Saturday, August 17, 2019

70% of a century to Manasquan

Yes, we really got to Manasquan.

Laura OLPH listed a ride for today that was gonna be either 100 miles from her house and back, or 70 miles from the Reed Recreation Area in Allentown. Now, I don't do centuries (100-mile rides) anymore, after heeding the advice of the sensible Tom H, who said once, "I never got to the end of an 80-mile ride,  and then said, 'You know what I could really use right now? Another twenty miles.' "

So I waited at Allentown for 'em to roll in. Robert N decided to start there, too, and when we were all assembled, we were seven: Jack H, who'd ridden to Allentown from home (that's gonna be about 100 miles, too), Tom H of the quote, Marty G, Brian (who was out on the last ride I did with Tom), and, of course, Laura and me.

Laura decided to get some glamour pics of Kermit (one of her steel bikes), so I did, too, and then I got a few extra bike pics.

And off we went.

Laura doesn't like sharing her routes in advance, on the sensible concern that people will just ride ahead, and she won't get the social aspect that she likes on her rides, but I can see some of her routes on RideWithGPS, and I knew that the route was pretty much as straight-out-and-back as you can get without going over all the same roads. Since some of the folks had fourteen more miles in than those of use who had started in Allentown, the first stop was at a Wawa about eleven miles into our ride. For me it was a quick water stop, and then we rolled on to the shore. (Edit: Note that Tom H rolled off before we got there, to finish his own ride, that was to have been about 50 miles.)

Laura walked over to get some pictures of the beach while the rest of us hung out near the bikes. When she came back, we headed over to our shore stop... which we missed at first, and had to roll back. As we did, we ran into John K, out with his JDRF ride trainees; he was heading to the now-defunct TJ's. We told him of its demise, and he told us where to find Sunburst Pies.

It replaces the coffee place that used to have coffee from one of the roasteries that Laura likes. I'm a coffee Philistine, but for me, this place was a great substitute. (Oh, come on! PIE, for heaven's sake!).

I'm not ready to ride 70 miles to get there all the time, but just sayin'...

On the way back, Laura's new GPS (which she has named "Good Dog", because it's so much more obedient than her previous) went a bit wonky; Laura called a turn, then repented; Bob and I got caught at a light or something and had to work like crazy to catch up. I rolled up to Laura and told ehr that it was understandable to "Sprague" someone (cut him off the front [and yeah, it's usually a "him" who's off the front]) if he's riding far ahead, but to actually call a turn and then go back just to get rid of somebody seemed a bit too confrontational. Laura then told me about the GPS wonkiness. I don't know; do you believe her?

Ride page.

Anyway, we're back. I've got to work tomorrow, so I'm glad I got this long one in. I'm off next Wednesday; if the weather holds, I'll ride with Team Social Security and learn some more about how to be a successful retired guy.

I could use the help.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

computer deaths and weekend rides

Not one, but BOTH of my computers have died in the past week. The Ultra Geeky Linux Computer suffered what I thought was a motherboard problem, but is more likely a power supply problem, and in trying to fix it I screwed up the CPU, so I'm taking some time going back to fix that. Then during a recent Windows 10 upgrade, the laptop also died last night. I can't be without a working computer, so I'm typing this on a new Lenovo with some extra bells and whistles. One bell it's missing is a decent keyboard, so the typing goes less than wonderfully; I'll be glad to get the desktop working again (I guess I've got one foot in the geek's camp and the other among the Luddites. With my legs that far apart, I'm feelin' a bit exposed...)

But I did get a couple of rides in this weekend. Yesterday, Tom H planned 60-something miles in the flats of Burlington. Ricky G, Jack H, Sergei, Brian, and I met Tom in Bordentown.

It was listed as a B ride, but we took off hot from the gate (I'm not going to blame anyone; I was keeping up and more as much as anyone). We averaged above 17mph most of the way.

We made a stop at a Wawa about 20 miles in, where a delegation of local worthies were hangin' out outside, smoking and opining about the deterioration of the neighborhood and all things generally; they made jocular references to stealing our bikes, then complained that there were no motors in 'em, then assured us that while they wouldn't steal anything, there were forces in the neighborhood who would (allowing us to draw our own conclusions about to whom they might be referring). It was an unpleasant stop, and we got out with some haste... but not before noticing that one of their cigarettes had apparently ignited a conflagration in the smokers post where they were to drop their butts. We put it out with some of the water we had.

Then to the Brendan Byrne forest, where there was a toilet which the Wawa lacked, and which had nicely paved roads (and some shade). Then onto Sooy Place Road for about 11 miles. If you're going to ride in this area, you've gotta take some of the few roads that are there, and sometimes you go for miles with no turnoff. Well, with no chance of getting lost, some of our number went off the front and disappeared. When we finally caught up to them, miles later, they said they had not been that far in front.

Maybe not. I still had an average over 17 mph.

We passed up another Wawa to stop at Olde World Bakery.

That was only about twelve miles from the start, but I was cooked, and allowed myself to fall back, and I think there was a rider or two who was glad of the company and the excuse to ease off.

My average on my GPS was 16.8, although the ride page says I went faster. On the other hand, my GPS said I had well over 3000' of climb, where the ride page (after correction - sorry, Terry) shows less than 1700'. So there's that.

Today, I led my Sunday gang on an easy 35-or-so around Hillsborough, Blauwenburg, and Montgomery. I rode to the start from home, and had to get this of these women fly-fishing.

Not something I commonly see.

I had eight riders.

While we were waiting, Sr. Francisco, the mechanic at Kim's Bikes with whom I used to ride (when I could keep up), rolled in. He was taking a cyclocross bike on the trail.

We mostly did my usual route around Hillsborough and Skillman, although Bob N gave me a detour that avoids that aeons-long light at Homestead Road and 206 (but you still get to ride over all the annoying hills on Homestead Road! Oh, joy.).

The weather was perfect; there was a cool breeze all day. The group stayed together except for some sprints, and there was social chatter, which ias part of what I look for on the rides I lead.

Just before the stop, Prem got a wicked gash in the side of his tire, and was going to call for a ride home, but Peter R would have none of it, Well, I had a tire boot, and someone else had a tube, and we managed to get Prem's ridiculously-tight tire off, fixed, and changed... well, if not quickly, then at least before the leaves turned.

And then to Thomas Sweet, where the weather was so nice, we mostly hung out outside.

Laura gets a smoothie made with apple juice; it comes in the best colors.

And I noted the collection of socks we were sporting today; it demanded witness:

Maybe I'll do a "wear your best socks" ride one of these days.

Ride page here. Don't you want to see? (As usual, that one includes my rides to and from home. The morning ride is slower because I'm usually juggling a couple off bagels for breakfast on the way in. Out pace on the ride was a bit faster... but not much.)

And so far, this computer is acceptable. But I hope I can get my desktop computer going soon.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Ride for August 11

So we'll do 35-ish miles at what Steve S calls a "B-minus" pace. Start at the Blackwells Mills/Six Mile Run parking lot (set your GPS to about 643 Canal Road, Franklin, NJ) at 8:30 on Sunday, August 11, 2019.

Route here. I've been tweaking it; this one avoids that perishingly long traffic light at Homestead Road and 206 (although the road surface on the cutoff is bad enough that you might rather have waited. It's paved, but the surface is... well, it's artistic, shall we say?). On the other hand, it's not a long run of road. (Don't worry; I haven't cut off those annoying hills on Homestead Road.)

Stop at Thomas Sweet. Princeton-and-other-southern riders can cut off conveniently after the stop.

This is a club ride; non-members get one free. If you've been having trouble with your membership, come talk to me; I'm on a mission now. Don't you want to know what that's about?

Sunday, August 4, 2019

weekend rides

Well, if YOU had a picture like that, wouldn't you lead off with it?

Tom H had a ride listed for yesterday of almost 60 miles, and if I'd ridden to the start from home, it would have been well over 70...but weather predictions were iffy, and I had a ride listed for today, and I wasn't looking forward to the prospect of riding in the rain for miles if the rain were to come... so I blew it off and did my own ride early.

Tom had emailed back that maybe I could come out with 'em for a little bit, and I passed their start on the way back from my ride, and ride with 'em I did.

There was picturesque fog coming over the canal before they left, though...

My ride page shows my ride, and then the long tail off t the south and east is where I went along with them for the first few miles. When I got home, I improved upon the time by overhauling the bike's brakes. I'm gonna havta change out those venerable old Cane Creek no-longer-available SCR's one of these days, as rust is having its way, but I think I can get another year or two out of 'em.

For today, I had listed a little under 40 to the Boro Bean in Hopewell. I got to the start a bit early, and the mountain bikers, heading into the trails at Six Mile run, were out in force.

These guys treat their bikes like the tools they are, right?

The route I like to use goes through Princeton and then to Hopewell; it's a little inconvenient for some of The Usual Suspects who like to ride in from home and peel off after the break, but tough; that's the way it works for the break to come at a reasonable point in the ride.

Nonetheless, I started with ten, more than half of whom also rode in from home (as I did). The sign-in sheet is a testament to it; it's misshapen with sweat, and I had to send a list of names with it when I sent the scan. (I have no doubt Ken W, who tracks these things, could have figured things out, but why make his life any more difficult than it needs to be?)

I usually post my routes, so that people know what to expect (like the big hill in the middle of this one). Steve S noted that by the stop, I had deviated from the route twice. Well, that's a leader's prerogative, especially when he makes a mistake (in my defense, only one of the deviations in the first half was a mistake. And there were more deviations later. Just sayin').

At the Bean, we ran into other cyclists I know from the club, which gave me an excuse for bike pics, including that excellent 70's Gran Prix in this one:

And, of course, there were OUR bikes...

Ron A rides that jealousy-inspiring steel Hanford that's obscured by Gary W's Wilier in the picture above. With Laura on her multicolored Waterford, and Ricky on his purple Cinelli, I was consumed with pretty-bike envy. I may actually have to do something about this.

At the Boro Bean:

On the way back, Ricky spied the VW pickup you can barely see in the background of this picture, but it was too good not to try to catch as we were rolling by:

Ride page. Mine shows my rides from home and back, which were slow, but I think we really did bring this in at a low B pace.