|Date||May 21, 2005|
|Hosts||Ann Smith and Gisela Witz|
|Where||Dunham Park, Liberty Corner; Somerset County|
|Who (else)||Judy Allison and Malcolm Boyd, Team Berzinis, Helen and Bob Bird, Julie and Stu Conway, Debbie and Al Cudworth, Lili and Mike Fabricante, Brenda and Larry Isherwood, Susan Nicolich and DaveSnope, Cheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook, Linda and George Wells.|
[Ann Smith report]
Despite weather forecasts to the contrary, the day turned out fine, "couldn't ask for better." Ten teams showed for the first ride hosted by Team Gwiz in quite a while. If you recall, this was somewhat of a test, as we had initially planned a 30-mile route, but added a 20-mile loop in the middle to accommodate those riders who wanted a longer ride. As a result of this, some of the 50-milers wanted to go out at 9:00 instead of the 10:00 start originally planned, so that all would return at more or less the same time. Some other 50-milers wanted to go out at 9:30.
Having two routes with different start times is, of course, not a new concept, just new to the DOGS, and we were really interested to see how it worked out.
When all was said and done, it was somewhat confused. (Team Allison/Boyd had emailed early that morning, as these plans were taking shape, "We plan to be early to watch the confusion. Wouldn't miss it." It wasn't all *that* bad, folks!) Some teams arrived very early, some a bit late, and probably all were frustrated to some degree. Nevertheless, with patience and a bit of humor, the 9:00 group finally got underway at ~9:30, the 9:30 group at ~9:45 and the 10:00 group (30-milers) at 10:00.
Your fearless ride leaders developed a problem at mile 1 - an improperly seated front tire. Ann hopped off and released the pressure just before it blew - phew! A bit of work to put the tube inside the tire (novel concept, eh?) followed by pumping (thanks, Stu!) got us underway again. Halfway up Allen Road, Team Gwiz stopped again to remove some layers (it was 42 degrees when we got to the park at ~8:30, but pushing 65 by this time). That gave Team Conway the opportunity to go on without us holding them up, so now we were dead-last! Neat place for the host team!
For the rest of the ride, we can't really report much, since we didn't see any of the other riders, didn't do the 50-mile route, and didn't even finish the 30 miles, as we felt we really needed to be back in some kind of respectable time to greet the returning teams.
Reports from those teams suggest that the routes were enjoyable, and much "flatter" than Ann usually develops. (Sorry about "hernia hill", Bob!) Some areas were new to the locals, which is always kind of gratifying when you're developing routes, and the Trump National Golf Course vistas were appreciated by all who saw them, despite the gravel road (it's good gravel, honest!) that leads through it.
The timing of return was a bit strung out, from noon to 1:30. That indicates that the initial thought of the 50-milers going out at 9:00 would probably have worked out well.
Most of the group retired after the usual camaraderie to the festivities in downtown Basking Ridge in celebration of "Charter Day", the town's annual party for itself. We got separated from the group and never saw them again, but we hope that all enjoyed themselves. Their cars were still in the parking area when we left about 4:30, so we assume that there were attractions for them. (Let us know, folks!)
All in all it was a successful adventure, which could use some tweaks for future ride leaders following a similar approach of multiple routes of different lengths. We'd recommend different start times attuned to the distances involved, and adhered to somewhat more strictly. The problem, of course, is that everyone wants to be polite, and the earlier teams get hung up when others drift in a bit late. No harm, no foul, folks; as we said before, this was a test, and we're trying to learn from it, not get on anybody! Keep up that patience and humor!
We know that Malcolm and Judy are hosting a ride on June 11 which will feature *three* different route lengths. This should amplify the opportunity for confusion (perhaps exponentially?). So it will be interesting to see how that goes. Good luck, friends.
Until next time,....