Eastern PA 1000K
Friday August 1, 2008
19 Registered riders
Below average temperature and humidity for all three days. Day-time temperatures in the low to mid 80's dipping down into the 50's at night (arm warmers in August!). Mix of sun and clouds with some brief rain and fog along the NY Southern Tier on Saturday morning.
Special Thanks ...
... to Ron and Barb Anderson for helping out at the hostel and manning the Lewisburg sleep-over controle; to Bill Blank for sweeping the course on Saturday; to Paul Scearce for checking out the route and sweeping the course on Sunday; and to Rick Carpenter, for leading the way with the sign-in sheets. And thanks also, to Jim Logan, for stepping up to help out at the finish.
Thanks also, to Bill Beck, George Winkert, and George Metzler for contributing many of the pictures for this ride report.
Chris Mento (left) and new DC-area RBA, Bill Beck at the hostel.
Chris comments: "Thank you Tom, GREAT RIDE - You run a First Class Operation, and your staff is tremendous. The attention to detail, displayed by you and your staff, instilled a feeling of confidence that the ride was going to proceed as presented ... I always felt that you and your staff were in control, pulling for everyone to finish within the seventy-five hour window.; ... I think that everyone who has properly trained; by riding over many, many, many challenging mountains, AND challenging hills; should take advantage of the opportunity to experience the beautiful Eastern Pennsylvania Terrain by participating
in the Pennsylvania 1000K Brevet!"
Upon completing PA1000k, Chris has now earned the prestigous Randonneur 5000 Award. Congratulations Chris!
Wetlands in Cherry Valley (between Little Gap and Fox Gap)
Group shot at hostel start ... from left to right: Dan Blumenfield, Jim Logan, Tim Argo, Chuck Wood, Emily O'Brien, Crista Borras, Bill Beck, Rick Carpenter, George Metzler, Andrea Matney, Kelly Smith, Mary Crawley, Steve Scheetz, Joe Brown, Guy Harris, Bill Olsen, Chris Mento, and Greg Conderacci.
Bill Olsen at the top of Fox Gap. Bill is on track to complete every North American 1200k this year. Having just gotten back from the RM1200k, Bill was feeling better than expected and decided that the PA1000k was a good excuse to extend his 'vacation'. Bill offers these comments:
"... We were fortunate that temperatures were not 10 to 15 degrees warmer. There were many who had ridden both this years' Shenandoah 1200 and the PA1000K and most agreed that the PA was perhaps slightly more technically challenging - with the climbs relentlessly across all three days vs. the Shenandoah which had most of the climbing on the second day ... As it was, we were able to complete the climbs but if temperatures had been similar to the Shenandoah the ride results might not have been as great as they were. ...and Emily was awesome on her fixie. A legend in her own time, with BMB, PBP, and now the PA1000K (as well as the Boston Brevet Series and Furnace Creek) I don't believe that there is a brevet or randonnee that she can't successfully complete ... Emily has inspired several of us to attempt it in fixies next time - although I'll be sure to bring my "geezer gearing" Surly 17-21 rear cog."
On the climb up Raymondskill Falls, George Metzler spied an infamous point-of-interest on the side of the road. The structure on the left, which looks like a vistors center, is actually a $330,000+ outhouse. No cost was spared, in using the very best materials for the best privy money can buy. A humorous accounting of how this opulent outhouse came to be, is posted here.
Rick Carpenter, dining alfresco at the Gourmet Gallery controle in Blairstown.
First finisher, Rick Carpenter, downing a Miller Chill at the Barryville controle ... one of the many tips that Rick has picked up along the way, in completing PBP last year in his first year of randonneuring. The PA1000k was Rick's final tune-up ride for the 1001 mile (1600k) MigliaItalia in two weeks.
Below, Chuck, Crista, Bill Beck and Dan on the climb to Carbondale.
(left) Riders heading south along the Susquehanna River, early in the morning from Lewisburg.
(below) The riders encountered many horse and buggies as they headed into the Amish country on day 3.
Contributing photographer, George Winkert (on right) with rider David Goodwin. George writes: "Congrats to all the PA1000k riders! I was headed to Clarks Summit, when I realized that the ride might go near my destination. So last minute, I tossed the bike in the van and guessed when the riders would be climbing over Salem Mt Rd into Carbondale, PA. Voila! Got pics/videos of most of them after I rode up the mountain from the Carbondale side. .. I was impressed by the strength of the field riding this hilly route. They all looked strong. I drove more of it afterwards and it just continued up/down forever."
Check out George's other pictures and videos at this link.
Rolling terrain on day 2, between Towanda and Canton.
Kelly Smith and Mary Crawley on their tandem. They are still all smiles, despite being on the climb to Carbondale which brings them to the highest point on the course.
Kelly write: "Thanks again for organizing a smooth running event. We were looking for a challenge and found it. I may not need to look further!".
And Mary adds: "Thanks again to you and the volunteers for putting on an excellent event. It was awesome in every sense of the word. I think I am not alone in describing it as the most challenging ride I've ever done..."
Mary and Kelly are wearing their Fondo Fixies jerseys -- from the 2-man Fixed Gear RAAM team that Mary crewed on this summer.
Chuck and Crista headed towards the 1st overnight controle in Halstead. A herd of buffalo are grazing on the ridge, with the late afternoon light fading. Crista writes: "...The route was so, so beautiful. I will have many great memories of this one. ... The time, effort and care that you put into everything you do is so apparent throughout. ...The riders also made up a great cast of characters, and there was a marvelous sense of camraderie among all the riders and volunteers ... I also want to thank your wonderful crew of volunteers--Ron, Barbara, Paul, and Bill---for the vital roles that they played in making the event such a success and such a pleasure...please do extend our thanks to all the volunteers. They were ALL so generous and caring! Just thinking about all of you puts a big smile on my face, and I really look forward to coming back again."
Emily O'Brien, riding through some rain showers early Saturday morning on her fixed-gear bicycle. Emily posted the following comments (along with her ride report at this link):
"I'll post a ride report at some point, including my meager attempts at photos of that gorgeous scenery, but I just wanted to say thanks to Tom Rosenbauer, his tireless volunteers, and the other 18 participants for a really great ride. The weather was great, the scenery was beautiful, the hills were relentless. Even the pavement was good. I thoroughly enjoyed the event, and can't recommend it highly enough. I'd say it might just have been the least suited course for a fixed gear I've ever ridden (and if not the least suited, it's certainly up there), but certainly manageable. I walked a couple of times on the first day, which definitely had the worst of the climbing, but didn't need to again after that. Tom's cue sheet was well done, with plenty of detail that made navigation easy, and he also sent us out with a list of services and points of interest on or near the route, which was a really nice touch. The hostel was a lovely place to stay before and after the ride, and the post-ride vegetable soup was excellent. In any case, as far as I could tell, a good time was had by all and I hope this event continues!" - Emily "Sigh, back to real life" O'Brien
Quiet road, meandering through Little Pine Creek State Park ... one of the highlights on day 2.
Chuck Wood, at the "Ice Cream Cone Restaurant" in Little Pine Creek. Chuck writes: "... The only medals that I have collected are PBP and BMB but I certainly want one for this ride! And thanks again for a trully epic 1000K that was everything it was advertised to be and more. And so well organized too that it made it that much more fun."
Tim Argo from Cincinnati, Ohio, headed on down the road. Tim registered for the PA1000k with "Permission of the RBA" as the option for qualification. I was a bit concerned that the PA1000k might be beyond his reach, since I didn't see any RUSA results posted for Tim in 2008. With Tim consistantly riding with the lead riders over 3 days of challenging terrain, I can once again admit to seriously under-estimating a new participant on the Eastern PA series!
Joe Brown headed into Bald Eagle State Forest and the last major climb before the sleep-over controle in Lewisburg. The fading sunlight highlights the ridge in the distance that Joe is headed for. The payback for that effort is in the form of a 20-mile descent on Rt 192 to the hotel.
Volunteers Ron and Barbara Anderson, (above and left) at the hostel. This is their 2nd event helping out and I really hope I can count on them for next year. Ron and Barb are also regular PA riders ... read an account of their PA400k here.
I met up with Greg Conderacci and Andrea Matney several times on the road -- overall, they get my vote for getting around the course most comfortably (if such a thing is actually possible on a 1000k event). No matter how tough the terrain was, they always seemed to be similing and having a great time. Without a doubt, their efficiency in getting down the road allowed them to get the most sleep during the event.
Greg writes: "... It was an outstanding ride. One of the most beautiful I have ever done ... Your cues were a work of art and the additional info was very helpful. ... I especially appreciate all the extra effort you made to accommodate Andrea. She's a great riding parter and made the entire trip a delight -- even the rainy parts. I know she enjoyed herself and it was her sunny spirit that helped to brighten the ride for Kelly and Mary at the end. Many thanks for all your hard work and flexibility."
Andrea adds: "Ditto to Greg's comments! I loved it all but that one section with the traffic. The bad part stood out even more because the rest of the ride was so nice. I enjoyed the ride tremendously and was enthralled with the views -- just gorgeous! Your support along with the volunteers was outstanding. I'm impressed with your RBA-ing and would do more riding under your leadership if given the opportunity. Thank you again and again for accommodating me at the last minute!"
(above left) Bill Beck took many great pictures during the ride (many included in this report) -- his complete PA1000k photo album can be viewed here.
Bill reports: "The PA 1000K was a spectacular ride, both in scenery and in difficulty. I was quite apprehensive before the start because I don't do very well in the hot and humid conditions that are typical in August. But it turned out that we had cooler than normal conditions and, except for Saturday morning when several showers moved through, we also had low humidity. It was actually cool at night, requiring vest and arm warmers. I can't recall ever needing those in August! The cool and dry conditions led to crystal clear views of the scenery along the route, including rugged mountains in the northwest part of the route and pastoral farmland around Lancaster County. The mountains were especially appealing, and had a more the rugged look than the softer appearance of the Shenandoah. As for the difficulty -- ouch! As RBA Tom Rosenbauer promised, the first day was the hardest, with several major climbs as well as many steep rollers between them. Everyone seemed to agree that the climb before Carbondale was the worst, leaving me in my 26-34 gear for what seemed like forever. Emily O'Brien, who somehow completed the ride on her usual fixed-gear bike... All of the riders who had done the Shenandoah 1200 that I heard comment said that the climbing in the PA1000K was harder than even the second day of the S1200. (Although the heat of the S1200 was another story.) My GPS measured a total ascent of 34,336 feet, while my Polar 720i altimeter measured 30,167 feet
(12,850 on Day 1, 8815 on Day 2, and 8505 on Day 3). (However, the 60-second sampling interval I had to use on the Polar makes it underestimate.) A side story about the GPS: As we were riding along a very annoying section that had frost eves in the pavement that would slam the bike every 20 feet or so, my GPS broke off of its' mount and
hit the deck. George Metzler said that it bounced at least 4 feet back in the air before finally settling by the side of the road. But the amazing thing is that it still mostly worked!)... "
Bill continues: "I wanted to thank you again for a very well-run 1000K brevet. I think you said that one of your main goals in designing the route was to include as many of the interesting and scenic features as you could, and I think you must have succeeded because the route was chock full of gorgeous views and historic features like the Roebling "hidden suspension" bridge. I had never been through most of that area and was particularly impressed by the rugged mountains and dense woods along the northwest part of the route. Your efforts out on the route supplying cold water (and a loaner water bottle) were also greatly appreciated. And thanks to Ron, Barb, Paul, and Bill for their assistance along the route and at the sleep controls. The efficient operation and great food at the sleep controls was especially helpful for leaving time to actually sleep. And it was very nice of Ron and you to order some pizza without cheese at the 2nd Sleep Stop and at the finish! It was perfect."
Bill cast his votes for the following:
Hardest Climb: The one before Carbondale. That one definitely gave my 26-tooth chainring a workout.
Favorite section: The section in and around Little Pine Creek State Park. The mountains and woods in that section were just beautiful.
Jim Logan (on the left) at the finish with Ron Anderson. Jim writes: "Thanks for a well planned event. Everything went off without a hitch. You even ordered great weather. As always, the hostel has great ambiance, the first night control ran very smooth, .... Barb and Ron Anderson were of course great. I really appreciated them offering me a ride back. ...
Carol followed the rider progress reports, and really appreciated the efforts of you and the volunteers ...The fact that the event knew where I was and what condition I was in surely helped give Carol more security and perspective...
As to hardest section, I'll say the folded terrain after the Canton control (maybe about 10 on a row?). That happens to be where I lost my time too. It's about grade not elevation gain. ... As to what I enjoyed most. it was on the same segment after Canton, later on - the 5? mile climb out of Waterville on Rt 44 - It was just within my diminished aerobic capability, and spinning up that near sunset reminded me of spinning up similar hills at PBP in a similar state. I had the road mostly to myself, climbing up through the forest. ... I am spoiled by your routes, and look forward to more of the same..."
The ever upbeat and smiling Steve Scheetz, at the finish, enjoying a coke. Steve is a regular participant on the PA series and is very familiar with the area southwest of the finish. I've already recruited him to help find some quieter roads for some of the busy sections riders saw on day 3. You can read Steve's detailed ride report here.
First finisher Rick Carpenter at the hostel, getting in with plenty of daylight remaining. Rick writes: "Congratulations on preparing and executing yet another successful event. The cue sheets were flawless, and and your volunteer staff worked admirably in support of the larger than expected rider turnout - please forward my thanks to them!"
(above and below) Recovery mode at the hostel finish and swapping stories.
(left) Fixed-gear rider Emily O'Brien at the finish. Quite an amazing accomplishment ... IMHO, a legendary feat that will be difficult to top.
Guy Harris writes: What a grand finale to the 2008 season! (I always have thought of the fall PA200K as an encore ride...) First, thanks to the volunteers Ron and Barb, Paul, and Bill. The sleep stops were pure luxury. It was great to ride with Paul again. The total course was excellent. Having ridden the series I knew what to expect up to the Roebling Bridge area and in from Blue Ball. The "new" territory in the middle of the course was fantastic. I especially enjoyed the section between Canton and Lewisburg. The climb out of the bottom of the canyon up to Haneyville included a spring about 1.5 miles from the top so that I could replace the sediment filled water from Pine Creek State Park with cold clear spring water. In this area the entire section from the Mill Hall controle to Lewisburg also stands out. First the climb up to Loganville where it leveled off with Amish farms and then the climb out of this area to begin the long coast down to Lewisburg. It was quiet and beautiful up there in late afternoon. In retrospect the major climbs didn't leave a lasting impression. They were all good. I will however remember
the "up-rollers" (as Tim described them), especially north of Carbondale and south of Sayre, nothing like them in Jersey.
Finally, it wa a pleasure to share the course with such a great group of riders.
Some closing remarks from the RBA ...
Congratulations to all the finishers for getting through the "Endless Mountains" -- while the course was tough, you proved to be even tougher! I would add that all the riders came well prepared for the challenges and the will to finish. Jim Logan especially distinguished himself by riding until he lost his battle against the clock. Although he was going through a difficult stretch, Jim nearly made it to 600k mark with the prospect of additional time to reach the remaining controles -- as is often the case, the margin between success and coming up a bit short is indeed very slim.
More importantly, everybody got around the course safely -- I am really thankful for that. Many of you commented about some of the busy stretches on day 3 and efforts are already underway to improve this for next time. There was one near-miss at the end (that was actually on a less busy side road). Volunteer Paul Scearce gives this account of what happened: "... I arrived at the scene at about 10:00pm, probably 5 minutes after the police got there. Mary told me the accident happened at 9:00pm, and the police took nearly an hour to come after she called 911. The accident was on Perkiomenville Rd., around mile 601-602. The accident was in a little valley. From the scene the road had good sight lines for at least 1/4 mile behind them and obstructed sight lines a short distance beyond them. The road has no shoulder. Kelly was giving his account to the police when I arrived. He reported that he was climbing out of the valley, when he heard a pickup truck cross the bridge behind him and accelerate hard up the hill. He steered the bike onto a driveway. The pickup crossed the double line and struck an oncoming car that had just appeared over the ridge. The truck was directly beside the bicycle when it struck the car. The bicycle was completely off the roadway at the time. According to the police the driver of the truck claimed to have slowed
down behind Kelly and Mary before attempting to pass. Mary absolutely denied this. The headlights and taillights of the bike were all on. The driver of the truck evidently reported having seen the bike well before the accident. Mary said that no one in the truck was injured and a that one person in the car had a minor injury, but refused
Besides some route tweaks to find some quieter alternatives on day 3, future "Endless Mountains" might include a sleep-over controle in State College and an additional segment into the Juniata River Valley. The next edition is tentatively planned for September 30, 2009 -- although there is less daylight at this time of the year, temperatures will be lower and the foilage will be approaching peak color along the northern points of the route.
Again, another big thanks to the volunteers -- without them, it wouldn't be possible to put on events like this. And finally, thanks for all the kind remarks on the course and event -- it truly is one of the joys of being an RBA, to share some of the great roads I've discovered with participants who really appreciate them!
Eastern PA RBA
(left to right) Joe Brown, David Goodwin, George Metzler, and volunteer Bill Blank (sweeping the course). Bill writes: "...Thanks for letting me help out with the 1000K event. I had a great time riding along and helping out. ... You do a really good job at putting a course together and running an event like this."
Rolling terrain in the valleys on day 1.
Dan Blumenfield at the hostel the night before the start. As the other riders who try to hang with him will attest, recumbents can indeed climb. Dan has my vote for "Rookie of the Year", having completed the entire Eastern PA Super Randonneur series in addition to the PA1000k in his very first year of randonneuring.
Dan writes: "Tom, thanks for a great event! I had a wonderful time, the support was fantastic, and I can't imagine a better ride for my first brevet over 600k. As far as Favorite Section, it's a tossup for me between the lovely long descent on 192 into the overnight controle on Day 2, and the vigorous rollers through Lancaster into Reinholds on Day 3. Hardest Climb? Kinda spoiled for choice, but I'd say the hardest single climb for me was coming out of Waterville, due both to the length of the climb and to the poor choice of food immediately beforehand (ice cream and grilled cheese do not a happy climbing Dan make...).
Read Dan's ride report with pictures.
Classic shot of the Delaware Water Gap, as viewed from the pedestrian bridge in Portland. Mount Minsi in PA is on the left and Mount Tammany in NJ is on the right. The Appalachian Trail runs all along the ridge, which the riders crossed 3 times on the first day at: Little Gap, Fox Gap, and then Millbrook Road. The 4th and final AT crossing was on the last day, as the riders headed into the Pennsylvania Dutch area from Hegins Valley.
While Rick managed to set a new course record as he lead the way with the "sign-in sheets" to all the controles, he did have some adversity to deal with. After the 3rd major climb on the first day, his achilles started acting up. But Rick knew just what to do, having met up with George Metzler on the S1200k when he had a similar issue ... the solution was the tape job, shown here on the left. George learned about this survival technique last year, to help get through the Elite PAC Tour.
(left to right) George Metzler and Guy Harris at the finish. George writes: "... As usual you planned and executed an excellent event. ... Here are my votes: Hardest climb - The climb into Carbondale.
The suck the life out of you and leave you for dead segment - The climb and rollers after Carbondale.
Most enjoyable mountain - The gentle Waterville to Haneyville climb along the creek
The "I guess we won't kill Tom after all" section - The looong downhill drop into Lewisburg.
Best ice cream stop - Happy Acres Waterville, PA Memorable moment - Bill Beck's GPS doing cartwheels at 4' in the air at 25 mph then working afterwards.