Pre-Seagull Training Ride

DateAugust 14, 2004
Hosts Cheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook
Where Pathmark Shopping Center, Gillette; Morris and Somerset Counties
Who (else) Judy Allison and Malcolm Boyd, Helen and Bob Bird, Marji Brandriss and Dave Kristol, Christina Chan and Rich LeGrand, Debbie and Alan Cudworth, Claire Hamanaka and Walt Willard, Brenda and Larry Isherwood, Susan Nicolich and Dave Snope, Ellen Schorr and Don Schneider, Ann Smith, Linda and George Wells

Mark Cook's report Team Well's report

Okay, let's see. You're planning to run a training ride for the Seagull Century, where the terrain is dead-flat. You want to provide lots of opportunities for practicing pace-lining. So of course you lay out the route through the hills of Morris and Somerset Counties. And, just to make it interesting, you hand out route slips that, well,... let's just say they contain some misleading directions. And an omission.

Now, of course, if the ride weren't billed as a pre-Seagull training ride, we would all just gripe about the hills the way we usually do. But, given the title, and the directional challenges, we had lots of opportunities to tease Mark. Which we did. (By all accounts, Cheryl was an innocent contributor.) Anyway, given how soggy the week had been, and given the expected arrival of the remnants of Hurricane Charley tonight, we were all just glad to be able to ride and not get wet. Although the day was overcast and cool, we did not get any rain.

Starting from a shopping center parking lot near Cheryl and Mark's home, the route initially headed toward, but circled around, the Great Swamp. The stretch along Meyersville Rd. provided a nice opportunity for some cruising, though the pack had already separated into its usual clusters of riders. By the time we got to Southern Blvd., it was just George and Linda and us.

We cycled together to the first designated rest stop on Rt. 202. While we took our break, Dave and Sue showed up. We thought they were way ahead of us, but in fact they didn't leave with the rest of us. Dave had been in the bathroom at Starbucks!

We three teams then pushed off along Rt. 202 toward the hills of Mendham, notably the long uphill on Anderson. We continued together, more or less, until we reached Far Hills. Just after the turn onto Rt. 202, George dropped his chain. We stopped, but Dave and Sue, being slightly ahead, didn't notice and pulled away. Once we resumed, it was George and Linda and us once again to tackle another long uphill on Far Hills Rd. (Marji and I stopped briefly to take note of a young red-tailed hawk that was perched about 10 ft. off the ground not more than 20 ft. off the road. If you go slow enough, you can see interesting things!)

We stopped for the second rest break in Liberty Corner and considered the rest of the route. George and I know the area well enough to know the route went up and over a ridge, along a flat stretch, then back over the same ridge. We all quickly reached consensus that we could, and should, take the direct route back to the shopping center along Valley Rd., and we did.

We discovered that almost everyone had reached the shopping center before us, but Mark and Cheryl were somewhat anxious. Unbeknown to us, the part of the route we had not taken had some confusing directions, and there was concern that some folks might get lost. But everyone made it. So it was time for the DOGS' other activity: eating.

Most of us bought food at Panera Bread in the shopping center, then sat at the edge of the parking lot for a congenial picnic.

Pre-ride camaraderie

Listening to Mark's instructions

The group photo (Walt's, Mark's)

Zinnias at Hillview Farm

Post-ride festivities

DOGS Home Page

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Copyright © 2004, David M. Kristol (text); Walt Willard, Mark Cook (photos)