Saturday, August 17, 2013

Rider Comments

Greg Smith writes: "... I'm simply amazed by the level of support the volunteers provided:
At the overnights:
Waiting late into the night for riders to come in.  Helping them get checked in.  Having hot food ready that was not only filling but actually tasted good.  Managing room assignments and keys and all of the myriad of details needed to get tired riders into bed (or on their way again in some cases!).
Getting up early  or getting no sleep at all for the riders who wanted to get underway early, having breakfast ready or making sure the hotel did. Having tools, pumps, chain lube, etc., at the ready for departing riders to make sure their bikes would more or less work. Checking spot trackers to make sure they were turned off or on as appropriate.
At the intermediate controls:
Waiting in the rain or the hot sun or late into the night (and sometimes all three) for riders to come in
Getting riders checked in and cards signed as quickly as possible. Having snacks, water, soft drinks, etc., standing by. Being able to take care of minor (and not so minor) mechanical issues. Being encouraging and supportive.
Out on the road:
Len had one hell of a knack for showing up at just the right time.  I was riding with Norm and he had announced that he was just about out of water.  In less than two minutes Len comes by!  I forgot the USB cable for my Garmin and who shows up with one?  Len.  Absolutely amazing.  I imagine if I'd have told him I had a desperate craving for steak and eggs he'd have whipped out a sterno and a t-bone right there on the side of the road.  Simply awesome. [As a matter of fact, Len actually did cook up some hot soup on the side of the road, for the cold and rainy 2009 edition of the EM1240 -Tom R. ]
The course markers:
Are you kidding me?  Marking EVERY SINGLE TURN for almost 800 miles!  Are you kidding me?  The marks were legible, well placed and clear.  I simply couldn't believe what a terrific job that crew did.  If one were attentive you could just chuck the cue sheet and Garmin and follow the road marks, they were that good!
The cue sheet:
I've done several shorter events (centuries) and I know how hard it is to put together a cue sheet that's both accurate and useful.  I was navigating primarily via my Garmin (thanks to Joel for the gpx files) but pulled the cue sheet out often to double check, look for the next stores or restaurants along the route, etc.  Great job.
Thanks just doesn't cut it but that's all I've got so I'll say it again: thanks SO MUCH to all the volunteers for their outstanding support!"  -Greg Smith, Proud EM1240K finisher!

Joel Lawrence writes: "..Looking back on the rides that I did this year, the EM1240 was probably the most fun.  Definitely the biggest challenge.  You and your team did an awesome job running and supporting the ride. ..."

John Pearch writes: "...Thank you so much for organizing a great ride! I had a great time, battling all the steep relentless hills and humidity and overall I had a great time.  Thanks to you and all your wonderful volunteers.  I have to say how great it was to have volunteers out on the course at some very vulnerable time periods. Especially on the 3rd Day during the heat of the day and then later in the night when it got a lot colder than expected. As a ride organizer and volunteer on other previous brevets, I know how hard it can be to be out there helping riders keep moving and fed. But the volunteers you had were some of the best I have ever seen! Thanks to you and your team of volunteers on making the Endless Mountains 1240k one of the most memorable 1200k's in my life! I am looking forward to riding it again in 4 years!"

Mike Sturgill writes: "... Thank you and your volunteers for a wonderfully supported and communicated ride. I loved the course, although I'm not so sure it loved me. That was, by far, the hardest ride I have ever done. I cursed you more than once on the course. But, I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. It was beautiful and well worth the effort....2 volunteers saved my ride: Len Z. loaned me his wheel and the Hugo S. met me on the road to check on me. ... They both changed out the wheel while I was in the control cooling off in the AC feeding myself. I can't thank them enough for their kindness and generosity! ...Thank you Thank you Thank you!...Tom - thank you, too. I know you spent countless hours trying to find every crazy steep climb in PA. We discussed your course routing 
techniques often on the course. We surmised that you Googled every road name with "Gap", "Hill", "Summit", and "Trail" in it, then connected them together with all available passes. Well done, sir!"

Don Jagel writes:"... I want to extend my thanks to you and all of the wonderful folks who spent their time before, during, and after the EM1240 to make it run smoothly, and be a fun and successful ride. For me, it was wonderful way to finish off a PA-R12....The ride was challenging, but the overnight accommodations allowed for quick and comfortable recovery for the following days ride.  The scenery was gorgeous, really showing off northeastern PA.  Wildlife was abundant along the route.  I saw many deer (of course), red-tailed hawks, American kestral, one porcupine, two skunks (one of which was trotting down main street in one of the New York towns we passed through), and one bear. Prior to completing the EM1240, I had a great appreciation for the fortitude of the 2009 EM1240 riders for the conditions they faced.  Having now ridden the entire route myself, I have a renewed respect for the hardships they endured...I think the success of this EM1240, as well as the enthusiasm of the finishers, will lead to many folks wanting to participate in the EM1240 in the future...Thanks again (can't say it enough) for the EM1240,.."

Jon Doyle writes: "...My first 1200! Matt, Chris, and I had a splendid 86.5 hours riding around PA, NJ, and NY. We had excellent weather, terrific accommodations, and the volunteers were so helpful. The other riders, all more experienced randonneurs, were a great source of encouragement and inspiration. There were times when my muscles hurt, but I never suffered or stopped having fun. Trying not to spit out food and drink while laughing was an issue. ..."

Larry Midura writes: "... Sure had a great time on your EM 1240!  I see you found the NY version of the PA Promised Land climb heading up to Eldred.  Glad you did that. ... 10K into the ride I developed a rear derailleur problem in which the 50 x 27 combination was causing rear spoke rub with lots of noise; 34 x 27 was not as bad thank God, .... I was lucky to make it up all those climbs without getting the rear derailleur caught in the rear spokes. .... I really did enjoy the EM 1240 rider commaraderie as the group was nice and small, with great great support by volunteers.  Lenny Z especially was helpful to me at the early Controls lending me his tool so I could perform limit screw adjustments. ...Thanks again for all your hard organizational efforts!"

2009 EM1240k finisher and Minnesota RBA, Rob Welsh writes: "...Another ride well organized and executed!  I loved following my friends and other riders with the SPOT trackers.  We will be considering how they could work out here in Minnesota.  .... My friend Dan Diehn thought the ride this time was a lot harder than what he expected (based on my fuzzy memory from 2009) and comparing it to the Shenandoah ride we both did together last year.  Did the route change significantly?  Harder this time or not?   I thought the 2009 was more than a sufficient challenge. [Rob, the consensus is that the 2013 course was a bit kinder and gentler than the 2009 edition. -Tom R. ] This year's event didn't have the epic weather conditions so riders seemed to roll along pretty nicely ....."

Dan Diehen writes: "... I am only half way home but I wanted to drop you a quick note thanking you for a great experience with the EM 1240. It was very obvious that you put a lot of thought and effort into the event. Although I can't say that I "enjoyed" every minute of the ride, I was impressed with the challenging and scenic route that you were able to put together and the friendliness of your volunteer pool. The 1240 kilometers that I spent on your event will long be remembered...."

Luis Vargas writes: ".... I am very pleased with the event. The route you designed is most excellent and the volunteers were all top notch. .... expect to see Paul and me next year to do this Randonnee the right way and finish together as we originally planned.  Many thanks for the most excellent work setting up this event..."

Eric Keller writes: "... I probably depended on the volunteers more than anyone.  Wasn't my
original plan, but plans don't always work out.  It started to feel a little ridiculous fairly early on the first day.  Lenny helped me out a lot, I can't imagine finishing without him. Same with the other
volunteers -- wouldn't have finished without the help.  ...Tom, I appreciate the time and effort you put into this ride -- even moving a couple of replicas of Old Mine Road out to the area before Hallstead
in case we felt lost (j/k).  But in all seriousness, it went really smoothly with no surprises.   Hard to imagine anyone else meeting your standard..."

Mike Anderson writes: "...Thank you for organizing a very enjoyable event, and to all your dedicated volunteers as well. I was amazed to see the ENTIRE route arrowed, that's more work than I can fathom.  By the way, I did NOT drive home Sunday night, LOL just letting you know..."

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