The 2022 Fall Classic is in the books. Eight riders clipped in for the 150k and navigated the route within time. Of the fifteen riders tackling the longer, and more challenging 200k route fourteen finished in the permitted time; one rider suffered a ride-ending mechanical and was forced to retire early. Results for the 150K and 200K have been posted on the website and will be submitted to RUSA after review. Please check your result and let me know if it doesn't align with your recollections.
|Pre-ride Briefing as the sun rises|
Early fall was looking quite summer-like. Rain and cooler temps a few days prior magically transformed the route and brought out the splendor of fall colors for riders to enjoy. Chilly morning temps offered a good lesson in wardrobe selection for the newcomers, but by early afternoon clear skies and brilliant sunshine had warmed to the low 70s. It's hard to ask for better conditions for a fall ride. Brats fresh off the grill and plenty of cold beverages awaited riders at the finish. Everyone looked pleased.
First 150k finisher Gary Rollman snuck in just as the cooks were sneaking a peak at the Phillies which kick-started the grill into action. The tail of the 150 field rolled in just ahead of 200k first finisher Ben Keenan which kept George busy on the grill.
Iwan Barankay was the true rando recruiter, bringing his son Tibor Brankay and friend Shawn Mays for a first-time experience.
"Big thanks to the organizer Andrew and the host George for staging such a wonderful event. I really appreciated to be able to come to this start/finish location as it is such an iconic and wonderful spot. Thank you again George for allowing us to crash your yard and for the delicious meal at the finish! Next I need to commend you both for the route. As you know I brough two novice riders who also were minors so this route was just perfect for them. Amazing scenery, quiet roads yet in excellent condition, and only very short sections on busy roads. It is also a good time to start doing brevets in PA as I feel car drivers have become much more accommodating.
I came with my son Tibor and his friend Shawn who are both very fit and strong middle-distance runners from the cutthroat Philly Public School Running League but of course are not familiar with riding such long events. We had an epic time: hard, cold hours in the morning but in amazing scenery; wonderful breakfast at the Centerville bakery; and, of course, the ever so gentle no-BS hills of Pennsylvania. Why is it that one ends up feeling that somehow one ascended more than descended during the course of the day? What stayed with us of course was the amazing weather, views, the autumnal colors, and the wonderful warm welcome at the finish. Many thanks!
|Important Rando Lessons: Remember to Eat|
Tibor had this to say: “This was my first ride and I enjoyed the way that the brevet system is set up. I had never done anything like that before, and I thought it was very fun the way that we had to get something at each of the stops. I also really liked the way that it was a challenging route, but that we could take breaks and eat or drink something good at one of these places out there, which made the event very enjoyable. One thing that was very challenging for me was the hills, especially on my bike, which made every hill very tough to get up, but I was able to finish which was very rewarding."
Shawn reflected: "The bike ride was a splendid experience with the views and experiences all throughout the ride. It was a pleasure seeing all the people and amazing things western Pennsylvania has to offer seeing that I come from the city of Philadelphia. It was hard at times but would soon be reminded to just enjoy the route and not race to the finish line. Seeing this was my first Tour and longest ride to date it was a time to remember.”
|Shawn, Iwan, & Tibor at the finish|
Rick Lentz sent this after the ride:
Great job today. I enjoyed my re-visit to PA Rando country. Good seeing several folks from years past. Thank you all for putting on a nice event at the Café.
I leap-frogged all day today with five significantly better riders than me who clearly waited up for me at the end. I had a pre-game plan to suffer easy spin on the hills and try to make up time on the descents and shortening the controle stops and consequently minimizing conversation there. These guys always caught me and disappeared up the road only to have me head out of the subsequent controles before them. In the end they rode off ahead of me a few miles after the low grade trail. Then with maybe 10 or so miles to go they not only made a pact to stick together, they slowed up and attempted to pull me in. I just couldn’t hang with them on the climbs, but I worked my butt off trying and then again working the descents to earn my keep. David Coccagna was the only one I knew in that group because he did a NJ 400 route I volunteered where I gave him an ice sock on a wicked hot day. No matter the reason, these fine gentlemen were a class act guiding me in. I sure appreciated that.
This isn't Rick's first time with PA Randonneurs. He's ridden several Flèches over the years and was one of three riders who completed the memorable December brevet in which Cafe Metzler debuted. Bill Fischer and Len Zawodniak were also among the finishers in that memorable brevet. All three were happy that we skipped the snow this time.
|Len in his easy chair|
This year's Fall Classic marked another milestone event in the annals of PA Randonneurs history: the passing of the RBA torch. Chris Nadovich became the third RBA of the Eastern Pennsylvania Region effective October 1. He and my co-organizer George Metzler planned a little extra festivity (mostly unbeknownst to me) for the event. There was cake. There was ceremony. In the true French tradition of the sport, Ben Keenan presented a bottle of wine in honor of the occasion! (Thank you, Ben) There was even an official brevet card highlighting six years at the helm.
|The RBAs of PA Randonneurs|
|Let them eat cake|
The club is in good hands. Chris is fully vetted and ready to go. RUSA's normal approach with new RBAs is to limit them to 200 and 300k events. Both Tom Rosenbauer and I remain involved to offer guidance, when asked. Chris has been taking on more of the administrative tasks (apprenticeship). He's ready to go and PA Randonneurs will continue its planned SR series and 1000k in 2023 as usual. It's an exciting future.
Next up is a second running of the Tscheschter Kaundi brevet on November 5. Organized by Brad Layman, the inaugural event was very popular with the outdoor finish at Cadence Cycling Center in Manyaunk. Details are on the website. Registration is open through November 2.
- Former RBA & event co-organizer