Sunday, July 7, 2024

Dark Skies 200k Ride Report

Although it was a long, long drive from Eastern PA, eight brave souls trekked to the start at Texas Hot in Wellsville, NY seeking adventure. These tough randonneurs rode,  and finished, the inaugural running of the Dark Skies 200k. It was a beautiful summer evening through the wilds of the Northern/Southern tiers of New York and Pennsylvania.  The 9:00 pm start time provided for cooler temperatures and the opportunity for newer riders to experience riding at nighttime and test their lighting equipment.

The Start at Texas Hot

Yes. Nothing to it. All 8 riders who clipped in finished in good time, for a completion rate of 100%. Preliminary results have been posted. Please review them and let me know if there are any discrepancies. Results will be submitted to RUSA after review and will become official once certified. 

Do these people look like they rode their bikes all night?

A band of heavy rain crossed the Wellsville New York area around 6:00 but the high temperatures dried the roads prior to the start.  After a minor reroute due to a closed bridge near the start, riders made record time on flat roads to the first control in the metropolis of Andover, NY under cloudy skies.   Speeds dropped precipitously after the first control as riders endured the first of many long climb on the route. 

Most riders made use of the open convenience in Galeton, Pa to restock supplies.  An undetermined crime wave preceded the riders and both Galeton police offers were busy interrogating the alleged criminal.  All riders were able to escape before the crime spree was resolved.

Fortunately, clear skies greeted the riders as they entered the Cherry Springs State Park.   Bright stars filled the skies and the Milky Way accompanied riders on this challenging climb and the subsequent leg breakers before the long descent into Coudersport through the heavy fog.  Riders reported seeing deer, porcupine, raccoons, king fishers, beavers and hearing owls and other assorted wildlife.

Congratulations to a hearty bunch of Randonneurs.  Most riders commented that the course seemed harder than the elevation profile indicated (an opinion which is shared by the ride organizer). 

Andreas encouraging the sunrise

Bob Dye writes...

What a ride! It began with random skyrockets lighting up the night. Then,  pedaling through the blackness in silence and long stretches with nary a  car. It would be a sensory deprivation experience if it weren't for the  climbs. As Patrick pointed out, these weren't your usual PA Rando hills.  The Allegheny mountain climbs were long and seemed to kick steeper at the  top - although that may have been just my leg's opinion. When I stopped to  look up, I saw more stars than I've ever seen - many of them in the night sky. Thank you Bill for impeccable organization, your good cheer, and   putting in a long night and day.  


Join us again next month as PA Rando continues its "Wilds of PA" series with the second running of the Grand Canyon of PA 200K gravel brevet. There are magnificent canyon vistas, 72 km of varied gravel trail, and even a stream ford! Details and online registration can be found on the event page.

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