Tom H posted his ride for today with the following description:
Tom's Less Intense Hills around Lambertville("Less intense", in this case, means either less intense than Paul I's more-demanding hilly ride, or less intense than Tom's own "Lyin' Bastard" ride, scheduled for an upcoming weekend.)
This will be a 45 to 50 miles ride from Lambertville. We will be climbing some hills but I will try to avoid anything really steep or long. Here is the planned route for tomorrow...
It sounded good to Ricky, Laura OLPH, and me... and to Blake, whom we haven't seen since I don't even know when.
We got going after the usual pre-ride folderol. We started up Alexsauken Creek and headed to the covered bridge near Sergeantsville. Somewhere or other I got these:
I don't remember which climb it was that we first noticed the chipseal surface on the road. (For the uninitiated, chipseal is a paving process [undoubtedly inexpensive] where oil is applied to the road surface, and then a layer an inch or two thick of crushed stone is layered on top. The theory is that the passing traffic will push the crushed stone into the oil, making a hard road surface. Until the surface is hard, though, the chipseal is essentially loose gravel, with all the drama and excitement for a cyclist that riding on loose gravel can entail.)
Paul I has diligently been reporting the chipseal on the Freewheelers
Facebook page. However, I don't know where all the roads are, and so it was a surprise to me when we started our first climb on the chipseal. I found it was a little easier if there were car tire tracks where the mix was a bit more stable.
I don't remember the names of all the chipsealed roads (some apparently had enjoyed enough traffic that the surface was not too bad), but I'm perfectly willing to believe that every township and county road in Hunterdon has been chipsealed in the past month.
(In other news: shortly before the break, I came upon a house that had this construction at the postbox. There are two: the upper one says "Air Mail" [and has the flag up; evidently, something's waiting to be dropped off or picked up]; the lower is that wonderful fish mailbox. Under it is a plaque that reads, "I'll do it tomorrow; today I'm going fishing". I'm not sure whether or not I actually want to meet the owners of this house.)
Tom had had the good idea of getting up to the top of the climb, and riding up there for a while, until we descended into Flemington to Factory Fuel.
...and then we climbed out, going up the chipsealed road.
On the way back, I found evidence that autumn is coming.
And there we were, doing fine, until we got to this downhill at Buchanan Road.
Yeah, that's loose chipseal; even more treacherous on a downhill than on a climb. There was some discussion of changing the route, until one of us saw what appeared to be a possible line down the hill that appeared to be adequately packed. We proceeded, and made it back to the start.
There was some discussion of gravel bikes and mountain bikes today. I think I'm gonna ask Tom to ride some paved roads next time.
Y'wanna see where to stay away from for a few weeks? Ride page.
Trust me, gang; we are NOT gonna be workin' that hard on my ride tomorrow.