Monday, August 6, 2018

PFW Metric Event Ride

The first Saturday in August is usually the day of the PFW event. The club decided not to do the event this year because of falling ridership and the hassle of staffing it. I agree with the decision but still wanted to ride an event type route so I put a few routes together and posted them to the PFW Facebook account to see if I could get some other leaders to join me. I was thinking it might be like a adhoc all paces ride but it didn't really work out as I expected. I think the main problem was the weather.

I put posted a metric for Saturday and Laura posted a Century because she always does a century on the day of the event. We ended up getting rained out on Saturday so had to reschedule for Sunday. Like most of the PFW event days it was a hot and sunny day. I rode down from my house to Mercer park. Chris and Linda were already there and we were soon join by Andrew then Laura, Jack, and Ricky rode in. The last person to arrive was Sergey. Because of the heat Linda wasn't sure if she was going to do the century or metric but since we were going to ride together until mile 45 she didn't have to decide now.

It in the mid 70s when we started but the humidity made it feel a lot hotter. The route I had planned was similar to a century I had done a couple of years ago. I made some modification so that we would pass by enough Wawa's and other stores to keep us well fed.

We maintained a nice relaxed pace as we went through the Assumpink and wound our way down to the Wawa in Jackson. The first stop was only 21 miles into the ride but I wanted to stop early because I knew it was going to be a long ride and because I know a lot of the other people already had a 8-10 miles before the start.

From there we headed to Cassville and then on to New Egypt for our second stop. The humidity had decreased but the sun was still hot. Besides the water in my camelback I also had a bottom of pure Gatorade that I was drinking through out the ride so I actually felt OK at the 45 mile mark. Not good enough to do a century but I knew I shouldn't have a problem making it back.

New Egypt is where the group split up. I headed north with metric ride and Laura, Linda (who decided to do the century) and Ricky headed south for an extra 35 miles. When I created the metric route I decided to come back Hill Rd. In hindsight it probably wasn't the best idea putting the hills near the end of a long ride. The group spread out a little but nobody had a problem with the hills.

By the time we got to Allentown I was starting to feel the heat and miles. I asked if anybody needed a stop but we decided just to grind out the last 8 miles to the end. We actually did make a quick stop in Allentown as I saw Ron by Woody's so we stopped for a few minutes to talk to him.

As we crossed 130 and rode on Meadow Rd I was starting to fade a little. I had drank as much Gatoraid as my stomach could handle and taken a clif shot. It definitely helped me make it through the ride but I had weird sugar buzz on while feeling dehydrated.

I led everybody back to the park then headed for home. Jack followed me to get a few more miles. He had ridden in from home and needed the extra miles to get a century in. I was happy to get 74 mile in. I cramped up about a mile from my house but was able to push through it and get home.

It felt really good to finally be off the bike and in air conditioning. After Jack left I had to sit down on the floor for 15 mins just to get enough energy to clean up and get something to eat.

It took me a hour and a half to be able to be truly functional again. I'm glad I didn't try for a century especially after hearing that Laura cramped up at the end of the ride. In heat like we had today I can only stay hydrated for so long so 74 was more than enough for me.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Everybody I Know is Quite INSANE!!!

I jokingly refer to the group of people I ride with as "The insane bike posse" because they come on my rides complain they don't like it then come back for more. I think the joke might be on me because I think some of the people are actually insane. 

Please play this song from the Queens of the Stone age as you read the rest of the post. 

I missed Laura's Belmar ride last weekend because I just didn't have the time to take that long of a ride. A day after the ride I get some bullshit legalize email from Jack explaining that because I wasn't present during the ride and did not bless then with the Holy Kickstand, I was to blame for all their problems.

Apparently Jack had a flat tire, loose bottle cage and pump and wanted to blame me for his bad luck.(I can't imagine how much other shit they must have talked about me) I replied to the email stating that if they believed that a plastic kickstand wrapped in some fancy rope had any magical powers then they were truly insane. If it had any powers, I pointed out, I would had made it rain on their asses. Laura responded and said that it did rain on them and by pure coincidence it happen to be while they were passing close to my house. It is an interesting coincidence but on a day that had a 60-80% chance of rain it was just dumb luck and not divine intervention. I mean come on if I had that power I would use to solve some real problems.

Despite my arguments they still believe that the Holy Kickstand and I have some magical power which is totally insane. Then there is the fact that for my Bulls Island ride this week neither Jack or Laura could make it and they both wanted to take the blame for any random problems we had on the ride which is more than a little strange (like they somehow caused this dump truck to run off the road?). And I had to make sure to send Laura a picture of all the people on the ride giving her the finger because that makes her feel loved.

There are a lot more things that make me believe that these people are truly insane. Now, I may not be the picture of perfect mental health but on a scale of guy putting foil on his head to keep aliens from reading his thoughts to person able to function in the real world I think I'm pretty normal. However the fact that I continue to attract and even somewhat enjoy these insane people makes me concerned that their insanity may eventually rub off on me.

Friday, July 27, 2018

The 2018 PFW Event

*****UPDATE  The weather is not looking good for riding on Saturday so I may move my ride to  Sunday. Keep and eye on my blog for more details.

I know there will be no PFW event this year and I agree with that decision but it is going to feel strange not riding the event. So on Saturday Aug 4, when the event would have been, I'm going to do my own event ride. I'm planning on doing a metric based on some of the old event routes. While I was working on the metric route I decided to create a full set of routes. They are listed below. I have created a century, metric, 50 and 25 mile routes. All these routes start at the picnic area of Mercer County Park off Edinburg Rd and are on roads and should be familiar to most of us.

So if your are missing the event get your group together, pick one of the routes below and join me and a few others who will be out there.  Since there will be no arrows on the road, cue sheets, rest stops or a sag it will might feel more like an all paces ride but it will be a fun way to spent the first Saturday in August. 

Here are the routes and some details about them

The Century

The Century is a pretty flat route that takes you through Jacksonville, Browns Mill, before going through the pinelands then back through Pemberton. Since there are no supported rest stops I have made sure there is a Wawa or some other store at least every 20 miles. Here is a list of the rest stops
  • Mile 21 - There a Wawa on Pine Rd right where it meets Rt 537 
  • Mile 33 - There is a Deli when you make the turn on to Stump Tavern Rd
  • Mile 45 - There is a Wawa in New Egypt when you make the turn on to Main St (Rt 528)
  • Mile 57 - There is a Wawa in Browns Mills. Just make a right at the light by the lake on to Lakehust Rd. Its a only a quarter mile from the light
  • Mile 67 - There is a Super Wawa on the left just before the turn onto Pemberton Arneys Mt Rd
  • Mile 76 - If you need a stop before Allentown you can make a left on to Mt Pleasant Rd instead of a right and take a quick detour to the center of Columbus (its about a mile)
  • Mile 93 - If you need a one last stop to get you home you can stop at Woody's in Allentown
The Metric

This route follows the century until mile 45 then takes a more direct route back. The list of rest stops are the same as the century until mile 45 in New Egypt and then at mile 57 if you need a another rest stop you can stop at Woody's in Allentown.

The 50 mile route

The route will be a loop to Cassville and back. There are two places to take a break the first one is at a deli/antique store at mile 26 at the corner of Rt 528 and Rt 571. There is also a Wawa at mile 32 where Rt 537 meets Pine Rd.

The 25 mile route

The is a simple ride through the Assumpink to Roy's Deli and back.

Hope to see some of you out there next Saturday.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Mansfield Almost Metric

After a few weeks in the hills I decided to take a brake and do something flat. Florida Flatlander Cheryl was in town so I thought a flat metric would be something she might join us for. The regulars Jim and Laura had other commitments but I got a good turnout. Ricky, Chris Cheryl, Joe, Andrew and Sergey join me in Mansfield for the ride.

I had a few routes mapped out so that I could change the distance depending on how hot it got during the ride. The forecast was Sunny with temperatures reaching 90 degrees so there was a possibility that we could approach death march territory. At the start of the ride the weather wasn't too bad. It was in the low 70s and the moderate humidity.

One of the reasons that I like to start the pineland rides from Mansfield is that it lets me get a little deeper into the pinelands and get to some different roads. The ride went through Jobstown then skimmed Fort Dix before going through the lovely town of Browns Mill. (Here is a link to the route). We didn't stop at the Wawa as it was too early in the ride.

We made our usually stop for water at the ranger station in Lebanon State forest before continuing on to Nixon's . Sergey got a flat on Sooy Rd so he pulled into a driveway to make a fix. This in the pinelands so it is very rural and not the most upscale community. Most of the houses here are small homes in need of some maintenance. However when the Range Rover pulled in to the driveway we were in we realized that there is at least one upscale home in this area. (No sure why someone with money would live in this area)

At our stop in Nixon's Chris realized he had a slow leak so he had to change his tubular tire during the break, It was getting warm but wasn't oppressive so we decided to do the longer route. We had not pushed the pace and I had kept to the shade was much as possible so most of us were feeling good. It helped that we had a tail wind pushing us home.

We had to make the usual detour at Smithville to get around the bridge out but otherwise it was an easy ride back to Mansfield. We came in at 60 miles. I could have added a couple miles at the end to make it a real metric but I've never seen the point of adding miles to a ride just to reach a certain mileage goal.

This was a nice long flat ride and a nice break from the hills. I got some emails from Laura about a road in Morris county she wants to try so I suspect we will be doing some more rides in the hills in the next few weeks.  

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Ride of a Thousand Turns

I enjoy making up new routes so when Jack asked me to plan a route from his house on the south side of Yardley I starting looking at the roads to see the best way to get to New Hope and back. I could of went out River road to get to the usually routes we used but decided to see if I could find a safe way to get to Tyler State park. There are some main roads that go towards Newtown but they all have too much traffic to be safe. Instead I strung together a bunch of roads through the residential neighborhoods to get us up to 95. This was a lot of turns but the roads were surprisingly nice.Here is a link to the route.

This would have been a really hard ride to lead without a GPS since there were turns every tenth to quarter of a mile. Doing this with a queue sheet would have been impossible. I have a Delorme PN-40 which is 10 years old and no longer made but it still works great and I haven't found anything better to use to lead a ride. It was easy for me to just have the map on the screen and follow the overlay of the route on the map. Jim, Laura, and Bob Garmin GPSes were in various states of distress during the ride and none of them was able to follow the route or recover when I went off the planned path. Technology is great when it works but when it doesn't it really distracts from the ride.

And it was a good ride on a beautiful day. The heat wave finally broke and today we had dry, cool and sunny weather. The rides through all the back roads and neighborhoods to get to Tyler State park was nicer than I expected and the couple of busy roads I was worried about had shoulders and not much traffic. The only problem we had was Jim almost running into me right before the entrance of Tyler State park as he was not paying close attention as I slowed down for a light. He reacted just quick enough to avoid a disaster. Even though he smoked his breaks and skidded his tires he did it with out going down and taking the rest of us with him.

The ride through Tyler was scenic and different than our usual rides here which are almost always in winter on a frozen landscape. It was nice to get a few pictures with out snow in them for once. I veered of the planned route here to take a easier way up the hill and stay closer to the river as it is more scenic. At the top of the hill we left the park and zig zagged through another residential neighborhood to get to the normal roads we ride in Bucks county.

One of Jacks suggestions for the ride was to go over Jericho mountain on Eagle road because he hadn't done that in a while. Eagle road is one of the steepest hills in the area and the hardest way to get over the mountain but Jack was the host so over Eagle we went. Eagle is a half mile assent in the 10-15% range and is steepest towards the top. I'm glad I was able to make it over as it proves that I'm in decent shape but there is no real view at the top and so there is no pay off for the climb except a screaming downhill.

After Eagle we made our way toward one of Jacks old houses which was up a slightly annoying hill.

Jack spent a few minutes telling us about the house and all the work he had done on it before we headed to New Hope for our break.

The way back after break was a slow steady climb back up to the ridge and then some rollers along Street road. There was a bridge out that we had actually to go around because the road crew wouldn't let us through. There was only really one tough hill on the way back as I took Thompson Mill to get back over Jericho mountain. Jack joked that he wanted to Eagle the opposite way over Jericho but "No" I wasn't going to do that.

Eventually we made our way back to River road and Jack lead us back to his place where we hung out afterwards. We rarely get together after rides because most of time we all have other things we usually need to do. Blake and Cheryl joined at the house after their ride and I spent some time catching up with them.

Jacks new house is a nice place to hang out. He has pool to cool off in and plenty of places to sit in the shade in the backyard. We all dove into the pool after the ride and I used my camera to grab a few underwater shots. Now that we know we can ride from Jacks place hopefully we can do this again sometime as it was the perfect way to spend a day.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Back in the Hills

My wife is making slow but steady progress in gaining strength in her leg to walk normal again. There is still a few more weeks before she will be fully recovered but she has enough mobility that I can travel further from home to do some riding. This means I can get back to the hills. Last Saturday I went on Laura's ride to Pittstown to check out a new coffee shop. It was a warm sunny day and I felt pretty good on the way up the hills. We zigged and zagged our way to Pittstown. The only tough hill Laura took us over on the way out was Leffler which made me realize that I still have some work to do to get into hill shape. The new Brew 362 coffee shop is still under construction but the owner was nice and friendly and I'm told the coffee was good. I'm sure we will be back again to check the progress.

After the rest stop Jim and I headed back on our own as we didn't think we wanted to do the full 54 mile ride. Although there were a few hills on the way back it was a relatively easy ride. We got back with 46 miles and a little over 2000 ft of climbing. I probably could had done a few more miles but am glad I didn't have to.

This Saturday, summer turned the heat up. I wanted to continued to do some tougher hills but decided against it because of the 90+ temperatures. Instead we did off the books ride on this route along the Raritan river. I went for scenic over hilly but still managed to get about 2000 ft of climbing in. Although it didn't feel too warm when I put the dog out in the morning once we started rolling I could feel the heat and humidity building.

I put most of the hills at the beginning of the ride to reduce the pain at the end when it would be really hot. Part of the plan for the ride was to keep near a river and under shade as much as possible. Laura, Jim, Jack, Ricky, Bob, and Pete joined me for the ride. Pete, Laura, Jim and Bob had road in. Pete broke off at the top of Hollow Rd, Bob left us after the rest stop at the Wawa on 202.

The way back from the rest stop was mostly rolling with a couple of annoying hills. We tried a quick water stop at the pizzeria on East Mountain but it was closed and we ended up stopping at gas station on Rt 206.

It was over 90 by the time we rode down the canal and I was glad that I had started the ride at 8am so that we were done by noon. I didn't cramp which is a sign that I'm in better shape but I still need a few more rides in the hills before I'm fully back.

I have a few days off this coming week after the 4th. I hope to rapidly build up some more miles. so keep an eye on the blog for some spur of the moment rides.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Book Review

Although my life has been busy for the last couple of months I did manage to read a few good books. I try to read a book or two a month because I enjoy reading and learning about a lot of different subjects. The last book I just finished was "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck". I read it mostly because I liked the title. The basic message of the book is that you have only so many fucks to give so figure out what you care about and don't give a fuck about anything else, Part of his message is also don't bullshit yourself into thinking you're better than you are. If you think you are not getting ahead because of the system or people keeping you down you are probably not being honest with yourself. We are all good at denial and thinking there are external forces keeping us from living our dreams but the truth is most of us don't take an honest look at our real problems and do the hard work needed to fix them.

There was nothing earth shattering in this book and a lot of it boils down to just be yourself and don't give a fuck about what anyone else thinks about you. He has a very irreverent style of writing that is some what entertaining. Anyone who can use the phrase "magic fuck giving fair dust" in a sentence knows how to correctly use profanity that can be enjoyed. I won't recommend buying this book but if you can get it from a local library (like I did electronically)  its worth a read.

The other book I really enjoyed this past month was "Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend". I bought this book after my visit to the Negro League Baseball Museum because I wanted to learn more about the negro league and some of the more famous players. This book was mainly about Satchel Paige who was probably one of the best baseball pitchers that ever lived. The book traces him from his birth in Mobile Alabama in 1906 to his death in 1982. He really had a fascinating life and went from growing up in the poverty to be inducted into the baseball hall of fame. This was even more impressive as he did this in the era of segregation and Jim Crow. Satchel wasn't a perfect person and had a lot of flaws but he cared about baseball and because of his skill got away with a lot of things other player couldn't (He knew what to give a fuck about). He did however use his fame to make baseball better for the players and help make the argument for integration. He would have definitely been a cool person to meet. This book made me want to learn more about the negro league and the history of baseball in general so I will be looking for similar books in the future to read.

Today I was off from work and my wife is walking (slowly) so I can do rides further from home again. I did a 40 mile ride from Rocky Hill to Neshanic. It felt good to ride in the hills again. I should be able to start getting back in hill shape and will soon be leading some rides again.