Fish, Flowers, and Fowl

DateApril 10, 2005
Hosts Claire Hamanaka and Walt Willard
Where White Township; Warren County
Who (else) Paul and Jane Fialcowitz, Brenda and Larry Isherwood, Susan Nicolich and Dave Snope, Cheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook, Linda and George Wells

[Team Wells report]

While Tom Boonen, George Hincapie and Juan Fleche, battled the final Pave' sections in the "Queen of the Classics" -- Paris-Roubaix, six DOGS teams gathered at the White Township Recreational Park for the 2005 edition of "Fish, Flowers & Fowl" that meanders through 33 miles of Warren County roadway.

Teams Hamanaka/Willard, Wells, Isherwood, Nicolich/Snope, Fialcowitz, and Cook/Prudhomme made up the pelethon for this Sunday. While this route doesn't have all the "leg killers" of Warren County, it is as an early Spring ride that does test the condition of your team legs, not to mention your tandem teamwork.

For about the first five miles, five teams stayed pretty much together but the small climbs took their toll on the legs of Team Wells who, after turning on Jane Chapel Road, fell off the pace and watched the leaders pedal off and disappear around the curves and over the climbs. We wish there had been some of the other DOGS teams who usually match our pace, but you didn't make it. We missed you and you missed a great ride.

The day started with questionable weather reports. The temperatures reported by various DOGS teams started out in the low 30's. Team Wells looked at the NOAA web-site at 0430 and the digital forecast called for maximum temperatures to be in the high 50's. The temperatures at the Wells house hovered well below 40 at 0810, as we prepared to head out. The question was, what cycling outfit to wear? The decision was made to wear our Navigators winter kit -- which, later in the day, proved to be a mistake, but at the moment it seemed the right decision. The other teams had made better choices opting for lighter clothes and removable layers. By the end of the ride, I (George) was convinced that, due to the clothing, I had just completed my first "July" ride, in April -- but, that was okay to sweat.

Once we were out of contact with the leaders, we got our own rhythm going and had fun with the rolling sections of Cemetery and Alphano Roads which is the longest section of the first half of the ride. It has some great rolling sections and Linda and I alternated between the big (52) ring and the middle (38) ring depending on the gradient. With my Navigators jacket open, I managed to maintain a reasonable body temperature, and the zip-up allowed me to block the wind on the occasional downhill section where it could get chilly. However, being overdressed did have the drawback of pulling our energy down. Up ahead, while on Alphano Road, I spotted Team Fialcowitz by the flag on their tandem. They had been behind us but had obviously chosen an alternate route (good thinking Paul and Jane). We never did catch them. We pulled up to the Deli rest stop at 17.5 miles where the leaders had already been for about ten minutes.

Refueled and refreshed, we set out on the second-half which has both Shades of Death and Marble Hill Roads. Of course, we didn't manage to hold the leaders for more than a mile after the rest stop. Shades of Death has two 10% grades that are just long enough to let you know that this isn't an easy climb. On the other hand there are some good downhill sections that allowed us to use our big ring and cool off from the climbing efforts. Marble Hill Road leads to Church Street, which, in turn, leads to a screaming downhill on Route 617 (yee-ha!). The re-worked, and much easier, high-speed right turn onto Lakeside Drive North brings the final rollers of the ride. Linda reported that this section seems like the longest even though it is only about three miles with several short steep climbs towards the end of a 33.7 mile journey, which tells you just where your fitness really is. George's quads were hurting and Linda's efforts were the only thing that kept us going. We rolled back into White Township Recreation Area 2 hours 44 minutes after we had left it (1004). Not bad for Team Wells' first Spring Classic of 2005.

This was to have been a "no-frills" ride, but, due to the improving weather forecast, Claire and Walt changed their mind and re-instituted the "frills." Most other teams brought food offerings which complemented Claire's cold-cuts, bagels, and croissants, fruit, chips, etc., and lots of cold drinks.

About 1405, everyone started clearing up and heading home. It was a good first hard day for the DOGS. While Team Wells maintained their hold on the title of "Team Lanterne Rouge," George Hincapie took second in Roubaix to the sprint of Tom Boonen. It was the first time ever, that any American stood on the podium at the "Queen of the Classics." So, there were two classic rides: one in France with lots and lots of cobblestone roads; and one in Warren County where, thankfully, there aren't any cobbles.

Linda & George Wells
Leaders - Doubles Of the Garden State (DOGS)

DOGS Home Page

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Copyright © 2005, George Wells (text), Walt Willard (photos)