Sunday, June 23, 2019

and then there were two

(There's a story behind that picture of the balance bike leaning up against all our big-kid bikes hogging up the bikestand.)

So of the five of us that started today's ride, the only one that DIDN'T ride in from home for extra miles was me.

I feel like such a slacker.

Laura OLPH, Ricky G, Prem R, Mindy N, and new-to-me Rich K met me at the start. I started right off heading in the wrong direction (now THERE's a Plain Jim move, if ever you've heard one), then got turned around and got going. Through Amwell/Hillsborough, then down towards Skillman, then down Province Line to Cherry Valley Road. Those hills on Province Line were a trial for some; there was talk of walking the bike up the hill (and if you're gonna do that, my group is the one to do it with; I take pride in having my rides described as "chill"). Cherry Valley was busier than I'd like; when the construction on 518 is done, I'll adjust the route so we go into Hopewell and then to Mount Rose (although the hill won't be improved much).

Any sign of when that construction is gonna be done? I've heard everything from about a week ago to a year from now. It's clearly not the former; I'm hoping it's not close to the latter.

Cherry Valley on the other side of Mount Rose is a lot better; that was really fun. And so to the Pig: Sourland Coffee. I like the coffee and other offerings, but it's not great if you want Gatorade and such. Prem borrowed a Nuun tablet from Laura; she may have made a convert.

About the picture at top: while we were in the Pig, a grandfather and father came in with two boys, one of whom had come on the kickbike at top. I could see through the window that they were looking with interest at the "big boy" bikes, at the cogs and derailleurs and such. I "howdied" the boys when they came in; the father and grandfather appears interested, but the boys appeared terrified.

Great. I've turned into one of those terrifying old guys. Oh, well.

When we left, the attrition started: Laura rolled off to go home shortly after the stop. Ricky left at the bottom of Herronton. Rick K, who'd been leading for most of the ride, disappeared somewhere on Canal Road, and Mindy turned off to go home at Suydam. Prem and I ended at the parking lot, and then he decided to get a few more miles in, to have about 80 for the day.

Yep. Plain Jim's a slacker.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

cocoluxe to turkey top

If you're looking for information about the ride listed for June 23, click here.

I'm still not sure whether I could actually do this ride. 46 miles with 4300' of climb. I did it today, and was out front for a lot of it, but it's completely beyond my means, as far as I'm concerned.

At least once a year, Tom H does a Cocoluxe ride (check the link; it's a chocolatier of some excellence, and well worth the trip).

Early on, we stopped there mid-ride, until Tom got the idea to start there, which means we could end there, which means we could pick up some stuff there to bring home. Then some of our number decided that too much of the good stuff was gone by the time we got back, so some of us started arriving early with coolers so that we could buy stuff, leave it in the car, do the ride, and get home without the choco-goodies having completely disintegrated in the hot car. I brought a cooler, which The Excellent Wife (TEW) thought was just the height of foolishness, so the picture below of the cooler in Laura OLPH's car is a probably-ineffective shot at redemption of my credibility from TEW:

Six of us started: Tom, Laura, and I, of course, and Ricky G, Peter G, and Ken G.

Ken, Ricky, and Peter are not related to the best of my knowledge, despite the similarity of last initials.

Those of you who follow Laura's blog will know she has written exhaustingly extensively about her recent trip to Maine. She is back with Maine tchotchkes, on her bike...

...and off:

Oh yeah, the ride. We started climbing right away. Tom set a route that would come down the euphoniously-monikered Turkey Top, on the way to the top of Schooley's Mountain. It added some climb and some miles, but when I heard Schooley's Mountain, I'm afraid better judgment left and I decided to do the ride anyway.

It was a great day. I don't remember where these were taken.

Difficult climbs often lead to speedy descents, and today I learned why cyclists often prefer tight jerseys - the slightly-loose fit around my torso meant that I was wind-whipped on some of the fast descents. My ride page says my top speed was only 39.8, but the Garmin device said that it was over 40mph. (The average speed, though, was only 13.2: another testament to the hilliness of this ride.)

Turkey Top was at the top of a descent that went down about 360' in a mile. When I got to the bottom, we turned right onto Penwell, on which the climb began immediately; I was in too high a gear to get started, and had to roll down until I could get into gear and get some momentum, and then catch up to the ride... which I did, and I still can't imagine how; I'm just not that strong.

We continued the climb to the convenience store and post office on the top of Schooley's Mountain.

And back; mostly downhill. Some of these pictures were just too good to miss:

And Ken insisted we get these flowers:

And I'm back.Stuff is put away, chores are done, files are uploaded, and why am I not exhausted and napping on the couch? Could it be I'm in better shape than I thought I was?

Naaah, couldn't be.

Hope to see some of youse tomorrow when we go visit the Pig.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

ride for sunday june 23

I've got a hankering to got back to The Pig, Sourland Coffee in Pennington. (I like the place, even though I think it's cheesy that they use their Facebook page as a web presence.)

About 43 miles, leave Blackwells Mills/Six Mile Run lot at 8:30. Parts of the route are a bit hilly, but RideWithGPS gives it less than 1200' of climb over the whole distance, which ain't bad. The worst hills are in the first half.

Last time, we went up some roads that are a little busier than I like. This time, the roads on the way back are less traveled, if more suburban.

Weather looks good as I write this, but if you pre-register and I cancel, you do get an email notice.  Just sayin'.

Hope youse come out.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

father's day ride

There was nothing particularly paternal (or paternalistic) about this ride except that I happened to schedule it for Father's Day. I knew I'd have a long ride yesterday, and I shorted my crew last week, so I wanted something that would be complete , but still not too demanding. I decided on a 35-mile route over my usual roads.

Storms were threatening, but it appeared we'd be back before the skies opened (and it's been hours since, and the storm still has not come...). I wound up with five to start: Laura OLPH, Robert N, Steve S, Prem R, and Andy M.

We did the route at my usual lower-than-B pace (so far, none of my riders has complained. We stopped at the usual Bagel Barn on 206 & 518, where the reputation for slow service is well-deserved (even if you get something pre-prepared, you have to wait until your number is called...), but it's the only place in the area that will serve as a decent stop (at least that I can find).

While we were there, Andrew's wife appeared and picked him up. Here they go, escaping from the monotony:

I took the long way back (10 miles instead of seven), which still wasn't enough for Prem, who was going to add some miles; he was shooting for 100km today.

Good for him. I just don't have it in my legs.

Ride page here.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

something dumb and over my head

If you're looking for information about the ride for Sunday June 16, click here.

Today was a great day to go to the shore. Laura OLPH had a ride posted: 100 miles from her house; about 85 from Mercer Park; about 68 from Etra and back.

Now, Tom H told me something last year about riding a century. He said, "I've never gotten 80 miles into a ride and said, 'Y'know what I really need right now? Another 20 miles'". So I don't do 100-mile rides. I first thought I'd do the 68 from Etra... but then I figured I'd try the 80-plus.

When I told The Excellent Wife (TEW), sh pointed out that the winds were supposed to get bad, and it would probably mean a headwind on the way back.

Sometimes you have to do something dumb and over your head.

I got to Mercer Park early, got set up and rolled around for a bit... and then Marty G, the photographer fellow, drove in. Shortly thereafter, Ricky G and Laura rolled in to pick us up.

From there, we headed over to Etra, where we met Tom H (the fellow I quoted earlier) and Jack H. Jack's recovering from a foot injury; he's supposed to have a boot to protect and immobilize the foot. You can see what a cooperative patient he is.

Tom wasn't planning to ride with us the whole way, but he came along about until somewhere after the Manasquan Reservoir, when he went his own way,

At the Manasquan Reservoir:

(This is out of order, but you need to see this picture of Ricky rockin' the very excellent PFW Event cycling cap:)

We got to Belmar, to find that our usual stop, TJ's, has been transformed into a stupidly-expensive burritos and tacos place, with no toilet available.


Establishment shots. We really were at the shore; there is honest-to-goodness ocean in the background.

And back. The wind, which had been a tailwind most of the way in, was now a headwind most of the way back. As Laura has reminded me: do you know what riding into a headwind is good training for? It's good training for riding into headwinds.

We stopped at a Dunkin Donuts in West Freehold.

... and then fought the wind the rest of the way back to Mercer Park. Marty and I had just under 85 miles, and while I packed up the bike stuff, he rolled around to get the odometer over 85.

I'm leading a 35-mile ride tomorrow, if the weather holds. My aching legs will not be disappointed if we get rained out. Just sayin'.

Ride page.