RUSA Ride #20: 200k
2423k for the year. Today I did the pre-ride for Pennsylvania Randonneurs’ upcoming 200k Brevet to be held on Saturday, March 24th. I was supposed to show up at the hostel and depart at 6 AM, but miscalculated my drive time and got to the hostel a little late. I departed 32 minutes late to be exact. Oh well! 🙂
PA-313 was pretty nice. However, I couldn’t really use the shoulder since there was too much crud (gravel and salt) in it. Pretty much just rode the white line that separates the road from the shoulder and all went well.
Turned onto Ridge Road from PA-313 and this had to be the worst road of the ride. There’s not much of a shoulder, and the right half of the road lane has been patched poorly and extensively. When riding in daylight this wouldn’t be much of an issue. But in the dark you really must ride in the middle of the road. There is some traffic on this road unfortunately. Just beware.
Ridge Road eventually turns into S Park Rd. The road gets a little nicer then. Last year at this point I was sucking wheels. But this year I was riding solo. As a result, I was able to take in the spectacular view of Lake Nockamixon Spillway on the left at about mile 9. I recommend you take a peak at it as you ride by.
The next messy road on the route was Headquarters. It’s not so bad in daylight. I was riding it a few weeks ago on one of my perms. In fact, it was the day after the 10-inch snow. But in the dark there are ruts and some minor potholes to be wary of. The road does not get proper maintenance at present because the bridge is out at Tinicum Creek (mile 12.7). Bikes get through, and it’s been this way for some time (including last year and prior).
When you pass the intersection of Cafferty Road with Headquarters Rd the paved roads are great for the rest of the ride. I say paved because Old Cemetary Road on the course is NOT paved. Some of the roads are super nice, i.e., River Road along the Delaware River from Erwinna up to Milford.
An interesting tidbit, somewhere around mile 27 into the ride on Sweet Hollow Road creek runoff was flowing across the road. As a result there was a 30-foot sheet of ice crossing the entire road. I had to get off my bike and walk around the ice. It was a little tricky to do so. This more than likely won’t be an issue on March 24th.
Tunnel Road was a joy to coast down even though I had a 20+ mph headwind slowing down my descent.
At mile 35.3 I almost went off course for a mile or two to climb Iron Bridge Road. That’s one of NJ’s toughest climbs. But I opted to stay on course since I started the ride 32 minutes late (6:32 instead of 6). For those of you who have tons of time to spare on your ride, I recommend you give ‘ol Iron Bridge a try.
At mile 46.2 I had the same tendency as last year wanting to bear right to stay on Rockport Road. Make sure you make the left onto Mt Bethel Road.
At mile 52.2 you are expected to make a left off of Cemetery Road onto Old Cemetery Road. This is an unpaved road which is hard soil. There are lots of small rocks jutting out of the hard soil for the first 2/3 of the road. Thus it’s not a smooth ride. The last third of the road is full of large deep potholes. Be careful going down the hill with these “craters” present.
Around mile 73 you will pass the Paulinskill Viaduct. Very impressive. One of the features of this ride that makes me like it so much.
At mile 76.4 I got an opportunity to cross the Delaware River back into PA at Portland. It’s labeled that cyclists are supposed to walk their bikes across. Last year I was walking it when I got caught and passed by some of the fast rando riders. This year I rode my bike across the whole way. No guards to stop me.
At mile 104 when I turned onto Still Valley Road I came across a large orange sign warning me that on or about March 19 the bridge ahead would be under construction and that I should plan an alternative route. Later down the road the signs got more explicit. On March 19 construction work would start and last about 3 days. My math says March 22 will arrive and the bridge work will be done, which is 2 days before March 24. But who knows? By the way, the bridge at issue is at mile 104.9 on the route.
At mile 116.2 when you turn onto Hunter Road expect gravel in the turn. Be careful. Hunter Road had more gravel on it than I had seen all day. And this goes for the next road on the route: School Road. Not sure why these roads are so gravely, but it was not tough to ride these roads. I’d say if I was on a road bike in the middle of the summer I would avoid these two roads.
That about sums up my ride report. Click on the map below to see results of my ride at Garmin Connect.