The title of my email to Laura OLPH included the phrase "dumb (i hope) question".
Laura had had the idea of hooking up with the Philadelphia Bike Club's 74-mile ride from Etra Park to Belmar today. We contacted some Hill Slugs, including the "Boys in the Hood", some members of the Central Bucks Bike Club who all live close to one another, and suggested that we make it a century (a 100-mile ride) by riding to Etra from the Mercer Park. Sounded good to me.
By Saturday morning, it occurred to me that Laura would plan to ride one of her bikes from home to the Mercer Park. So I emailed her to ask. It turned out she did plan to ride from home. I had visions of her, exhausted after riding over 100 miles, riding home on her own. Chivalry would not allow that, so I invited myself along for the ride with her. (She was happy for the company, but even if she had not been, I might have boorishly tagged along, anyway).
I got to Laura's house at some ridiculous hour this morning; if she'd had a rooster, I would have had to wake him up. After a plumbing break and bike setups, we rode to Etra, where we picked up Jack H, and the Boys in the Hood: Dave C, Shawn R, and Rich B. From there we rode to Etra.
Etra was a little crazy; there were 22 riders to Belmar. I offered my sweep services to Philly club leader Linda (who accepted with grace). I met Darryl, who had been one of my roommates on last year's Anchor House ride, he gave me a couple of CO2 cartridges (he doesn't use them), and we had some conversation.
We went via this route.As is common with a group that size, there were faster riders off the front, and slower riders (including the "Boys") in the back. My sense of the time and distance was off from the miles I'd ridden prior to the start of the official ride; by the time of the first rest stop, I was ragged and ready for some Gatorade! I kept the back of the group mostly together, and I think Linda was glad of my services; she waited at a few stops to make sure I could report that the folks in the back were there (well, I was gratified!). At one point, I got by her, she mentioned I was so trim, and I offered to put on a bit of weight for the next time I swept for her, but she indicated that she thought that was unnecessary.
Belmar was entertaining. The influence of the "Jersey Shore" show was in evidence, in the attitudes and fashions (and some of the people with the attitudes and fashions did not appear to have the physiques to justify them). Food is, of course, expensive. There was a substantial legal presence out today, but we went unhindered, and we got up to see the Shark River inlet before heading back. One of the Philly guys pulled a spoke and messed up a wheel true; we opened his brake so he could make it home. Then Shawn had a flat, which he fixed quickly, and we only had about four or five on the advice committee.
We stopped in Farmingdale again, and the group split up; some stayed, some wanted to go farther to a stop. I went with Laura, and we almost left behind Rich and Shawn. We got them but got separated again; I did a turn back (and added a couple miles, I'm sure) when I didn't see any of the people I'd left with (I was feelin' strong and showin' off at about 80 miles, and Rich also had a flat he fixed). Laura, "the Boys", and I stayed together for the end of the ride; we stopped at Etra to see if Jack H was waiting for us (he'd gone off ahead, and he wasn't waiting), then to Mercer again to drop off the "Boys".
The Excellent Wife (TEW) had called to make sure I was still alive during this last leg of the trip. I knew I didn't want to hang around at Laura's for long, because TEW might be nervously waiting (I shouldn't have worried; when I got home she was napping, which suggests that her worry level was low to nonexistent), so I refilled one of my water bottles and drove home.
Good ride. Don S has his Belmar Century next week, and I'm likely to do that one, too, barring weather, insurrection, or the Zombie Apocalypse.