Tom H is leading rides to the highest points of all the counties in New Jersey this year (well, that's the plan, anyway), and today he scheduled the one to go up to the highest point of Hunterdon County... which is in the midst of ah uphill, because the highest point in Hunterdon is on the way to a crest which is in Morris, I think. So the pics Tom got of the highest point, are actually NOT IN Hunterdon. Oh, well.
Anyway, ten of us (most of whom I knew; one newbie-to-me, Bill), left Raritan Valley Community College:
to do this route. We had a range of abilities on the ride (about which, more below), and just after the halfway point, my average was about 13.2. But it was a great day for a hilly ride.
I didn't know I'd pass a hippo statue on the route:
... or that there would be this prettiness in (name of small town I don't remember).
At the bottom of the next hill, Jack popped a spoke (he's had more trouble with wheels!). A few of us pitched in and got his wheel true enough, and his brake open enough, that he could finish the ride. (Meatball work. Jack, please get that wheel fixed before anybody sees what shoddy stuff I can do!)
And here we are at the high point in not-Hunterdon County:
From there, we went to the store at Schooley's Mountain. It has a small convenience store and a smaller post office, and has been there long enough that the Packerd thermometer on the porch may be original:
There didn't appear to be toilet facilities, so from there we went to a local park, where I got to hear Cheryl complain about having to ride across the grass. Now I feel like it's the real Cheryl, and not some alien clone.
Now I need to rant for a minute. We expect a lot from our ride leaders: that they pick a route, keep the group together, lead safely, and so on. It's happened before with others, but it happened on this ride that there was a rider who was really struggling.
I had written a long rant about this, and decided that was not really what I wanted to have in this post. Yes, there was a person who was probably over his head. Ride leaders probably hate to have to point this out to a person on the ride (and probably hate even worse to have to ask the person to leave the ride). I wish there was a graceful way to do it, but I doubt there is. I suggest riders read both the Princeton Freewheeler Ride Guidelines, and the Ride Leader Guidelines, and each come to a decision about which rides are within their abilities, to be safe and enjoyable.
And when it comes to me, to be the one who has to think hard about which rides I'm ready to do, and whether my strength has fallen off, I hope I can be sensible and graceful about it.