|Date||July 29, 2006|
|Where||Dave Snope's house; Hunterdon County|
|Who (else)||Helen and Bob Bird, Marji Brandriss and Dave Kristol, Jane and Paul Fialcowitz, Claire Hamanaka and Walt Willard, Brenda and Larry Isherwood, Renee Mayeux and Bud MacIlvain, Susan Nicolich, Cheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook, Linda and George Wells|
The nine teams who mustered for the Ramble were Teams Bird, Isherwood, Wells, Nicolich/Snope (our hosts for the day), Brandriss/Kristol, Hamanaka/Willard, Fialcowitz, Cook/Prudhomme, and our newest DOGS, Mayeux/MacIlvain, who were on their second DOGS ride.
The opening miles were familiar to all who had done any of the "Pancake Rides" (as in pancakes eaten in the Califon fire house, not as in flat-as-a...). The group stayed together up Frog Hollow Road and the first of many steep climbs, and, fortunately, the shortest. Of course, once over Frog Hollow Road, the pelethon started to stretch out, but most of us remained within sight of each other. The terrain was generally rolling but the direction was consistently up as we progressed along the route. We finally got to Black River Road where it was advertised that we would get our first steep descent. This was about 2.5 miles of generally downhill riding on a rough and twisty road. It was reported at the end of the ride that Team Isherwood marked two singles who were part of a time trial most of the way down this road, much to the dismay of the single riders. (At least this was a downhill section. Could you imagine their distress if they had been passed by a tandem going uphill?) George proved that the caliper brakes work just fine on our new tandem, as he kept the speed of The Voyager under 37 mph, (as reported by Linda). We did learn that Team Brandriss/Kristol are aggressive descenders as they passed Team Wells on an early part of the descent and we didn't see them again 'til the Black River General Store, at the end of the descent.
After a break in the shade in front of the General Store, while the pelethon re-grouped, we started out on the rest of the route. Many of the roads were familiar, but we had a share of new roads, including a climb up Mount Grove Road which was noted on the cue-sheet with a bright red "Granny Gear!" This was a long climb which had a little surprise at almost every bend. I kept thinking "oh, there is the crest" -- NOT! Another segment of climb loomed as the false crest rolled under our wheels. We finally did crest at Hoffman's Crossing which gave us the earned reward of another screaming downhill run. Again, the caliper brakes were up to the task of keeping us controlled, as we descended. Partway down the descent we were treated with a glorious view that almost caused us to stop, but we didn't. At the bottom, Teams Bird, Mayeux/MacIlvain, and Wells missed the right turn on (Raritan) River Road (oops!) and we climbed onto Route 513, by mistake. However, 513 leads right back to Califon so we weren't completely lost. We did cut off three miles from the planned route by this accident and arrived just a few minutes ahead of the pelethon.
It didn't take the DOGS much time to shed their cycling clothes for bathing suits and a jump into Dave's outdoor pool which we are told was refreshingly cool. (Team Wells cooled off from the ride in the shade of a humongous tree and enjoyed watching the swimmers). Refreshed from a challenging ride, we capped off our day of riding with lots of great food. Around 3 PM, the DOGS started saying our good-bye's and headed home. For those who didn't come, you missed some great riding and camaraderie. The next DOGS ride is next weekend -- the Camping Weekend -- 4, 5 and 6 August -- hope you can make some or all the rides. Presently, the plan for Team Wells is to participate in the Sunday ride if we can get two other lay readers to perform our clerical responsibilities.
After the usual milling around, socializing, and setting up, we headed from Dave's new home through bustling downtown Califon and out the ever-popular Frog Hollow Rd., and its ever-popular uphill. Mercifully, the early part of the ride was shady, and the brook that parallels the road was a nice companion. However, we encountered a surprising amount of vehicular traffic.
The ride incorporated a nice long stretch along Black River Rd. (downhill) and a welcome stop at the Black River General Store to rest and regroup. (Bud recounted a mechanical problem that involved his speed sensor getting tangled in his front brake.)
Late in the ride we were treated to a nice vista of mountains and fields. Unfortunately, to reach that vista we had to chug up Mt. Grove Rd., a sustained climb late in the ride when I, at least, was badly enervated from the heat and humidity. After a quick descent, we found ourselves at (Raritan) River Rd. At Main St. we decided to bypass the final part of the ride and head straight for the swimming... umm, for Dave's house.
Many of us changed and headed for the pool even before eating! The water felt great, but the lure of the food on Dave's patio soon tugged at us, and we enjoyed sandwich fixin's, as advertised, plus a typical array of other goodies and desserts. After eating, and waiting the prescribed 15 -- or is it 30 -- minutes, many returned to the pool for fun and games.
It was a terrific way to pass a summer afternoon.