Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Covered Bridges 200K Ride Report

While February's 200K set records for low starting temperatures, the March 4 Covered Bridges 200K had what is believed to be a record number of registered riders.  By the time registration closed a few days before the event there were 66 people on the list! 

Starting from the 2023 SR Series headquarters, the Chamounix Mansion Hostel, fifty-four riders set off with the sunrise on a blustery morning with hopes of conquering a challenging and scenic course.  Fifty-two riders plus six pre-riders made it around the course in good time for a 97% finish rate.  Preliminary results have been posted on the website.  Please review the results and let us know if something is not quote right.  The results will be submitted to RUSA after review and will become official once certified.

Riders preparing for the start
Riders preparing for the start. photo by Iwan Barankay


Photo by Ello Shertzer

The heavy rains that soaked the area on Friday night were pushed out by strong winds that dogged riders as they made their way to the first control in New Hope, PA.  From New Hope it was on to the Tinicum Park control where riders were greeted by RBA Chris Nadovich, who was waiting with a catered brunch to help fuel them up the hills to come.  And did they come.  Uhlerstown Hill Road, with it's grade approaching 40% in some spots, provided a mid-ride pop that surely will be remembered by the riders.

The course passed by the former Weisel Youth Hostel around mile 80. While not an official control, the Weisel Youth Hostel served as the home base of the PA SR Series for over ten years. Veteran PA Randonneur riders were treated to some familiar faces as they passed by. Tom Rosenbauer (former RBA and founder of PA Randonneurs) and Bill Olsen (who has completed more PA rides and ridden more PA kilometers than any other club member) stationed themselves there to make sure that the riders had enough water and good spirits to make it to the next control. 

The penultimate control of Tabora Farms provided the riders with the sustenance needed to make it those final 35 miles back to the hostel, and a trailing well helped as well. 

Photo by John Squires

Event organizer Iwan Barankay positioned himself at the base of the final climb and reported that all the riders were in good spirits as the approached the last little grunt up to the hostel.

Phtots by Iwan Barankay

There was a feeling of excitement back at Chamounix as riders returned and gathered to swap stories from the road over pizza and refreshments in the Hostel's great room.  As mentioned, we had eleven riders complete their first brevet; Jordan Aune, Ritam Chakraborty, Tristan Dahn, Grahm Godbey, Chris Kline, Jacob Klink, Bryce Lackey, Dan Powers, Michael Reali Jr., Kate Sparacio, Jesse Starger.  Congratulations to all and we hope to see you back on the road with us again soon.

Thanks to everyone who rode and volunteered.  These events wouldn't happen without you.  Special thanks to Adam Bowen and Cecilie Gaffney, who managed the breakfast, registration, and official starting duties, and for the rousing pre-ride pep talk by Cecilie.  Brad Layman, who was on hand to greet and check in all the riders at their return.  Chris Nadovich, Tom Rosenbauer, Bill Olsen, and Ed Bernasky who manned controls and checkpoints aiding riders on their journeys.  And, Iwan Barankay for handling the duties of organizing the ride.  Our next event, Water & Wind 300K, will be held on April 1, 2023.  Event details can be found here.  We hope to see you all there.

There is a good collection of photos from the day that can be seen here.

Sean Keesler made a great video of his 200K adventure, which can be seen here.


Bob Dye wrote:

Thank you. I know this takes a huge effort and entails a lot of responsibility.  It was a good day and I saw a lot of happy people at the finish.

Ben Keenan wrote:

Thank you Gaffneys and volunteers (Adam, Ed, Tom, Bill, Chris, Iwan, Brad and all others) for a great day of riding.  The hills, rivers and covered bridges were beautiful and the course made me think of spring and rides ahead. Hope springs eternal!  It was wonderful to see many familiar faces as well as new ones.  Thanks to everyone that shared the miles, and hope to you see you next month.  300K or bust!


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