Eastern PA 100K/200K
Saturday October 21, 2006
Registered Riders 10
Registered Riders 20
1 DNQ (finished outside time limit)
Registered Riders 30
Crisp Fall day with lots of sunshine ... low 40's at the start, warming up to the upper 50's.
... to Jim Gutacker for this shot of the Reigelsville Bridge. This bridge was built by Robling, who also built the Brooklyn Bridge.
Jim also got this nice shot of Leroy Varga, passing the Lake Nockamixon waterfall.
PBP Ancien Leroy Varga ...
... describing the allure of PBP to the 100k finishers: Jim Gutacker, Joe Coppola, Laury Wills, Barbara & Ron Anderson. Perhaps one of them will be headed over for the big ride, some day!
And here's what others had to say ...
Laurent writes ...
"Thanks for the update about the fate of Mary and her captain. Glad to hear confirmation that it all sounds recoverable.
A few words on the new route: I found it hard to believe that making changes would keep the route as beautiful as it was before, but I have to admit you reached this goal perfectly. I am still in awe of seeing all these new little lanes that I had never seen before, despite years of riding over there on various events. Special thanks for the section from Fox Gap to Portland, which I found better than the usual route to Belvidere via Bangor. Also, I found the hilly section between Portland and Little York Tavern to be possibly a bit less tough, on the whole, than the traditional Belvidere-Little York section. My legs felt that spreading the climbing over a higher mileage somehow helped them to get through, compared to the usual ascent of Lomasson Glen. By Little York Tavern I was a bit less of a wreck compared to my usual visits at that time and place.
I was about to comment that I prefer the finish on the 300 route, but then I remember that at least two of my three companions last night were all too happy to be taken in tow on this stage thanks to the route being well-known to me, so I will conclude it was just fine. Traffic was actually low on the somewhat boring main road section between leaving Park Rd and entering Elephant Rd.
So, thank you for an excellent day out, once again! If the routes for your new 400, 600 and 1000 are of the same standard of quality, you can certainly expect quite a number of entries!" - Laurent Chambard
First time PA brevet rider (and first finisher) George Metzler writes ...
"Thank you so much for organizing the 200k Brevet. I enjoyed your fine selection of roads and your meticulously detailed directions. They were perfect! Unfortunately I was not, and added a few miles to my ride although not to the extent that Nate and his group did! I appreciated the facilities at the end of the ride...the hot shower felt wonderful. Thanks for putting together the day ...After I finished, Leroy told me that a female cyclist had been airlifted to a hospital as a result of a crash. I was very sorry to hear that someone was seriously hurt on such a perfect day. It is very clear to me that you care about your cyclists safety and provided appropriate warnings. I trust that she can make a full recovery. I hope to participate in your events next Spring. -
I certainly don't want to challenge Nate for his "sign-in sheet carrier" role. He road a much looonger ride than I did plus he added quite a bit of elevation gain. I'd certainly lose in a "fair" contest ;) My day went like this. I was looking forward to riding at a decent pace and figured I would just hang behind the lead riders at the beginning and then depending on how comfortable I was with the pace, join in later. (I think all of us at least once have joined a too fast a group only to pay for it the rest of the day) Anyway as I was rolling out the lane and onto the road I heard a voice say, "This may be a stupid question but, you do know that you aren't wearing a helmet" It was Nate although I didn't know his name at that time. It was only the 2nd time this fall that I put on a head band to protect my ears and because I felt something on my head I left the Hostel without donning my helmet. So back I went. Virtually everyone was on the road by the time I left the Hostel. It isn't polite to just go by folks without saying Hi, so I chatted with several riders on the way to the Petro Mart. In our short time together I mislead Robin and David(?) on a 2 mile detour.
I left Control 2 by myself and that was the last that I rode with anyone. Fox Gap was a very enjoyable climb. I rolled into the Portland Family Restaurant just behind a another rider and saw that Nate and his gang were about to leave. I didn't do anything at the restaurant besides signing in and filling up my water bottles. By this time I was having a great day and decided it would be fun to ride with a motivated group. I rode very hard over the next hour to catch them and by the time I reached Buckhorn without seeing any brevet riders I was getting tired. Of course I now realize that five miles from the control Nate's group had missed Nightingale Rd and I was chasing nothing but sunshine. After an hour of that futility and then riding up Buckhorn it was time to give up, sit up, and enjoy the excellent weather. The best part of my day was taking it easy between Buckhorn Dr and the Little York Tavern. It was warm and Sweet Hollow road was a treasure after all the climbing that proceeded it. I have never ridden in this area before and I was impressed with the amount of diary farms that I saw.
The deli in Asbury was tempting but I didn't see any bicycles and felt that if I took an afternoon break it would be with the cyclists that were hanging out at the Tavern. I was very surprised to find I was the first one to arrive at the last control. I wasn't sure what to think. I did figure that when the "sign-in sheet carrier" recovered from whatever had gone wrong and arrived at the Tavern to see that a rider had already been there he would put on a spirited chase. So I did what came natural...I took advantage of the situation and just went for it! Wow the last 27 miles of your ride were pretty tough. I'm not sure why but I really struggled finding the Canal path. I rode around the store and up onto the path and then back across the bridge and checked out the otherside. It just took me a long time to be convinced that it was the right thing to ride on. By all means include again, as it was fun. Once I was convinced I was correct I really went as hard as I could. My knees were aching by the time I turned onto Richlandtown Rd. Leroy signed me in and it was then that I found out about the crash and it is hard to feel good about the day when you know someone else is hurting. I have been following the updates and it is great to hear that Mary is doing so well. I enjoyed meeting Nate at the Hostel and I hope to join you all on future Brevet rides. I had a great time.
Switching subjects...Here is another Elite PAC Tour rider identity: Peter Beeson from Seattle, WA is joining us on the Elite transcon tour next summer. Peter and I became fast friends at Desert Camp this Spring in AZ. I had never even heard of Brevet riding until we rode together. He is an SIR member, PBP vet, and this year took a lead role in organinizing the the Cascade 1200. I enjoyed our time together and he encouraged me to sign up for the Elite Tour. This summer my wife and I had planned a family vacation in Washington and Oregon. I told Peter I would be in Seattle on a Thursday morning and asked if we could we get together for a short bike ride. He responded by inviting the members of SIR to join us for an impromptu 50 mile loop around Lake Washington. So on a weekday morning I was treated to my own personally guided tour of Lake Washington. Brevet riders are great people! Anyway that is one of the reasons I wanted to check out a PA Brevet ride and see if that same spirit exists here. I would say it sure does. As evidenced by the friendliness of your riders and of the post ride concern for your crash victim. - George Metzler
Thank you for all your hard work planning/mapping/organizing a great brevet. The course was a real challenge and one gratifying to complete. (Thank you also for the great weather--it made the scenery beautiful and, for me, the difference between a finish and a DNF!). Can you tell me anything about Mary Crawley? I feel absolutely terrible about it. Do you have any address or hospital info? I'd l like to send flowers or something." - Paul Kramer
Long time participant Judson Hand, had to DNS due to work obligations. He writes ...
"I am sorry to hear about the crash. I don't think there is much to be done when a front wheel punctures on a fast descent. Best wishes for a fast and complete recovery, Mary and Kelly. Mary, So great to hear from you that it's going to be all right. You have such a positive attitude about life in general. I really admire that." - Jud
"Thanks for the quick update on Mary and Kelly ... it's a big relief that it wasn't more serious. Please forward my best wishes to both of them when you get a chance." - Guy Harris
"Tire failure going down a hill is a bikers fear-I wish a speedy recovery for Mary and Kelly." - Leroy Varga
"Once again a great PA Randonneurs 200K brevet. This route seemed a little more challenging than the spring version, but still a terrific ride. Thanks for all your hard work in the preparation for the ride and day before/day of duties. It was sobering to see Mary and Kelly after their crash, as Robin and I had just had a quick lunch with them at the diner control. It was particularly painful for me to see as my wife and I had a similar tandem crash in August 2005 - front wheel flat on a downhill - that resulted in my wife breaking her pelvis while I escaped relatively unscathed. Glad that two good Samaritans stopped to help and that Mary's injuries are not too serious. I hope to see you again next spring." - Pete LaVerghetta
Ray Morro, along with Tom Talbot were among the first to arrive at the accident:
"Thanks for sending along the update about Mary's & Kelly's condition to the NJ Randonneurs list. I just wish there was more that I could have done to help them out after their mishap. Did the Franklin Twp. EMS take care of getting Kelly's tandem bike to a safe place for storage after Tom Talbot and I left Millbrook Rd.? We were kind of worried about that after we finished the ride and heard that you were enroute to the hospital where they were treating Mary.
And once again I have to give you a thumbs up and kudos for an excellent brevet route. I think everyone at the hostel agreed post-ride that section going past Minsi Lake after climbing Fox Gap was among one of the most scenic and pleasurable parts of the course for the day. Then again, I did kind of miss the flat-rolling section between Bangor and Martins Creek but I really didn't think the shorter spacing between climbs wasn't that big of an issue compared to the spring version of the route.
Also, thanks for looking out for Ed Glasser. It was good to see him arrive at the hostel at around 6:15 PM just as darkness was starting to set in. He told us that you saw him and he was back on course and in good spirits." - Ray Morro
"Thanks Tom – it was a fantastic course." - Tom Talbot
"Thank you. I really enjoyed your event and I look forward to future rides." - Ed Glasser
"Tom--thanks very much for a beautiful ride and for looking out for us all. Thanks for getting water for me out on the road--I really appreciated it. Also, I don't really know Mary, but I still appreciate all that you did to take care of her and her riding partner. It was a huge effort on your part--and I am very certain that they were truly grateful. I hope that we don't have another occasion soon to require you to show your leadership in that particular way, but you really stepped in and took care of everyone. Thank you again for the hard work you did to put on such a great ride." - Janice
RUSA board member and my mentor, John Lee Ellis writes ...
I learned about this courtesy of (RUSA President) Mark Thomas, and I’m very sorry this happened. It is something you hope never happens. At least a motor vehicle wasn’t involved or that it wasn’t worse ... I certainly wish Kelly and especially Mary all the best, and full recovery. I'm sure they appreciate all you've done. Mary sounds like she’s making real progress, and certainly gives you a ringing endorsement. I remember Mary on BMB, and bet we’ll see her at PBP. Your safety guidelines are great. No wonder your riders are so complimentary. We should incorporate a document like this in our RBA materials. -John Lee
"Something about being far away makes me worry all the more about my friends back home. But all the positive things that have come out of this! Mary and Kelly's good spirit! All the assistance rendered by so many in the group! Bless you all! "Med venlig hilsen fra Danmark" With warm regards from Denmark" -Lulu Weschler
Crista Borras, one half of the well-known Chuck and Crista tandem duo writes:
I called Mary a while ago and she sounds terrific -- completely upbeat and positive. What an incredible person she is! She'll be on crutches for several weeks, but if I know Mary we'll be seeing her riding her bike VERY SOON! Mary is incredible (as we all know) and sounded so great! I'll bet she'll be RUNNING on those crutches within a week. I know Kelly is really down. Mary said that Kelly is reluctant to get back on the tandem again, because he feels responsible for what happened. We all know that this is something that could happen to any one of us and no one is to blame. I hope we can encourage him to ride with Mary again. Mary WANTS to ride with him again, and Chuck and I love riding with the two of them! Also, Tom, when I talked to Kelly, he just couldn't stop talking about how great you are and all the things you did to help. I'm glad he was in such good hands. - Crista Borras
Joe Brown writes:
"Ray, John, and I arrived within a minute of the accident. We remained there until the ambulance arrived, helped with traffic control as best we could. It was actually a good thing for John because he had bonked quite badly. He got to rest and eat. Another lesson learned: Eat lunch in Portland. John didn't even check in at the hostel, he was very late for a dinner engagement. The soup at the hostel was the best I ever ate, as was the hamburger.
A short recap of the ride. We stayed with Nate over Fox Gap. Talk about a contrast of riding styles. Nate was in one of his micro gears and I was in my 23 x39. At the top we waited for John to catch up. At Portland I guess we were still flushed with the climb because John and I saw no reason to eat. We were invincible. Things began to go a bit badly after that. We missed the Nightingale turn and descended to the bottom of the hill and then proceded a mile down Rt 46 before realizing our mistake. On our climb back up the hill I flatted. Nate waved goodbye (he had the ride sign in sheets). It was a slow repair, I wanted to make sure the casing was OK. John and I plodded forward. It was so nice and quiet in that portion of the ride, no traffic at all. We couldn't believe we were in NJ. At about 75 mile mark the tandem caught us. Mary introduced herself and Kelly to me. We chatted up the big climb and made some jokes. We were in good spirits., John continued to fall back a little. At almost the top Ray caught up and passed me as I waited for John. Then we began to bomb down hill. First the tandem, then Ray a few seconds behind, myself, and John.
At the Little York Tavern things began to improve. It was warm, there were chairs, and there was beer. The man on the Rivendale was having a beer so I thought what the heck it can't hurt. With in moments our moods were much better. We were temped to stay but we decided to plod on. We were a group of 4 at that point.Things were going good until we hit the towpath. We crossed the bridge to the wrong side and started bombing down what turned out to be somebody's driveway. It was then I flatted again. Lesson learned: don't buy Continental Ultra 3000 even if they are only $25. Other lesson learned: don't depend on others to read ride sheet. The tow path was beautiful. We took it slowly and enjoyed it. It really was a fun ride. In the future I'll be better prepared: chain tool, quick link, lights, and spare tire. (I had two tubes and a patch kit on this ride). Maybe I'll even put on a lower gear. Look forward to seeing you on the road. And lastly, thanks for the offer of the soup. If we had lights we would of accepted." - Joe Brown
Nate Morgenstern visited Mary several times in the hospital and provided several updates to the message board:
"As if she had to point it out, the coffee at Morristown Memorial isn't likely to earn a ribbon in a java contest. For Mary, it could be grounds (sic) for a lawsuit ;-) So, I indulged her with a latté and biscotti this afternoon and talk of future rides. She's quite upbeat and anxious to return home when Alan "collects" her this evening. Oh sure, she can't wait to prepare some upcoming briefs at home, but that's more due to boredom than an impatient boss. No doubt she'll be offerring her own updates shortly.
I also spoke with Kelly during my drive home from the hospital and offerred him some of the following. Having had Mary stoke the rear of my tandem a number of times, I'm aware of her risk tolerance, which seems close to my own. Now, some of you might roll your eyes at that statement, thinking that I'm overly aggressive on the downhills. Each of us must determine their own acceptable level of risk, from stepping out the front door all the way to test piloting innovatively designed aircraft. Somewhere in the middle is riding a bike down a twisty descent. We wisely take preventive steps to mitigate potential hazards, but most decisions involve some form of compromise, e.g. offsetting the thrill of speed with the thought of a spill. Certainly, going slower on any descent would likely reduce the distance of an asphalt surfing episode or potentially the impact against pavement in the disheartening event of crashing; however, taking too much of the joy out of our passion, calling bicycling, simply makes us less passionate. Flatting on a downhill curve won't make your list of ten things you most want to do (yes, been there done that) but it also shouldn't prevent you from enjoying the ride. BTW, this season Mary and I (totaling 250 lbs) had no tire related problems on my tandem, other than one rear flat, riding a set of high profile 20's!!!
With much of our attention going toward learning about "the crash" and sending out well-wishes to Mary and Kelly in whatever form of thought/feeling we find appropriate, let's not forget those who made this event otherwise enjoyable. Of course Tom Rosenbauer always get kudos for his brevets, but that's because he deserves it. This was another fantastic course, even though I would have been happy to not ride the canal tow path. Most of the changes he made to the route were great, e.g. the gentler ascents at season's end without reducing elevation gain and the absolutely fantastic descent from Fox Gap with the lovely scenery around Lake Minsi. I think the actual gain came in just under 10,000' unless you added an extra climb, as three of us did halfway through the course. But, not only did Tom give us such a great event, he went beyond the call of duty from ensuring Kelly was driven where he needed to go and had a warm bed Sat night to retracing part of the route late Sat in search of a temporarily missing rider. And, of course, he even sqeezed in a visit to Mary at the hospital.
Thanks also to Leroy for handling check-in and grill duty at the hostel. Leroy, you didn't even look like you had ridden 100k! Mary asked that I convey her appreciation to Ray Morro and Tom Talbott, who were the first cyclists on the scene of their mishap and stayed with them until they were attended to by ambulance personel. And, as I seem to be the clearinghouse of the day for thank you's, Tom R, be advised again, as I'm sure he conveyed it to you personally, that Kelly is very appreciative for all you did on his behalf.
I'm already looking forward to next year's series of PA brevets." - Nate Morgenstern
The Crash ...
... unfortunately, the PA series experienced it's first crash. The last call an RBA wants to get is the one about a rider down with serious injuries. There was a bad crash involving 2 riders on a tandem: Mary Crawley and Kelly Smith. They were on a high speed descent when a flat tire on the front wheel caused them to lose control and crash hard.
Here's an account of what happened from tandem captain, Kelly Smith:
Some of you have already heard that Mary Crawley and I crashed on the PA200k Saturday. First I want to let everyone know we are OK and will be fine. Second, I want to thank Tom Rosenbauer of PA Randonneurs for the wonderful help he gave me this weekend. Tom picked me up from the hospital and took me with him to visit Mary an hour away. After he took me by a pharmacy, then invited me to spend Saturday night at his house. Finally yesterday he took me to pick up my bike and returned me to the start where my car remained. All this while trying to account for the last rider on the course. Tom certainly went far beyond any organizer's duties and even the 'all for one and one for all' spirit of randonneuring. Instead of a nightmare of long cab rides and an hours spent lost driving around New Jersey I had a wonderful time discussing a million things with Tom and his wife. Thanks as well to Steve Taberts of the Franklin Fire Dept who recovered my bike and kept it safe at the firehouse, and another fireman who was first on the scene and helped me with the 911 call.
Other than the crash we had a fantastic ride. The fall color was absolutely at peak, and we were having a great time riding with Mary's PA & NJ friends and new folks. The course is very challenging, a few big climbs and continuous short steep hills. We were about 85 miles along and near the end of a big descent when my front tire flatted on a gentle lefthand curve. It was a very bad feeling to know just what was happening and not be able to do a thing. The front wheel washed out and we laid down on our left. Unfortunately we were doing 30 or so so and we hit pretty hard. I got off the easiest, a good collection of road rash making me look like the mummy today! Mary took the worst of it. She has broken nose and three facial cuts that required stitches. She also has a 'non-displaced fracture' of the pelvis. That didn't require any surgery and she can use crutches to walk as tolerated. The nurse in the trauma center assured me they have an excellent plastic surgeon who attended to her and there will be no lasting problems. I had the very awkward experience of meeting Mary's husband Alan for the first time in the ER, but he was very gracious and philosophical about it all - which was good because he is very large! They both have a very upbeat attitude about things which is a big help dealing with such a situation. Mary is going home today, her boss is thoughtfully bringing her computer by so she can work from home (what a guy!). I'm taking a day or two off because it's hard to get around with so much tape on. All in all we were lucky I suppose to not have worse injuries, but I'd rather have just finished the ride! - Kelly Smith
... and here is a follow-up from Mary Crawley:
"As Kelly already sent an email describing the details of our accident last Saturday on the PA 200k, this one is to thank everyone who helped us afterwards, and to let you know we're both on the mend. (double warning: this email is very long. And, inevitably, it will fail to include someone who deserves thanks, so if you helped but are not mentioned by name below, THANK YOU!!! ).
First of all, thank you to Tom Rosenbauer for selecting the route, which took full advantage of the peak foliage. But Tom went way, way above and beyond the normal duties of an RBA, once we had our spill. He picked Kelly up, I believe from the local hospital, then took him to north Jersey to visit me at Morristown Memorial Hospital. Then Tom drove back to Easton and let Kelly spend the night at his house. On Sunday, he drove Kelly to get his bike, then back to the hostel in Quakertown, so that Kelly could make his way back to Virginia. Tom, I'm sure that at the start of last weekend, you never dreamed (in your wildest nightmare!) that you'd be spending nearly every waking minute of the weekend on your riders! And you did everything with such grace. Thank you so much for all your help and support.
And a big shout out (what is the origin of that term? and what does it mean, anyway?) to Leroy Varga, who, with Laurent Chambard and others, managed the barbeque and signed in the finishers at the hostel in Tom's absence. Leroy, thank you. I hope you had a great time on the 100k. More thanks go to Ray Morro and his friend Tom Talbott, who were the first riders to reach the crash site, and stayed with us until the ambulance came. Thanks guys.
A huge thanks to the members of the Franklin Township Emergency Squad, who answered the 9-1-1 call. They arrived quickly, had their medics examine me on the road, then got me to the helicopter safely and with minimal bumping, all of which was invaluable. They even mistakenly referred to me in their radio dispatch as a "25-year-old female" bike rider, which I really appreciated. Likewise, thanks to the helicopter medivac team, who flew to the Morristown Memorial Hospital in no time. The trauma doctors at Morristown were skilled and efficient, as were the nurses in the ER, especially Terry. Terry, in an ER full of first-rate professionals, your empathy and experience really stood out. You made the difference for me, between losing hope and not. And thank you to the nurses on the second floor at Morristown Memorial, especially Elizabeth and Reuben, for taking wonderful care of me and letting me get to know you. Elizabeth, I'm planning to follow your advice on visiting Tahiti some day!
Although it will make this email even longer, I have to thank my terrific family: my husband, Alan, who stayed over Saturday night at a motel in north Jersey to be near the hospital, then came drove all the way back to take me home Monday night; my kids, Becca and Nathan, who keep insisting that I don't look so bad; and my 82-year-old mother-in-law, Sylvia, who is staying over at our house to make sure I'm O.K. And not one word of reproach; nothing but support. I am truly blessed.
I'm writing this on Wednesday; I'm home from the hospital now, and feeling much better. I spoke with Kelly on the phone today, and he is much better too. He reports that it is a little hard to walk and that his bandages are driving him nuts. But these are good things, as they mean he is definitely on the road to recovery. As for me, without having heard the definitive word from the orthopedists, I estimate I'll be on crutches for about 4 weeks. I get my facial stitches out this Friday. I'm not taking any painkillers aside from plain vanilla Tylenol, and I'm feeling very little discomfort, just frustration at how long it takes to get around or do anything.
That being said, I am so thankful that it wasn't worse. Kelly and I could have been killed. We are both very fortunate. And I'm sure I can speak for Kelly as well, when I say that one last thing I'm grateful for, is the support and kindness of everyone in the "brevet community" who has expressed their concern about us. So I'm hoping for a timely recovery and getting back on the bike(s) as soon as is practicable. Still dreaming of PBP!" - Mary Crawley
Special Thanks ...
... to Leroy Varga for helping out at the finish with the BBQ and signing in riders for several hours and to Ray Morro, for relaying information to me after the accident and staying with Mary and Kelly until help arrived. And thanks also to Laurent Chambard, for safely leading a group into the finish at night, and for helping to keep track of all the riders.
Review of course changes for this edition of the PA200k
This edition of the PA200k had many changes, necessitated by several road and bridge construction projects. As course designer, I rely on feedback from riders to evaluate what was good and what can be improved upon for next time. Nate Morgenstern is one esteemed, vetern rider whose opinion I highly regard. The following is a frank, post-ride 'give and take' evaluation of this edition of the PA200k.
Tom Rosenbauer: Nate, I heard second hand, that you logged a few extra miles ... was there a problem with the cue sheet or something that should be made clearer? I'm really sorry if I led you astray. I always try to write the cues from the point of view of a rider unfamiliar with the area. But sometimes, my familiarity with the roads gets in the way and I make the wrong assumption.
Nate Morgenstern: Yes, I intended to go over some items with you, but decided to wait until the urgent matters you've been addressing had eased. First, as a general comment the changes you made to the route ran the gamut. Taking out Lower Saucon, the bottom of Fox Gap and Lomasson's Glen made the ride a bit more friendly, but possibly less memorable. Although Buttermilk was a worthy climb, it pales alongside Lower Saucon; however, with the steep pitches of the latter around 17%, per my calibrated legs, you should only keep it on the route with forewarning and in the Spring 200 and possibly 115, as you did this year.
TR: The downhill back side of Lower Saucon was recently tar and chipped with lots of loose gravel. When I rode down this a couple of weeks before the event, it was pretty treacherous. I'd like to strangle the PADOT guy who decided this since as you may recall, it was freshly paved less than a year ago. Perhaps after the winter plowing, the loose gravel will be more manageable and we'll have to reassess then. If you sum up all the effort to get through Gallows Hill, Durham, and Buttermilk, it's probably not too different than the single effort of Lower Saucon.
NM: Then it was a no-brainer decision for this event. For this time of year I like this alternative, but would rather have Lower Saucon, if safe to come down the back side, for the Spring 200. Could leave it out on the 300 as you did this year.
NM: The mild approach to the center of Fox Gap made that climb only a single heart attack instead of multiple, but at what cost? I think Fox Gap is the centerpiece of your 200k routes and should be there Spring or Autumn. The
new descent was utter heaven. Much better than doing 45 down the other side of the Gap with cars whizzing by at 65 a few feet to the left, the good roads and great scenery around Lake Minsi would even offset the "trauma" of
the full 2½ mi ascent of the Gap.
TJR: I'm tending to agree with you here ... it is a defining climb for a challenging course. So it probably deserves to be presented, in all it's glory with all 2.4 miles of 1000' gain. One of the reasons you got the shorter approach was due in part, to other changes that had to be made for closed roads. The course was getting too long and I needed to trim mileage. The shorter approach has the other merit of less exposure to Rt191 ... some riders have complained about the fast traffic whizzing by although the shoulder is very good, and the road is not completely un-scenic with that stream near by. And yes, I think the new Lake Minsi route on the backside of Fox Gap is a keeper ... the old run down through Bangor can be really congested with afternoon traffic. Unfortunately, this cuts the Aherns Cafe Controle out of the loop, now ... it's a charming controle and the folks there are really nice. We might be able to work a stop at Aherns in the beginning around Mud Run.
NM: No further issues. Yes, I like Aherns also, but the new Lake Minsi descent is too nice to go back to Bangor.
NM: I recognize now that Lomasson's is closed, and although Buckhorn has its own steep pitches, they're relatively short and the road allows moderate recovery even though it climbs most of the way. At that point in the ride, it's definitely less psychologically defeating than the alternative. I realize you might read this and think "maybe he's telling me that I should tame that section entirely" and that would be wrong. But with 45 miles still awaiting, Lomasson's/Casteners is a bitch.
TJR: I hope they get this fixed by the Spring. I really didn't like the Buckhorn alternative that much and I almost completely rerouted the whole thing. If you saw what they're doing, it's a huge project that started shortly after the PA300k and looks nowhere near complete. Lomasson's Glen besides being a nice challenge, is a beautiful road with the way it crosses that rocky stream several times. I suppose there's Fiddler's Elbow if Lomasson's Glen is not ready next spring but that might be deemed maliously hilly.
NM: Yes, the Glen is the prettiest route of these choices. Fiddler's would get you whipped, or tongue lashed at the very least.
TJR: Another thing we need to reconsider is that Millbrook descent. As noted on the cuesheet, it is a steep, twisty descent, with a rough surface. Although the accident happened at the bottom of the descent that was flatter and straighter, there will be bad memories associated with this road. And if we have a second incident, it might be deemed irresponsible to have not rerouted since this road now has a 'history'.
NM: Your concerns regarding Millbrook are quite valid. I'm not totally familiar with all of the following, but maybe staying east to avoid that part of the ridge might be best. Continuing the Brass Castle climb over the top and descending to the bottom of the other side is a pretty good road. Yes, traffic can be fast, but I recall doing it before it was repaved and even when taking the full lane I had no difficulty with unresponsive drivers. Then just before the bottom a R onto Pleasant Valley taking that across 57 onto Mill Pond to Candlewood to Rymon to a R on Cemetery Hill. Then a R on Asbury-Anderson to L onto your route at Asbury-Broadway, or R on Asbury-Anderson, QL on Shurts to BR on Maple to Asbury. We have to check the Rte 57 crossing to make certain it's bike friendly. I think I've done it but memory is lacking.
NM The Canal Path was not really my cup of tea. Once I found it (I'll come back to that) it wasn't too onerous, as far as the surface, but as you discovered after the fact, it makes sweeping the route by car impossible, and due to its width, with walkers/runners it can be dangerous.
TJR: I'm tending to agree with you that it's more of a liability and maybe is not the best approach to Chestnut Ridge afterall. I wanted to work in Red Cliff Rd to get to the top of Chestnut Ridge ... as you may recall, it is an enchanting road that, except for the final steep pitch, is much easier than Bridgeton Hill. Bridgeton Hill can have a lot of traffic, also. You can get to Red Cliff Rd via Rt32 instead of the Canal Path (in fact this was my instruction to Jim, the last rider in), but Rt32 is very busy, narrow, and is in very poor shape. It has so many huge potholes, that I think it must be soon repaved. So although it was a close call, I opted for the canal as being marginally preferrable to Rt32 and Bridgeton Hill. Given the problems that the path presents (gravel, cueing, those nasty bridges, sweeping), I probably would tend not to use it again. If Rt32 gets paved, I think Rt32/Red Cliff would be my choice for next time.
NM: I was glad to see you not include the loop starting with Red Hill off of Headquarters. There are nice roads back there, but it's a diversion late in the ride that's in conflict with the focus of getting back.
NM: As for directional clarity: If you didn't get the message I left on your cell line as I was climbing up Knowlton, I was off the route with Joe and John. I had been leading them, as we were off the front, for much of the first 65+ miles and decided to sit in for a bit of recovery after we turned onto Knowlton. I was relaxing at the back behind John, with Joe leading the way, and thought we had done the bear left onto Nightengale, but evidently that was the bear left where Lime Kiln came in from the right. I really should have been paying more attention, but still I'm not certain if there were street signs to make it clear. In any event Joe must have sailed by Nightengale and kept going down Knowlton until we descended all the way to Rte 46. We thought that might also be called Delaware there and made the right then looking for Honey Run to the left. After more than a generous allowance of distance I decided to stop at a bakery and ask directions. We then retraced and started climbing Knowlton. Joe flattet behind me. I turned back to apologize that I would have to leave them, since I had the Tavern sign-in sheet, and it wasn't as if I could hand it off to someone since we weren't even on the route. Now, Tom, none of that was your error or really needs to
be clarified on the cue. It's for your information and to set up the following. I tried to call you as I was climbing Knowlton and finally had service long enough to leave you the message to let you know that if someone called you from the Tavern with no sign-in sheet there to tell them to sign a napkin and I would transfer it once I arrived. When I found Nightengale I called Mary to see if she was with Guy and George, so she could let them know if they were ahead of me. Mary/Kelly were still behind me at that point but not with Guy or George. As I was speaking with her I saw Honey Run to my left, put the phone in my mouth and braked hard to u-turn and head up that road. Needless to say it was the wrong Honey Run and added another 2 miles to the 7 I had already tacked on. The point here is that if there are identically named roads within two turns of each other, you really should cue them. In this case a "P Honey Run TRO Nightengale" for the first one would have made sense.
TJR: The turn you missed was really tricky and I pondered long over how to best cue this. If you recall the intersection, the main road you are on (Knowlton) seems to just continue as it banks to the right but is actually ending and becoming Audible (as indicated on the cue sheet). The Nightingale road is actually a "straight" here but is best described as a Bear Left since a true left is onto Audible.
NM: I would probably opt to cue this as "S Nightengale--Knowlton curves to R with Auble at L
TJR: What you probably missed was the road sign a couple of yards ahead of this confusing intersection with a schematic that includes the road Nightingale that you're looking for ... I should have pointed out to look out for this sign that helps navigate this tricky turn.
NM: I don't recall any signs, but then again, as I said, I had just dropped back, erringly assuming Joe would navigate. But Knowlton does continue there I believe. Auble is to the left.
TJR: BTW, I originally was going to continue along the way you mistakely went but as you probably discovered, there was a really technical descent to Rt46 that I thought was more dangerous than Nightingale.
NM: Damn, I don't recall this being technical at all. The curves were pretty sweeping as I remember it, and fairly constant grade.
TJR: And coincidentally, I *did* originally have a cue that pointed out the passing of Honey Run, for the first time. I now regret taking that out but I thought it was more of an nuisance cue that didn't offer much guidance -- amazingly, there are 2 roads called Honey Run that don't even connect with one another. It's not too easy to catch the first sighting of Honey Run, unless of course, you're going back like you did.
NM: No, I was on Nightengale in the right direction when Honey Run came up on the L. I recalled the cue had us turning L onto Honey Run, so.....That's a recipe for confusion. If there had been a few directional changes
between them, ok, but with only one, it's natural to react to it--not a valid excuse for not following the cue to a tee, but avoidable by including the "P" instruction.
TJR: In general, the whole new section from Portland to Belvidere was necessitated by the closure of the Belvidere Bridge. I would've preferred to go down from Portland to Belvidere on the PA side just like the PA300k ... this is a
really nice scenic road and appropriately easier, given that it's right after a lunch stop. This bridge construction is projected to proceed at a glacial pace at best, and may not be ready for our spring events.
NM: The Canal Path caused me additonal delay. Since in earlier emails you had referred to gravel, I mistook the "alleyway" just beyond the canal as the path. After riding to its terminus and returning (another ½ mi to my growing surplus) I spent a little more time with the cue and its little graphic. I think had you simply indicated "L Canal Path/General Store--proceed to rear of store without crossing canal" it certainly would have been clearer for me. You might ask if others had any difficulty here. In my case, certainly, I was riding hard trying to make up a 15 minute
deficit to George (I had already passed Guy leaving him at the Tavern) and not expecting to have to orienteer as well.
NM: The only other minor error I made was turning left out of the Portland Restaurant control without looking ahead on the cue sheet. That was paritally my error, wrongly assuming it was the same as the 300k route from the Spring, but a "R" instead of "Continue" in the Turn column would have prevented that. "Continue" for the other controls is appropriate as one does continue along the road they approached the control when leaving.
NM: All in all, it was another great event, even if I finished second by one minute and 9½ extra miles. I look forward to your full series next year.
TJR: And some initial thoughts about volunteer support. With the full brevet calender coming up next year, we need to find a way to efficiently use volunteer help. The regular, vetern riders like you, Jud, and Laurent have been a big help for me in the past. We need to discuss how we can share the volunteer/organizational duties evenly so we can balance riding of events (which I hope to do) along with providing proper level of support. The 100k, 200k, and to a lesser extent, 300k seem to be the most demanding in terms of support. These attract the largest fields. Many of the riders are club riders and not as prepared as the randonneur type rider. With a few exceptions, the 300k and longer rides will have experienced, well prepared randonneur riders -- the type of rider that knows what he's getting into. On this last event, I had a bunch of 200k riders without lights, riding very close to the sundown time limit. I anticipated this and swept the course near Little York in the late afternoon. I had spare lights, soup, and extra clothes to help these riders that under-estimated the difficulty of finishing before dark.
NM: That was definitely a wise move. It would be easy to say, "hey, this is a brevet, and you're supposed to be self-supporting" but that would be cutting off your nose to spite your face. If the first attempt isn't somewhat of a pleasant and/or satisfying experience, newbies aren't lilely to return.
TJR: For the 100k and 200k, I think we need a dedicated volunteer to work the last 3 hours or so of an event to sweep the course by car and account for the where abouts of all the riders. This potentially could be done by somebody who has participated in the event and has finished quickly.
NM: LOL! Not very subtle, Tom. Actually, we're on the same wavelength. As I wrote the "thank you" email yesterday, pointing out how you managed to do so many things at the end of the day, it struck me that since I didn't have a Sat night engagement, I could have done some of the sweeping. The only issue I have with it is that when I ride hard, as I did chasing George (I figured out that to make up 15 mins in 30 mi I was averaging 2 mph faster than he) and as usual not getting a full night's sleep Fri, I would have to take a short nap upon finishing. As long as there's someond on sight to handle finish and grill, as Leroy this time, it becomes doable.
TJR: For the case of where there is an accident like we had recently, there is probably little a volunteer can do. EMS will respond and take care of the rider and hopefully, secure the bike. We do need to stress the importance of rider ID and insurance cards ... we should probably make this part of the bike inspection as well as carrying the Safety Instructions. At this point, the emergency contact should be called (as was done last Saturday) and meet the injured rider at the hospital. Kelly Smith was a special case ... since he was from out of town, he had special needs that I had to attend to. If I was riding the 200k, I had a back-up (my wife Becky), who at least could've picked him up and returned him to the hostel.
NM: I think trying to make insurance cards mandatory is going too far. Absolutely, advise riders of the wisdom in carrying one and carrying emergency numbers, including the brevet organizer's. Also, a personal medical card or note identifying allergies, unsuitable medications or other noteworthy physical/physiological conditions is beneficial should an emergency exist.
TJR: Setup/Cleanup: At some point, help with food shopping and cleaning up afterwards is something I could use to ease the work load.
NM: These shouldn't be difficult. The shopping is largely a matter of identifying quantities and types of foods depending on rider count and delegatiing it. For cleanup, I would ask a couple of the riders I expected to finish late, as they would be present "at the end."
TJR: I have a bunch of new routes to develop for 2007: 400k, 600k, and 100k. Some ideas for routing (like you already suggested) and help in developing cues/controles and scouting would be welcome. ... these are just some intial thoughts, while some of this is still fresh in my mind. Thanks again, for all your input and help. If you don't mind, I'm thinking of editing our recent give and take exchange for part of the ride report ... I think this would be of interest to other riders to show how we strive to improve our events.
NM: Do it. Just don't delete all the softeners, leaving my comments looking harsh ;-) Also, I'll help as much as time permits.