2005 Spring Equinox Party

DateMarch 19, 2005
HostsCheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook, Sue and Greg Adam
WherePrudhomme/Cook house
Who (else) (Riding:) Judy Allison and Malcolm Boyd, Helen and Bob Bird, Marji Brandriss and Dave Kristol, Julie and Stu Conway, Debbie and Al Cudworth, Brenda and Larry Isherwood, Susan Nicolich and Dave Snope; (Party only:) Judy and Dave Buckland, Lily and Mike Fabricante, Claire Hamanaka and Walt Willard, Ann Smith and Gisela Witz, Linda and George Wells

[Mark Cook report]

The sun rose on this day in March to cold temps, but bright sunshine portended warmer temperatures later in the day. This day we celebrate the vernal equinox and the rite of Spring where NJ tandem riders open the official riding season. After taking care of our own personal to-do items in the morning, teams began to slowly assemble after the noon hour at our home in Gillette. By 1PM the thermometer was reading near 50 degrees. Teams prepared their bikes and cold weather clothing. Conversations slowed the process some but in many cases we had not seen each other in many weeks. And we were in no hurry, anyway. Two routes were planned - both leaving our home, heading up over the ridge and returning through the Great Swamp. Each was about 20 miles. The goal was to provide teams with several ride options depending upon the level of challenge one preferred at this early date.

Following the obligatory group photo, all riders took off in succession pausing for a brief "photo op," passing me using my new digital camera. (I still need some practice as I missed several couples or they were too blurry to publish. I promise to take some lessons from Walt!) The 18-mile loop was completed by all. Some elected to call it quits for the day. The timing was perfect as teams showered or headed to their nearby homes to dress for the party. The rest grabbed a quick bathroom break and re-mounted, heading off on the second of today's loops. Only Malcolm/Judy. Larry/Brenda, Dave/Susan, Mark/Cheryl & Stu/Julie braved the second loop. (Stu/Julie live locally in Basking Ridge and decided to head home while on the route, clean up, and return for the party - the primary event of the day. The four remaining teams kicked it up a notch or two flying up and down the hills of this 20 mile loop. Everyone finished at nearly the same time in a sigh of relief, realizing that we had expended ourselves. It was fabulous to finish up, pulling into the driveway to the applause (although slightly "tongue-in-cheek") of those who finished earlier. They also set up all the snacks and food for which we were grateful. Other DOGS members who were not riding today began to arrive and the conversation flowed as naturally as if we had seen each other yesterday. It was fabulous to see everyone again after what seemed like a long, cold winter. Everyone was famished from the cool temperatures and hardy riding, so the food was welcomed and tasty. Next we were treated to a wonderful presentation of the recent tandem cycling trip to Maui by Malcolm and Judy. He is a consummate professional and the slide show was appreciated by all. Hopefully everyone will have an opportunity to visit some place exotic like Hawaii at some time in their lifetime. The party broke up early with couples sharing hugs and promises to meet up on the asphalt some time soon. See you out there....

[Dave Kristol report]

Nine teams gathered for some fine early spring (hmmm, technically, late winter) riding, with mostly sunny skies and temperatures near 50. Mark offered two Great Swamp Loop rides to warm up our winter-weary legs, one 18 miles through the east end of the Swamp, and the second, 16 miles, with a 20-mile option, through the west end of the Swamp. Each ended back at the Prudhomme/Cook house, so riders could quit after the first ride or press on and do a second one.

The first ride began somewhat inauspiciously, after the usual pre-ride photos, when the three lagging teams (Isherwood, Brandriss/Kristol, Prudhomme/Cook) got a couple hundred yards down Mountain Ave., only to be stopped by blinking lights, descending crossing gates, and an NJ Transit train stopping at Gillette station. By the time the train left, the lead teams were far ahead, making their first turn. Nevermind. We all cycled at our own pace, which meant Marji and I arrived back at the house around the time the early birds were chomping at the bit to hit the road again.

The second half riding was much less organized. The Adamses and Conways headed home (nearby) to clean up for the party. The Birds did a roundtrip to the Adams's. Marji and I left somewhat belatedly and did a little freelancing on the route, a four-mile shortcut that got us on Long Hill Rd. heading back to the house in time to be passed by the Wellses, in their car, and the riding pack, on two wheels (while we took a butt break).

We headed home to clean up, and, when we returned, the partying was seriously on, and the velo-locusts had already done serious damage to the food supply. Not that there's ever a real shortage. Malcolm presented photos of their recent trip (free, thanks to achievement at work) to Maui for which they brought their bike. They had a great time, and some mighty pedaling, though rain, wind, and cold prevented them from completing a 38-mile, 10,000 foot climb of Haleakala.

As we look forward to another riding season, some of us, at least, are relieved not to have to face the likes of Haleakala in New Jersey.

The (riding) group

Start of Loop 1

Bicyclists training

Between-rides break

Start of Loop 2

Malcolm presents his travelogue as others watch

Just plain socializing and eating

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Copyright © 2005, David M. Kristol, Mark Cook (text, photos); Marjorie Brandriss (photos)