Monday, March 27, 2023

Water and Wind 300K Brevet pre-ride report

A pre-ride of the Water and Wind 300K was conducted on March 21 by Chris Nadovich and George Retseck, Iwan Barankay on March 26, and Nick Manta on March 27 in addition to partial pre-rides by Iwan a few weeks ago when it was still snowy along the Northern stretches. As a result of these pre-rides, updates were made to the cues. The latest cue sheet is version 6, and the latest RWGPS route was modified 2023-03-27. Both are available online. Full information about the event is on the event website.

This route is gorgeous. Please take a look at our pre-ride photos. We worked on many refinements – especially Chris – to add more flow to the route getting out of and back into Philadelphia but also to showcase nothing but the finest hills and roads between Philadelphia, the Delaware Water Gap, Wind Gap, and back. There are so many highlights to this route, but my favorites are the multiple times we are on River Road or when you can see the Blue Mountains off in the distance. There are also some tough moments – I am thinking of the pretentiously named Sunrise Boulevard (mile 81), which felt more like sunset to my endurance – but the scenery at the top is always priceless. Another gem is Route 611 leading up to the northeastern control, which is closed to traffic, allowing you to roam for free along the cliffs. 
As you are roaming along the cliffs, be aware that there's a lot of debris scattered on the closed route 611. There are also two spots where you need to lift your bike over barriers. 

 Watch out for wildlife, especially deer, early in the morning and late at night. When you see one jumping out onto the road, watch out to see if there are more. At one point, I stirred a flock of about 20 adult Wild Turkeys, and they then flew low over my head, which was just very cool. 
You will cross the Delaware multiple times, which requires you to walk (yes, angry wardens will materialize out of thin air if you don’t), yet another opportunity to take in the views and stretch out your legs and shoulders. 

Some more specific points 

- Review our blog post about parking at Chamounix. Do not leave valuables in the car.

- Pace yourself: This route is hilly throughout. Safe your legs, as you will depend on them from beginning to end. 

 - Eat and drink: because of the climbing, you burn calories faster. Please reflect on what you can and want to eat and drink on and off the bike. I aimed to take in 40-60g of carbs per hour of cycling, more at stops and less on the bike. 

 - The rando rule for stopping is shopping, eating, using the bathroom, or napping. Don’t stand around. You want to keep your stops short and productive. 

 - First control and second breakfast: The first control is at Rice’s Market (mile 53.4). Go to the long green barn with the ice cooler out front with the “Shops in the Barn” sign. You will find an Amish bakery inside, serving coffee and tea. The clean, if quaint, restrooms are behind the barn in the light brown building. If you don’t want to eat at this control, the route passes Milford’s excellent Bagel shop (mile 86; has a restroom) after crossing the bridge at the next corner on the left across from the gas station. 

 - Eat pie at the second control! It would be best if you had the energy for the next long ascent to Wind Gap. They only have a porta-potty. 

 - The third control is after you are speeding down into Wind Gap. Don’t miss the left turn at the traffic light. If you don’t want to eat there, I recommend pushing to Easton instead, as the next stretch is easy if a little bumpy on the Plainfield Township Trail. Please alert pedestrians when you want to pass them on the trail. 

 - Not a control but highly recommended: In Easton, we highlighted a Wawa at mile 122.5. This is your last refueling option for the next 27 miles. Bear in mind that soon after Easton, you have two challenging climbs. Please make sure you refuel there. 

 - The route takes you back to Philadelphia through Manayunk, which is busy on Saturday evening. Watch out for car doors and pedestrians. 

 - Because of the rain, hard shoulders can get flooded. This may cause you to weave in and out of traffic. Ride in groups when you can, and, though not required, I encourage you to wear safety vests and use lights even during daytime. Rain can also cause road debris and rock slides, especially on Route 611. 

 - The ride starts at 5 am, and most of you will finish after sunset. You must have front and rear lights (set to steady), a reflective vest, and ankle straps, or you can’t start the ride.

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