|Date||March 25, 2006|
|Hosts||Cheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook|
|Who (else)||Judy Allison and Malcolm Boyd, Marji Brandriss and Dave Kristol, Barbara and Tracy Cate, Julie and Stu Conway, Claire Hamanaka and Walt Willard, Brenda and Larry Isherwood, Susan Nicolich and Dave Snope, Ann Smith, Linda and George Wells|
The first rite of Spring for many of us is the celebration of the new riding season at the Doubles of the Garden State Spring Equinox party. Setting this year was at the home of Mark Cook & Cheryl Prudhomme in Gillette, NJ. The schedule begins at 1PM with a hearty bunch of couples willing to ride in some challenging, Spring NJ weather. This year was no exception. With no sign of the sun shining through to warm the tight winter leg muscles, four teams prepared for the first of two rides scheduled this day. Malcolm/Judy, Larry/Brenda, George/Linda and the hosts (Mark/Cheryl) dressed warmly and headed off over the mountain ridge into the westerly loop around the Great Swamp Wildlife Refuge.
Make special note that, despite the threat of rain, George and Linda arrived with their new ship, Voyager, to take on the local mountains with their first official ride together with the DOGS on this day. "Voyager" is a custom fit Co-Motion with many state of the art components. (The "Enterprise", by the way, is space-docked on a nearby Class M planet in an effort to introduce tandeming to aliens!)
The first ride concluded without incident and, more importantly, without RAIN at approx. 17 miles. In the town of Green Village we picked up a fifth pair, Stu and Julie Conway, who were deliberately reversing the route in an effort to encounter us along the way. They rode with the rest of us back to Gillette. A brief break ensued to visit the rest room and refill water bottles.
Linda and George packed up their bike and raced back to Dover to clean up and return in time for the scheduled party. They did not wish to subject the new bike to the elements as they transport atop their Saturn. (Yet another other-worldly reference!)
Joining us for the easterly loop around the Swamp were Dave/Sue, Walt/Claire and Tracy/Barbara on their carbon Santana "Beyond" - the more the better! At some point early in the ride the Conway's headed back to their home in nearby Basking Ridge and Team Boyd/Allison executed a short cut back to Gillette to get in a good rest for the ever challenging party to come soon thereafter. Later we would be apprised of the story of the Cate's misfortune of breaking a chain. Team Conway helped them to get back on track by returning with a car to pick them up and drop them back in Gillette. That is just the type of supportive, kind people of which the DOGS are comprised!
The rest of us took on the miles, the cool weather and the threat of rain. We all enjoyed riding together again after the long winter on the quiet back roads of the area at a casual pace. As we entered Meyersville near ride's end Larry/Brenda and Walt/Claire executed the optional short cut to get back to the house and stagger the use of the showers - very unselfish of them. Dave/Susan and Mark/Cheryl finished up the 20 mile second loop getting everyone back to the house safe and sound. No sooner than we holstered all the tandems safely in their respective areas, the rain started tumbling down. Team JETStream extends its record of consecutive rides without cancellation due to inclement weather!! (I just strained my rotor cuff patting myself on my back!!)
Well, now for the premier event of the day - eating and reacquainting ourselves. We all gathered around the island in our small kitchen digging into the great snacks and main dishes brought by everyone who attended. Fresh shrimp, fresh cut vegetables & dip, deviled eggs, bruschetta, home made whole grain bread, roasted chicken, butternut squash soup (and unfortunately burned chili!) were among some of the fabulous items on display. As is typically the case, ravenous appetites dissuaded anyone from leaving the kitchen. Chatting and feeding are what the DOGS do best!
Eventually, many migrated into the main room warmed by a nice fire. A first run of a PowerPoint program to help introduce prospective new couples to the DOGS was viewed and critiqued by several members. Later we watched some slide shows of photos from a variety of events. Mostly small groups of individuals gathered in the nooks and crannies of our home to discuss a variety of topics of interest.
Eventually, the party dissipated, with couples promising to meet up on future rides. Hooray for the rite of Spring!