Friday, October 9, 2009

Volunteer Appreciation

Words cannot begin to express, my gratitude and thanks for all the long hours and effort the volunteers put in over the 93+ hours of the EM1240. The participants I met at the finish, are also very grateful -- be sure to check back on the EM Blog for any comments from them, which I will posting as they trickle in.

Please forward any expenses you had, along with a mailing address and I'll get a reimbursement out to you. Also, if you didn't get an EM1240 polo shirt, let me know what your size is, and I'll send one out. Please note that the sizes seem to run a bit large, so you might want a smaller size than you typically wear.

Events like this, just wouldn't be possible without volunteers like you, who step up to help out!

The upcoming PA150/200k on 10/24 will be an "EM Volunteer Appreciation Ride" -- all EM volunteers ride for free. There will be a post-ride BBQ where the volunteers can get together to compare notes and kick around ideas to improve things for next time

The start/finish will be at my house ... additional details at:
... drop me a note to let me know if you're coming and just bring a signed waiver. You are also welcome to just come for the BBQ.

Best Regards,

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Future Endless Mountains Events

The following Endless Mountains events are tentatively planned:

EM 1000 km (Aug 26-29, 2010)

EM Brevet Week (Sep 26 - Oct 1, 2010)

EM 1240 km (late Aug or early Sep, 2013)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Behind the Scenes with Volunteer Andrew Mead

My EM1240 experience is best summed up as "A good plan is one that works as anticipated; a great plan is one that can be easily changed to work."

George and I hatched a plan to follow the riders throughout the day Saturday. We figured we'd be able to catch most of them at Pine Grove if we could get up there by 4:30am. Then we'd be able to leap-frog around, staff a secret controle at Middle Creek, and then follow the pack toward Quakertown. We hoped to blog a bit on the way for the on-line followers. Imagine our surprise when we rolled in at 4:15 and saw 3 riders ENTERING the controle. Still more surprising was learning that these were the second, third, and fourth riders to reach the "overnight" controle. Only Henrik, the first rider to reach Pine Grove, was on course and he was a mere 10 minutes out.

Game Plan, revision 1. George and I head out along the course. Heavy fog is forming. We find Henrik about 17 miles out and conduct a brief interview while rolling along. Then it's off to McD's in Lebanon for breakfast and Wi-Fi. As we're waiting for a veeerrryyy slow upload we calculate we can still beat Henrik to the secret controle location. We set out race to Middle Creek. Just for good measure, we head further down to the course to assure that he hasn't already passed. We turn around and meet him within half a mile of the SC location. We fill his bottles and inspect his neck support. George takes video footage and we send him along. By now, we're expecting to receive reports of other reaching PG, taking a brief rest, and hitting the road again. It is, after all, 8:00 in the morning. We check with Pine Grove and find that a few more riders have trickled in, but only Randy Mouri has departed and that was 2 hours after Henrik.

Game Plan, revision 2. Set up camp for a long day at Middle Creek. George has family responsibilities so I'm on my own. A bird watcher provides an interesting lesson and lets me look at a nearby young bald eagle through her scope. As each rider stops by, I cheer, encourage, fill bottles, offer something to eat, and send the riders along their way. In between I update command central. The riders were spaced out quite a bit, but not so much that I had long stretches of idle time. I managed to project a 45 minute gap which I used to drive up to Schafferstown and restock supplies of ice, cookies, and soda.

Game Plan, revision 3. The Olsen entourage arrives, ultimately the last of the official finishers. But wait, there are two more riders behind the Olsen group that will need help. Larry Grabiak arrives shortly after 3pm. The controle is situated on a level stretch following a little downhill. My location has allowed me to spot randonneurs since they coast this section; the day riders generally hammer. Larry pulls in deep into his granny gear and announces that he is finished. I feed and hydrate him get him to a shady spot for a nap. An hour later he remains convinced that he's ready to pull the plug. What's more, Maile is escorting Mike Anderson who's still an hour away from my location. We opt to have Maile shuttle Larry to Quakertown while I take over with Mike. Mike rolls through just as we're hatching the plan, around 5pm. The terrain is easy for the 20 miles to the next controle, but the navigation can be tricky. I pull ahead to the turns, await Mike's arrival, and then move ahead to the next hoping that this will offer him some comfort that he's on the right track. He continues to consult his cue sheet frequently and I sense my presence at this point might actually make him uncomfortable. With 8 miles to the controle, I decide to move ahead to allow time to get something to eat.

Game Plan, revision 4. Bill Slabonik and Keith Spangler arrive at New Holland while I'm waiting. They will escort Mike until 9:30 and I'll sweep up through the field as far as the Schuylkill River crossing. Of course, this is ONLY if Mike arrives at New Holland within the time limit. He has a 15 minute buffer owing to his B group start. He rolls into the controle at 6:29 with 10 minutes to spare. I talk briefly with Bill, Keith, and Mike. Mike is tired, but mentally in decent shape. I head on. The Olsen group is riding in two parts (separated slightly as some stop to add layers). I reach them at the Harmonyville Rd turn at 7:30. Slow down, talk, and let them continue. They are fine. I reach the River around 8:15. I've encountered no other riders along the way, so I assume all must have crossed the river. I start back along the course. The Olsen group, now all together as they approach M744, is riding strong. They definitely smell the barn. I can't comment on how THEY smell.

I decide to take up position at the beginning of the Harmonyville detour and wait for Mike. It's raining off and on and clouds are blocking the harvest moon. A brief detour to the top of a hill allows just enough cell coverage to check in and receive email updates. I wait. Mike arrives at 9:27. We talk briefly and I explain my plans, look him over, and encourage him along. He's making steady progress, but still right at the limit by my calculations. We reach the Schulykill River at 11:15. He now has exactly 2 hours and 25 miles. I fill his bottles, provide food, and talk to him about what lies ahead in terms of navigation and terrain. He took 1:45 to cover the previous 15 miles; it's not looking promising, but he's committed to finishing under his own power. I arrange to meet Maile and Lane at the WaWa on Lewis Rd. Mike rolls past at 11:31. Maile & Lane arrive 15 minutes later. They offer to take up the Mike escort so I can deliver Larry's bike to Quakertown and perhaps see some of the finishers.

I reached Quakertown around 12:30. You know the rest of the story, well except that I finally made it home at 3am, a mere 25 hours after I awoke to begin my adventure. Truly, I was honored to be able to help out on this event and humbled by what I saw. I'm hoping to ride the next one.

road paint - $12
food/water/drinks - $32
the experience - priceless

Thanks to all the Volunteers

The EM1240 would not have been possible without the following volunteers who answered the call to help out:

-Barb Anderson (Hallstead, Lamar, sweep)
-Ron Anderson (jersey design, Hallstead, Lamar, sweep)
-Andy Brenner (could not participate due to an injury)
-Eric Bower (Quakertown)
-Janice Chernekoff (Pine Grove, sweep)
-Kyle Chu (Lamar, Waterville, Pine Grove, Quakertown)
-Laurent Chambard (Pine Grove, sweep)
-Mary Crawley (marking, Quakertown)
-John Dennis (Selinsgrove)
-Bill Fischer (marking)
-John Fuco (marking)
-Matt Farrell (Danielsville, Fox Gap, Blairstown)
-Lane Giardina (preride, Lamar, sweep, Quakertown)
-Eric Keller (marking, Lamar, Jo Hays, sweep)
-Andrew Mead (marking, Middle Creek, New Holland, sweep)
-George Metzler (blog, sweep)
-Christine Newman (Quakertown, Danielsville, Blairstown, Raymondskill)
-Chris Nadovich (reserve)
-Maile Neel (planning, preride, Lamar, Jo Hays, Pine Grove, sweep, Quakertown)
-Chris Roth (bags, Quakertown, Hallstead, Lamar, Pine Grove)
-Katie Raschdorf (Pine Grove)
-Bill Slabonik (Selinsgrove, New Holland, sweep)
-Gloria Safar (Carbondale)
-Hugo Safar (Carbondale)
-Juan Salazar (blog, Hallstead)
-John Fessenden (marking)
-Keith Spangler (Selinsgrove, New Holland, sweep)
-Paul Scearce (marking, sweep)
-Steve Scheetz (sweep)
-George Winkert (sweep, Selinsgrove)
-Len Zawodniak (Lamar, Waterville, sweep)

Thanks also, to many of the riders who offered their help at the controles, after withdrawing. And special thanks also to Kim Fuoco, who provided neutral support while supporting Dan and John.

Jerry Phelps writes:
... just wanted you and all the volunteers to know that I arrived home safely late last night. I want to thank all of you for the hours and hours of hard work you put into making the ride possible. I'm sorry that I wasn't up to the challenge and I also want you to know that the responsibility for my failure lies solely with me. You did your best to inform all of us about the difficulty of the ride. My biggest mistake was not driving up for one of the shorter brevets to learn about the terrain first hand. ... Special thanks to Ron and Barbara for their support in Halstedt, Chris for schlepping me to Lamar, and to Lenny for the ride back to Quakertown yesterday. And of course, you deserve lots of credit for everything you've put into the ride. It will go down as one of the toughest challenges randonneurs have ever faced....

Greg Conderacci writes:
... I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and I wanted to thank you for everything you did to make it possible: from being flexible with the registrations to picking me up off the road. ... As usual, you built a classic: spectacular scenery, low traffic, superb organization and dedicated volunteers. A GREAT ride.

Nick Bull wrties:
Thanks ... to Tom Rosenbauer and all of the volunteers for runningsuch a well-organized and well-supported event. It was great to beriding and find a crew of volunteers at a control or by the side ofthe road with hot drinks &/or food. As Juan mentions, the terrain is very tough, but two 1000K's have beenrun over that same terrain, and to my knowledge those two events havehad only one person who DNF'd (and he just completed the EM1240,yay!). The weather this year in the mid-Atlantic region has beenabout five to ten degrees colder than normal, and that held true forEM1240. ... I ended up DNF'ing with a knee problem in the morning of the second day. Still, I'm really happy that I gave the EM1240 a try, even though I knew it was a long shot whether I'd be able to complete the brevet within the time limits, knowing how tough the terrain was, and watching the steadily-deteriorating weather forecast during the weekbefore the event. ....I figure it's far better to make the attempt and to not succeed thanto not even try.

Jim Logan writes:
A quick note of thanks to you and your volunteers for a great event. I had to launch into business travel Sunday AM, and won’t have time to write a proper thank you until perhaps next weekend. As your are probably aware, I arrived at the (Pine Grove) control announcing to the effect of “My cognitive abilities are very poor, ... I told (the volunteers) I needed to lay down 30 minutes, .... They went along with it, getting me to a room and providing appropriate food they thought I needed. ....The volunteers gave me just the right level of support, and I appreciate the concern I am sure they had for me the rest of the day. .... George Winkert checked in on me 10 miles down the rode, which was appreciated. They went along with my plan and helped me execute it as I worked my way out of the situation, while helping fill in the details (making sure I got food in my room, unhooking my pannier when I was unable to do so, etc). They acted as my reality check, and I really appreciate their support....

Guy Harris writes:
I want to extend my gratitude to all of the volunteers for their support. It was great to see so many fellow NJ and PA riders as volunteers. Seeing these folks provided mental revitalment that helped as much as the physical nutrition. Riders from outside our local area probably had no idea just how accomplished and capable these riders are themselves. Many thanks also to my riding companions over the four days. In fact, I think that I rode with different groups of folks on all four days. A nice change from my typical lone riding. What a great group of riders you attracted to this event! I met many folks for the first time. I have no doubt that the EM1240 will take its place as one of the premier grand randonnees, although it will and should always remain a challenging one.

Patrick Shank writes:
... Tom and his crew/volunteers were superlative in every way. It was physically challenging for sure. But, from my saddle, it was the mental game that needed to be won - unfortunately, I just couldn't get my mind right friday morning in the cold rain as I spun my way outof a nice warm hotel in Lamar, PA. I ride a lot in the wet/cold. but, I've never had to do a foul weather double century after riding 425 miles. And although I was pretty well-rested and well-fed, I simply lacked the experience and will to keep spinning in those conditions. I lost focus and quit. I'm pretty sure I was the youngest rider there, and I learned quite abit from watching the seasoned randonneurs on this event. A good attitude goes a long way. Literally. I was amazed to see riders coming into Lamar - near the cutoff time - ready to keep going after a quick nap and some food. I had just slept for 5 hours, ate my fill and could barely muster a smile. Stong legs and lungs will only get one so far. Experience and a good attitude will take one the whole way.

Jeff Bauer writes:
...a big thank you to you and everyone for hosting such a great ride. I would certainly participate again, assumingI'm in proper condition....

Randy Mouri writes:
I will be among many to say that the EM1240 was meticulously organized and well supported. I commend you on putting together a terrific, challenging and beautiful ride. .... The volunteers were second to none! Simply the best! Please extend my thanks and I hope to see you again in the near future ... All the best and many, MANY thanks for THE MOST CHALLENGING BREVET IN THEWORLD (until someone can prove otherwise)! - Randy Mouri (Greg's riding partner and near DNF)

Glen Steen writes:
...The organization was superb, the volunteers fantastic and the accommodations were the best. I dropped out at Sayre and I actually got a phone call from one of the volunteers at one of the secret controls at about 5:00 AM on Friday morning wondering where I was as I hadn't showed up yet. Great that they are concerned enough to call....Thanks again for a great event and if I can get my legs in shape, I'll be there next year....and finish!

Judson Hand writes:
Tom, I thought you did an outstanding job running your first 1200k. The course was beautiful, the volunteers well organized and extremely solicitous of the riders, and your cue sheet was near flawless. .... You warned us all about the difficulty of the course and we all could figure out the early October weather could be dicey (i.e. cold) and, despite a full moon, we would have 12 hours of darkness per day .... You have a gift for organizing and motivating people that is essential to large events of this kind. You take a great deal of care in your work and it shows. Personally, this ride was enormously challenging and rewarding, especially with the cold, wet weather, and I am so happy to have finished it within the time limit. I don't think I will ever forget it...

Bill Beck writes:
... I would like to thank you again for staging such a well organized and superbly staffed ride for us. I can't think of a singlething that wasn't done well (other than the weather requisition). I told John Lee Ellis that and he said that he had received other positive comments about your organization...

Bill Olsen writes:
THANKS to Tom Rosenbauer and allof the volunteers for running such a well-organized and well-supported event. It was great to be riding and find a crew of volunteers at a control or by the side of the road with hot (and cold) drinks and/or food. And I also want to apologize to many of you for not being as social as I would liked to have been at some of these stops. As much as I LOVE to talk randonneuring and bikes any time of the day or night, I just didn't have a lot of free time this ride to kick back and spend an hour or two in the shade - at least not until after I finished, and thanks for understanding this at 4:30AM when I'dfinished eating (or sleeping) and I was dashing out of the controle 1/2 hour after the official close time. This was a great event but required a riding style MUCH different from the Last Chance a couple of weeks earlier - including NO BEER (at all!!!) at any of the lunchstops or overnight dinners - not that I'm complaining, just a different type of event. .. and as I've commented to you a couple of times already, please don't let the high attrition rate (of the ALL very qualified riders) make you think you need to make major modifications to the routing. It was interesting to note that had you not "time averaged" the controles, many of us would have had difficulty meeting the controle closing times in the sections before 600K and we probably wouldnot have got enough sleep in the early controles. I STILL can't figure out why we lost so much time the second day relative to last year's 1000K. I wasn't as tired starting out the event and we made it into the first overnight an hour earliert han the 1000K but then we ended up losing so much time on the second day. As your average times for all of the riders shows, if one can average 12 mph with the hills, they'll have enough sleep time to recover every night. Once one's average drops to under 10mph, they had better keep moving as there's really no time to waste, and definitely not time for too much sleep at the controles.

Rob Welsh writes:
Now that I have had a day to recover some (not all yet) of my faculties I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated the great Endless Mountains ride last week that you and your wonderful team put together. I am still in awe of the challenges of doing the ride and the level of organization and support that were provided. I also greatly appreciate your personal comments about my progress on the ride. I always enjoy your rides and your friendship. I met some great new friends and felt good for the whole event...(you and your) team ofvolunteers did an outstanding job of preparing the route and buildingthe infrastructure to support the riders. It takes an unbelievableamount of preparation and execution to pull these events offsuccessfully and with enthusiasm. When you pull into a sleep controlor a secret control, it is great to hear encouraging words, help getting your food, your bike taken care of and your room arranged....(you and your) team made this a very special event.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Behind the Scenes with Volunteer George Winkert

Volunteer George Winkert sent this report on his EM1240k volunteer activities:

Thanks also for the final update on Mike Anderson. To be honest, I'm bummed. As I drove up from MD to help Friday night, I called Tom and he gave me my first assignment: head over to Mifflintown to pickup PaulD and then start sweeping towards Pine Grove. Other volunteers had put in many hours and needed some reinforcements. (I could tell. Steve was calling Bill and Mark, the "Donaldson brothers" over the phone!) ok. But, Paul needs pickup? "Can't be!", so I thought. Paul is as durable and determined as any. I'd witnessed him overcome amazing things in our club since I joined in 2006. I arrived at Mifflintown around 1:15am and there he was with an inflamed achilles. Done. And it reinforced the reality of the past couple days, that this was a brutal ride.

For Paul's sake I wished I could have overnight expressed him back to Pine Grove. Instead, he became my passenger/cargo as I swept from there to Selinsgrove. With my car GPS, and also route-programmed bike GPS, it was still not enough to avoid a few wrong turns in the intermitten drizzle. Like a well-trained randonneur, I always returned to the course where I departed, ignoring the car GPS talking short cuts. A couple times, Paul, dozing off, would speak (when I expected to hear snoring). "George, I think you missed the turn." I'm thinking, how does he know? He hasn't been here and is exhausted. Well, he was trained to look for the road markers which I had forgotten about! The markers were a great idea.

We passed 3 riders enroute to Selinsgrove. Didn't stop, but ID'd them as the Olsens and LarryG. Got to Denny's and there was HenkB, JimL, and AlbertK. The latter two were quickly prepping to leave, while Henk was ordering food. All were in good spirits. Soon the other 3 arrived ~3:30am and they too ordered food. I chatted with the Olsens for a bit, trying not to be a distraction, but they seemed pretty relaxed --- and I've always known BillO to, say, "enjoy dialogue" (a welcome asset to fellow riders in the middle of the night!). Having broken my collarbone last year, I finally got to hear BillO explain how he fell on the snow/ice last winter, broke his collarbone in 3 places, continued to work, and manipulated it back into place while sitting in a meeting at work. Gee, what a whimp I must be, when I took an ambulance ride after crashing. And now here BillO is, 9(?) months later attempting to complete his 5th 1200K this year alone!!!!!!!!!! Yikes, no wonder he's so calmly eating as the controle cutoff time approaches.

BillS was manning the controle. We checked the list and discovered that MikeA had not arrived. How so? Was he off course or sleeping somewhere as I carefully swept? PaulD had said MikA had left 30 miutes after he got to Mifflintown. So, where was he now!?! Hmmm.

At 0445, an hour after the Olsens left, BillS and I stood on the curb outside Denny's discussing strategy. MikeA had not shown up, and the controle closed in 2 minutes. What should we do? A moment later, a solitary headlight was seen approaching about 200 yards away. Amazing! Right at the buzzer. (I knew this "game" from narrowly making 2 controls on the PA1000K this year.) MikeA came down the main road instead of thru the mall parking lot. As such, he would have to cross 10ft of grassy median. He stopped. We waved. He looked confused and started to turn around. We yelled out, "Mike, over here, c'mon!". He dismounted, walked over the grass, remounted slowly, and coasted to the curb in front of us. He was more than confused. And it took awhile to register what we were telling him, that he literally just made the control. He said he thought he missed it by at least 1/2 hour. He had made some wrong turns on this segment.

As we got him off the bike and plopped down into a booth at Denny's, BillS and I exchanged looks. Without saying a word, we both knew that Mike was not in good shape. For Mike's safety, we would need some assurance before we thought he was ready to continue. He desperately needed sleep. He asked for a 20 minute power nap before anything else. Good. But first, we got him to tell us what food he would order. The Denny's waiter was great. He saw what we were trying to do, and had the food ready when Bill woke Mike up. I had already left to sweep towards Pine Grove. Bill called me around 0600. After about an hour, Mike had recovered and was doing better back on the road. But time-wise, he was still on the bubble.

When the sun came up, I took some snaps of the last 7 riders on the course. Climbing towards Good Spring, AlbertK yelled, "I'm dying, I'm dying" but with a big smile on his face.

Instead of cruising all the way to Pine Grove, I went back a good distance to check one last time on Mike. He was good. Needed to ride 58 miles in < 6hrs. I told him that after the climb, he had ~15 easy miles into the control.MikeA arrived at Pine Grove @ 1134, within 16 minutes of closing. Great. He was still in the game. I was happy for him. Helping him in Sellinsgrove was just one of those many opportunities we as volunteers get to make a difference. With drop bag in hand, and a dazed look (but not as bad when he arrived in Selinsgrove), I wished him bon courage as the elevator door shut. With much nicer weather, I thought he had a shot at finishing.

So, yes, I'm bummed to just hear that he fell a little short. But big kudos nonetheless. Everyone of these riders displayed remarkable courage and tenacity.

It was a pleasure to help out and meet many of you at the Pine Grove control center. Volunteers did a great job (especially if you read down this far). I'm sure you all have similar stories of timely help you gave to others. My pics:

A Jeopardy question...

Question : What did volunteers receive for helping at the EM1240k?

I started riding PA Randonnuering events in the fall of 2006 and since then I've noticed that there are always helpful people assisting around the edges of my consciousness. I can relate to Kate Marshall's blog from the EM1240k in which she thanks the people who took her brevet card from her and filled it out when her fingers were too cold and she was too exhausted to even know what to do with it.

For a sport which celebrates self reliance we sure help out each other a great deal. We promote a spirit of camaraderie between riders on bikes but it exists also between cyclists who could be riding but have chosen to volunteer their time staffing controles, shuttling riders, and solving logistical issues. While I was driving around taking photos of the participants during the EM1240k I celebrated their successes and commiserated with them in their suffering but as I drove home from this event I felt the same euphoria that washes over you after completing a brevet. I definitely didn't burn as many calories, but I sure felt great.

So what did I get for volunteering for in the EM1240k? The answer is truly way more than a nice Lands End, 100% cotton, polo shirt with the official event logo on it. I had the chance to reconnect with friends I hadn't seen for a while, made new friends, snagged a few donuts from the controles when nobody was looking, toured the Roebling Aqueduct museum and shared a small slice of a big event with those of you reading the blog.

Next year if your riding motivation isn't quite where it should be give, Tom Rosenbauer a call, or your local RBA and sign up as a volunteer for an event to enjoy the brevet experience from a different perspective.

Tough as....

A revised simile

In our sport of Randonneuring we celebrate the official finishers of an event rather than their order of placement. To reinforce this concept, official results are published in alphabetical order only. However, after following the 2009 EM1240K we need to cast a wider net and honor all of the 48 Randonneurs that attempted this event.

Every starter on Wednesday morning knew the course profile included 60,000+ vertical feet of climbing, understood that the event took place on the wrong side of the fall equinox, and the possibility of cold weather (okay, so noble believed it would be as horrific as eventually became) but start they did. Not one starter tried this event on a whim, and while the "Official Results" will probably list 22 finishers I know 48 special people gave their best in training for and ultimately participating in the EM1240K. Truly these 48 Randonnuers are tougher than nails.

I'd like to recognize Jim Logan who simply didn't want the EM magic to end and maximized his enjoyment of this event for 91 hours and 44 minutes, just a few ticks of the clock shy of the cut-off time to be an official finisher. In August of 2008 Jim attempted the PA 1000K which shares many of the same roads of the EM1240, and in the endless mountains after Canton, PA it became clear that Jim would not make the cut-off. He didn't give up but instead rode every mile until he was officially outside of the time cut. He then caught a ride "home" to the finish and worked as a volunteer in Quakertown. When I met Jim at mile 128 on this ride I had no doubts that he would finish, he resonated the quiet confidence that every successful Randonnuer possesses. Way to go Jim!

For more herioc tales of the ride please check out Kate's blog.

Congratulations to everyone who attempted the Endless Mountains 1240k, your efforts became an inspiration to all of us who saw it in person and to those who followed from a distance.

Dan Fuoco update (as of 10/8/09)

Dan Fuoco suffered a fractured hip after a fall he sustained while crossing wet rail road tracks. I visited him at Hershey Medical Center, where he had this injury treated. He appeared to be in good spirits, and the PT specialist will have him up and about with a walker, which he will need for several weeks while he is on the mend. Best wishes, for a speedy and complete recovery.

Update (10/8)
I spoke to Dan who is now resting at his brother John's house -- He was discharged from Hershey medical center on Monday night. He told me that he is on the mend and getting around with a walker, which he will need for the next 6 weeks.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Quakertown Finish

Rob Welsh and Micah Fritzenger arrived at 6:15PM (2nd & 3rd finishers)

Micah described the ride as epic. He is back out on the road, looking for Henrik

Vincent Muoneke just arrived @ 18:29. His comment: It was worth it!"

Bill Beck, Vincent Sikorski and Larry Grabiak have arrived.

Henrik Olsen has finished. Over the first 2 days of riding, Henrik put together an amazing ride, as he set a RAAM qualifier pace all the way to the 2nd over night controle, while many others were struggling just to make the time limit. But shortly after deciding to ride more moderately, "just for fun", Henrik needed to overcome major obstacles just to finish -- on top of the Shermer's neck he was suffering from, the following account was posted by OLSENS5:

"Henrik struggled through the last few miles. At around 10 miles out he developed a problem with his crank. A problem he could not fix with his tools. Other riders offered their assistance but the problem was not easily fixed with a road kit. When I spoke with him two miles from the finish line he was walking his bike along the side of the road, his neck in an inner tube sling too painful to turn, his muscles too weak to hold his head and waiting for any downhill slope to get back on and coast before walking again"

Additional pictures of finishers posted by volunteer Christine Newman:

Michael Anderson put in a heroic effort on the last day. He arrived at the 3rd overnight controle in Pine Grove with just 16 minutes to spare. After a short nap, he was back on the road again, with nearly 2 hours to make up on the time limit. He made it to the last controle before the finish with just minutes to spare. However, night was now upon him, and he ultimately lost his battle against the clock over the final 58 miles to the finish. He arrived in Quakertown 1:14 over the limit ... while not an official finisher, respect and admiration to Michael, for finishing his 775 mile ride -- well done!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

First Finisher Arrives in Quakertown

Randy Mouri is the first finisher, arriving at 15:24PM

He was in great spirits and the first question out of his mouth was "Where were the hills??"

Randy (on right) with riding partner Greg Conderacci:

More Riders Through Middle Creek (Update #3)

Jeff Bauer @ 12:29
Dan Barbasch & Dan Clinkinbeard (both DNF) were keeping him company.

John Fuoco @ 13:15. Looking good
Craig Martek @ 13:25. Also looking good

Judson Hand @ 13:40. Looks like he's out for an afternoon ride.

John Fessenden and Scott Gater through Middle Creek @ 13:58. Fed, watered, and smiling.

Guy Harris & GeoffreyHastings @ 14:37.They stopped to cop a few rays about 1/2 mile before my location. They ate & drank, and are doing fine.

Jim Logan @ 14:47. He looked very well. Must have found second (or third) wind.

Larry Grabiak is here as of 15:07
Larry is with volunteer Andrew Mead, presently napping, with intent to withdraw

Mark Olsen, Bill Olsen, Henk Bouhuyzen & Albert Kong @ 15:28
Riding strong, smiling, laughing, and enjoying a great day.

Still waiting for the following:

1 Anderson, dep 1:35 (spotted @ mile 678 at 3:37 -- spinning nicely)

Pine Grove Wrap-up and Controle Photos

Michael Anderson was the last rider in at the Pine Grove over night controle. After a short nap, he's back out on the course at 1:35PM. 24 of the 48 starters are still on the course.

Volunteer Maile Neel has posted many great photos from the controles here:

Greg Conderacci update

Greg Conderacci is now back in Quakertown. On the way to the Pine Grove overnight controle, Greg fell on a curb and broke a rib. Unfortunately, his cleat became jammed and he was unable to unclip as he came to a stop. Volunteer Paul Scearce waited with him while Lane Giardina came to pick him up. After returning to Pine Grove, he went to Hershey Medical Center to have it checked out and treated.

Up until his accident, Greg was riding very strongly with a leading group of other riders. Best wishes to Greg, for a speedy recovery.

More Middle Creek updates

While shedding layers and drinking fluids in the building heat, Vince speculated that later this afternoon he may be hoping for brief rain shower later today to cool things down a bit.

Middle Creek Secret/Revitalement Controle #15 (1/2) at mile number 696

Middle Creek Secret/Revitalement Controle #15 (1/2) at mile number 696 is open for business and is manned by a smiling Andrew Mead. His first client this morning was Henrik and his second is Randy Mouri at 8:45 a.m.

The keen observer will note something in the photo that hasn't been recorded during the entire EM1240. SUNSHINE and not shown on picture are temperatures headed into the 70's today. With less than 80 miles to go from this controle it is a toss-up if this weather is a welcome change or cruel insult given the conditions the riders have endured for the past three days.

Earlier this morning at the Pine Grove controle I listened to Rob Welsh reflect on the fact that it took him 24 hours to ride 236 miles. Cold rain mixed with some freezing precipitation may have had some impact on that...

A few more riders just went through...

Joe Maurer* @ 10:39 a.m.

Rob Welsh @ 11:15 a.m.
Micah Fritzinger @ 11:21 a.m.
Bill Beck @ 11:22 a.m.
Vince Muoneke @ 11:57
Vince Sikorski @ 11:57
Noel Howes* @ 11:59

*will not officially finish but he is restarting his ride this morning from Pine Grove and plans to ride to Quakertown.

Pine Grove Update

The rider tracking has been updated with several recent arrivals and departures. There are 7 riders making good progress towards the Pine Grove controle:
-Jim Logan
-Albert Kong
-Henk Bouhuyzen
-Bill Olsen
-Mark Olsen
-Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson is the last rider on course and was spotted at mile 624 at 8:30AM ... he was riding well, and determined to make the cut-off. Since he started in the second wave at the start, he has an extra 15 minutes on the closing time.

Henrik is smiling now...

We talked to Henrik at 5:19 a.m. this morning and it was easy to see that the weary neck muscles where exacting a "stiff" toll on our lead rider's spirits. We encountered a much happier cyclist in the daylight near mile number 696 in the Middle Creek Wildlife preserve. Take a close look at the picture above and see if you can deduce the source of our rider's new found joy...

Henrik used a biycle inner tube to support his neck. You can see the tube as it goes across his chest the in crosses over itself on his back and then it goes up along the back of his neck and around his forehead. The tube takes the stress off of the muscles as it helps support to his head. The solution is working well and to quote Henrik "I'm not an engineer for nothing."

Henrik has not experienced Shermer Neck previously so this came as a bit of a suprise. Keep going man!

Henrik Olsen in the Night

Here is Henrik Olsen pedaling bravely through darkness, wet roads, and fog at mile 676 (17 miles beyond the Pine Grove.) Henrik was dealing with "Shermer Neck" the problem that develops with too little rest in which the neck muscles lose the ability to support the head.

Misc Updates
Dan Fuoco – crashed about 9 miles from Pine Grove, he has successfully made it into the overnight controle and take some time to decide if he should continue.
Randy Mouri is back on course after leaving the Pine Grove controle at 6:15 a.m.
Recent arrivals at the Pine Grove Controle. Micah Fritzinger Vincent Muoeneke Vincent Sikorsky

Pine Grove Rider Update

Henrik Olsen left the overnight controle in Pine Grove and is back on course as of 4:02 a.m.

The trio of Rob Welsh, Bill Beck, Randy Mouri just arrived in Pine Grove (mile number 659) at 4:16 a.m. Temperatures have 64 degrees by EM1240K that is downright tropical.

Randy Mouri is considering taking a quick shower and then quickly heading back out onto the road because he really needs to take his wife out to eat this evening. Why, because he missed her birthday (October 30th) and thier wedding anniversary (October 2)because of the EM1240K. So I think he better get those pedals moving! Or maybe he just needs to just stay away from home for a little.
Below is a short video of the triumphant trio of Rob, Bill, and Randy talking smack after arriving in Pine Grove. Amazingly they are almost coherent.

Greg Conderacci has DNF'd due to a freak fall (he fell over a curb at an intersection while adjusting his computer or GPS)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Henrik Olsen update

Henrik Olsen was spotted by volunteer Paul Scearce who is sweeping the course between Selinsgrove and Pine Grove. Henrik is at mile 638 and about 20 miles away from the Pine Grove over-night controle, as of 11:20PM. His projected arrival time at Pine Grove is around 1AM.

Selinsgrove (Controle 14)

Volunteer John Dennis checked in from the Selinsgrove controle. He reports that the rain has stopped and Bill Beck and Rob Welsh departed there and headed out to Pines Grove at 10:30PM... their projected arrival time to Pine Grove is around 3:30AM. Randy Mouri and Greg Conderacci are also at Selinsgrove.

Mifflintown (Controle 13)

Maile Neel checked in from Mifflintown (Controle 13) at the 560 mile point. She saw the leading group with Greg Conderacci and 2 other riders come through around 5:30PM. They are hoping to reach the Pine Grove over-night controle by midnight. A short while later, she met up with the Dan & John Fuco and Dan Blumenfeld, who hope to get in around 2AM.

All the riders were in good spirits and riding strongly.

Jo Hays Vista - All riders through

Maile Neel reports that all riders have cleared the Jo Hays Vista secret controle (mile 480).

A group of 4 riders came through around 1:15PM consisting of:
- Paul Donaldson
- Larry Grabiak
- Bill Olsen
- Mark Olsen
... they are riding well and making good time to the Mt Union controle 37 miles ahead.

Another group came through around 2:45PM consisting of:
- Michael Anderson
- Dan Barbasch
- Noel Howes
- Judith Longley
- Ray Skinner
... they also are riding strong and are on track to make the Mt Union controle within the time limit.

Joseph Maurer has withdrawn, and is being shuttled to the Mifflintown controle by Maile. Volunteer Janice Chernekoff is headed to Mifflintown to pick up Joseph there and transport him to the Pine Grove overnight controle. After resting at Pine Grove, Joseph is planning to ride in to the Quakertown finish.

Steve Scheetz is sweeping the course towards Mt Union and then on to Mifflintown. The 5 riders in the 2:45 group are the last ones on course.

Jo Hays Vista - Several riders through

Maile Neel has checked in from the Jo Hayes Vista secrete controle. She reports several riders have ridden through as of 12:30PM. After a couple of morning showers, the weather is improving with a flow of warmer air from the south. The riders appear to be in good spirits and seem to have made a good recovery from the hard riding yesterday.

The first group of riders (after Henrik Olsen) arrived at 9:30 and included
-Bill Beck
-Greg Conderacci
-Randy Mouri
-Rob Welsh
They are on pace to get to the Pine Grove overnight around midnight, probably about 3 hours after Henrik Olsen who is now projected for a 9PM arrival.

A large group of riders came through between 11:30AM and 12:30PM, and will probably get to Pine Grove around 3AM.

The last rider on course is Joseph Maurer. Steve Scheetz met up with Joseph in Centre Hall (mile 465 at 2:20PM). Joseph is riding close to the time limit, and needs to average 13 MPH over the next 52 miles to make it to Mt Union within the time limit.

Jo Hays Vista - Secret/Revitalement Controle

Eric Keller reports the following, from the Jo Hays Vista secrete controle near mile 480:

Henrik Olsen passed through the overlook at mile ~480 at 6:30AM. He reported stopping multiple times on 192 to warm up.Shortly after he left, Maile said she hoped the rain would hold off for a little bit, but of course the rain started almost immediately after she said that. We don't expect to see the next riders at the overlook until 9 or 10.

Lamar Update: Departure times & Rider Projections

The rider tracking has been updated to show the departure times from Lamar for day 3.

Henrik Olsen was the first rider out, around 12:30AM, and he is projected to be the first arrival to the Pine Grove over-night controle around 6PM.

The lead group after Henrik, is projected to arrive several hours later, closer to midnight.

Many of the remaining riders will probably be arriving during the Saturday early morning hours.

Lamar: All Riders In

All riders have made it in to the Lamar over-night controle. Michelle Dulieu was the last rider in -- we were a bit concerned when we lost track of her of her somewhere on the descent into Lock Haven. But volunteer Steve Scheetz, found her napping on a picnic bench near Lock Haven and shuttled her in, safely to the hotel.

The volunteers did an amazing job of supporting the riders. The cold, wet weather, and terrain was a brutally tough combination for day 2 and certainly took it's toll on the riders. But the volunteers worked tirelessly through night to help make these extreme, epic conditions as safe as possible. Special thanks to the sweep teams of:
- Len Zadwodniak and Kyle Chu for manning the Waterville revitalement stop throughout the night, providing hot drinks and soup.
- Eric Keller for shuttling riders in from Canton.
- Steve Scheetz for tracking down the last riders and making sure they made it in safely.
And special thanks to the entire Lamar crew led by Ron & Barb Anderson.

Many of the volunteers are taking a long-overdue rest now. Maile Neel and Eric Keller are manning a secrete/revitalement controle at the Jo Hays Vista on Rt 26 near State College.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Lamar Arrivals Update

Volunteer Maile Neel has arrived at Lamar and reports:
"Riders are looking tired but good and are happy to get warmed up."

Several recent arrivals have just been added to the rider tracking spread sheet.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

More Arrivals at Lamar...

Rob Welsh just came in. He says it was a "Hell of a Day ... A Good Day!"

The chatter in the control room (Chris G., Rob, and Randy) was that today was a much harder day than yesterday, and they think maybe 20K feet of climbing. Mostly not too steep, but lots of 10% grade. One climb was like Middlebury (Middleburg?) on BMB, where it keeps getting steeper toward the top until you're climbing a wall.

Volunteer Steve Scheetz is now sweeeping the course from Lockhaven back towards Canton. In Lockhaven, he saw the recumbent rider, Dan Blumenfeld and 2 other riders riding strong ... they'll probably be arriving in Lamar within the hour.

Preliminary Pine Grove Arrival Projections

As of 10:30PM, no riders have left Lamar yet.

Henrik Olsen is reportedly just riding for "fun" now and is playing his RAAM Qualifier attempt by ear -- at this time, he probably will leave with the other early-arrivers.

Micah has set a wake-up call at 2 but hopes to be up before then. Chris G. says he and his group have not decided on a departure time yet.

First riders to the Pine Grove over night controle will most likely be after 10PM.

More Rider Comments at Lamar

Micah says "Today was the most brutal day on the bike I've ever had, and I'm really glad I did it because I like a challenge!!"

Special thanks to Nick Bull, who is helping out at the Lamar controle and forwarding information.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Arrivals in Lamar & Canton Update

The first group of riders (after Henrik Olsen) are now arriving in Lamar, getting in just before 9:30PM. The group includes Micah Fritzinger, Christopher Gaughan, Randy Mouri and Greg Conceracci . The riders had a chilly ride with temperatures in the mid 40's for much of the day. But when the sun did poke through the cloud cover, Micah reports that it was actually quite pleasant.

Chris G. says that there was freezing rain or mabye snow on 154 "It hurt!". He also had a nearly-uncontrollable shimmy at 40 mph.

Greg C. says the course is way too flat, "Where are the hills?"

Randy M. also wants to know "Why is the course so flat???"

Volunteer Eric Keller has just checked in from Canton. He's picked up riders Henrique Caldas and Henrik Schroeder and is now headed back to Lamar. Michelle Dulieu, Judith Longley, and Joseph Maurer are the last riders on course and have just cleared Canton around 9:30PM -- this puts them right at the time limit.

News from Canton

Henrik Schroeder broke his derailleur hanger on the climb into Shunk -- he worked his way to the Canton controle where he is being picked up volunteer Eric Keller.

Henrique Caldas is also at Canton, and has decided to withdraw due to muscle fatigue.

Michelle Dulieu and Judith Longley are the last riders on course and are now riding together. They were near the Canton controle around 8:45PM. They are pressing on to Lamar and hopefully, they'll be able to bank some more time before they get there. But with the difficult terrain that lies ahead, it will not be easy to do so.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Update from Canton Controle #9 mile #344

This report is courtesy PA Randonnuer Ivan Umble.

Ivan visited the Canton Controle at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. There were about ten riders at the controle, including the tandem couple of Victor and Katie, The Olsen duo, and Vincent Muoeneke.

A reporter was also onsite interviewing the riders. Evidently the EM1240 is now so big it is breaking into the local media consciousness. Can CNN, FoxNews, and MSNBC be far behind?

With 80 miles to go till the overnight stop Ivan observed that two tough days of riding were taking their toll on energy levels.

However that observation was made before eating. So I predict happy riders will emerge and knock off the evening miles.

First Rider in at Lamar Over-night Controle

Henrik Olsen is the first rider to arrive at the Lamar over-night control, arriving just before 4PM. He's covered the 424 miles to here in 36 hours which puts him on a RAAM Qualification pace.

Henrik was greeted by the volunteer crew at Lamar, which currently includes Ron & Barb Anderson, Chris Roth, and Eric Keller. Steve Scheetz and Maile Neel will be joining the crew a bit later tonight.

Volunteers Len Zawodniak and Kyle Chu have also just arrived at Lamar. They will be headed over to the Waterville / Little Pine Creek S.P. area to set up a revitalement controle. This is about the half-way point on the 80-mile segment between the Canton and Lamar controles.

Current weather conditions at Lamar are partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid 50's -- the forecasted sunny skies and 65 degree temperatures never materilized.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Report from Canton (Controle 9)

Rob Welsh and about a half dozen other riders have cleared Canton at 3:15PM. This puts the lead group of riders on track to arrive around 9:30PM at the Lamar over-night controle. No report on Henrik Olsen, who probably is several hours ahead of them. Most of the other riders are projected to arrive around midnight.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA


From Craig Martek via Facebook, 10/1, 09:30 a.m.

"5-1/2 hours of rain and temps in 40's. Having a snack in Towanda.
About 180
miles to go today."

From George Metzler's warm office...

I think we all know brevet riders are a tough bunch, but to see the heroic effort up close touches your spirit. I followed the riders Wednesday evening into Carbondale and saw the stress and strain of hard riding in cold, overcast, and windy conditions. I saw Henk B. doubled over his handle bars trying to catch his breath 2/3 of the way up one of 40 rollers he had already completed but knowing 15 more lie in wait before the sleep stop.

Where does the desire come from? I think these events captivate us because they are difficult, because at any moment failure may come. Thursday morning, most cyclists began their day in darkness, rain, and low 40 degree temperatures with the prospect of worse weather later in the day. Why begin? Why suffer? If a rider can't answer that question correctly then time slows, doubt sets in, and the ride ends. Each day a rider answers these questions well, will take them one day closer to a successful conclusion.

Below is a proverb from the legendary Vincent Muoneke that makes a lot of sense on a windy day.

Rider Updates - Day 2 (Hallstead to Lamar)

Henrik Olsen was the first rider back on course out of Hallstead at 8:05 PM Wednesday night. It appears that he reached the Dushore controle around 4:30AM and has slept at the nearby hotel. As of 12:30 PM, he had not checked into Canton.

Most of the other riders were back on course between 3 and 5 AM on Thursday.

The riders encountered chilly riding conditions in the early morning hours, with temperatures in the low to mid 40's and some rain showers passing through the Binghamton area. As they head south and west, weather conditions should improve -- current forecast for the Lamar overnight controle is for mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 60's by the afternoon.

Nick Bull has withdrawn at Towanda, due to a sore knee. Nick explains that the strength was there in the muscles but not in the joints. He has been picked up by Kim Fuoco and is enroute to Lamar -- where he will continue participation in the EM1240 as a volunteer.

Alan Gosart did not start day 2 -- he is getting picked up by personal support at the Hallstead controle.

Martin Lavoie withdrew at Binghamton. He was riding very strongly on the first day and was one of the early arrivals to the Hallstead overnight controle. He headed out around 4AM on Thursday but decided he was unprepared for the combination of rain showers and temperatures in the mid 40's. He has been picked up and is now back at the Quakertown start/finish.

Jerry Phelps did not start day 2. He is being transported to the Lamar overnight controle by Ron and Barb Anderson.

Glen Steen has withdrawn at the Sayre controle -- he is being picked up by personal support.

Michael Sturgill withdrew at Hallstead. Juan Salazar transported him to Binghamton where he plans to take a bus to NY city.

Bill and Mark Olsen passed through the Sayre controle around 10:30 AM. Michelle Dulieu and another rider were spotted near Sayre shortly afterwards. Judith Longley and Henrik Schroeder passed through Sayre around 11AM, and are probably the last riders on course. The tandem team of Victor Urvantsev and Kate Marshall were reluctant starters from Hallstead, but appear to be riding strongly with a group of riders that are ahead of the trailing group.

The rider tracking will be updated shortly with the Hallstead departure times.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

News from Hallstead

I left Hallstead at about 6am this morning. All other volunteers were enjoying some well deserved sleep at the time. All riders were accounted for. The last two riders to leave Hallstead were Bill and Mark Olsen. Three riders decided to pack it in at Hallstead. I gave a ride to Mike Sturgill to nearby Binghamton, where he took a bus to NYC. All is well with Mike, he had no physical issues, the weather was the major factor in his decision to call it quits. Alan Gosart was woken up at 5am, but he too decided he would not continue. Jerry Phelps also called it a day. He will be taking a ride with Ron and Barbara to Lamar. There he will be picked up.

Most of the riders had already left before it started to rain at about 4:30am. It was chilly and wet this morning, a really bad combo. Riders who left before 3am might have escaped some of that. Despite the bad weather and tons of climbing, the vast majority of riders were in really good spirits, and we did our best to motivate them. In the "high spirits" category one of the top contenders is Vincent Muoneke, always smiling, along with Dan Clinkinbeard (aka "I'm lovin' it!").

Some riders had mechanical issues. Henrique Caldas broke his chain on the first day, but thanks to a spare link donated by Michelle Dulieu, he was able to move on. Henrique is riding with fellow Brazilian Rogerio Bernardes. They were one of the last riders in yesterday (early today), but after a couple hours of sleep they were back on the road. Michelle was our last rider in at 1:55am. However, she just took a shower, had some food and was off again.

Back to Work Thursday morning

Vincent Muoneke soldiering onward Wednesday evening.

High everyone. I'm back at work in the office and will have to rely on riders for photos and news. I will however post some photos from the first day just to keep the blogsite updated. Last evening after closing out Controle #4 in Barry NY I drove to Carbondale "sweeping" the course.

Most riders were still pretty high in spirit Wednesday evening. Lots of enthusiastic thumbs up and even on some nastly climbs to Carbondale. The tandem duo of Victor and Kate was flying down the hills, as I approached them in my vehicle, I could hear the brakes complaining loudly as they had to come to a complete stop at a stop sign right at the bottom of the hill. (just before the road went straight back up of course)

Hallstead reporting: all riders are in (and some have already left)

Joseph Maurer @ 00:51

Rogerio Bernardes @ 01:45

Henrique Caldas @ 01:45

Michelle Dulieu @ 01:55

Tom is now asleep. He has been working 24h non-stop.

Hallstead update

All riders have now reached the Halstead overnight controle, and several are now heading back out.

Hallstead reporting: Bill Olsen explains WPPS

Many of the riders have remarked how much the markings along the course make it easier to navigate. Bill Olsen suggested that GPS should be banned in favor of the White Paint Positioning System (WPPS). We will be submitting the suggestion to RUSA shortly. Thanks for all the volunteers who have made WPPS a success: Mary Crawley, Tom Rosenbauer, Bill Fischer, John Fessenden, Eric Keller, John Fuoco, Paul Scearce and Andrew Mead.

Hallstead reporting: Almost everyone is in and asleep

Glen Steen @ 23:49

Larry Grabiak @ 23:55

Paul Donaldson @ 00:00

Henk Bouhuyzen @ 00:27

Vincent Muoneke @ 00:27

Bill Olsen @ 00:30

Mark Olsen @ 00:30

Noel Howes @ 00:30