In the interest of having a decent place to hang out at the finish, the start has been moved a bit from everyone's favorite K-Mart parking lot. We will now be starting from Martin's Country Market which is located along W. Main St (US 322) just west of downtown Ephrata. For those wondering how swapping one parking lot for another might be an improvement, our finish will be at the nearby St. Boniface Craft Brewery.
We'll be running in the "Fall Backward" direction with a few changes aimed to smooth out the rough edges. A control in Compass at the eastern edge of the county begins our turn south to a quick info control in Atglen. Sorry, we could not make arrangements for pancake breakfast at the Cafe Metzler this time. We head west using many familiar roads to Conestoga and then up river to Columbia. Pay close attention as we will be picking up the recently completed Northwest River Trail, a paved pathway along the Susquehanna that conveniently bypasses Chickies Hill and about 10 miles of the heavily trafficked SR441. We will rejoin the roads in Bainbridge and continue upriver for another quick info control in Falmouth where we turn north and east toward the penultimate control in Annville. From there it's a quick 25 miles (over the Cornwall Ridge--lets hope there's no snow) back to the finish were cool beverages and food await. The brewery serves pizza and lite pub fare.
Everyone's favorite Ephrata breakfast option, the Pancake Farm remains an option. It's only 5 minutes from the start and relatively easy to find. Martin's Market has a cafe that offers breakfast; however, it doesn't open until 7am.
There are several steep, extended climbs. A triple or 39x27 is highly recommended.