Saturday, August 31, 2019

hills less intense; chipseal more intense

Tom H posted his ride for today with the following description:
Tom's Less Intense Hills around Lambertville
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...
("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.)

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.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

ride for sep 1 2019

I want to go back to the Pig, especially after hearing that Laura OLPH stopped there after cutting out of my ride last time... but I hear there's bridge construction near the Veterans Park in Montgomery, so I might not be able to do my corner-of-Harlingen-and-Harlingen route. So I've set up this route, that adds a hill, but avoids the construction. (NOTE: this is a new route at 3pm Saturday Aug 31; it's a mile longer but avoids the climb to Mount Rose.)

9:00 start from the parking lot at Blackwells Mills/Six Mile Run. About 44 miles, with some hills worth considering (but nothing near as bad as going up Province Line, I promise). Sunday, September 1, in case that's not clear from the post title. I'll try to keep it to my "B-minus" pace, partly because I gotta lead another ride the next day (I'm leading a C+ for the Labor Day All-Paces; if we're still on speaking terms, you can come out and we can commiserate).

This is a Princeton Freewheelers club ride. Non-members are invited on one ride; after that you're expected to join.

Come on out and enjoy some good coffee at the stop. (Reliable sources tell me it's good coffee; my palate is incapable of discerning the difference.)

Sunday, August 25, 2019

seems like a good idea

I've started doing a slower-paced ride, a C+ ride instead of my usual B, for the last ride of the month, and I think it's a good idea for The Excellent Wife (TEW) and me.

TEW gets to come out on a ride that I lead, I get a half-credit for a date with TEW, I get to see some folks I usually don't, and my usual riders seem to enjoy the low pressure (and maybe a chance for a recovery ride that really is a recovery ride).

Andrew A, who came out today (along with TEW, Mini B, Mindy B, and Laura OLPH), pointed out that the "B minus" pace of my usual rides has been creeping up. He's right about that. He ascribes it to my lost weight; I don't think that's the only reason, although it's certainly true that I'm stronger than I was earlier in the season (or maybe it's closer to the truth to say it's not only the lost weight). It's also that, as people are learning about these rides, and coming out for them, some of the riders are faster, and the group is keeping up. (Also: I post my routes at the request of some riders - one of whom, now I think of it, has never come out - and so people can get the routes themselves and ride on ahead, knowing we'll catch up sooner or later.)

I don't know if I'll continue to aim for that "B minus" pace on my regular Sunday rides. I expect, though, that I'll continue to post these last-of-the-month C+ rides. After all, Mini, from whom I'd not heard since the last time I posted one of these, and Mindy, who was traumatized on Province Line Road, both came out!

The GPS gave me some trouble, so I'll post the two pieces of this ride below. Here we are at the intersection of Amsterdam and Hillsborough Roads, as I was fooling around with the technology:

We bobbled through Hillsborough and Franklin for a bit, and headed down to 518, where we did a couple miles straight to the Boro Bean (Mini turned to go home before that; she had another commitment. I'm just glad she came out).

Instead of heading straight back, I did a quick tour of the back street (my GPS doesn't like straight-out-and-back routes). That got Laura pointed in the direction of Pennington for the ride home; she said she stopped in at the Pig and picked up a couple of cookies. So just by modifying expectations, I have caused improvement in the local economy. I'm suffused with indirect patriotic pride.

Then we did four miles on 518 back, into the wind (I don't remember a tailwnd on the way out, and shouldn't the prevailing west-ish wind have been at our backs?). We turned up Burnt Hill and onto Orchard, and found where the construction is supposed to be... luckily, it's NOT in the way of my going-the-wrong-way on Opossum Road for a few of my other routes. So the three of us that were left made it back to the start without mishap.

Ride pages: here's the first bit, before the GPS decided to turn off of its own volition (it does that about once every eighteen months or so), and the second bit. The ride pages include my ride from home to the breakfast bagel, and then to the start, and then the ride home afterwards.

In other news, I've led rides in three categories (C, C+, and B) this year; is that a record for diversity in a single year?

Saturday, August 24, 2019

mixed bag

Laura OLPH emailed around early to see if there was interest in a ride to Asbury (no, not that Asbury; there's one in Warren County):

I'm thinking hills on Saturday, Frenchtown to Asbury (not the beach; the other one). The forecast is looking perfect.

The Asbury Coffee Mill, unlike some of the other decent places we've gone to, is still open. As far as I can tell, there is no quiche on the menu.

If there's interest in advance, I'll post the ride.

I remember the Asbury Coffee Mill; it's the only thing around for miles, and there's no reason for a coffee stop that good in that neighborhood... but there it is. It also turns out that the route was to include one of my favorite stretches of road, along the Delaware and the railroad above Riegelsville.

Yeah, I was in for this.

As were Ricky G, Martin (not Marty) G. (no discernible relation to Ricky of the same last initial), and Bob N. We met up in Frenchtown at the start.

We also met this guy, who impressed me as someone I might have been in contact with in my professional life (I've worked in mental health and addictions for the past 35 years):

After extricating ourselves from a rambling, tangential conversation with him, we got started on the ride.

It was a beautiful, cool, clear day.

At the bottom of appropriately-named Baptist Church Road, we came upon this intriguing ruin:

The sign refers to the Graveyard Society; the graveyard is much better kept than the church, which seems a bit macabre. But I digress*.

*Now THERE'S a surprise.

We rolled along into the Spruce Run Reservoir, which was closed to swimming due to an algae bloom. The emptiness there was a bit eerie, but that, also, was a beautiful place.

Many thanks to Laura for popping for the $2/person for our admission.

Some bridge or other, I think over the Musconetcong:

As we proceeded, off in the distance, we could see the Blue Army Shrine, a shrine to Mary in Asbury (no, not that Asbury; there's one up in... oh, never mind). It was interesting enough that we rolled in, and met a few buses of obviously Catholic tourists (I'm sure I heard Italian spoken, and possibly Polish, and there were undeniably Dominican nuns; the same flavor as the teachers in the Catholic school I attended when Johnson was president).

Visiting there was weird; I kept getting the feeling that a few burly fratres would come along and drag me to a basement cell for re-indoctrination. That Catholic thing never completely dies, no matter how atheistic I am now.

From there to the Asbury Coffee MIll... which was CLOSED EARLY*. I found out, and rolled back to tell Laura, who was deep in conversation with this guy about some unwanted warehouse project. I suspect Laura was pulling on her Sierra Club hat.

But the Coffee Mill was undeniably closed*... and there really was no alternative. We rolled over to a local bar that was setting up for the day, where some of our number were able to refill water jugs. I cadged a Clif bar from Laura.

(*Laura had checked to make sure the place was still there, and that the normal hours would allow for us to get there in time. This closure was a one-day event; Laura could not have foreseen that.)

But then... then we got to roll along Creek Road, and then River Road, and then Reigelsville River Road, along the tracks and the Delaware. This might be my favorite stretch of road in NJ.

I stopped to get this pic, and got separated from the others:

(Yes, that old geezer on the right is fishing from a motorized wheelchair.)

After I tried to catch up, I came to what I thought was the turn; I proceeded.... but that didn't look right, so I went the other way... and that looked even less right, so I went back the first way... but it didn't seem to improve. Luckily, Ricky called me with directions about that point, and I caught up again.

After that,I was reluctant to take more pictures and risk another separation.

At Reigelsville:

And despite not enough food on board, we came back strong to the start in Frenchtown, although Bob, Laura, and I went in search of food before the drive home.

And because of today's ride, I suspect I'll have no problem keeping my ride to a C+ pace tomorrow.

Ride page.