Tom Rosenbauer’s Pennsylvania brevet series rolled on this Saturday, with yet another 100 percent completion at his Delaware Water Gap 400K. The field featured D.C. Randonneurs members Bob Casciato, Jim Logan and Maile Neel along with Tom’s gang from the Philadephia/New Jersey/New York region. The Delaware Water Gap became one of our favorite cycling areas when MG and I tandemed through on Crista Borras’ D.C.-Niagara Falls tour in 2005.
(As you may have guessed by now, MG and I were off the bike this weekend as I hosted Super D and my mom and sister from out of town for a significant family event. With Super D on tandem and MG on her single, we still got in a couple of rides around town — the weather was too good to pass up!)
Celebrating their fifth anniversary during the brevet were tandem randonneurs Barbara and Ron Anderson of Hamilton, N.J. I previously wrote about them and their sleek Burley Paso Doble tandem in our PA Randonneurs 200K ride report. Barb and Ron have written a report on their new tandem randonneuring blog aptly named Double Super Secret Tandem Rando Society Blog, or DSSTRS. Ron tipped MG and me to their new club and we hope to become members if not already. A tandem club that does not use a cute animal acronym name but says it like it is, DISTRESS, is the one we want to join.
All 12 riders that clipped in on Saturday, along with the 3 preride volunteers officially finished … once again, a 100% completion rate, adding to the streak that started with the PA200k and continued with the PA300k! Given the number of things that can derail the best of plans and preparations, this result is nothing short of amazing … congratulations to each and every one of you for being a part of this.
In designing this year’s Water Gap edition of the PA400k, I thought that the course might be quite a bit easier than last year’s Hawk’s Nest edition. However, in comparing the results between the two editions, I’m not so sure about that. First finisher Bob Casciato got around the course in 17:10, just a few minutes faster than Ed Pavelka’s 17:14 last year. And the core group of first finishers (and veteran PA riders) were within 10-20 minutes of their previous result. One notable exception to this trend is Jim Logan, who improved his finish time by over 2 hours — but with several longs rides and a PBP under his belt since his first PA event, I would say that has more to do with Jim than with the course!
Of note, are 3 first time 400k finishers: Dan Blumenfeld, Robin Landis, and Andrew Mead — congratulations for completing a milestone that poses a big hurdle for many riders. And Dan continues to amaze all of us at the way he gets up all the big climbs on his recumbent.
Ron and Barbara Anderson deserve a special mention … they celebrated their 5th wedding aniversary by completing the PA400k on their beautiful Paso Doble tandem. Their ride report is at:
Special thanks to preride volunteers: Joe Kratovil, Jonathan Levitt, and Paul Shapiro. They fixed numerous problems with the cuesheet and decided upon the safest approach to the New Hope diner. Dealing with the numerous rain showers, they had to stop and change into foul weather gear (only to have to strip down to avoid overheating as the sun came out). This clearly added to their overall time but they still managed to finish in just a bit more than 24 hours.
I know that any 400k is a bit of an ordeal. But I hope that getting to the Delaware Water Gap Recreational area with fresher legs (without the Fox Gap/Millbrook climbs) gave you to opportunity to enjoy the freshly paved roads and scenary. In looking ahead to future editions, I would probably reconsider the return leg through Cherry Valley, given the bad road surface that is way overdue for some major repairs. I also have mixed feelings about the out and back section to New Hope, passing so close to the finish controle on the way. With the wide shoulders along most of the way and flat terrain, it is pretty safe for night riding and has minimal navigation. But many of you indicated that this was one of the tougher sections — perhaps this is due to the monotony of the long stretches with no turns. The other downside is that the stores along the way close very early.
If you have any comments or other photos to share, I’ll include them in the ride report for the website.
Eastern PA RBA