Friday, October 27, 2017

pics from team social security ride oct 27

I was off from work again today (for an event that just didn't come together), so I caught the Friday morning ride out of Etra led by Al P.

It was a mostly quite, thoughtful ride for me.

Al did this route.

And I got these pics:

I like that one above more than I ought to.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

oct 25 with team social security

They call themselves "Team Social Security", but The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I call 'em the old guys, the group of mostly-retired Princeton Freewheelers who go out Mondays and Fridays from Etra, and Wednesdays from Byron Johnson Park in Allentown. I worked Sunday, so I get a day off during the week, and as I've noted before, I like to take off the Wednesday, partly for the opportunity to go on this ride.

I was gonna ride with 'em today, and then I wasn't because of bad sciatica, and then I was because it's good for me, and then I wasn't because of dysthymic inertia, and then TEW told me that I'd better, so I packed up the car and went. (On the way down, I heard of a 2-for-1 match on pledges to WNYC, so I pulled over and called, and now we're sustaining members to the tune of a few bucks a month, and some rich dude is backing our money with his.) No extra miles today; drove all the way to Allentown (and, like Saturday, started to go the wrong way at one point. Sheesh, Jim! Focus!).

Above: that's NOT the tire I expected Dennis to be paying attention to.

I was looking for Al P or Joe M to lead, but Bill B (second pic above, in the blue jacket), led this circuitous ride to Roy's. But it's not about the destination with these guys*; it's about the ride.

It was a glorious day, if a bit colder than I prepared for.

And that's it. It wasn't a dramatic day, or anything of the sort; it was a good ride with people I like, whom I don't see often enough. When the inertia sets in, I gotta remember to go anyway.

*I keep using the term "guys", when two of the ten of us on this ride are undeniably female. "Riders" sounds too legalistic. I don't have a good, non-gender-specific word. Some of the women with whom I ride would say I'm worrying about this too much. Others would disagree. I'm willing to listen to suggestions, but I'm equally willing to ignore them.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

meeting yassir

Had to work today, a Sunday. One of the rules on weekends is that out eight-hour shift has to cover the hours from 8am-noon. I started working 6am-2pm, and then one of my coworkers had a childcare conflict and worked 5am-1pm, and got away with it. So those are the hours I work weekends now.

As I was driving home, The Excellent Wife (TEW) was heading up to see her mom in Bergen County, but she told me that it was a glorious day and that I needed to take a ride, so I did my usual 20-miler from home. If you check out the ride page, you'll see I was unusually fast, much faster than my recent rides.

I'm blaming Yassir. I was pedaling along, and saw some rider coming up behind at faster-than-my-pace. I pulled over to let him pass, but it turned out that he was pulling up to chat and ride together for a bit. He recognized me; we've evidently ridden together before, and he knew that I knew some of the Major Taylors.

After a bit, we got into a paceline; I followed him, then I got in front and spent about everything I had, the he got in front and could have dropped me, but didn't when he noticed I was falling behind; we held a pace for a few miles until I turned around.

Before we did, we stopped for selfies. His came out way better than mine, so here's his:

What I didn't think to say to him then, but I'm saying now (I'm emailing him the link to this post), is: consider joining the Princeton Freewheelers. It's the club I ride with, and there are rides for all personalities and levels. Dues are just $25/year... and if you join and come along on rides I do, I'll introduce you to everybody, except maybe a couple of grouches.

Glad I met you again, sir.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

laura blows off her own ride

Laura OLPH had a ride scheduled for today, but she begged off to do some glass-blowing (I'm sure she'll have a post about it; go check her blog in a few days). She got Tom H to cover for her.

Tom figured, "Hill Slug ride. Gotta be hills, right?", or words to that effect, and planned 50 hilly miles out of Lambertville. I got up today, and 1) COMPLETELY underestimated the time from home to Lambertville, and then compounded the error by 2) beginning to drive to Frenchtown, instead. I texted Tom that I'd be late, and he, Jack, Ricky, and Rob N were kind enough, not only to wait, but to allow me time to use the toilet in the CVS before we left.

(Also, the temps were below 50F  when we departed, and headin' for 80F when we returned. How do you dress for a range like that?)

Now, I'm glad that's not the only story about this ride. The better one is this: Tom took this picture of us flipping off Laura for blowing off leading the ride:

We did a ridiculous amount of climbing so we could do a long downhill with some gorgeous views; I didn't stop for pics because I'd already held the group up enough.

We stopped at the Bridge St Cafe in Frenchtown, and while we were there, another club came in. The five of us debated getting another pic of us flipping the bird, when one of us mentioned that it was a shame we couldn't get all those folks to do it.

Well, why not? We're all in bike gear, and that was enough of an introduction. I explained how Laura, our regular leader, had blown us off, derelicting her duty by turfing this ride off on the hapless Tom, who was doing his level (or hilly) best, but they all agreed that it was a SHAME! that Laura had run away from her commitment, and they all shared their finger-extended feelings:

They took it in good humor, as, from her responses on Facebook to having received the pictures (Tom texted them to her), did Laura. (Both pics from Tom H.)

Ride page.

(On the way into Frenchtown, we were passed by a ride that included Paul I, if I recognized his voice correctly. The days of my riding at his pace are gone, alas...)

On the way back, Tom led us down Federal Twist (we could have just glided back  along 29, but where's the glory in that?). Jack had had a crash there some time ago, and I hope the exposure today had the effect of lessening any anxiety about the location.

As for tomorrow, I'm working. Oh, well...

Sunday, October 15, 2017

ides of october

"Beware the Ides of March", the soothsayer warned Caesar, if ol' Bill Shakespeare* is to be believed. But Caesar didn't beware, and lived to regret it... but not for very long.

Nonetheless, I put a ride up on the site, this time for the Ides of October. At the time I listed it, the weather was supposed to be good, but this morning dawned misty and rainy, and I got emails (to which I responded) and texts (to which I didn't, at least in adequate time; I was all wonky with the cell phone last night and this morning). I headed to the ride start early with hope that I'd have a ride to lead, and no good information about the weather.

I'd done the route yesterday to make sure that the route worked (I'd tried to get it together with Team Erudite, but we had a missed communication - that seems to have been an ongoing refrain in my life this fall!). I promised less than 1000' of climb, and that page shows about 1300'... but it includes my ride to and from home; removing that shows the ride has just about 1000' of climbing (much of it nasty, brutish, and short, but that leaves the rest of the ride to be downhills and flats).

For today, I had four other takers: John B, Andrew A, Laura OLPH (both Andrew and Laura rode in from home, as did I), and Jack H, newly moved to Pennsylvania, and whom I haven't seen since; he was a pleasant surprise.

We'd barely started before Laura stopped for pictures.

And off we went. We go a short way on Amwell on this route, and then cross it two more times; Laura thought I might be tempting fate after my crash a couple of years ago. I explained to John B that I had an understanding with Amwell Road: I keep my riding on it to a minimum, and it doesn't try to kill me anymore.

The ride continued, alternating misty and clearing, then misty for a bit. Rule 9 says, "If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period", but I'm not sure this was bad enough to qualify; there were a LOT of riders out. But the skies were dramatic.

The route includes room for long sprints on Hillsborough and East Mountain (we go the whole length of East Mountain); Jack took off and we didn't see him again till the other end; he said he'd had time to get a shower at Carrier Clinic and order a pizza by the time we arrived, but I didn't see the pizza box.

WE stopped at the bagel bakery in the Princeton North Shopping Center (it's at mile 25, but there's no earlier place to stop).

And who should appear but Robert N, who did something painful and lingering to his back on the Sourland Spectacular, and who's been off the bike since (doing spin classes and whatnot at the gym).

We hope for his speedy recovery and return.

Laura and Andrew split off to ride home, and I led Jack and John on a circuitous route back to the start, making a five-mile ride into about ten. But it was a good day... and if you only wanted the most direct routes, why are you coming out with me?

At the end, as we were chatting in the lot, Sr Frrancisco, mechanic at Kim's Bikes (who treats me way better than I deserve) came out of the woods. He's in training for a six-hour mountain bike race. I have not words.

Ride page. That long tail leading off to the east and south is my route from home and back. If you eliminate that, you get 1000' of climb, and that's my story.

*Yes, I know nobody ever called him Bill, to the best of our knowledge; "Will" is the favored nickname. Don't go callin' Professor Lynch on me; he, if anyone, will get the joke. (He'll also probably be able to call up eleventy-two citations of "Bill Shakespeare", with all of he appurtenant misspellings alternates of the last name, and make a liar and a fool out of me, as if I don't do a good enough job of that on my own.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

ride for october 15

Let's try this again, the weather prediction is better than when I cancelled last week. We'll do 35 miles, fairly flat, skirting but not climbing the Sourlands preserve. Stop will come about mile 25. I plan to keep this in the B range, but there are a couple of good (if fairly long) sprints if youse wanna get yer ya-ya's out (how old do you have to be to get the reference?).

Start at 9 on Sunday October 15. As before, the location button shows the Canal House; we'll start at the Blue Trail parking lot, south and west of there on the map. Edit: The address is probably closer to 661 Canal Rd.

Route link here. Note that I find the expected elevation when I PLAN the ride to be about 15-20% lower than the reported elevation when I DO the ride, but it's still a ride that the Cranbury flats riders would consider.

This is a Princeton Freewheelers club ride.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

complete laura ride

Laura OLPH 's post announcing the ride for today included the following:
Start: 9:00 a.m., Woodfield Park, Marshall Rd, off of Amwell Rd, Hillsborough Township, NJ, 08844 Destination: Oldwick
Hills: Yeah
Scenery: Yup
Muffins: Uh huh
Distance: 51 miles
Elevation Gain: Whatever
GPS Route: Nuh uh
Cows: Maybe  

It turned out she provided all that stuff, and more; I think of today's as a complete Laura ride.

Six of us to start: Ricky, Prem, Andrew, Christina (whom I don't think I've met before, and who acquitted herself admirably in the hills), along with Laura and me.

Laura now has a GPS she trusts, and didn't give the route out to any of us. We started up into the hills and made a quick stop at Sohlberg Airport.

... and then proceeded northward and uphill*. Shortly, we came across some cows, where Laura took pictures, and scenery, where I took this excellent tree that reminds me of a Wyeth painting.

Before we got there, though, on Pulaski Rd, we ran across this:

A "Bridge Out" sign. This is no surprise on a Laura ride (nor is it a surprise on one of Tom H's rides); what WAS a surprise was the construction worker below, who told us yes, the bridge is really out, impassable even to bikes; we'd have to follow the "Detour" signs.

So we followed the detour signs. Laura cheered up remarkably when her GPS found the route again.

So we can add to Laura's list above: bridge out.

We went up Rockaway, past the dollhouse:

... and down Fox Hill, for some more excellent scenery:

Muffins were promised: they were available at the Oldwick General Store (as were riders from, oh, pretty much all over the area).

But on the way back, we came across this bit of Holland Brook:

That's not chipseal or milled surface. That's right down to the dirt and gravel beneath. So one more thing to add to the list: dirt road.

So, at the end of the ride, the score on the promised list is:
  • Hills: check.
  • Scenery: check (see below).
  • Muffins: check.
  • Distance: 51 miles. Actually, just below 54, with the detour.
  • Elevation gain: Adequate. Different sources disagree, but they're close.
  • Cows: check. Laura also got some sheep, but I didn't photograph those.
On the non-promised list:
  • Bridge out sign, this time complete with detour: check.
  • Picture stops: oh, many. See more when Laura puts up her post.
  • Dirt road, barely passable: check.
 THIS was a complete Laura ride.

*The Excellent Wife (TEW) will point out to me that northward AND uphill is a tautology. You can ask her to explain when you see her.