|Date||September 9, 2006|
|Hosts||Barbara and Tracy Cate|
|Where||Cate farm (Sugarbarb Farm), Blairstown|
|Who (else)||Judy Allison and Malcolm Boyd, Pam and Alan Bergstrom, Helen and Bob Bird, Marji Brandriss and Dave Kristol, Debby and Al Cudworth, Brenda and Larry Isherwood, Jane and Paul Kimmel, Renee Mayeux and Bud MacIlvain, Susan Nicolich and Dave Snope, Cheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook, Alice and Jarred Tebo, Linda and George Wells|
The weather cooperated for this ride that was the first late start of the season, with a scheduled roll-off at 11:00 AM that worked out well for everyone. Team Wells opted for the 33 mile ride while most of the teams opted for the 40 mile version. For Team Wells the first mile or so was the hardest because the ride starts with an up-grade and cold legs. Then the roads start to roll, and the legs start to warm up. Also with the up-grade start, the launch was one-at-a-time so the pack spread out from the first pedal stroke, with Team Wells pretty much at the back of the pack. We passed Team Tebo who had just dropped their chain at the top of the second grade, but indicated that they were okay. Unfortunately we didn't see them again until the ride ended.
All these roads were familiar to Team Wells since they had done this ride previously. The 33 mile edition is basically rolling to moderately hilly with only one really stiff climb (which Team Wells got caught in the wrong chain-ring and had to power up -- ouch that one hurt!) There was a general rest and re-group stop at the familiar-to-most-of-us Deli on Route 612. Apologies to Team Tebo that we didn't wait. The talk in the pack was that you had turned back after the mechanical -- we learned later that you got together with Tracy and Barbara and adjusted your tandem and went on to complete your first Warren County DOGS ride. Congratulations!
After leaving the Deli, we encountered those infamous climbs that usually follow on the Hamanaka/Willard rides. (Ah, the joys of not having to climb the really hilly portion of "Shades of Death Road".) We only had to explore that rural countryside of Warren County with rolling grades. Team Bird changed their minds at the rest stop and decided to ride with Team Wells who had the 33 mile cue sheet. When we broke from the common route at the 22 mile point, we discovered that Teams Bergstrom and Brandriss/Kristol were also doing the same ride. We traded leads for a while and eventually Teams Bird and Wells lost sight of the other two teams doing the 33 mile route. Team Bird couldn't get too far away from Team Wells since we had the cue sheet so we did have company for the rest of the ride back.
The last five miles had some rollers that, after a day of rolling, told George's legs that he had to stand a bit, so stand I did to get over a few of the grades without cramping up. Teams Bird and Wells rolled back into the long driveway to Sugarbarb Farm. While we were racking our tandems, those teams who had completed the 40 mile ride started arriving, after which we all drove back to Tracy and Barbara's "cabin-in-the-woods" for the post ride party to begin. Before eating, many of the teams took some time to dive into the lake to refresh tired muscles. George prepared a Gazpacho in honor of the Vuelta a' Espana -- the 21-day race that is occurring in Spain during most of the month of September. (Yes Dave, I will send the recipe for the web-page). There were all kinds of food items, including a multiple grill setup manned by Tracy that kept us all over-fed. Following this, Tracy took some brave souls out for a tour of the Tree Farm on his "Mule" (a strange flatbed ex-military vehicle). As they passed within earshot, those of us on the porch got an earful of laughter and some other vocalizations from those riding the Mule. Following the sage advice of Barbara, Team Wells passed on the experience. While the first Mule ride was in full swing, out came the dessert items -- talk about being over-fed! (Still plenty of dessert items remaining for that first group back from their "mule" ride).
As the sun moved lower on the horizon, team-by-team departed Sugarbarb Farm and headed home to our other lives off the tandem while holding memories of another day out with the DOGS. For those of you who participated in today's ride and for those of you who were unable to join us, please be sure to check the club web pages for pictures.
This isn't the last DOGS ride of the year. There are still several more. We'll be gathering again next Saturday, 16 September, at Mercer County Park in West Windsor to explore some Central Jersey roads that have fewer climbs. Hope to see you there!
Linda & George Wells