motion detector and the owner, who had been robbed several times recently, confronted the sleeping randonneuse with his 12-gauge. Quickly recognizing that he was dealing with a wayward traveler in need of help rather than a criminal, the owner unlocked the shop for Dawn to sleep in, got her a blanket and a warm drink. Thank you Marchio! 

Just a few more miles down the road, Ed Felker and Steven Kunsak chose the Flying J truckstop at the I81 interchange as their sleep spot. As a way to get warm, one of them doffed the wet cycling gear and lounged comfortably in a Flying J hoodie purchased at the gift shop.  

Of course, the goal for sheltering the first day is the overnight hotel in Owego, NY. Past history with the Endless Mountains events has shown time and time again that those riders that can somehow make it to the first overnight will generally finish the event. Control captain Bill Fischer with the assistance of Bill Olsen created a warm and welcoming reception for exhausted riders that were able to reach Owego. 

Speaking of questionable shelter, there was some pre-ride concern that the second overnight, the Aderi Hotel, was a sub-par sh*thole that would be too disgusting to be acceptable. As it turned out, most thought the place was rather nice (albeit a little run down) and the rooms adequately clean and comfortable. Control captain at the Alderi, Steve Schoenfelder and his SO Susan Arisumi, put together a top notch buffet of vegan chili (with meat/cheese option), rice, and other goodies for riders staying at the overnight. 

Steve (with Susan's help) put up a marvelous spread for riders at the Lewisburg control

Maybe the only real annoyance at the Alderi was the labyrinthine entrance navigation through the breezeway and around the pool. To mitigate any confusion, Steve channeled his inner graffiti artist and bombed the whole place with PA Rando signage.   

Some of the signage greeting riders at the Aderi

No riding in Central PA is "easy" but after the challenges of the first day, the second and third days of the EM1000 are more forgiving. Along with the moderating terrain, the weather also moderated. There was some wind initially, and the evening temperatures dipped to the 40s, but generally speaking day two and three offered a considerably better cycling experience. Finally, the riders were able to enjoy the beautiful scenery this region has to offer. 

First finisher Ben Keenan was a model of efficiency and perseverance, achieving his fast time not by riding fast so much, but rather by avoiding unnecessary downtime. This was his first event over 600K but he rode it like a seasoned grand brevet rider.  Kudos Ben!

First finisher Ben Keenan arrives at Chamounix

Dale Houck was riding well on day three when it began receiving credit card fraud alerts on his cell phone. As it turned out, some criminal had broken into his car parked at the start finish and stolen a backpack containing some of his credit cards. After some anxious moments, calls to  the police, insurance companies,  etc... Dale somehow was able to shake off this real world distraction and went back to riding strong and finished along side Misha Heller and Jose Blanco

Dale Houck: brevet rider with banana and bagel

Darren Bartels gave the organizers some concern at the first overnight when he slept almost three hours past the closing time, but Darren clearly knows what he's doing. His strong legs easily made up that deficit and Darren finished the overall event in good time with everyone else. 

The Volunteer team supporting this event was world-class pro. Each of the volunteers was an experienced grand brevet rider who took on the responsibility supporting a significant part of the event and handled their part of the job with cool efficiency.  I've never before seen an event with such a high quality group of volunteers. The main control captains were

  • Iwan Barankay -- start/finish, pre-ride
  • Bob Dye -- Shohola control
  • Bill Fischer -- Owego overnight
  • Steve Shoenfelder -- Lewisburg overnight
  • Greg Keenan -- Lamar control AND Pine Grove control

Assisting these captains were

  • Patrick and Cecilie Gaffney -- Bike inspection, pace-tandem for audax start, and Liberty Bell Control
  • Susan Arisumi -- Lewisburg control food chef
  • Brad Layman -- start/finish, pre-ride
  • Bill Olsen -- consultant to the  organizer

It's a truism that quality randonneuring events aren't possible without volunteers. And super-quality volunteers like these lead to super-quality events. Thank you one and all for your service.

Bill Olsen inspects the "unusual" facilities at the Aderi


Darren Bartels has an extensive ride report on Strava.

Ed Felker writes...

Great event, it was fun even when it was something else completely!

Big applause for all who rode, including our intrepid pre-riders and Chris and all the volunteers. All the best to Chip and Mimo as they recover.      

I've uploaded my photos to a Google Drive folder. Feel free to use with credit to me, other than the one of Steven and me that was taken by Darren!                                                                               

Brad Layman writes... 
Chris, thank you for organizing this grand brevet. Iwan, thank you for leading the organizing of the start and finish. Bill and Steve, thank you for being on call for us on the pre-ride. Thank you to everyone else who helped put this event together.

The challenging route made for an epic ride. I really enjoyed the climbing and scenery. My favorite section was the stretch between Liberty and Waterville. The slight downhill gradient, mountain and valley scenery, and quiet roads made that a highlight of an event that was full of great riding. On the pre-ride, Iwan and I were lucky that the rain we dealt with did not bring along cold temps or wind. Chapeau to the riders for dealing with the cold, wet, and windy conditions on their first day. It was a lot of fun greeting and sharing stories with the riders at the finish. Great ride to all!

Nine Finishers, Nine Postcards...

Next month, a much more accessible event for riders with less than liberty-bell-cracking stamina: the Fall Classic 150/200K at Cafe Metzler. This will be a special event as it also represents the first event for new RBA Chris Nadovich, as the EMLB1000K was the last event for previous RBA Andrew Mead who has served from 2016 through 2022. There will be festivities and amusing banter commemorating the passing of the RBA torch -- something you don't want to miss. It's your last chance for you to complain to Andrew about his courses, and your first chance to complain to Chris about his courses. Details for the 150K and the 200K are posted on the event website. We hope to see you there.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Endless Mountains Liberty Bell 1000K Course Notes *** UPDATE 2

UPDATE 2****

At 255.7 the cue mentions the wrong hotel name. The correct hotel  for the overnight in Owego, NY is given on the brevet card and the main cue. It's the “Quality Inn. There are other hotels nearby, so please make sure you go to the Quality Inn in Owego for your overnight. A bed will be waiting.

We have corrected this error and updated the cue sheet to version 12. As there have been no changes to the route itself other than cue note text, it's not necessary to re-download the RWGPS data if you only use the GPS data for turn navigation. 

In summary, at 115.5 you will need to climb past barriers to proceed on the closed NPS615/Flatbrook Rd, at 255.7 the correct hotel is the Quality Inn. And look out for wildlife.


UPDATE 1****

At  mile 115.5, at the bottom of the the steep descent of Old Mine Rd, there is a T right onto National Park Service Road 615 (Walpack   Flatbrook Road). This road is closed with concrete barriers because of some debris.  It seems that riders can just  squeeze past those barriers and keep riding with caution, alert for debris and other road problems.  Preriders report that the debris on the closed road is easily avoided by bikes (no so much for cars).  Since the option to ride NPS615 is viable, there is no change in the cue sheet or GPS route.

If you do not want to squeeze past the barriers and ride the closed section of NPS615, you could conceivably detour T-left back at mile 115.5, follow Old Mine Rd and end up back on course eventually as Old Mine merges back into NPS 615 after the blockage. That detour adds some climbs and bonus miles.

The preriders reported that there is considerable wildlife on the course, especially day 1 and day 2. There are always a lot of deer, as deer are forest "edge" creatures that like to hang out along roads. If you see one deer crossing the road, slow down. There might be another. 

You also have a good chance of seeing black bear. The forests near Old Mine Rd have a large population of this species. They are not typically aggressive or dangerous.

If you encounter a bear, this is what PA DCNR says you should do:

Alert the bear — If you see a bear, make some noise to alert the bear of your presence, giving it ample time and space to turn and leave. Avoid being caught up in the excitement of seeing a bear and inadvertently letting the bear get too close before surprising it.

Get back — If you have a close encounter, back away slowly while facing the bear so you always know where the bear is and how its reacting. Wild bears rarely attack people. Slowly backing away diffuses the situation and gives the bear room to flee.

Stay calm — encountering a bear can be startling, but try to remain calm. While moving away, avoid sudden movements and talk to help the bear keep track of your retreat. Don’t turn and run or attempt to climb a tree. Running may prompt the bear to give chase, and climbing a tree could be interpreted as a threat to any cubs that are present since cubs often climb trees when startled.

Pay attention — Bears will use all of their senses to figure out what you are. If they recognize you as a person, some may stand upright or move closer in their efforts to detect odors in the air currents. Don't consider this a sign of aggression. Once a bear identifies you, it will usually leave. If it begins to slowly approach you, face the bear, wave your arms wildly and shout while continuing to back away. The idea is to intimidate the bear into retreating. Swing a stick, or whatever is handy, if the bear gets close.

If suddenly surprised, some bears may feel threatened and give warning signs that they are uncomfortable. They may clack their jaws together or sway their head; those are signs for you to leave. Some bears have been known to charge to within a few feet when threatened. If this occurs, wave your arms wildly and shout at the bear.

Fight back — Black bear attacks are extremely rare. If a black bear attacks, fight back. Bears have been driven away when people have fought back with rocks, sticks, binoculars and even their bare hands.


Original Post ***

A pre-ride of the Endless Mountains Liberty Bell 1000K was conducted on September 9, by Iwan Barankay and Brad Layman. Based on this pre-ride the RWGPS route was  updated 2022-09-15 11:26:19 EDT and the cue sheet is now version 11. All information is on the event web page

Some GPS units may not have enough memory to swallow the full route. For the convenience of those who have such units, the course has been broken into three segments: day 1, day2, and day3. I strongly suggest that you load these three segments into your GPS unit (and check them by starting to nav with them) unless you are 100% sure your unit can handle the whole route. Some GPS gadgets don't complain when the route is downloaded -- but choke when you actually try to nav with the route. Please test thoroughly before you start riding. 

Also, we REQUIRE that you read through the cue sheet in advance, and carry a copy of the cue sheet with you during the ride, even if you intend to use GPS for navigation. The cue sheet is a fool-proof navigation backup. Also, it contains important safety warnings and suggestions for replenishment stops. You MUST read it and we strongly suggest you refer to it often during the ride so you aren't surprised by a hazard or miss an important rest stop. The latest cue sheet can be downloaded from here in landscape or portrait PDF, or CSV suitable for custom reformatting. Please print a copy of the cues in your favorite format and have it with you at the start. We will check that you have a cue sheet at bike inspection.

I wish all of you bon courage for attempting this difficult 1000K brevet. My experience says that if you can somehow get to the first overnight, and then get back on the bike to ride again day 2, you will complete the event without trouble. No matter how bad you feel going into the first overnight, really, really, really try to continue. Once you start riding again after some sleep, you will feel considerably better and I promise your confidence will return. Bonne route!


Chris Nadovich 

Eastern PA RBA designate

Course Notes

The following course notes were compiled by Iwan Barankay...

Following sections of the original famed Endless Mountains brevet of the past, this edition is starting and finishing in Philadelphia and is “shortened” to 1000km.

The EMLB1000K is a challenging route. Period. When a brevet is challenging it means something different compared to a challenging Café ride. It implies more forethought, planning, and better pacing. We have written some safety suggestions based on our pre-ride experience and posted them at the end. Ignore them at your peril.

A general note is that construction can spring up at any time especially in the initial and final miles as you ride in and out of Philadelphia. We have placed notes of constructions into the cue sheet but there can always be more. Another general note is concerning bridges. Bridges are slippery, they can have ruts where your wheel can get stuck in or they are dangerous in some other creative way. Please take your time over each and every bridge.

There are multiple gravel sections and the roads can be rough. 28mm or higher tire widths are recommended.

Day 1

The start is at Chamounix Mansions near the center of Philadelphia up on a hill surrounded by horse stables and a park. A very iconic place. As you roll out from the start you might notice some cars parked along the road with occupants doing, I guess, NYT cross-word puzzles.

Philadelphia is dark and quiet at 4am so you get to enjoy riding along some major boulevards without the noise and stress of traffic. Enjoy the tour of the city’s major sights.

Leaving Philadelphia takes you through easy routes along the Schuylkill River Trail and then through the Northern suburbs.

After you cross the Delaware you enter Hunterdon County. Milford is a good stop for a second breakfast either at the convenience store after the bridge or even better just a little further along the road on the left is the Bagel shop where we stopped for breakfast.

Next come some short climbs, reliably getting the steepest just before the summit on Butler Road (79.8), Buttermilk Bridge Road (82.5 and 82.9), Brass Castle Road (87.1 and 88.9). 

It is imperative to refuel at the Dales Market in Blairstown (105.9 - Valero near it has restrooms accessible from the outside) as there is a serious climb afterwards plus a long stretch with no services except for water at 114.1 until the Shohala control (149.3).

After Shohala you ride along the gorgeous Lackawaxen river then refuel again at the Turkey Hill in Honesdale (177.8m). There are many challenging climbs on this route but perhaps the most challenging comes after mile 201 where Old Newburg Tpk becomes a steep dirt road that does not seem to end. One of us unclipped and walked the steepest section of this climb. No shame in that. After that climb the final 40miles along the Susquehanna River to the first overnight are quite easy. Food, drinks, and a room will be ready for you!

Day 2 

The route continues along the Susquehanna River but you might not get to see it as this section features long barrier walls to prevent flooding. (Some communities did not want the walls and chose to keep getting flooded instead. Sigh.)

There is a postcard control in Towanda (292.6) and opposite of it is a Dandy Mart with a sandwich counter and a nice staff. Note: Behind it down by the river is a very nice and quiet picnic shelter. We had a wonderful lunch stop complete with powernap there.

The climb after Canton (318) is long but not that hard considering. McConnell’s Country Store (control at mile 361) makes great burgers on delicious toasted Kaiser rolls. The challenging climb of the day is up Bull Run Road (413.8) before a long descent to the overnight control. Be careful on the stretch to the control as it is a lively road. Make use of the wide shoulder. Our charming and attractive volunteers await you at the Hotel in Lewisburg for the second overnight.

Day 3

The third day is the easiest in many ways. Services and food options become more frequent and you get to enjoy rolling hills where with some luck you can build up enough momentum on the downhills to go up most of the next hills. You get to practice that maneuver some thirty times (actually we lost count) This is perhaps the section with the best views!

The section after the Smoketown control east of Lancaster (554) is a little challenging as it is busy with lots of horse poop on the shoulder. Be careful when drinking from your bottles. After that comes another stunning section towards Phoenixville followed by the Schuylkill River Trail. The moon will have set by the time you reach it and the trail will be pitch black! We rode two abreast to illuminate the path and we encountered a lot of branches, animals, and walkers appearing out of the dark. Always be prepared to stop.

Entering into Philadelphia is a bit of a shock with lively traffic and absent minded (mindless?) drivers. One last push up a hill and you will be back to where you started two days ago at the Chamounix Mansion.

Safety Notes

***Don’t skip reading this section.***

  1. This is not a race.

  2. Use lights and reflective equipment as soon as visibility is poor.

  3. Take extra care on each and every bridge.

  4. Stop at all stop signs and look left and right twice to better judge the speed of oncoming traffic.

  5. At any intersection assume that none of the drivers have noticed or seen you.

  6. Ride single file on busy roads.

  7. Don’t text and ride. You can text much better and faster when stopped preferably at the control: I timed it. We want to avoid any accidents related to distracted riding.

  8. If you are sleepy pull over to drink, eat, have caffeine, take a nap etc. Do not risk falling asleep when cycling.

  9. When you need to stop get off the road.

  10. If you are in trouble, try rolling into the next control. Call or text us at the number on the brevet card. Don’t just vanish. We worry about you, and we want you to have a successful event.


The night before the event will be short with crappy sleep. That is an empirical fact. Make sure to get as much sleep as possible the week leading up to the event. Starting September 15 or thereabouts stop drinking afternoon coffee/tea and don’t drink (too much) in the evenings so you have proper and high-quality sleep. This will make the event a much more enjoyable experience!

Check your bike

You need to give your bike a good look especially the brakes. Many of you either did a lot of long routes this year already or none. In either case double-check the bike. Consider getting fresh brake pads, cables and deal with the spongy feeling of your hydraulic brakes by bleeding them. There are many descends with twists and steep sections. This is not a race so take it easy on the downhills to avoid mishaps like on the Coulee Challenge where a rider somersaulted over a side-railing when coming too hot into a corner.


Lighting and reflective gear are particularly important on this route as you will have considerable night-riding. You know the drill: lights front and rear, reflective vests, and ankle straps are a must. For this ride we REQUIRE TWO rear and front lights. The second light can be a backup of lesser quality than the main lights, but you MUST have a backup for both head and tail. Lights should be afixed to the bike directly, not clipped to a webbing loop on a bag. 

Day one starts at 4am. Sunrise is at 6:25am and sunset is at 7:35pm. There will 255m and a little over 18,000ft of climbing on day one but the hills are front loaded and the last 40m are downhill and relatively flat. In any case the predicted arrival will be at 2am -1/+3h (!) so your lighting must last 10-13 hours on day one alone. Of course, if you have a dynamo, you are in great shape, but you still must bring back-up lights in case that dyno fails – as it did for PA SR rider Amy Lippe half-way during her Transcontinental Race across Europe this year.

On the pre-ride I had two battery run front lights on my handlebars and three rear lights, of which two were fixed to the frame and one to the helmet. If you are in the market for battery run lights, there has been a productive discussion about it on the RUSA discussion board here. A good model is the Fenix BC26R ($90) as it has a 5000mAh battery and will last a long time. A good alternative, of which I have two, is the Light & Motion Rando 500 ($72). It also has a large battery plus it can be run on low whilst charging at the same time.

Also consider the benefits of a USB power bank not just as a fail-safe but as a great way to save time: it allows you to charge your lights and any other devices whilst riding. I like to charge up my lights and phone on the ride so I reach the overnight fully charged leaving me with just the battery to charge. This does away with hunting for outlets and dealing with all your devices at the end and at the beginning of each ride saving you about 20-30minutes (believe me I timed riders with rando-brains trying to understand how electricity works). Anker makes good quality USB power banks like this $26 Micro-USB 10000mAh (180 g / 6.3 oz) or this one with fast-charging USB-C ($43).


We highlighted available gas stations, shops, and cafes along the route. You see them at good intervals but there is about a 40m stretch on day one without anything other than a public restroom with water. We will serve breakfast and dinner at the start/finish and the overnights and will be stationed at some secret controls and can provide some water but make sure to plan to get resupplied at the controls and stores. Self-sufficiency is paramount.

Make sure you have all the tools to retighten each screw and bolt and restock your repair kits. In case you installed something new on your bike double-check you have the tool for it on your multitool. A common trick is to wrap some electric tape around the pump or CO2 cartridge: it will come in handy for something or someone at some point.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

2022 Rusty Rail 200K Ride Report

Eight intrepid riders clipped-in to accept the challenge of the Rusty Rail 200 on Saturday,  conquering four epic ascents and navigating through an impromptu detour on Sawmill Road with aplomb.  The weather was near perfect with minimal headwinds and comfortable temperatures allowing all riders to complete the ride in short order.

Newly-minted randonneurs Nick and Jared

The climb up Stone Mountain

It is not too early to register for the PA Randonneurs Fall Classic on October 15th, featuring 150K and 200K options of the Brandywine: Horses, Houses, and Hollows.  The ride starts and ends at Café Metzler in Atglen, PA.