Friday, December 23, 2022

Thanks to our 2022 Volunteers, Best Wishes for the New Year

Ahh, to see lots of people riding big brevets again! Dare I say that the pandemic is over? For the first time since 2019 we ran a full slate events, 18 in total, including a 1000K. There were 295 total finishes by 152 different riders collectively riding over 80,000 Km. The last time we had more rider finishes was 2018. I don’t know if the pandemic is “really” over, but people are riding brevets again, that’s for sure. I hope this excellent trend will continue in 2023. As this will be a PBP year, I’m pretty confident it will.

Another trend, which I also think is a good one, is that more and more of our events are starting in or near Center City Philadelphia. This leads to more participation by riders from Philly, but also now we are seeing riders from the New York City and other metro areas at our events. I think a Philly area start makes an event more accessible to riders in nearby cities, especially to those who prefer to travel without using a car. 

The Covered Bridges 200K in March of 2022 was the best-attended PA Rando brevet ever. There were 55 finishers in this event, which started and ended in Manayunk. An epic course, the brainchild of Brad Layman, crossed ten covered bridges in a scenic tour of Bucks County. There were waffles at the start near Cadence Cycles, a “gourmet” brunch control at Tinicum Park, and a finish at Manayunk Brewing Company. Of course, such Philly area starts wouldn’t be possible without continuing efforts and willingness of the Philly volunteers (specifically Iwan Barankay, Pat Gaffney, Ben Keenan and Brad Layman, and the folks at Keystone and Cadence Cycles) to support events in or near Center City. Thank you!

In contrast to events that start in the city, the 2022 edition of the PA Randonneurs SR series was hosted in an extremely rural venue, Flint Hill Farm. This was possibly the most unusual start-finish venue we have ever used. Thanks go to Kathleen Fields, president of Flint Hill Farm Education Center, who hosted us and wrangled her horses, cows, and chickens to safety as our bike riders passed through the farm. Congratulations to the nine SR series finishers who rode the tough SR courses, with that grueling finish climb up Flint Hill to the farm at its summit. 


Travis Berry

Cecilie Gaffney (5)

Patrick Gaffney (5)

Benjamin Keenan

Brad Layman (2)

Amy Lippe

Bill Scanga

Ryan J Stanis (2)

Benjamin Thompson

The SR Finisher received commemorative laser-cut Super Randonneur Plaques courtesy of Nicole Aptekar, who is an artist living in Brooklyn with the necessary lazer skillz. In fact, Nicole personally owns a very excellent laser and was nice enough to cut the PA Rando SR plaques for us this year. As a newly minted randonneur who's first 200K was the TK in November, Nicole looks forward to riding longer events and earning one of these plaques in the future.

Another good trend to emerge in 2022 was the return of the grand brevet in the form of the Endless Mountains Liberty Bell 1000K. Congratulations to the nine EMLB 1000K finishers. Tough riders all:


Iwan Barankay

Darren Bartels

Jose Blanco

Ed Felker

Misha Heller

Dale Houck

Ben Keenan

Steve Kunsak

Brad Layman

The last time PA Rando ran an event longer than 600K was in 2013. When planning the 1000K for 2022, there was concern about whether PA Rando volunteers still had “what it took” to run such a big, multi-day event. Such concern was unfounded. As it turned out, many great people volunteered to support the event, and the organization was excellent. Significantly, these volunteers included some veteran randonneurs who stepped up to support the overnight controls in far-away towns, and who performed the lonely (but essential) duty to monitor riders on the course.

We continue to be a strong randonneuring club. Without a doubt this is a result of a large collective of volunteers who organize and host events, create and check routes and cue sheets, staff controls, and/or prepare/serve food. Please be sure to thank them the next time you see them. In 2022 our crew of event volunteers included: 


CJ Arayata

Susan Arisumi,

Jimmy Aspras

Mike Anderson

Iwan Barankay

Travis Berry

Gavin Biebuyck

Jim Bondra

Cadence Cycles

Bob Dye

Woody Felice

Bill Fischer

Cecilie Gaffney

Patrick Gaffney

Oleksiy Guslyakov

Ben Keenan

Greg Keenan

Sean Keesler

Keystone Cycles

Mackenzie King

Amanda Jones-Layman

Brad Layman

Jeff Lippincott

Ag Manta

Nick Manta

Matt McLoone

Andrew Mead

George Metzler

Phil Mitch

Andrea Mules

Chris Nadovich

Bill Olsen

Zach Rachell

George Retseck

Tom Rosenbauer

Steve Schoenfelder

Ryan Stanis,

Ivan Umble

Len Zawadniack

Iwan Barankay and Brad Layman expanded their role as event organizers in 2022. Organizing a brevet is no small task and the future of our club depends on volunteers “leveling up” to the rank of organizer. Along with Iwan and Brad, Steve Schoenfelder reprised his organizer duty for the Rusty Rail 200K, and Bill Fischer ran the 2022 edition of Hawk’s Nest and the Portland Opulent Outhouse 200Ks. Both Bill and Steve also ran overnight controls on the 1000K.

Leadership roles in the club were somewhat rearranged in 2022. Andrew Mead stepped down as RBA, with yours truly, Chris Nadovich, taking over the RBA job. Andrew continues to serve on the PA Rando board, along with Chris and another RBA emeritus, Tom Rosenbauer. The passing of the RBA baton was celebrated at the October “Fall Classic” event held at Cafe Metzler. There was a cake decorated with the PA Rando keystone, along with gifts for retiring RBA Andrew Mead that included an engraved mug and a brevet card enumerating Andrew’s accomplishments during his tenure. Thank you Andrew for serving the club all these years. Our club remains strong because of your dedicated work. I hope I can live up to the standard that Tom and you have set.

As the new RBA, I will be depending on a high level of volunteer support in 2023, as we have a full slate of brevets scheduled for the coming year. Please help. Contact me, or any organizer, if you can help us at any level.

The full calendar of events, available online at, includes the Endless Mountains 1000K, a complete SR series with all new routes, a Fleche, and our R-12 series of monthly 200k’s. Current plans are to stage the SR series and the 1000K out of Chamounix Carriage House in Philadelphia. The Fleche is on the schedule for early April. It’s unclear at this time where the finish will be located. Alternative finish venues are being explored and will be announced as soon as settled. Follow the website, message board, and other social media outlets for the latest updates.

It promises to be another exciting year. I look forward to seeing you on the road, and by my side volunteering to help run events!

Chris Nadovich,

Eastern PA RBA

December 2022

Sunday, December 4, 2022

R-YARRR Ride report

It was a brisk and cool morning. The sun was rising behind the stripped-down trees to catch the morning mist rising from the Schuylkill just so. A rabbit hushed across the trail and a squirrel dug up a nut. Wait, that was a different morning.

Instead, fifteen brave randonneurs, some novices along with the usual suspects hailing from around Philadelphia, Reading, Brooklyn, and New Jersey, gathered on Saturday at the Port Providence Schuylkill River Trail parking lot in rather wet conditions minutes before sunrise. Twelve riders finished the brevet in addition to three pre-riders. Results 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.

First of many downpours right at the start

After a short rider meeting, in which I implored riders not to do anything stupid, the rain started in earnest just to make sure that we did not get our hopes up too much about the weather.  There were also positive surprises in that the wind wasn’t as gusty as predicted. The wet weather and the hills which wouldn’t want to roll were the themes of the day.  I lost count of the number of flats reported from the peloton.

The counter-clockwise Rotated-Yet-Another-River-to-River route passed by the Upper Tinicum Lutheran church where riders were asked to redraw a design with wet and clammy hands. It was a gorgeous display of dexterity and artistry - guess which of these drawings is by a German civil engineer.

Randonneur cartoons

After a second bagel breakfast in Milford, our newly minted RBA Chris Nadovich awaited our riders at the National Canal Museum with hot soup, coffee, and PayDay bars.

I think all the Wawas and Coffee places were visited by the riders on the route back via Hellertown, Coopersburg, and Pottsdown. A point of discussion was whether the muddy dirty trails would have been better than the constant hills but all riders remained faithful to the route. After all, hills keep you warm and focused. Amie Gibson, on her second brevet, got unlucky on a descent and had to abandon near Bethlehem after further mechanicals. Joshua Han and Daniel Oh also struggled with numerous flats and ran out of time and thus abandoned shortly after the Canal Museum control. The remaining twelve riders completed the course to be greeted by our walrus-moustached Pat Gaffney at the Fitzwater Station pub for some well-deserved drinks and grub. 

The first finisher was Ben Keenan in 10:59, a time testament to the tough conditions of the day, followed by Max Atkins for his first-ever brevet. Congratulations Max! I wish I could say to Max that all our other brevets are downhill with pleasant weather but where would be the fun in that? The vegan riders stayed but briefly at the pub for lack of food options but I was pleased to catch up with all the other riders just as Bob Olsen finished in 12:48. In the end, riders completed the ride within a short span of time which made for a nice gathering at the finish control.

Fitzwater Station contrĂ´le

Ben Keenan writes: 

"Rain, hills, and 126 miles with people crazy and great enough to head out into it undaunted. It was a grand adventure! Thanks a million to everyone that shared it, and special thanks to Iwan, Chris and Pat for volunteering to make it possible. There is a solitude in the countryside this time of year that is as beautiful as a day of spring riding just different. RIP to my trusty Suntour downtube shifters that after countless rides and years of loyal service gave up the ghost about 15 miles in so the rear derailer slipped and stuck in high. Adjusting the limiting screw left two gear selections, 46-15 and 34-15, which proved more or less doable with a special combination of zigzagging/walking/complaining bitterly and feeling sorry for myself up the numerous hills. Special note to Max Atkins for pulling me along the later miles and to Annie Gibson for a really excellent ride until having to deal with a crash. Hope you are healing up quickly Annie, and hope to see everyone on the road before much time passes in the new year!"

Ello Shertzer reported: 

"Thank you so much for organizing this ride!! I was pretty apprehensive about the weather going into it, and rightfully so—I think we only got a couple hours of respite from the rain in the afternoon before getting completely dumped on again. When we stopped in Milford and got bagels, getting back on the bike in a totally soaked kit was quite difficult, and I remember asking Erik to tell me that I could do it—I was fully shivering and teeth uncontrollably chattering. But once we started pedaling again, I was able to warm up pretty quickly. It was certainly rough at times, but I found myself looking forward to climbs for the warmth that they provided! And given the amount of climbing on this route, it was pretty amazing to actually want to continue climbing!

Overall I had a blast riding with my friends all day! We joked about silly things to take our minds off of the rainy misery, proclaimed our love for Wawa, and appreciated some really scenic moments. It was a lovely day of camaraderie and positive vibes.

Big thanks also to Chris for his hospitality at the second controle, and thank you Chris for not murdering me when I handed you my soggy brevet card đŸ˜‚"

Chris Nadovich wrote:

I was very impressed with the equal measures of cold toughness and warm camaraderie I saw in the riders rolling into my "soup control" at the National Canal museum.   I thought I had it tough on my own pre-ride with temps in the mid 20's at the start, but starting in a 50 degree wet mess definitely out-rule-9s my effort. 

The riders probably didn't notice the small contingent of homeless people who were watching their arrival at the control. They would cautiously approach me between rider arrivals.  All very nice people, I was told some facinating stories about the history of Easton and Phillipsburg. I had no idea that the owner of the now defunct yet still infamous Boxcar nude-dance club in Phillipsburg continues to be a pillar of the community and now owns the Sand Bar at the Free bridge. The things you learn staffing controls. 

Anyway, I can assure you that none of the leftover soup went to waste.

The next ride is on January 7 and we have a full 2023 calendar to look forward to with a Philadelphia based SR series in preparation for PBP 2023 and the PA1000 in the fall.