Monday, August 20, 2012

Quakertown Finish

All riders are in safely, well within the time limit:
- Andrea and Greg: 11:10 PM
- Robin, Bill, and Norman: 1:35 AM
Volunteer Chris Nadovich had a fantastic homemade vegitarian chile and cornbread ready for the hungry finishers -- there weren't any leftovers!

A 100% finish rate -- congratulations, and well done to the riders, for getting around a very challenging course in good time.  No doubt, the high finish rate was in part due to the superb support from the volunteers, listed here:
... I must say, this year's crew was truly exceptional...I'm really lucky to have such dedicated volunteers give so much time and effort to make these events possible.   All the volunteers worked tirelessly, to help the riders on their way.  But Laurent Chambard certainly went way beyond the call of duty -- his official duties just included transporting the drop bags to Halstead,  checking-in with the riders a couple of times during the day, and helping at the overnight controle.  As the riders can attest to, Laurent instead worked the entire 3-day event and was at every controle -- having scouted the ride the week before, I can assure you that even just driving the course over 2 days is quite exhausting!

Andrea Matney writes: "...Just a quick note to thank you and the many, many wonderful volunteers for an amazing ride experience!!  I've never been so pampered on a randonnee! You did an excellent job all around.  ..."

Greg Conderacci writes "...Just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for another amazing Rosenbauer ride experience. ...Somehow, your rides always combine what it best in Randonneuring: adventure, fellowship, challenge (maybe even a little hardship), scenery, and hospitality.  You even threw in some nice weather for good measure.  I liked this ride a lot when I first did it in 2008 and you've made it even better this year. And, of course, there's nothing like a few days in Pennsylvania sawtooth hills to build character. .... Although we only were a handful of riders, you and your hardy band of volunteers didn't stint on hospitality.  We were treated royally by all.  (Laurent even went ABCD -- above and beyond the call of duty -- to bring the spirit of PBP-variety French kindness and attention to detail.) ..."

Greg has also posted an interesting commentary at his Good Ground blog:

Click on the "older posts" link below, to see how the event unfolded over the past 3 days.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Limerick, PA

Andrea and Greg have checked into the Limerick controle at  7:30 PM -- just 29 more miles to go!  They are still on track to finish around 10 PM, if they don't hang out there too long.  Bill, Robin, and Norman are still together, and are now about 1:30 behind Andrea and Greg.


Laurent has checked in and reported that all the riders have cleared the Brownstown controle (mile 548).  Yes, remarkably, Laurent is still out on course, meeting the riders at the controles.
- Greg and Andrea were the first through at 3:30 PM
- Bill, Robin, and Norman at 5:30 PM

First riders are projected to finish around 10 PM, and the last group around 12 Midnight.

Mount Aetna

Volunteer Don Jagel, out sweeping the course, reports "Everyone was through Mount Aetna (mile 521) at 3:00 PM ....  Laurent is going to the Brownstown control and I am on my way to Limerick.  Greg and Andrea are about 1.5 hours ahead of Robin Bill and Norman. Everyone is doing well. "

Just another 100 miles to go! Temperatures are in the mid 70F's with mostly cloudy skies.  Winds have been calm all day but now are around 5 MPH out of the south east.


*** Update 2 ***
Keith Spangler has checked in from Jonestown, and reports that all riders have cleared the controle as of 1:15 PM.  The last 3 riders there said they are hoping to finish around midnight.  Current weather conditions are cool and overcast -- ideal cycling weather for the afternoon.  However, there is some rain south of the Mason Dixon line that forecasters are now saying has a chance of moving into Pennsylvania later in the day.

*** Update 1 ***
Keith forwarded me this note: "...Special thanks to Don Jagel for visiting the Jonestown controle to welcome the first two riders here.  Appreciate the help with the SPOT battery install. .."

*** Original Post ***
I just checked in with volunteer Keith Spangler, who is at the Jonestown controle (mile 508).  Greg and Andrea arrived there at 11:15 AM.  Keith has some fresh batteries to get Greg and Andrea's SPOT units back online.

The other riders are in Pine Grove, and appear to be making steady progress.

Pine Grove

Greg and Andrea have cleared the Pine Grove controle (mile 492) and as of 10:45 AM, were just 9 miles away from the Jonestown controle.  They'll probably be arriving there some time around 11:30 AM.   The other three riders are all within minutes of one another, and should be in Pine Grove around the same time that Greg and Andrea are in Jonestown.

As the riders head into Jonestown, they'll be crossing the Appalachian Trail at the Swatara Gap, which marks the transition into the rolling terrain of Lancaster County.  Temperatures there are in the mid 60F's, with a few clouds rolling in.


All riders are back on course after the Lewisburg overnight controle.  Greg and Andrea were the first to leave and have cleared Herndon around 7:15 AM.  The other 3 riders are about an hour behind.

For those of you following the SPOT GPS tracker, Greg and Andrea's units are not currently transmitting.  We're going to try to get one of the volunteers to meet up with them and turn the tracking function back on.

Weather this morning is nearly ideal: high 50F's, low humidity, and calm wind.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Lewisburg Overnight Controle

*** Update ***
All riders are in....
Norman arrived @ 11:15 PM
Bill and Robin arrived @ 11:30 PM

*** Original Post ***
Greg and Andrea were the first to arrive at the Lewisburg overnight controle, just before 10 PM.  Ron and Barbara Anderson are the overnight crew there, and will later be joined by Jim Bondra, who is out sweeping the course.  Pizza is on the menu tonight.

The other 3 riders are not too far behind -- they've all made the turn on Rt 192 which is a 20-mile downhill segment.


The SPOT GPS tracking is showing all the riders near Waterville at 3:30 PM, within minutes of one another. The first riders will probably be arriving at Lamar around 6 PM, and the Lewisburg overnight controle around 10 PM.

The aforementioned "heartbreak hills" near Canton are now behind the riders, and they in fact just enjoyed a really nice part of the course through Little Pine Creek state park.  Weather conditions at Lock Haven, where the riders are now headed, appear to be nearly ideal: low 70F's with no humidity, and light winds out of the northwest.

Liberty Revitalement Controle

Volunteer Bill Fischer just checked in from Liberty, a small town at mile 328, that marks the end of the "Heartbreak Hills" after Canton.  Bill reports: "...I had a revitalment control at Liberty - all riders were in very good spirits and riding well.  Nobody even called Tom a bad name after all those rollers on 414.  All riders departed within 15 minutes of each other before 2:00.  Since Laurant was going to check riders at the next controls, I've gone to Lewisburg and will meet the Andersons shortly with the drop bags etc."

From Liberty, the riders are rewarded with a beautiful section that trends down at 1% for about 14 miles as they head into the Little Pine Creek area towards Waterville.


Laurent reports that all riders have cleared the controle at Nichols by 7:15 AM, and were on track for the start of day 2.  For those of you following along with the SPOT GPS tracking, apparently the tracking function for some reason, shut itself off at the Halstead controle.  The tracking function has been turned on now, and it shows all the riders now making their way to Towanda, as they ride along the Susquehanna River.  This section along the NY southern tier is a respite from the challenging climbs the riders endured through the Endless Mountains region after Carbondale, and the heartbreak hills that await the riders later today after Canton.

Bill Olsen is now riding on a new rear wheel, compliments of the overnight crew at Halstead.

Halstead Overnight Controle

Overnight volunteer Dan Barbasch reports: "All five riders came in by 22:30, and are planning to get up at 2:45am and leave soon thereafter. I expect there will be quite a bit of food left over which will go on to the next sleepover controle.
There are blueberries, at least half a tray of lasagna, a bag of meatballs, bagels, assorted large bottles of cola, milk, orange juice, lots of bananas, cookies, the list goes on.

If all the riders leave this early, Laurent and I were thinking we could pack up and follow the riders  for a while thus saving Bill Fischer the ride back to Hallstead; he said he'd come back by 6am.
I could go all the way to Sayre, and exchange the bags with Bill there.  Bill's phone was turned off, I left a message.

But unless  we communicate with Bill Fischer, I will stay in Hallstead.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Bill Fischer reports that all riders have cleared the controle at Carbondale, and that everybody is looking real good.  Greg and Andrea were the first to leave at 7PM.  Just 33 miles to go before the overnight controle, but some tough terrain is ahead. If Greg and Andrea still have some climbing legs at this point, they have a good chance of reaching Halstead before 10PM.

Volunteers Dan Barbasch and Laurent Chambard are ready to go at the Halstead overnight controle.  Lasagna and meatballs are on the menu tonight.

Salem Mountain

Bill Fischer reports that all riders have crested Salem Mountain at mile175 -- the highest point on the course.  Greg and Andrea came through first at 6:15P, followed by Norman at 6:30, and then Robin and Bill at 7PM.  Just under 40 miles to go to the overnight controle in Halstead. But the first 30 miles is checkered with many challenging climbs.  The first riders are on track to arrive at Halstead around 10PM.

Rain Storms

*** Update 2 ***
Volunteer Bill Fischer has just checked in and reported that he's waiting for the riders at the top of Salem Mountain -- he should be seeing them shortly.

*** Update 1 ***
As of 6PM, several riders were on the Salem Mountain Rd climb... they'll probably be arriving in Carbondale within a half hour or so.

*** Original Post ***
Late in the afternoon, the rain storms finally caught up with riders near Hawley, just past Lake Wallenpaupack.  Based on the impressive radar imagery, it looks like it was a pretty good soaking.  It appears that the rain will be dissipating soon, after one more band goes by.

Temperatures have dropped into the 60F's, which will probably be a welcome relief with the climb up Salem Mountain Road looming ahead.  This climb takes the riders to the highest point on the course, just before the Carbondale controle.  Greg and Andrea and perhaps a few others, appear to have stopped at the mini-mart just before this tough climb, probably to dry out and regroup.


*** Update 1 ***
Laurent reports that all riders have cleared Eldred as of 3PM, and the gap between the first (Bill) and last (Robin) riders is down to 20 minutes.  The estimated time of arrival of the first riders to the Halstead overnight controle is no sooner than 9:30 PM.

Laurent is now headed directly to Halstead, and expects to be there around 6PM.

*** Original Post ***
Laurent reports that as of 2:45P, 4 riders have arrived at the Eldred controle (mile 128) and Bill Olsen has already departed and limping away on his broken hub towards Carbondale.  Hopefully, the hub can hang in there until then -- volunteer Bill Fischer is en route to  the Carbondale controle with a wheel replacement.  Robin is the last rider on course, still working his way towards Eldre, after being delayed by a flat tire near Port Jervis.

The cloud cover has dissipated and temperatures are getting a bit warmer.  But it seems almost certain that at some point before the overnight controle, the riders will get a cool down in the form of an impressive looking line of rain, working it's way east from central PA.

Port Jervis

*** Update 1 ***
I spoke to Bill Olsen, and he confirmed that he has a Campy 11-speed drivetrain.  He just needs a wheel with a Campy Record hub, and he can swap out the freewheel. Volunteer Bill Fischer checked in, and has a wheel Bill can use, and will be meeting him at the Carbondale controle.

*** Original Post ***
Laurent reports that all riders have cleared Port Jervis as of 1:15P.  Norman S. was the first to arrive at 12:30P.  Temperatures and humidity have steadily risen, but now some cloud cover should keep things manageable, as El Dred awaits them: the big climp up to Eldred, NY.  But first, the riders will be passing through Hawk's Nest, with it's spectacular scenic vistas.  Nigel Greene got a great shot of this on a recent event, posted here:

Laurent reports that Bill Olsen's rear wheel started to self-destruct on Old Mine Road -- apparently, the flange on the rear hub is ripping apart and he's lost 2 spokes.  We're not sure how much longer the rest of the hub is going to stay together.  Bill is known to carry all sorts of tools and spares, but I'm pretty sure that a rear hub is beyond what even Bill can handle on the road.  The bike shop in Port Jervis was not able to help him out either -- we're going to see if the volunteers scheduled for the Halstead overnight controle can help Bill out with a repair.

There's a line of showers approaching central PA, indicating the passage of the cold front headed towards the riders.

Delaware Water Gap

*** Update 1 ***
Laurent reports that the last 2 riders, Andrea and Greg, have cleared Water Gap at 9:40AM. The gap between the first and last riders is about 30 minutes.  All riders appear to be in good spirits.

*** Original Post ***
Laurent reports that the first 3 riders have arrived at the Water Gap controle (mile 68) just before 9AM.  Andrea and Greg are about 15 minutes behind.  Current temperatures are in the low 60F's with mostly sunny skies.  But the forecast is calling for some late day T-Storms, as a cold front sweeps in from the northwest.  The riders are headed towards Port Jervis, as they follow the Delaware River through the Delaware Water Gap Recreation area -- one of my very favorite areas.


All 5, registered riders clipped-in at 4am and started riding from Quakertown -- they have until 7AM Monday, to cover 623 miles and make it back to Quakertown within the 75-hr time limit.  Temperatures at the start were a pleasant 60F with low humidity.  There was some patchy fog in the valleys, but this has quickly burned off with sunrise.  Volunteer Laurent Chambard reports that all riders have cleared the Danielsville controle at 7:10 (mile 38).  As they head back out on course, they are faced with a climb over the Blue Mountains at Little Gap.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

SPOT GPS Tracking

All riders will be given a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger at check-in, which can be strapped to your bike or placed in your bag or back pocket.  This device has a built-in GPS position that reports your position every 10 minutes via a satellite uplink.  The position of all riders can be viewed at this website:

If you check out the website now, you can see my course checkout with 3 of the devices that I carried in my car.  The website shows the last 50 or so positions at a time.  You can scroll back and forth to earlier positions using the controls in the bottom left part of the screen.

This will allow friends, family and volunteers to follow your progress.  The device also can be used to send a preset message to me if you need help and are out of cell phone range.  More information is at this link:

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Monday, August 13, 2012

Update #1

*** Update 8/13 ***
Mile ~460.0: (just before Herdon controle #14): There is bridge construction that has closed the road to car traffic.  But if you dismount and walk around the barriers and construction equipment, the construction is passable by foot.

*** Original Post ***
The cuesheet has been updated to Draft 7, dated 8/12/12, with numerous corrections and clarifications from a scouting trip this past weekend.

Course Notes:

-Mile 0.0 (Start controle): A single, small, drop bag will be collected at the start from each rider.  This single bag for each rider will be transported to each of the overnight controles, and then returned to the finish.  You will be given a SPOT GPS tracker which you can strap to your bike, place in a bag, or in your back pocket.  Friends and family will be able to monitor your progress at this link:
I will be at the hostel on Thursday night around 7PM, for early sign-in.  Breakfast will be served starting around 3AM.

-Mile 68.7: This is a special instruction to get you across the Delaware River via the Rt 80 pedestrian bridge.  You will be traveling to the end of a road, and then getting on a sidewalk that leads to the pedestrian walkway.  The "Walk Bike" sign is easy to miss, and I usually forget and end up riding across [wink wink].

-Mile 82.1: As noted on the cuesheet, there is very steep and rough descent that is cratered with potholes and rotten, crumbling pavement.  You will need to slowly pick your way around these hazards.  Please take extra special caution here.  (This stretch of road is way overdue for some major repairs).

-Mile 100.2: As noted on the cuesheet, this is another rough patch of rotten, crumbling pavement.

-Mile 110.2: The road was ground down for resurfacing when I passed through here on Friday -- with a bit of luck, you might be treated to a fresh ribbon of blacktop.

Mile 116.9: You will be passing through Hawk's Nest, with several scenic overlooks on your left -- it's worthwhile to stop at one these, to check out the nice vista.

Mile 175.7: From this point until reach Milford, you will be traveling through the Endless Mountains region.  And as the name suggests, you will have a lot of up and down.  Many of the descents are very steep and twisty, which you should take with caution -- please don't go any faster than your guardian angel can keep up with.

Mile 213:0: Halstead overnight controle (#7):  There will be a sign in the lobby directing you to volunteer room, where you will collect your room key and drop bad and food will be served.  You should plan to be back out on the road no later than 4AM, which is about 1 hour after the closing time. The next controle (#8 in Nichols) is an untimed information controle.  So you have until controle #9 in Towanda to catch up on the time limit This gives you 6.5 hours to cover 70 miles, about a 10 MPH pace.  The terrain is relatively flat, as you follow along the Susquehanna River valley roads.

Mile 285.7: There is a nice bakery here that opens at 8AM, and they offer breakfast sandwiches.  There is also a cafe near by that opens at 9AM -- these are good sit-down options for food.  Note that this is in Towanda, about 2 miles after the official controle which is mini-mart.

Mile 311.7: After the controle in Canton, you will be headed into one of the toughest parts of the course on day 2 -- the profile doesn't show any large climbs, but you will have a challenging 15-mile stretch of steep, twisty, rollers that will constantly have you going up and down 200' at a time. Be sure to have your supplies topped off, as you head out into this area with limited services.  When you reach Blockhouse Rd in Liberty, you will be rewarded with a very nice stretch that trends down about 1% for next several miles.

Mile 435.9: Lewisburg overnight controle (#13): Follow the same procedures as you did before.  Once again, the next controle is an untimed info controle, to give you extra time to catch up on the time limit.  You should plan to leave the controle by 6AM, which is about 1 hour after the closing time.

Mile ~460.0: (just before Herdon controle #14): There is bridge construction that has closed the road to car traffic.  But if you dismount and walk around the barriers and construction equipment, the construction is passable by foot.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

2012 Volunteers

*** List of Volunteers ***
Tom Rosenbauer (610) 417-7161
Laurent Chambard (201) 290-4700, (Blackberry: 908-370-6478)
Dan Barbasch (607) 342-4564
Jim Bondra (607) 220-4382
Bill Fischer (607)731-2737
Ron and Barb Anderson (609) 731-9894
Keith Spangler 717-602-8166
Don Jagel 484-576-0404
Chris Nadovich 267-218-0418
Eric Keller

*** Thursday 8/16 ***
- Hostel Start evening: Setup, Rider sign-in: Tom, Laurent??

*** Friday 8/17 ***
- Hostel Start morning: Rider sign-in; rider meeting; event start: Tom
- Hostel Start morning: Collect drop bags; transfer supplies to Hallstead: Laurent
- Sweep/Revitalement morning: Laurent
- Sweep/Revitalement afternoon: Laurent
- Sweep/Revitalement evening: Bill
- Hallstead Overnight Controle: Dan, Laurent

*** Saturday 8/18 ***
- Sweep/Revitalement afternoon: Bill
- Sweep/Revitalement evening: Jim
- Lewisburg Overnight Controle: Ron, Barb, Jim
- Transfer drop bags and supplies to Lewisburg: Bill

*** Sunday 8/19 ***
- Sweep/Revitalement 10AM-2PM: Keith Spangler
- Sweep/Revitalement afternoon: Don Jagel
- Return drop bags to hostel: Ron
- Hostel Finish afternoon: Chris
- Hostel Finish evening: Tom

*** Food/Supplies ***
- Hostel start: oatmeal, bagels, fruit, danish
- Hallstead dinner: Tom's meatless lasagna, meatballs
- Hallstead breakfast: provided by hotel
- Lewisburg dinner: Tom's pasta salad, pizza
- Lewisburg breakfast: provided by hotel
- Hostel finish: Chris meatless chili??, bobili pizza

*** Overnight and Start/Finish Controles ***
- Pick up room keys, confirm early breakfast availability
- Large room/suite has been reserved for the volunteer room
- Transfer drop bags to volunteer room (use hotel's baggage cart)
- Setup of message board in lobby
- Use sign-in sheets to record both the arrival and departure time of riders:
- Hallstead has kitchen efficiency for cooking lasagna
- Hotels may ask for actual room assignments (use marked up sign-in sheet)
- Hostel start/finish has very limited cell phone coverage: most cell phones do not work.  There is a remote hand set at the hostel that is available for our use (get this from the house parents: John or GerriAnn).  The hostel phone number is: (215) 536-8749

*** Sweep/Revitalement ***
- Account for all riders at strategic locations
- Report time/position to Tom via text message or phone call
- Have on hand: water, snacks, spare tubes, basic tools, pump, first-aid kit

*** Other Notes ***
- Expenses: use PA Randonneurs debit card or get reimbursed
- Send rider updates to Tom's cell phone (text or voice) or e-mail
- Useful rider updates are the time/position of the first and last riders, and when all riders are in or out of the overnight controles.  This info will be posted on the message board, along with  projected time of arrivals of riders -- this will allow volunteers to adjust their schedules, as needed.
- Rider sign-in sheet is posted here: