|Date||June 10, 2007|
|Hosts||Barbara Flint and Neil McPhee|
|Where||Meadow Breeze Park, Washington Twp, NJ|
|Who (else)||Teams Bishop, Wells, Cook/Prudhomme, Flint/McPhee (our hosts), Gifford, Cudworth, Hamanaka/Willard and Isherwood.|
Route Slip [PDF]
Sunday morning, 10 June, the clouds were hanging low over Dover as we loaded The Voyager atop our Saturn (Francis -- III) and packed the trunk and back seat with our tandeming gear as well as our portable chairs and the box of DOGS picnic items. As we set out for Southern Warren County for the first Team Flee (Barbara Flint & Neil McPhee) ride to explore the area around the Musconetcong River, we began to worry as a misty rain was causing us to use our wipers. However, at a stop light we noted that it wasn't raining. We were just running into suspended humidity in the air. With cloudy skies and a forecast for clearing, we pressed on to meet the DOGS assembling at Meadow Breeze Park. In total the eight DOGS teams who assembled were Teams Bishop, Wells, Cook/Prudhomme, Flint/McPhee (our hosts), Gifford, Cudworth, Hamanaka/Willard and Isherwood.
Shortly after our arrival, Mark Cook informed us that he had pre-ridden the route with our hosts and advised us to measure our pace because there would be a lot of climbing and the first stiff climb would start just a bit over two miles into the ride. The advice was well taken and appreciated. We did climb, and also experienced some great downhill runs.
We began with the traditional picture that was taken by Mark. We stayed together pretty much to the bottom of the initial climb where Team Gifford had a mechanical problem and had to abandon the ride. We all felt pretty bad about that and missed sharing the entire ride with them. Perhaps next time all will work out (and we have all had our share of mechanical incidents). Fortunately, they were not far from the start point and could limp back. The first climb was really tough (being a part of the "Hillier than Thou" ride). The road surface was less than wonderful, thus keeping our speeds and gearing low. The downhill section was just as rough, thereby preventing the screaming downhills to which some of us are accustomed; perhaps that was a good thing. With that climb and descent behind us, we started our meander through Southern Warren County. This is absolutely beautiful country and Team Flee provided us with views of farm country, (remember this still is "The Garden State"), and small town New Jersey.
From this point, till the last 13 miles, this was all rolling terrain on mostly low-use roads that were in good condition for all of us "skinny tire" people. The mists finally dissipated as the ride progressed and atop some of the rises we could see great scenery. There was a short break at the 14 mile point in the ride. The post-rest-stop route followed the Musconetcong River on the road with the same name. The river was quite high and running fast and seemed to be around flood stage. This part of the road undulated nicely although a few climbs bit into our legs as the miles rolled on.
At the 20 mile point, the roads started to point up again. Fortunately, this was a long (middle ring) climb, not anywhere as steep as the initial climb over the same range. The road surfaces were nice and smooth, allowing for nice fast downhill sections. On one of these, the road turned sharply to the right and as we rounded the corner, there was a canine who presumed his duty to be encouraging wayward tandemists to get their rears-in-gear and sprint up the short climb ahead. We did, with a burst of adrenaline that carried us for a while.
Pretty soon, we were on the down side of the range and heading back to the park, still passing great scenery. We turned right into a parking lot filled with vehicles at 1:02:45 PM that had been almost empty when we left it at 10:13:15 AM. (Linda checks her watch at the beginning and ending of each ride.) The church group that had reserved the pavilion allowed us to use one of the tables for our post ride picnic. Of course, there was lots of great DOGS food, conversation and a few plans for some weeknight rides for the faster DOGS. Then it all came to an end as we said our goodbyes and headed for home. Another great DOGS ride finished.
If you weren't there, you missed a great ride. But there are still more DOGS rides on the calendar, the next one scheduled being the Camping Weekend (29 June through 1 July), at Stokes State Forest . You don't have to camp, you can be a day rider (like we are), if you choose. Of course, we hope you will be able to make space on your calendar to join us any or all of these days.
Linda & George Wells
Leaders - Double Of the Garden State (DOGS)