Saturday, October 21, 2017

laura blows off her own ride

Laura OLPH had a ride scheduled for today, but she begged off to do some glass-blowing (I'm sure she'll have a post about it; go check her blog in a few days). She got Tom H to cover for her.

Tom figured, "Hill Slug ride. Gotta be hills, right?", or words to that effect, and planned 50 hilly miles out of Lambertville. I got up today, and 1) COMPLETELY underestimated the time from home to Lambertville, and then compounded the error by 2) beginning to drive to Frenchtown, instead. I texted Tom that I'd be late, and he, Jack, Ricky, and Rob N were kind enough, not only to wait, but to allow me time to use the toilet in the CVS before we left.

(Also, the temps were below 50F  when we departed, and headin' for 80F when we returned. How do you dress for a range like that?)

Now, I'm glad that's not the only story about this ride. The better one is this: Tom took this picture of us flipping off Laura for blowing off leading the ride:

We did a ridiculous amount of climbing so we could do a long downhill with some gorgeous views; I didn't stop for pics because I'd already held the group up enough.

We stopped at the Bridge St Cafe in Frenchtown, and while we were there, another club came in. The five of us debated getting another pic of us flipping the bird, when one of us mentioned that it was a shame we couldn't get all those folks to do it.

Well, why not? We're all in bike gear, and that was enough of an introduction. I explained how Laura, our regular leader, had blown us off, derelicting her duty by turfing this ride off on the hapless Tom, who was doing his level (or hilly) best, but they all agreed that it was a SHAME! that Laura had run away from her commitment, and they all shared their finger-extended feelings:

They took it in good humor, as, from her responses on Facebook to having received the pictures (Tom texted them to her), did Laura. (Both pics from Tom H.)

Ride page.

(On the way into Frenchtown, we were passed by a ride that included Paul I, if I recognized his voice correctly. The days of my riding at his pace are gone, alas...)

On the way back, Tom led us down Federal Twist (we could have just glided back  along 29, but where's the glory in that?). Jack had had a crash there some time ago, and I hope the exposure today had the effect of lessening any anxiety about the location.

As for tomorrow, I'm working. Oh, well...

Sunday, October 15, 2017

ides of october

"Beware the Ides of March", the soothsayer warned Caesar, if ol' Bill Shakespeare* is to be believed. But Caesar didn't beware, and lived to regret it... but not for very long.

Nonetheless, I put a ride up on the site, this time for the Ides of October. At the time I listed it, the weather was supposed to be good, but this morning dawned misty and rainy, and I got emails (to which I responded) and texts (to which I didn't, at least in adequate time; I was all wonky with the cell phone last night and this morning). I headed to the ride start early with hope that I'd have a ride to lead, and no good information about the weather.

I'd done the route yesterday to make sure that the route worked (I'd tried to get it together with Team Erudite, but we had a missed communication - that seems to have been an ongoing refrain in my life this fall!). I promised less than 1000' of climb, and that page shows about 1300'... but it includes my ride to and from home; removing that shows the ride has just about 1000' of climbing (much of it nasty, brutish, and short, but that leaves the rest of the ride to be downhills and flats).

For today, I had four other takers: John B, Andrew A, Laura OLPH (both Andrew and Laura rode in from home, as did I), and Jack H, newly moved to Pennsylvania, and whom I haven't seen since; he was a pleasant surprise.

We'd barely started before Laura stopped for pictures.

And off we went. We go a short way on Amwell on this route, and then cross it two more times; Laura thought I might be tempting fate after my crash a couple of years ago. I explained to John B that I had an understanding with Amwell Road: I keep my riding on it to a minimum, and it doesn't try to kill me anymore.

The ride continued, alternating misty and clearing, then misty for a bit. Rule 9 says, "If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period", but I'm not sure this was bad enough to qualify; there were a LOT of riders out. But the skies were dramatic.

The route includes room for long sprints on Hillsborough and East Mountain (we go the whole length of East Mountain); Jack took off and we didn't see him again till the other end; he said he'd had time to get a shower at Carrier Clinic and order a pizza by the time we arrived, but I didn't see the pizza box.

WE stopped at the bagel bakery in the Princeton North Shopping Center (it's at mile 25, but there's no earlier place to stop).

And who should appear but Robert N, who did something painful and lingering to his back on the Sourland Spectacular, and who's been off the bike since (doing spin classes and whatnot at the gym).

We hope for his speedy recovery and return.

Laura and Andrew split off to ride home, and I led Jack and John on a circuitous route back to the start, making a five-mile ride into about ten. But it was a good day... and if you only wanted the most direct routes, why are you coming out with me?

At the end, as we were chatting in the lot, Sr Frrancisco, mechanic at Kim's Bikes (who treats me way better than I deserve) came out of the woods. He's in training for a six-hour mountain bike race. I have not words.

Ride page. That long tail leading off to the east and south is my route from home and back. If you eliminate that, you get 1000' of climb, and that's my story.

*Yes, I know nobody ever called him Bill, to the best of our knowledge; "Will" is the favored nickname. Don't go callin' Professor Lynch on me; he, if anyone, will get the joke. (He'll also probably be able to call up eleventy-two citations of "Bill Shakespeare", with all of he appurtenant misspellings alternates of the last name, and make a liar and a fool out of me, as if I don't do a good enough job of that on my own.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

ride for october 15

Let's try this again, the weather prediction is better than when I cancelled last week. We'll do 35 miles, fairly flat, skirting but not climbing the Sourlands preserve. Stop will come about mile 25. I plan to keep this in the B range, but there are a couple of good (if fairly long) sprints if youse wanna get yer ya-ya's out (how old do you have to be to get the reference?).

Start at 9 on Sunday October 15. As before, the location button shows the Canal House; we'll start at the Blue Trail parking lot, south and west of there on the map. Edit: The address is probably closer to 661 Canal Rd.

Route link here. Note that I find the expected elevation when I PLAN the ride to be about 15-20% lower than the reported elevation when I DO the ride, but it's still a ride that the Cranbury flats riders would consider.

This is a Princeton Freewheelers club ride.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

complete laura ride

Laura OLPH 's post announcing the ride for today included the following:
Start: 9:00 a.m., Woodfield Park, Marshall Rd, off of Amwell Rd, Hillsborough Township, NJ, 08844 Destination: Oldwick
Hills: Yeah
Scenery: Yup
Muffins: Uh huh
Distance: 51 miles
Elevation Gain: Whatever
GPS Route: Nuh uh
Cows: Maybe  

It turned out she provided all that stuff, and more; I think of today's as a complete Laura ride.

Six of us to start: Ricky, Prem, Andrew, Christina (whom I don't think I've met before, and who acquitted herself admirably in the hills), along with Laura and me.

Laura now has a GPS she trusts, and didn't give the route out to any of us. We started up into the hills and made a quick stop at Sohlberg Airport.

... and then proceeded northward and uphill*. Shortly, we came across some cows, where Laura took pictures, and scenery, where I took this excellent tree that reminds me of a Wyeth painting.

Before we got there, though, on Pulaski Rd, we ran across this:

A "Bridge Out" sign. This is no surprise on a Laura ride (nor is it a surprise on one of Tom H's rides); what WAS a surprise was the construction worker below, who told us yes, the bridge is really out, impassable even to bikes; we'd have to follow the "Detour" signs.

So we followed the detour signs. Laura cheered up remarkably when her GPS found the route again.

So we can add to Laura's list above: bridge out.

We went up Rockaway, past the dollhouse:

... and down Fox Hill, for some more excellent scenery:

Muffins were promised: they were available at the Oldwick General Store (as were riders from, oh, pretty much all over the area).

But on the way back, we came across this bit of Holland Brook:

That's not chipseal or milled surface. That's right down to the dirt and gravel beneath. So one more thing to add to the list: dirt road.

So, at the end of the ride, the score on the promised list is:
  • Hills: check.
  • Scenery: check (see below).
  • Muffins: check.
  • Distance: 51 miles. Actually, just below 54, with the detour.
  • Elevation gain: Adequate. Different sources disagree, but they're close.
  • Cows: check. Laura also got some sheep, but I didn't photograph those.
On the non-promised list:
  • Bridge out sign, this time complete with detour: check.
  • Picture stops: oh, many. See more when Laura puts up her post.
  • Dirt road, barely passable: check.
 THIS was a complete Laura ride.

*The Excellent Wife (TEW) will point out to me that northward AND uphill is a tautology. You can ask her to explain when you see her.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Ride for October 8

Edit: Bag it; weather's too iffy. We'll do it another time.

Let's do a 35-miler out of Blackwells Mills/Six Mile. As I write this, the link on Ride With GPS isn't coming up, but it's less than 1000' of climb. There's one traffic-y bit for a half-mile or so, and with a little luck, we'll get through that while the folks are still in church. Stop comes late in the ride, about mile 25.

As in my previous ride, my intention is to run this at a low-to-moderate B pace; if you want to ride ahead, you may (and there will be places to sprint if you choose).

We'll start at 9. Note that the location button shows the Canal House; I intend to leave from the Blue Trail parking lot, a smidge south of there on Canal Road.

I'll update with the route link when Ride With GPS is behaving better.

Edit: Ride With GPS is all repentant now, so you can see the route here.

Edit 2: Threat of rain is increasing; I'll update this post and the ride listing if I cancel.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

ride with team social security

Four days a week, I work 6:30am-2:30pm, which suits me just fine, although I know some others who would have some trouble with such an early schedule. Wednesdays, I work 10-6, which is just an ordeal for me; that 5:30-6:00 half hour is the longest 30 minutes in the week.

So every time I have to take a day off, I try to do it on the Wednesday, for that reason, and for the reason that the Team Social Security guys leave from Allentown on Wednesdays. This means that if I get up early enough (not usually a problem; cf. the first sentence of this post), I can drive to Etra Park, get ten miles in riding down to Allentown, do the ride with the old guys, and do ten more miles back up to Etra and the car. Often enough, I stop in at Bruno's Bikes for chat and to throw a few bucks at one of the nicest bike shop owners in Central Jersey.

I'm scheduled to work Saturday, so I took today, drove to Etra this morning, and rode the roundabout way down to Etra, crossing the Turnpike twice and inspecting the berm in front of the Amazon warehouse. I got to Etra to see a few folks I know and a few I didn't.

Al P, above, came out with the C+ ride for a few miles, but he wasn't leading; Bill B was taking that responsibility. And Eddie and John P., above, were taking a tandem on the C-paced ride. Below you can see Eddie and Al assist as John puts his heart in his back pocket.

Below, Chris frequently tries to get me to post in this blog pictures he takes of me; I almost-as-frequently resist.

I think I'm resisting this time.

The route page shows my ride down to Allentown from Etra (I avoid 539 in the traffic), then the ride down to the Pemberton Wawa. Just before the Wawa, one of our number had a flat.

On the way down, we had a tailwind, and on the way back we didn't. We got a bit separated, and as those of us in the slow group came around a corner near the park, we came upon one of the fast group who'd gashed a tire. Chris lent him one from his seatbag. (Chris carries an extra tire in his seatbag?)

Barry made a joke about this being a flat ride. We let him live.

I went back up to Etra into the headwind, straight up 539 (luckily, the traffic had passed; while I could have done the longer ride, I'm glad I didn't have to). Almost 60 miles. With working Saturday and a likely family commitment on Sunday, I'm glad I got this in. (On the other hand, a lecture commitment for next Wednesday may be falling apart, so I may be out with these folks again next week. Watch this space!)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

first all-online ride - i think...

So in yesterday's post about the picnic, I pointed out that I was so smitten with the online ride calendar that I put up a ride for today. It wasn't my sole intention, but I THINK it's the first club ride that's actually gone out that was only posted online on the website calendar, and not in the emailed ride list.

I only put it up on Thursday, and I wasn't sure anyone would come out, but Ricky G said he was coming. At "go time", Andrew A was there as well. (I forgot to put the chip back in my camera, so Ricky obliged with cell phone pics. I don't usually have pictures of myself here, but there I am in the flag jersey.)

(Yes, that's The Excellent Wife [TEW] in the background; she didn't come with us, but she does her own rides from the same start, and we happened to leave the house at about the same time.)

My description included:

My intention is to run this at a low-to-moderate B pace; if you want to ride ahead, you may (and there will be places to sprint if you choose). About 1700' of climb, according to my Ride With GPS page. Probably stop in Princeton, although I'm willing to entertain discussion. 
 The ride page suggests I brought it in as intended. Nobody took me up on my offer of sprints. We agreed at a stop at the Halo Pub in Princeton, but they didn't have toilets, so instead of doing the last hill, we repaired to Andrew's to enjoy his plumbing. Ricky and I pacelined the last few miles which brought the average up; I was at about 15.5 when we passed through Kingston.

I have a flatter route, but it depends on East Mountain Road being open, which it won't be until November. I expect to lead a few Sundays if I don't see anything I like, and if weather or hotheaded heads of state don't intervene.

Youse-all oughta come out. Maybe one of these years, I'll earn the coveted ride leader jersey. (But I gotta find a stop in downtown Princeton that has drinks AND toilets.)

Edit: Not the first; Paul gets that credit. Nonetheless...

Saturday, September 23, 2017

2017 princeton freewheeler picnic

The Princeton Freewheeler fall picnic was today, with the appurtenant All-Paces rides and me takiing too many pictures. I'll link to my album on PhotoBucket below, but there are a few things I gotta do first:
  1. The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I got there early, to be sure we got parking and so I could get early pictures. Before we left on our rides, I was able to do a quick brake adjustment on a fellow club member's bike. I love doin' that stuff.
  2. This summer, I've fallen into a habit of sweeping on the B-pace rides that Dave H leads on these all-paces events. I like sweeping for him, because he makes a point of waiting for those of us in the back, he lets me know generally where we're going, and he seems to care when somebody is flagging or having trouble. I swept on his ride again today. Laura OLPH said in her blog post that it was about as much as she could chew, but she didn't spend much time in the cheap seats at the back of the ride, so her protestations may exhibit a false modesty. You can read her post and make your own decision.
  3. I work with a few Filipinas, and one of them in particular is just going to love this Philippines kit that Marco was sporting today:

  4. Friend Lou, below, made a point at lunch that he had a life goal of getting into this blog. He thought he'd have to do it by coming along on a ride and getting dropped, but I ain't as mean as that. C'mon, Lou, here you are!

  5. Club president Ira S had the new website up for us to play with. I was so taken with it from my earlier foolin' around that I've got a ride up for tomorrow already, but there are features I didn't include (and that I will in the future). I've already updated my profile, at the urging of Carol J. This website, while not perfect, is pretty damn good. Here's Ira:

  6. Oh, yeah. Go check out the photo album. I might have a picture of you!