Ha! I like the bit about "someone" putting a wrong turn on the cue sheet.
I'd wager that in a couple years, the 30k error and the anguished mental search for an alternate control will be one of the key the fun-memories.
the worst part is that Steamer told me about the missing cue and I forgot to go back and add it.
actually, I know more about that road from driving to my mother-in-law's house. I have ridden it once, but not the part where we got lost. From riding brevets I know how to get to the hostel from just north of the traffic circle where we turned around. I have ridden from that point to the Wawa we stopped at, but I would be afraid to try it without directions
Jeff's pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/94813562@N07/
1st half of report.... (second half tomorrow)....
Team NYGTF started our 227 mile Fleche from Eric’s house in Boalsburg PA at 8:00 AM. The morning with bright and cold, about 27 deg F, but we anticipated a nice warm up because there wasn’t a cloud in the sky – a true rarity in this part of the world. As we made our way northwest, straight up the center of Brush Valley along Rt. 192, we noticed we were battling a headwind. It wasn’t particularly strong (5 to 10 mph, I think), but it certainly added to the chill and slowed our progress. It was mildly discouraging because we were not due for a significant change in heading until we reached Lewisburg at mile 55. The first 35 miles were also spent going uphill too. Despite all that we maintained a respectable 14.5 mph average speed along that segment.
We made a brief stop in Rebersburg to find a way to do an information controle for the Endless Mountains 1240, on behalf of Tom Rosenbauer. We did find an easy to find, permanent historical marker that should be perfect.
Further up the road, we stopped for about 10 minutes at the small lake and dam at RB Winter State Park and took a few pictures. There were still some snow banks lining the road in that area. I enjoyed this part of the route… the pine trees, low traffic, and the fast section of road that dropped about 1,350 feet in 18 miles. Not enough of a slope to be a dramatic downhill, but one that made you think....“hmm. I am riding along pretty good here…”. But regrettably the cold headwind put a damper on our speed a bit.
We stopped on the bridge crossing the west branch of the Susquehanna River at Lewisburg, where we paused to eat a bit and snap a few pictures. It was here where Jeff (who is an aquatic biologist) explained the difference between the ‘west branch’ and the ‘main stem’ of this 16th largest river in the USA (and one of the oldest rivers in the world; befitting that the Appalachians it runs through are amongst the world’s oldest mountains).
We then turned south following the river. We had our first controle in Northumberland at mile 64, and we then crossed the main stem of the Susquehanna. Around this time we actually could feel our fingers, toes, and noses again. The wind had left us, and wouldn’t be much of a factor for the rest of the Fleche. We continued on Rt.147, which, although it follows the river, is along its steep banks, and the road rises and falls along the ragged edge of those banks. This road had quite a bit of traffic on it and wasn’t too much fun to ride on. We controlled again in Herdon, and soon turned off of busy roads onto a nice piece of back road PA cycling heaven between miles 82 and 98. Absolutely primo scenery and roads. Doesn’t get much better….but then, it got a fair amount worse….
We had a pretty stiff 800 foot climb on Gap Street leading us to the village of Good Spring, where I gotta tell you the scenery and road quality was anything but good… and I would definitely not recommend drinking the water. Apparently there was a lot of past strip mining in this area, and evidence of the environmental damage was easily visible on both sides of the road for about a 6 mile stretch. There were a few “ponds’ of obvious acid mine drainage here and there. Sheesh. And the road.. oh dear lord, the “road”…. After getting on Rt. 125, we road the worst stretch of state route pavement I have ever experienced for about 4 miles. Imagine what riding over a crack the size of a bridge expansion joint every 10 feet at 22+ mph (this part of the road was distinctly downhill). At least we got through that forsaken area quickly enough….
Soon after that we stopped to have dinner at Randazzo's Pizza in the slightly quaint town of Tremont. The food was good there and the locals were super friendly. Lots of questions. "Where you going? Huh, really, serious? That's crazy! Tonight? In the dark? Where'd you come from? Really? Did you start a couple days ago? This morning!? No ****!" One particular, inebriated gentleman was so impressed he kept wanting to buy us food and drinks with his girlfriend's money. She wasn't as impressed with us as he was. He actually wanted to ride with us, but didn't have a bike, or enough coordination in his present state.
When we left Tremont, we had a fast and fun ride down along Good Spring Creek, and then turned off into another, even more extended (58 miles!), primo stretch of absolute great back roads, eventually passing through Swatara Gap, and the little towns of Fredericksburg, Bernville, and Shoemakersville. Also thrown in there was a brief control stop in Lickdale, right after the Gap (you gotta controle the 'corners' of your route on a Fleche...). My only regret is that we did 2/3rds of this stretch in the dark - so obviously it was a little hard to appreciate the scenery. The roads were so much fun - a never ending roller coaster of shallow rollers and twists and turns, that even in the dark, they weren't even remotely monotonous. I am sure they would be even more fun in the daytime.
(to be continued)
On a side note to this, and hopefully it won't override the fleche focus, but didn't want to start an entire separate thread at this time. How much is involved in establishing and holding permanent routes?
I've read about the process, and am having trouble in my sparsely populated region finding sufficient stops in the distance requirements for the last control unless i use an informational control. Is it easier to find the last control first?
I've been looking over some of the calculations - I'm slightly confused on the placement and timing of the last control. A stop that needs to be completed in the last two timed hours of the ride, more than 25k distant from the finish, with control times opening 30km/hr into, and close at 15km/hr for most distances?
The fleche control setting certainly looks like a bit of a muddle.
Fleche rules are more strict than the rules for a permanent. With a permanent, you just have to have controles that establish that you have gone the prescribed distance.
rest of the report here:
There are no intermediate distance requirements on RUSA Permanents. The Handbook and (probably) the website make suggestions; but as with all suggestions, ignore them as needed. The only "placing requirements" on a RUSA Permanent are to prevent short-cuts. I.e., put the controls at or near "corners" and AT the turn-around (if there is one) and at the start and finish, of course.
There are time-limits on all the controls, including the start (you get one-hour from your official start time to get it gear). the 30 & 15 kph speeds define the opening and closing times of the intermediate and final controls.
If you're going to create a Permanent route, I'd first suggest you ride 2 or 3 others first. If you've already done that, ... .
In contrast, there are no intermediate time requirements on a Fleche, except for the 22-hour control (and the start and end). It's likely a good idea to sketch out when the group will be where on a Fleche route, esp. if a possible control is not open 24/7.
Intermediate Controls on Fleche routes are designed to prevent shorting the route, just as with any rando route.
The Fleche control placement and using the 22-hour control becomes obvious if/when you captain a Fleche team. Other team members can, if they choose, just go along and not really understand -- although the team captain might appreciate someone else understanding things if/when the captain's brain gets befuddled.
"Corners" on loop routes:
- my 103-km perm-pop: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2002241
- my 210-km perm, a "figure-8": http://www.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip/1479202
BTW, it took some thought and some routes I rejected to come up that 210k route; genesis of a route.
So don't give up. Take your time, think about it, and ride it (at least in pieces, testing conditions at the time of day people will likely be at the various segments) before you submit it.