Sunday, October 29, 2023

Fall Neo Classic 154/200K Ride Report

Preliminary results for the 18th annual Fall Classic 200K brevet and 154K populaire have been posted on the website. Please review the results and inform me of any necessary corrections.  The results will be submitted to RUSA in the coming days and become final pending RUSA certification.  Twelve riders clipped in for the 200K,  and just one started the 154K.  All riders in both events finished in good time for a 100% completion rate of the very challenging brevet and populaire.

Andreas captures the "non-peak" Fall foliage on the route

 This was the third running of the "Neo" edition classic routes with an Easton Start/Finish. It was last run in 2021.

We were graced with unbelievably nice weather for late October. It was in the mid 60s at the start and might've reached near 80 in the middle of the day. Usually riders are shivering at the end of this Fall event, looking for shelter from the cold and a hot bowl of soup. Instead,  we all sat outside comfortably eating burgers at the finish and riders wanted extra salt and vinegar for their heat exhaustion cramps.   

Although a few people complained the Fall foliage wasn't quite at peak (see photo above), there were plenty of fallen leaves. Even without the full Fall colors, riders generally reported that the Neo-classic was just as scenic as ever. Scenic, of course, is bike rider code for a steady diet of hills to consume, the climb up Dyer hill just outside Easton being an appetizer for the many hilly entrees ahead. 

Recent PA events have had some mishaps as riders sped ahead of their guardian angels. Thankfully, this time riders were more cautious keeping their speed checked on the many descents. There was only one crash -- a slow motion affair involving Pat and Gavin. I understand that only pride was hurt in the tangle, if that.  

Some of the unique descents on this edition of the neo-classic included a descent of Fiddler's Elbow. Normally we would descend Lommanson's, but that road was obliterated by recent rains. There were also descents of storm damaged Mud Run, and on the 154K a "bonus" descent of Little Martin's Creek Rd, also storm damaged.

Bob Dye writes....

Toughest 200K I've done. This will make all others seem easy. There were ascents I had trouble walking up. As for descents, I'll be buying brake pads sooner than planned.

Tom Rosenbauer writes...

Congratulations on yet another successful event. I enjoyed catching up with many riders I hadn’t seen in a while and also meeting new ones.

Tom shares this video documentary about Columcille

Joe Ray writes...

This ride lived up to its classic status - I really did enjoy it despite some cramping that kicked in a few miles prior to Wind Gap. Thankfully the bar and grill on Rt 115 had all-you-can-eat salt and that fixed me up for the remainder of the ride.
It was a gorgeous day all around - full moon in the clear pre-dawn sky, stunning trees and scenery everywhere, and Goldilocks temperatures helped make a complete package. Having a chance to sit and chat at the finish cookout was great - thanks for sharing your patio with us! It was made even better when Ron Anderson found my “missing“ car.

Next month we feature a brand new 200K route out of Cadence Cycles in Manayunk. A big crowd is already signed up. Should be a lot of fun. Come on out and ride your bike to work up a good appetite for holiday feasting. Click here for more info.



Friday, October 20, 2023

Fall Neo Classic. 200K/154K Course Notes

Make sure you have the latest cue sheets, RWGPS, and eBrevet data loaded. There have been significant changes.

The latest Cue Sheet for the 200 K is VERSION 3, and the latest RWGPS was last modified 2023-10-20 10:39:15 EDT.  

The latest Cue Sheet for the 154 K is VERSION 1, and the latest RWGPS was last modified 2023-10-20 10:38:15 EDT.  

NIGHT RIDING may be required for many people on the 200K. You must have full reflective gear (vest, ankle bands) and adequate head/tail lights firmly attached to the bike. Backup lights are strongly recommended.  Riders without adequate lighting and reflectivity will not be allowed to start.

Course Notes

This course is a classic for a reason: classic scenery, classic landmarks, and plenty of classic climbs. Ho boy, are there climbs. I do think this course is the hardest 200K on our schedule.  I think this course is also one of the prettiest. So many classic views. I think I could see orange along the crest of the Mt Minsi ridge. Next week I'd expect a lot more Fall Color. It should be spectacular. 

The 154K is no easy ride either. In fact, if you choose this shorter route you will be treated to some special "bonus climbs" that the 200K riders will not tackle.

Lake Nokamixon

There also were a lot of creepy Halloween decorations. Giant skeletons are a thing this year, it seems. 

Please don't ride faster than your guardian angel.

 PA Rando veterans will be familiar with most of the features in this course. Except in THIS version, we ride them all backwards. The climb up Fox Gap (200K only) is a lot easier this way, as is the Mountain View climb. On the other hand, the Wind Gap (200K) climb is a lot harder -- and annoying with traffic -- in this direction.  

The Shady Ln / Pine Tree Rd "short cut" climb has been removed from the 200K (candidly, I avoided it on the pre-ride, so now you can too).  You can ride it if you want. It cuts off a little over a mile -- go for it. Follow one of the 154K riders -- I left it in that route.

With climbs come descents. There are several extended, steep, twisty descents. The biggest of these is the decent off the north side of Fox gap, but there are many others, some of which end in T intersections, some of which have vast sinkholes and collapsed guardrails. PLEASE DO NOT RIDE FASTER THAN YOUR GUARDIAN ANGEL. I'm not kidding. There have been some accidents descending on recent PA Rando brevets and I want the trend to stop. STFD! 

I think worst climb, safety wise, is the Wind Gap climb on the 200K. It's not _that_ hard, but there's considerable car traffic. Some of you will climb this in the dark. Oncoming headlights can be blinding. Be aware that the shoulder is limited in spots. Take your time. Stay focused. And if you feel unable to hold your line safely on the shoulder of a dark road, get off the bike and walk -- or just don't ride the 200K event!

The Columncil and Wind Gap controls (200K)  are untimed info controls, so there should be no reason to panic if you find yourself a few minutes past the cutoff at these. After Wind gap the course is mostly downhill. Even totally exhausted, you can easily make up 10-15 minutes on the clock over that segment into the finish -- AMHIK.

Enjoy the ride, and remember what I said about your guardian angel!  


Chris N