Saturday, December 29, 2018

in the teeth of the wind

It's been a while since I rode out of Cranbury. but when Tom H advertised a flat, low-B 40-or-so, I figured that would be a good option for the last weekend of the year. Nobody else had a B ride posted from that starting point (the most popular in the Club), so I figured I'd be dragooned into sweeping for the large group that would undoubtedly show up.

Not so much. Tom had four takers (Ricky G, Winter Larry, Eric, and me). Peter F had a larger group in his B+ ride.

It was a windy day. The wind was supposed to be out of the west, so Tom planned a more-or-less north-south route in hopes of keeping us out of the worst of it. It was a strategy that was, at best, somewhat effective.

Wee took off at a good clip heading down to Allentown. And sometimes, teh wind was a treat; we had it at out back on Nurko Road, and I remember thinking (as I do), "This is a tailwind; I am NOT this strong". But as we came about west, as we did on Clarksburg-Robbinsville in the Assunpink, and on Polhemustown, I was feelin' the wind. I was glad for Ricky's pull.

We stopped at Woody's in Allentown,

...where there was this fully-faired recumbent trike, with the subtle color outside.

It was clear, among the patrons at Woody's, who the rider was. We got to chatting with him about bikes and stuff (well, DUH!). He had ridden in from the shore somewhere; he had the usual remarks about faired recumbents (not great on hills, little wind resistance, warmer in the cockpit than you would think).

And then back. Tom did the same thing on this ride that he had done on the last, on which there was also some wind; he took us INTO the wind for a few miles right after the break: on Gordon, and then a little later on Windsor to Church. Tom said we'd be grateful when the wind blew us the last few miles into Cranbury. (Winter Larry heard about this plan, and decided to ride straight back; his decision might have been the better part of valor.) Ricky allowed me to pull for a bit. He knows when I need an ego boost.

The last part of the ride WAS an easy one back to Cranbury. I'm just not sure it was worth the work.

To assuage our ire, though, Tom had brought along some Christmas baked stuff from his house. There is little that is not improved by the judicious application of chocolate, sugar, and empty calories.

Ride page.

Tomorrow, The Excellent Wife (TEW) has planned a date in Philadelphia: to the Rim Cafe for artisanal hot chocolate, and then to various Christmas-y hokinesses to try to drive the last of the Ebenezer Scrooge from my psyche. It sounds great.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

just right

I gotta start right off with Marty G mugging it up to guarantee he'd be in this blog, and Laura's.

(Marty G, with sheep.)

So after Tom H's windy, meandering ride yesterday, Laura OLPH thought about posting a recovery ride. I was in for that if it was to be a real recovery ride, but I was NOT up for a long, hilly slog. Laura promised 25 miles and one hill, or a little longer if we started from her house.

Which is what Ricky and I did.

 As we were riding to Twin Pines to pick up the others, I noted felt moose antlers in Laura's pocket.

You can't see it in that picture, and I didn't know it at the time, but they were way cool; they have red LED's. They light up!

We got to Twin Pines and picked up Chris C, Marty of the retiring attitude, and Racer Pete.

We did a route that Laura used to do on a chromoly bike on her C+ rides. We passed a place where Laura used get cow pictures. I improved upon the time by trying to fix a nagging little shifting problem. I wound up trying at every stop, but it wasn't until I got the bike home on the stand that I got it 90% fixed (and the rest will probably require a new derailleur).

The rest looked for the missing cows.

Shortly thereafter we came upon some sheep... but you already know that.

On such a short ride, a stop probably wasn't necessary... but near the end was Sourlands Coffee, which had caught Laura's eye, but at which we'd never stopped because it was too close to a ride ending. We stopped in today... and it's good enough that a tradition of an end-of-the-ride coffee would be a good one to start.

Pardon the poor quality of the next picture...but I figured that I had to get a picture of a magazine for baristas:

That was just too good to miss.

Laura decided to leave the antlers at Sourland Coffee.

Before we left, Marty decided to get a pic including me, so I won't be as anonymous as I usually am.

In the corner in hat and shades, lookin' suspicious.

Obligatory bike pics.

Sourland Cycles has placed bike racks liberally around the area;it's a good idea.

Ride page.

It was just the ride I needed before managing the holiday. Hope you survive yours, as well (holiday, that is... well, I hope you survive your ride, too, if you go on one!).

Saturday, December 22, 2018

second day of winter

So what do members of the Princeton Freewheelers do when the second day of winter turns out in the mid-40's with no rain predicted?

Well it turns out that a dozen of us came out to a ride led by Tom H out of Mercer Park.

(Yeah, it was a bit cold... but remember, we're not as crazy as those canoeists who came out on a similar day last month.)

Yes, a dozen. Twelve.

Above: John, not a frequent Insane Bike Posse-ist, but he appears to have the makin's.

Tom promised a route with headwinds, at least one trail, not too many hills, and two crossings of Route 1, with a stop at the bagel place I usually stop at on my rides out of Blackwells Mills.

We took off out of Mercer Park, and, about three-and-a-half miles in, got onto the "Trolley Trail", which is decently paved and a pleasant alternative to the local roads. We headed on a straight course to West Windsor Community Park... and then toured about every road, path, and byway in the park, looking for the path out. Look for the knot at about mile six on the ride page.

We finally found the way out (Hrmph! Even I can lead a ride if THAT's the navigation strategy!)

I had gotten to the ride start a bit late (I was fuzzy on planning this morning), and so Tom decided that I was to be held to blame for everything that went wrong. I accepted without complaint responsibility for the puddles and the headwinds, but I'm not sure how losing the path was my problem. If you come up with a solution, please let me know.

At an unscheduled porta-potty break:

We climbed up New Road over what passes for a hill in Middlesex County, and started to head down to Canal Road. I remembered a ride a few weeks ago where the river and canal had flooded at Griggstown (you didn't get to read about it). At that time, there was a puddle on Canal Road from the flood; I figured, "This is several feet higher than the Griggstown Causeway; how deep could it be?" Well, it was deeper than my bottom bracket, and that and my shoes and socks got soaked (which is part of the reason you didn't read about it; it's taken until now for me to admit my folly).

With that in mind, I asked Tom if we were crossing the Griggstown Causeway, which I had read was flooded again. He said no; we would just continue down Canal to 518. I was partly reassured... but i didn't REALLY feel better until I saw the clear road surface at Griggstown Causeway. (I guess I have a little dose of Post-Griggstown-Causeway-Flood-Disorder.)

On to 518. Some of us stopped at the corner to allow others to catch up.

And then to the stop.

It was raw cold when we got back onto the bikes, and we fought a headwind (which didn't make things more comfortable) as we headed to Cherry Hill Road, and the major climb of the day. One of our number had a gear seize-up, and went home alone by the flat route instead.

We took a few turns through Princeton, and then it became clear that we were going to cross Route 1 at Harrison Street.

On bikes.

Let me say that again: We crossed Route 1 at Harrison Street in Princeton, on bikes.

I chanted both the salve regina and the pater noster. We all got across. I'm not saying there is a cause-and-effect relationship. But there is a 100% correlation between my doing a Latin chant, and safe road crossings. So until there is a compelling reason to do otherwise, I'm gonna keep it up.

Once across Route 1; we went through the Sarnoff-SRI property.

Of course the gate was closed. This is a Tom H ride, remember?

Tom said that it was a hazardous wasted cleanup site, but as long as we got out in less than an hour, we should be fine. I expect the symptoms will pass in a day or so.

And back through Princeton Junction, where for the second time, I took my bike (along with the others) through the tunnel under the tracks. There are some tight switchbacks there; some may be able to take that on the bicycle at speed, but I am not among them (at least not today).

So I'm home, with the laundry in the washer. I expect a nap is in my future once I post this article.