Saturday, July 22, 2017

blue army shrine, asbury, and one of my favorite roads

Tom H was away in Ireland for business this week, and it wasn't clear if he'd get back to do his ride scheduled for today, which included this in the description:

Join me as I head up to Warren county to try out some new roads and probably get a little lost. This will be a hilly ride with 2 or 3 tough climbs but it should be scenic and I promise a few good downhills.

Laura OLPH told me early in the week that I needed to do this ride: it would include one of my favorite stretches of road (River Road around Riegelsville, where it follows the railroad right-of-way), and my mental health demanded it (and pretty much anybody else is a better judge of my mental state than I am). I also think she wanted my Catholic education handy when she was drifting around the Blue Army Shrine.

Laura had ridden though there on this ride last year, and wanted to make another visit. She's been having GPS problems, though, and despaired of her GPS recovering when she found she couldn't map the ride through the Shrine.

So, with some GPS trepidation, we gathered in Frenchtown this morning.

I got there early, and was sort-of dozing in the car when Jack arrived and woke me from my reverie by bouncing the rear suspension of the Prius. We started getting ready, and Blake and Tom appeared, and then Laura. We swept the surrounding lots for stragglers, but found none (although I think everybody in North Jersey who had a bike might have been out today, except for the few who were tubing down the Delaware instead).

We got underway.

Early in the ride, Laura came up and asked if I'd learned a song she'd learned in religious (Edit: Laura reminds me she never had anything to do with religion, at any time in her life) school (I'd learned a slightly different version in camp):

Oh, you can't get to heaven
On roller skates
You'll roll right by
Those pearly gates!
Oh, you can't get to heaven on roller skates
You'll roll right by those pearly gates!
I ain't gonna grieve my Lord no more...

She'd got to thinking about that song worrying about losing the route on the GPS at the shrine, and she'd come up with:

Oh, you can't get to heaven
On a Cannondale
Your climbing legs
Will surely fail (I may be remembering it inexactly)...

Well, this sort of thing is addictive:

Oh, you can't get to Frenchtown
From Mary's Shrine:
Your GPS
Won't draw the line!
Oh, you can't get to heaven from Mary's Shrine
Your GPS won't draw the line
I ain't gonna pedal hills no more.

(Laura and Tom compete for the maximum amount of silliness on their rides).

I was singing that sort of thing in my head until we got to a crossing of Route 31 that was even worse than the one at Ringoes, when I started chanting something else.

But we DID go to Mary's Shrine. There are a number of statues, including one of Pope John-Paul II looking like a Nazgul, and a couple of weird crucifixes:

The Shrine appears to appeal to Catholics of all stripes: besides these (mostly Polish) statues, there were some Byzantine rite objects, and a busload of Latinos (of what type I didn't get) were out for a picnic or something.

And both our GPS devices kept the route. So there.

On to Asbury. It's a shame this place is so far away, because I like it (on the other hand, it is expensive, and it CAN be, because there doesn't appear to be anyplace else close). We met Mike H's ride there.

From there, back. You'll see from the ride page that all the worst hills were in the first, oh, 60% of the ride, and Tom, who had just gotten off the plane from Ireland the afternoon before, was in no condition to challenge us too much. There was that bit on River Road I love so much. I was too busy enjoying the easy pace and the beautiful scenery to have paid adequate attention to these pictures:

Well, that's that. Weather prediction is dodgy for a ride tomorrow morning (The Excellent Wife and I have a date with The Excellent Mother-In-Law later), and I'm the house mechanic for the Z-Trek Charity Ride next week. Free tune-ups to registered riders; need a tune-up?

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