The PA Randonneurs Endless Mountains 1000K saw the riders come home just after midnight today (Aug. 4) and by all accounts the event was, well, eventful!
Of the 19 starters, all but one finished and the finishers were done in under 69 hours. (Courageous Jim Logan kept at it until he had to walk the hills and missed a control closing). Emily O’Brien got around the course, so to speak, on fixed gear. And tandem duo Kelly Smith and Mary Crawley witnessed a head-on auto collision from which both drivers walked away. More about that one below.
First, though, Congratulations To All for completing what RBA Tom Rosenbauer billed as a hilly event best suited to riders who had previous success in long brevets.
Tom has posted the preliminary results at the PA Randonneurs home page.
George Winkert has posted a photoset he took of the riders climbing Salem Mountain Road on Day One. See them Here.
Our esteemed RBA Bill Beck, one of nine D.C. Randonneurs to ride, has posted his usual suite of photos and info. See his photos at his Flickr page.
Here is Bill’s brief account:
The PA 1000K was a spectacular ride, both in scenery and in difficulty. I was quite apprehensive before the start because I don’t do very well in the hot and humid conditions that are typical in August. But it turned out that we had cooler than normal conditions and, except for Saturday morning when several showers moved through, we also had low humidity. It was actually cool at night, requiring vest and arm warmers. I can’t recall ever needing those in August! The cool and dry conditions led to crystal clear views of the scenery along the route, including rugged mountains in the northwest part of the route and pastoral farmland around Lancaster County. The mountains were especially appealing, and had a more the rugged look than the softer appearance of the Shenandoah.
As for the difficulty — ouch! As RBA Tom Rosenbauer promised, the first day was the hardest, with several major climbs as well as many steep rollers between them. Everyone seemed to agree that the climb before Carbondale was the worst, leaving me in my 26-34 gear for what seemed like forever. Emily O’Brien, who somehow completed the ride on her usual fixed-gear bike, said that the PA 1000K was probably the “least suitable” for a fixed-gear of all of the rides that she has done, especially that first day. All of the riders who had done the Shenandoah 1200 that I heard comment said that the climbing in the PA 1000K was harder than even the second day of the S1200. (Although the heat of the S1200 was another story.) My GPS measured a total ascent of 34,336 feet, while my Polar 720i altimeter measured 30,167 feet (12,850 on Day 1, 8815 on Day 2, and 8505 on Day 3). (However, the 60-second sampling interval I had to use on the Polar makes it underestimate.) A side story about the GPS: As we were riding along a very annoying section that had frost eves in the pavement that would slam the bike every 20 feet or so, my GPS broke off of its’ mount and hit the deck. George Metzler said that it bounced at least 4 feet back in the air before finally settling by the side of the road. But the amazing thing is that it still mostly worked!)
Tom Rosenbauer did his usual excellent job organizing the ride and assisting the riders as they progressed along the course. If you would like to try a brevet out of the DC area next year, the PA Randonneurs rides would be a good choice.
Now, the drama. The route included a couple of busy country roads on Sunday and just 20 miles from the finish, Kelly and Mary were witness to what could only be described as an incredibly lucky outcome for everyone involved. Here’s what I posted to the DCRand listserv this morning:
I just got off the phone with Kelly Smith, who is still in Pennsylvania getting ready to come back from the Pennsylvania Randonneurs 1000K. You may have seen on the PA Randonneurs forum that he and Mary Crawley witnessed an auto accident and were detained by authorities as witnesses, before they decided to finish the ride.
Kelly said the accident happened around 9:30 p.m. on a busy, hilly country road about 20 miles from the end. Just after they crossed a bridge the pickup truck driver behind them accelerated hard and passed them in the left lane, only to hit the oncoming car cresting over the hill. The collision was glancing enough that neither driver was seriously injured, though the pickup spun around and came within four feet of Kelly and Mary before stopping in the ditch.
They spent about 90 minutes at the scene with volunteer Paul Searce, who was driving the course. Riders behind them (and drivers) were routed around the accident on a nearby road. Tom Rosenbauer, also on the course, asked Greg and Andrea to wait for them and they grouped up for the finish. He said the roads on Sunday were quite busy with autos and motorcyclists out for their Sunday jaunts.
No doubt we will hear more from the riders about this brevet.