Sunday, August 28, 2016

with the best of intentions

It was with the best of intentions that I posted, on both the Princeton Freewheeler Facebook page and the Kim's Bike Shop Group Rides Facebook page, my intention to lead a 37-miler at a 15mph-or-so-pace this morning. When I do that ride alone, I usually go faster than that, and I was hoping to have some sensible company to impose some moderation on my self-destructive overexertions.

But the only folks there at go time were Ryan...

... and Senor Francisco...

... both of them fast boys from the Kim's ride. I led off with a disclaimer about how I wasn't up to their speeds (and I'm not), but they both insisted they just wanted to enjoy the ride today, and continued to do so at several points along the ride.

We started out along my Sunday recovery route. I don't think Francisco had been down that way; he remarked a few times on how pretty it was. And as we approached 601, we got to talking about the Jersey Devil race; I think I saw them coming down Dutchtown-Zion earlier in the month. Ryan asked about the Sourlands... but am I the guy to ask about that? Plain Jim, who can get lost in a bathroom?

The guys were also impressed with Princeton. We come down from Hopewell and turn onto Cleveland and Pretty Brook, then up Hodge and Hamilton. As we came down Herrontown, the guys said they had to get to work, so instead of going back up to the canal, we went straight up 27 (and I saw them put the speed on when I turned off to go home).

With all that, we turned in a pretty good pace. Not as fast as I've done it in the past... but I had a hilly ride yesterday, and I hadn't had anything to eat yet. I've remedied that last since.

I really did intend to bring it in at a slower pace. Maybe you need to come along to save me from my worst instincts. (In all seriousness, my thanks to Ryan and Francisco for their coming along. I can do this ride alone, but it's better with company.)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

a few hills, and one of my favorite roads

Laura OLPH put up a post for the ride today that read, in part:

...most of the hills in the first half. The last quarter of the ride is along the Delaware River, starting in Riegelsville, where the proposed PennEast pipeline promises to wreak havoc on one of our favorite places.

 I didn't know it until we got to the start in Frenchtown today, but "one of our favorite places" includes one of MY favorite roads. I always refer to Alexsauken Creek Road as "ten minutes of vacation" because I find it so pretty, but it can't hold a candle to the ten-or-so-mile stretch of River Road between Riegelsville and Milford, that follows the river and the railroad right-of-way. I just love it... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Five of us met at Frenchtown.

Above, Jack; below, Rick...

...above, Blake; below, Laura (and me behind the camera, of course).

Laura had sent me the route and I loaded it up into Alan, my Garmin Touring (the name is a terrible obscure computer joke, but I love that kind). Most of the hills WERE in the first half; of the 3700 feet of climb on the ride page, I'll bet almost 3000 happened before the break.

I got a new camera this week, and I'm trying it out. There will be too many pictures in this post, and you won't get even half of what I took.

At one point, Jack and Rick were riding ahead, and Jack said, "This would be a good place for a stop sign." Jack Rick found this one knocked down in the weeds, and kindly held it up for us coming behind. (Perhaps a local resident disagrees, and thinks it's NOT a great place for a stop sign. Or perhaps a driver in an altered state of consciousness took it out.)

When I got that picture of Rick, above, he decided I needed a picture taken and took the one below. It didn't come out well, but the subject is not all that attractive anyway.

(If you look close, you can see the Cat Ears that were delivered this week. My hearing is such that I have to worry about wind noise. The don't eliminate wind noise, but they're probably worth the sawbuck-and-a-half I paid for 'em.)

We stopped at this Asbury Coffee Mill.

They've only been open since either March or May (depending on who you talk to), and 1) I surely hope they stay open, and 2) I surely hope we go back. They didn't even complain about us hanging around, even though I'm sure I saw at least two neckties on the several customers inside.

Obligatory bikes pic:

And then, after a few more hills,we hit that stretch of River Road on the railroad right-of-way. In the next few pics, I'm falling further and further behind as I'm dawdling down the road.

I love this road. I'm sorry the pipeline is going to mess it up.

(One of my pictures is on the cover of the Princeton Freewheeler newsletter this month. I think I'm posting so many pictures so that I can get a few more in the newsletter. I'm getting slower as I age, but Fame flies away swiftly.)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

gettin' whipped on the kim's ride, and another that's more my speed

Although Laura OLPH had a ride scheduled for yesterday (that sounds like it was pretty cool), The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I had an afternoon commitment with some friends which might have conflicted. So, instead, I went out on the ride from Kim's, which I knew would be done earlier. We gathered at the shop...

...and, shortly after 8am, proceeded up to the Olde Town lot at Johnson Park to pick up the Rutgers riders.

I heard somebody say something about doing some hills.


Instead of the usual route, we did this one. The fast boys went off the front. I tried to sweep for a while, and then I wasn't sweeping at all; I was just one of the guys hanging off the back.

This is two weeks in a row that the Kim's ride has been too much for me. I feel like I'm a drag on the fast guys, and nobody likes to feel like that. I had hoped that last week was an anomaly due to the heat and humidity, but I don't think that's the case. I don't think this ride's for me, and, if I DO go again, I'll tell the fast guys to go on their own, and I'll do a ride at a pace I can manage. If I do, and any other riders want to accompany, they're welcome, but I won't depend on that.

A guy's gotta know his limits. (TEW likes it when I say that.)

After that ride, I saw an email from Snakehead about a ride for today; he was concerned about the heat and wanted to get an early one in with some local riders he knows (most of the others are professors at Rutgers; I try not to display too much of my ignorance). After an email exchange, we agreed on a 7:15 start from Blackwells Mills/Six Mile, and we'd start on one of my routes, improvising as we went.

I rode from home to the Wawa for my apple-fritter breakfast, then to the start, where I met Snakehead and Yair. We did this ride at a pace that was more manageable for me, especially after getting my butt kicked yesterday.

That dodgy camera was being dodgy again today. Although I got this great, calendar-ready pic...

... most of the rest were out of focus or smudgy. 

I'd like the one above better if my shadow weren't so prominent, and I'd like the one below if there weren't such a smudge by the water bottle.

Below, Snakehead and Yair.

The second half of the ride goes through Princeton, which I like; I don't think we do enough of it (on the other hand, we're so lucky to have the variety of routes we do, as close as we do...). I think I also like it because it's a route to which I don't have to drive.

So what have youse-all been doin'?

Edit: After seeing this post, two of the riders on the Kim's ride have gone out of their way to ask me to come back. I'm busy the next few weeks, but I'll plan on going back mid-to-late September. It would be rude to do otherwise.