Sunday, June 30, 2019

change of plans

(At East Mountain Road)

My listing for this ride included this:
  • Even though the weather is iffy for Sunday, I'm posting this one, because I'm working Saturday and need to get a ride in if there's any chance I can. We'll do my usual 35-mile route, at my usual barely-B pace. Leave at 8:30, from Six Mile/Blackwells Mills lot...
... but the weather turned out clear as a bell, and six of the Usual Suspects showed up: Laura OLPH,Bill B & Dr Lynne, Steve S, Bob N, and Prem R.

(Yes, that's The Excellent Wife [TEW] in the background, preparing for a solo ride.)

We did my usual route into Hillsborough, down to Skillman, and towards Rocky Hill...

(More at East Mountain)

... but along the way, we were complaining about the terrible service at my usual bagelry... and then somebody mentioned that there was a Thomas Sweet in the adjacent shopping center... and then Bob N rolled up and said he thought he could get us to the Thomas Sweet with minimal peril...

...and the next thing you know, we're rolling up to the Thomas Sweet.

... at which there was no wait, all kinds of goodies (muffins, croissants, &c.), coffee (apparently of some quality, although I'm a coffee Philistine who deserves to be restricted to Wawa, so my opinion is useless), Gatorade for the folks who needed it, TWO toilets instead of one, and (of all things) ice cream. At 10:30 in the morning.

That picture's the best I could manage, holding the ice cream in one hand and the camera in the other. Laura doesn't do ice cream on rides, saying it doesn't agree with her, but the only thing that didn't agree was the envy in evidence from TEW when I mentioned stopping at the Thomas Sweet.

Even Laura's husband, Professor Jack, gave his nihil obstat when she texted him about our stop at Thomas Sweet. And I admire Professor Jack more than I would ever let him know; if I have his blessing, I may never change the procedure, ever again.

So now I'm adjusting my routes to include the Thomas Sweet as a break. Bob has promised to look at the location (which is close to him) and see if there's another back way out, but even if not, there's likely to be a number of Thomas Sweet stops. Youse-all may want to consider that if you're thinking of a Sunday ride.

Ride Page.

Obligatory bike pics:

In other news, this is my tenth ride for the year, so I'm eligible for the 2019 Ride Leader Jersey. Thanks to all of you have have come on my rides this year; it's not a thing you can do alone.

In other other news, I was taken with Bill B's mirror (my Monkey Mirror has seen better days; the reflective surface is starting to flake away).

Bill's is no longer available... but Dr Lynne uses the Safety Sport Mirror that attaches to her eyeglass frame.

The owner is threatening to close it down. I've ordered two of 'em.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

ride for june 30

Even though the weather is iffy for Sunday, I'm posting this one, because I'm working Saturday and need to get a ride in if there's any chance I can. We'll do my usual 35-mile route, at my usual barely-B pace. Leave at 8:30, from Six Mile/Blackwells Mills lot (go see the link on the Princeton Freewheelers Calendar page).

I recommend registration: if I cancel, you get an email, and if the weather is questionable, I might cancel.

If it DOESN'T rain, I hope to see you. I can use some friendly faces.

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.