Despite threats of thunderstorms, a team from the Freewheelers rode the Sourland Spectacular today (in fact, several teams of Freewheelers did, but mine was the one that got the extra Freewheeler donation and I had sent out announcements by email and on the Freewheeler Facebook page). I had had a flurry of interest at my first announcement, including emails from members I had not met, but they don't appear to have come today (I DID ride around both the parking lot and the sign-up area calling for "Freewheelers", but had no takers... perhaps because I was riding around both the parking lot and the sign-up area calling for "Freewheelers").
Nonetheless, I did have a team: Dave C, Richard B, Jack H (the first time I've seen him on a bike since surgery half a year ago), Laura OLPH, and the very-tall newcomer I am calling Over-the-Mark (I hope he'll forgive the pun on his name). Not quite as early as I had planned, but early enough, we started on this route.
Those little back-and-forths are not errors (well, not ALL of them; I did make one wrong turn... would it have been a Plain-Jim-led-ride without?). The route went pasts several local farms, which had put out some of their wares: chicken at a poultry farm, sausage and peperoni at a beef farm, heirloom tomatoes. They were early in the ride, so I don't think the farms had many takers; perhaps the route should be run in reverse next year (I, for one, would have been glad to get the tougher hills out of the way earlier, and having breaks at the end would have been welcome.
At one of the stops (I think the one at about mile 17), we ran into a woman, Magda, who'd ridden with Laura. They got to talking, and then got smitten by a cricket on Dave's wheel, and when we left, she came along with us. She had a quick sense of humor (until the hills and the heat got to all of us), and at the end, we were suggesting she join the Freewheelers.
Thunderstorms didn't come, but hills and heat did. Some of our number were cursing the organizers for adding Rainbow Hill and Long Hill Road at the end. For me, though, all this was forgotten after the ride; the Spectacular hosts a huge lunch, with many local places providing food (Pad thai! Pulled chicken! Individual pizzas!), and, lord help us, ice-cream sundaes over brownies. Not for everybody, perhaps, but right up my alley.
I especially liked the t-shirt:
I'll post a few of the other pics here; the rest are in my Sourland Spectacular 2014 gallery. At the start:
At a rest stop:
Magda, Dave, and Laura getting pictures of the cricket on Dave's wheel:
Star of the show:
On the road:
Indoor farm stop:
Steel rooster with rebar legs!
The line for water at one stop: