Thursday, November 24, 2022

R-YARRR 200K Pre-Ride Course Notes ***Updated

*** Update 1

Another Pre-ride was conducted on 26 Nov by Cecilie and Patrick Gaffney. Some minor comments were added to the course.  RWGPS was update 2022-11-28 14:35:00 EST, and the cues are Version 7. Download the latest. Here are Patrick and Cecilie's course notes.

It was a tough course.  Definitely one that looks much easier on paper.  We were mostly slowed by technical issues (two flats, both of our wahoos crashing on numerous occasions, and a bike that could probably use a tune up).  Similar to the Pagoda 200, there seemed to be a lot of stop signs,  where stopping really was necessary, at the bottom of descents, which  reduces our magic tandem powers and becomes frustrating; making it difficult for us to get into a good rhythm.  I am sure it won't be as           
annoying for singles.                                           

  • The right turn onto Hollow Road - there was a fair amount of gravel and a shallow cut out in the road where some utility work may be going on.  Very easy to see and navigate, but it is early enough in the ride where it might be a group situation and could get a little sketchy.  
  • I noticed a good sized pothole in the left turn onto Summit Ave @ mile 20.2   
  • Along with the Milford Market there is also Bridge Street Bagel a little off course.  We stopped there for a breakfast sandwich, which might be worth mentioning on the cue.
  • When leaving Pottstown I believe there is a protected bike lane on Industrial road that goes up to the bridge, on the river side of the road  (maybe part of the SRT?).  I think you can get on it where Moser Road  becomes Industrial Road.  After dark some people may want to use this?  We  did not, and some of the cars that passed us on the road seemed annoyed   that we weren't on the path.

[Ed: Patrick is talking about mile 113. There is a SRT segment accessible on the left.  It begins at the traffic-light triangle intersection between Moser and Industrial Rd, just before the sewer plant on the right and the sports dome on the left. You might consider crossing over (cautiously) using it as it leads directly to the Keim St bridge and puts you in a "protected" space (look out for broken glass and barriers "protecting" you there), and if you don't use it, auto drivers might give you the stink eye, but personally I don't like the awkward left turn required to get on it. You could just as well stay right on Industrial and cross over (cautiously) when you reach Keim St.  If you decide to cross over earlier rather than later, maybe it's safest to do it at the intersection: merge onto left-turn lane but continue straight onto the sidewalk on the left side of the rode which will become two lane bike path.]

Optional cross over to SRT at mile 181.9

  • The usual large amounts of glass and crap on the outbound  side of the 25th street bridge. 
  • In our opinion the omission of the [bike] paths doesn't change too much.              

*** Original Post

A pre-ride of the Rotated Yet Another River to River Ride, Port Providence Start, was conducted on 23 November by Chris Nadovich. As a result of the pre-ride, several small course updates and typo corrections were made to the cues. The latest cue sheet is Version 5, and the latest RWGPS route was modified 2022-11-24 11:13:18 EST. Both are available online.

Spectacular holiday display through Phoenixville at the finish

Albeit a tad chilly to start out, with temperatures in the mid 20's, as the sun rose the frost evaporated and it became a great day to be on the bike. This YARRR route has always been a little too hot in the summer; as a Winter route the warmth is a lot more welcome.

This edition of the YARRR has been rotated so that the start/finish is now at Port Providence, near Phoenixville. I hope that this change makes this classic route more accessible to riders from Philly and the nearby suburbs.  The finish in Port Providence has the advantage of allowing a finish gathering in the warmth of Fitzwater Station pub, rather than at the previous outdoor pavilion.  The route also has been altered to eliminate virtually all of the bike trails, routing instead on nearby roads. This makes the course a little more Winter friendly.  

These changes have resulted in a route that is significantly tougher than the original YARRR, which was not at all easy. Specifically, the new routing from Rieglesville to Easton includes a full-frontal attack on South Mountain, including Stouts Valley Rd and Cider Mill Rd. After humping yet again over South Mountain, this time via Lower Saucon Rd (always a favorite), there is the newly added, and glorious descent on Applebutter Rd into Hellertown. But now, instead of the flat, easy Saucon Rail Trail, the course threads throuh Hellertown via back streets, and then skirts the Kohlberg and Flint Hill via Apples Church and Taylor Rd, which are significantly "rolling".  

Another challenging aspect of the route changes combined with the proximity to the Winter Solstice is that the southwestern course leg is aimed directly toward the setting sun. Don't forget your sunglasses and be very careful to look twice for traffic. The sun glare can make it difficult to see an oncoming car. 

Night Riding

Many riders will be unable to complete this difficult course in the daylight and may need to ride one or more hours after sunset. Please be prepared for night riding. Darkness is only half the problem. It gets cold quickly in the Winter after sunset. Have extra layers. Batteries tend to drain quicker too. If you use batteries for lighting, make sure they are fully charged and you have extras.  Reflective outer wear is a must. I recommend a full reflective vest rather than a Sam Browne sash -- the full vest acts as another wind-shell warming layer. Make sure you wear your reflective vest on the outside of your jacket! And don't forget the ankle bands outside the booties. 

Finishing after dark provides a special treat at the end. You will emerge from the suburban darkness onto the main street of Phoenixville, with it's spectacular holiday light display. Happy Holidays!

Look out for cars, pedestrians, and other distracted creatures when riding through Phoenixville at night

Historical Note

The YARRR (Yet Another River to River Ride) has a long history, perhaps longer than my own history as a bike rider. My first encounter with the concept of a bike ride between the Delaware and Schuylkill was when Pennsylvania Bicycle Club organized the River to River Century back in the early 1980s. The R2R  was their second yearly club century, paired with the popular Lake Nokamixon Century. Because of limited resources, PBC eventually dropped the River to River Century from the schedule, but a few years later the Heritage Conservancy revived the same route as a PA Route 113 Heritage Corridor Century between Phoenixville and Tinicum. Their ride continues today, but (because of limited resources) the Conservancy shortened it to a metric century that now doesn't reach both rivers.  Independent of these club centuries, Rick Carpenter created a River to River permanent that followed a similar path.  Upon riding Rick's perm one time, which had somewhat 'utilitarian' routing that seemed to focus on donut shops and former RC homesteads.  I thought I could create a prettier route without loss of calories. Thus was born yet another River to River ride. This new "YARRR" connected Easton (Delaware and Lehigh) with the Schuylkill at Phoenixville and Pottstown using the best parts of all the previous River to River courses.


Chris Nadovich

RBA, Eastern PA

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Reflective Vest Order

Many of you ordered a reflective vest through PA Randonneurs, paying $60 in advance (plus optional shipping). You may be wondering what happened to that order and to your money.

The reflective vests ordered through PA Randonneurs were part of a larger order placed by RUSA on behalf of itself and various clubs. Unfortunately, the vest vendor, VOMax, went missing, never delivering any vests. All funds paid to the vendor for this order are lost, with no hope of recovery. This includes all funds paid by RUSA, other clubs, and by PA Randonnours.

You trusted PA Randonneurs with your money for this vest order. Although it's sad that these funds were lost, PA Randonneurs does not want to lose your trust also. Therefore we must make you whole for your lost funds.  

There are two refund options for you to choose from.

Option 1) Your PA Rando membership will be extended three years to repay you for your loss. This is the default option. If we don't hear from you, this is what we will do. If you paid extra for vest shipping, we will extend your membership four years. PA Rando club membership is a donation to support randonneuring in Eastern PA and gives you discounts for PA Rando events.

Option 2) Alternatively, we will use club funds to give your money back through PayPal. If you would like to be repaid in this way, please message me and confirm your PayPal payment email address for the refund.  I will process your payment as soon as I hear from you.

Please don't hesitate to ask for the PayPal refund option if this is what you want to do. Otherwise,
your membership renewal date will be automatically extended and PA Rando thanks you for your donation.

On behalf of PA Randonneurs I apologize for this unfortunate situation.

Chris Nadovich
RBA Eastern PA

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Tscheschter Kaundi 200K Ride Report

There was an incredible turnout of 46 riders, with 45 riders completing the course within the time limit. Thank you to all who helped spread the word about this event.

Camp Linden Rd along the Brandywine (photo by Johannes Burge)

We couldn't have asked for better weather for a November ride. The temperature started around 60 degrees as riders passed through the city. They encountered fog in the creek valleys of Delaware County but by the time they arrived on the quiet roads beyond the reach of the city, the sun came out and cleared the fog away. Temperatures reached the upper 70s by late afternoon.

Riders encountered patches of dense fog in Delaware County (photo taken by CJ Arayata)

12 riders completed their first brevet: Nicole Aptekar, John Falcone, Annie Gibson, Fran Hammond, Steve Horvath, Mackenzie King, Max Liang, Sophia Lofaso, Phil Luong, Frank Markey, Andrew Miller, and Daniel Oh. Chapeau to these new randonneurs! Every rider finished with plenty of time to spare.

Tim Gilligan cruised through and set a new course record with a time of 7:33. This was his first 200k but it must have felt like a more pleasant distance compared to his first brevet, which was the 24-hour flĂȘche earlier this year.

Johannes Burge at the Sheeder-Hall Bridge control (photo by Alex Miklasevich)
Riders reach the South Street Bridge control (video by Iwan Barankay)

The Tscheschter Kaundi course is meant to embody the randonnĂ©e, or countryside ramble. After a short ride into Center City Philadelphia, riders eventually found themselves far away from the hustle and bustle and on quiet roads surrounded by scenic landscapes. They encountered two controls located on bridges: one that brought riders face-to-face with the city, and a historic covered bridge where all that can be heard is the peaceful trickle of French Creek. In addition to the scenery changing, the traffic on the road even changed as riders passed horse-and-buggies in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. 

Vadim Gritsus encountered a different kind of traffic (photo by Mario Claussnitzer)
Riders on Apple Grove Rd (photo by CJ Arayata)

A special thank you to George Metzler for opening Cafe Metzler for us. The Cafe is especially helpful on this ride because it provides a friendly spot to recharge at the farthest point from the start/finish. This is part of what makes this event great for riders new to randonneuring. George even opened the cafe the weekend prior to the event for the pre-riders. Along with the October events, he has hosted many randos this season.

Keean Mansour and Ryan Stanis depart Cafe Metzler and begin their attempt to ride back to Philly hands free (photo by CJ Arayata)
CJ displays his stamp from the Cafe Metzler control

Another special thank you to Mackenzie King and Cadence Cycling for opening the shop bathroom and cafe for us at the start. 

Riders gather in front of Cadence Cycling for the start (photo by Ken Cappel)

This ride would not be possible without the support of volunteers. In addition to George's and Mackenzie's help, Ben Keenan participated in the pre-ride and helped with the start control; Iwan Barankay helped with the South St Bridge control; Amanda Jones-Layman helped with the South St Bridge and finish controls; Ivan Umble helped George at Cafe Metzler; Phil Mitch helped with the finish control; and Chris Nadovich provided help with the planning and organizing of the event. Travis Berry completed a pre-ride with the intention of volunteering, but unfortunately fell ill before the event.

Ben Thompson being greeted by Bill Scanga and Pat Gaffney at the finish

The Landing Kitchen made for a great finish as riders and friends gathered to share stories. Thanks to the weather, we did not need to warm up around the fireplaces like we did last year.

Max Liang is checked-in at the finish by volunteers Amanda Jones-Layman and Phil Mitch
Bob Olsen and Gilbert Torres arrive at the finish, along with Dawn Engstrom, Nigel Greene, Ello Shertzer, CJ Arayata, and just out of picture: Erik Wright and Phil Luong

Chris Nadovich, Sophia Lofaso, and Nicole Aptekar reach the finish

Vadim Gritsus writes:

Thank you for organizing a great event. This is by far one of the gentlest PA courses and nice weather did not hurt either. The highlight was a smooth finish on the bike path along Schuylkill River. Great ride and thank you for all the support!

CJ Arayata writes:

Thanks so much for arranging such beautiful weather for yesterday's brevet! I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting many of my old Brandywine Bicycle Club / West Chester Cycling Club stomping grounds, stopping for a rest at *the* Cafe Metzler (now with official brevet card stamp!), enjoying the vast openness of rural riding, and soaking in the scenery and fall colors, It was fun to catch up with the PA Rando veterans and meet many new faces on the same ride. Seeing the "new generation" donning the club colors brought a smile to my face!

Thanks to you, George, Iwan, and Amanda for putting on a great event yesterday. I really appreciate everything you and Iwan are doing to help sustain and grow out our Philadelphia rando community, so another big THANK YOU for running these shows so I don't have to :). My photos from yesterday are here

I recommend checking out CJ's photo album linked above. His photos form a ride report of their own.

Chris Nadovich writes

A great day on the bike with great weather. Spent time catching up with old friends and making some new friends. The scenery was spectacular -- almost more of a Fall Classic than the so-named "classic" last month. 

The day was extra sweet for me (as freshly minted RBA) because Brad Layman ran the whole show and did a flawless job of it. Excellent work Brad! With professional-quality volunteers like Brad organizing great events with expanded attendance, the future of our sport is secure here in Eastern PA.

Preliminary results for the brevet are posted. Please review the results and inform me if anything needs to be corrected. The results will be submitted to RUSA for final verification.

Up next is the Rotated Y.A.R.R. 200k on December 3. The ride will start and finish just outside Philadelphia at the Port Providence trailhead of the Schuylkill River Trail. 

Also, be on the lookout for a new SR series with starts and finishes in Philadelphia in 2023. The dates are on the club website but the details are still in the works. Two of the longer rides (400 and 600) will be paired with a 200k.

Brad Layman
Event Organizer