Mark's Ride

DateApril 28, 2007
HostsCheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook
WherePrudhomme/Cook home, Gillette; Morris, Somerset Counties
Who (else) Deb and Al Cudworth, Barbara Flint and Neil McPhee, Brenda and Larry Isherwood, Laura Nesbitt and Pete Sklarow, Susan Nicolich and Dave Snope, Linda and George Wells; eating and socializing: Sue and Greg Adam and Emily, Helen and Bob Bird, Marji Brandriss and Dave Kristol and Timo

Cracks of Doom - The Team Wells Version

It seems as though Spring has finally gotten a hold on the weather. Isn't it great to call 60 degree weather chilly? Today, Saturday, 28 April, seven DOGS teams arrived at Cheryl and Mark's home in Gillette to explore the wilds of Somerset and Morris County roads. Present were Teams Cook/Prudhomme (Mark and Cheryl), Sklarow/Nesbitt (Pete and Laura), Isherwood (Larry and Brenda), Wells (George and Linda), Snope/Nicolich (Dave and Susan), Cudworth (Al and Deb), and McPhee/Flint (Neil and Barbara). Following the traditional group photo and safety talk by Mark, we headed out on the roads. The rains of the recent past had done more than a bit of damage to the roads so we had to be careful to avoid the numerous potholes and piles of gravel, many of which covered the entire road.

This ride was advertised as about as flat as you can find in the area, and the advertisement was correct. There were some really nice stretches of road with few turns and long runs. The group was scattered from the beginning and Team Wells found themselves in an unusual position--off the front, (well, at least for a large portion of the first nine-miles). It was just past the nine-mile point when Team Isherwood came by moving fast, and as quickly as you can say "Lanterne Rouge" we were in our old familiar position as--Lanterne Rouge. But we maintained our pace as the ride was planned to be around 46 miles and some of the people who took off at the nine mile mark would be drifting back towards us.

As the miles went by we hooked up with Team Sklarow/Nesbitt and we traded leads as the miles rolled under our wheels. At 20 miles in, we asked them if they wanted to take the shortcut that Mark had mentioned in his pre-ride talk and they said yes. So, we stayed on Rattlesnake Road all the way out to Lamington Road where we stopped for a rest and snack. Then it was fun with the rollers as Lamington Road makes it's way into "Horse Country" (where the Whitman family is among the notable residents). We crossed Route 206 and headed towards Liberty Corner Road that Team Wells knows from our earliest days of Tandeming. We've learned our own pace and how to maintain it moving through the lower gears, as the seemingly endless climbs moved towards the summit. We were marking Team Sklarow/Nesbitt from a distance and when the road finally tilted down, we went through the gears until we were spinning our 52-11 and breezed up alongside to a surprised Laura who thought they had dropped us on the climb.

Linda and I have had a good week of tandeming (albeit marred by the discovery of a cracked flange on our rear Bontrager wheel--but that's a different story), so we opted to use our local knowledge and shortened the ride a bit more. Team Sklarow/Nesbitt wanted more "saddle time" so we parted ways where they turned left on to Valley/Lyons Road and we turned right. Part of the reason Team Wells decided to make their ride even shorter was because of all the miles they had already ridden this week. And besides, we love the long downhill run into Stirling where we hit and maintained 38 mph for a few miles. Yeah, there are more cars on this road but they are generally respectful of bicyclists. We turned left onto Mountain Avenue and into Cheryl and Mark's side lot, having completed a bit over 38 miles for the day, which brought our weekly total tandem riding for this week to 145 miles.

Of course, as with all DOGS rides, the day had not ended -- there was all kinds of delicious food--sandwich fixins', salads, brownies, chips, peanuts, cookies and a Friendly's Watermelon Sherbet and lots of pleasant conversation shared by all the DOGS--and surprises throughout the afternoon! First, arrivals while we were enjoying our lunches, were Team Kristol/Brandriss (Dave, Marji and Timo--their beautiful and loveable English Springer Spaniel)--via car since Marji had had a horseback riding lesson just about the same time we were riding our tandems, thus the reason they were unable to join us on our tandem ride today. In their four wheeled vehicle, our second arrivals were Team Bird (Bob and Helen) who had had a late night so woke up too late to ride their tandem with us today. And the really big surprise was the last Team who walked into the yard and up the steps on to Mark and Cheryl's patio--Team Adam (Greg, Susan and their ever precious, Emily who is standing, with help, but not yet walking).

A couple of the discussions were about next Saturday's (5 May) FarmLands Tour for anybody who'd like to join the Central Jersey Bike Club (CJBC) on their annual ride which is always the first Saturday in May. (Many DOGS Teams participate in this ride and end it with a picnic on a grassy area at Brookdale Community College that is located in Lincroft, so that they can applaud the riders as they return from their rides.) We also heard about the upcoming wedding in the Isherwood household--three weeks from today--19 May--Amy Joan Isherwood to Todd Richard Brinkofski. Brenda was remarking all that has been done and all that has yet to be accomplished in preparation for the wedding. (Larry! Enjoy the tux!) Larry and Brenda are becoming more-and-more excited about the Co-Motion Classic Tandem Stage Race in which they will be participating this coming 19-22 July, in Eugene, Oregon. (Go! Isherwoods!) All the DOGS will be thinking about you and hoping that all goes well with you. Linda heard several of the guys in heated discussion about the big box of Dunkin Donuts in the kitchen. Hey Larry! How 'bout another Mallomar?! And Timo, thank you for washing the dishes!!!

Many thanks to Cheryl and Mark for being our ride leaders and gracious hosts on this beautiful Saturday. The next scheduled DOGS ride is on 12 May and may well be the last time Team Willard (Walt and Claire) will be hosting a DOGS ride in the hills of Warren County--their next DOGS ride may well be in Texas, where they will expand the DOGS contingent to two and a half teams!

Have a good week, everybody and remember--Stay Upright!

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

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