Sunday, May 4, 2014

2013 double reservoir ride

I expected that the first weekend in May, predicted pleasant and warm, would bring out a tribe for Laura OLPH's first ride of the year, but perhaps her description scared people off:

When Perricone's in Quakertown shut its doors, the Double Reservoir Ride route from Frenchtown was erased with it.  Now, with extensive rejiggering, the Double Reservoir Ride is back.  The route and rest stops have changed, but the terrain is every bit as brutal as before.

We'll start from Mine Brook Park on Old Croton Road, off of Route 12, in Flemington, at 9:00 a.m. The new route is 60 miles with two or three rest stops and over 4000 feet of ascent.  Pace-pushers can use the old route.
Brutal terrain? Well, maybe that was why only six of us were in the lot at Mine Brook Park: in addition to Laura and me, regulars Ron S and Snakehead Ed C, nearly-regular Barry Y, and John K. We did this route. It starts right off with an uphill to get out of the park. Complaining and dumb jokes (as much staples of Laura's rides as are hills and coffee) began right away.

If I remember Laura's description of the route, we ride up over a ridge, down inot a valley, then up a hill to get to Round Valley reservoir, then down again and over the ridge that separates the Delaware and Raritan watersheds, then down and up to the Spruce Run reservoir, then down along a flat and over the ridge to get back to the park (Laura will,no doubt, correct my misapprehensions).

I remember hills, and I remember searing descents, and being sure to get out of Snakehead's way to let him pass me on them. He's a much better descender than I. As he kept passing me on the downhills, I kept hearing in my head (to the tune of the Platters' "Great Pretender"): "Oh, yes... he's the great... descender... (whoa-oa)".

Laura had planned for stops at Round Swamp [edit: Round Valley; Round Swamp is on Long Island, where I grew up), Whitehouse Station, Spruce Run, and perhaps Clinton, but when we got to the top of the hill in Cokesbury at the Hilltop Deli, Snakehead pulled right into the Hilltop Deli, and I pulled in behind him. When Laura came up she said she was wondering if we'd want to stop there. "You'd have had a mutiny if you didn't", was my reply. (I was so beat, I forgot to get pictures there.)

We didn't need to stop in Clinton; instead, we came straight back. There was a nifty flat run along Hamden Road; I've been in the area before, but I didn't remember that. It could easily become a favorite road, like Alexsauken Creek and River Road in Warren County: they're beautiful; I think of them as "fifteen minutes of vacation".

Then back up (we were tired by this time) and down to the park and home. It was a great, beautiful ride. The fast folks would have been irritated by the slow pace and the many stops, and the flats riders would have thought there were too many hills. But it was just right for me. And to do just about my age in miles, in the week before my birthday, was an added attraction!



  1. I am fortunate that Round Valley is practically in my backyard -

  2. (Laura will,no doubt, correct my misapprehensions).

    We were in the Raritan River watershed the entire time, although the ridge we climbed to get out of Flemington does separate the Raritan from the Delaware watersheds not too far to the west of where we were.

    "Laura had planned for stops at Round Swamp, Whitehouse Station, Spruce Run, and perhaps Clinton..." Not so much. I don't know where Round Swamp is, but we did stop at the Round Valley and Spruce Run reservoirs, as well as get snacks in Whitehouse Station and High Bridge.

    As for not getting a big crowd, I never do on the Double Reservoir Rides. People know better. Yesterday's route is the third hilliest ride I've led since I started online mapping in 2008. All three come within 200 feet of each other, and two of them are reservoir rides. Caveat emptor and all that.

  3. WoW! The wonders of some of the greatest climbs in NJ nearby and avoided. Buffalo Hollow/Observatory, North and west to Hampton is Iron Bridge, and Sanatorium are just classics. To find just about 'em all on the same ride - as well as juuust a few others - try this route: The Lebanon 64.


  4. Jim says: It could easily become a favorite road, like Alexsauken Creek and River Road in Warren County: they're beautiful; I think of them as "fifteen minutes of vacation".

    -- you must really be enjoying yourself on Alexauken Creek if you spend 15 minutes there. My best time is just over 6 minutes ;)

  5. I've tortured Slugs in the past with Buffalo Hollow and Observatory ascents, as well as the Sanatorium descent. It was 98 degrees out at the time. Snakehead showed us Iron Bridge on damp roads. Been there, done that, time to try something else.