|Date||April 19, 2009|
|Hosts||Team Meixner (Nora, Paul, Amanda, Silvija)|
|Where||Meixner Home, Mullica Hill|
|Who (else)||Maribel and David Garland, Pat and Ed Gifford, Nicole and Talia Priore, Cheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook, and Elaine Starr and Melissa Starr Mihleback, Patricia and Ed Troike|
Before 8am, it was reported that DOGS from northern NJ (north of Trenton anyway) were on the move under overcast skies. Those more local left their homes at a more reasonable hour. Beginning about 9am, the pack began to gather in Mullica Hill. Team Meixner was concerned about the peach blossoms. Many of the orchards had burst into bloom by Easter, the week before.
Cue sheets and maps were provided for rides of 19, 27, and 37 miles. The first 13 miles were the same for everyone -- longer loops were added for those who wanted more. We were delighted to be joined by two moms and their eight year old daughters from south of Mullica Hill. Elaine was joined by her daughter Melissa, and Nicole was joined by her daughter Talia. Each family had recently acquired a tandem from Mel and Barbara at Tandems East, and they in turn had been introduced to the DOGS through communication with Linda and George Welles. Thanks Linda and George!
After the obligatory pre-ride photos just before 10am, it was time to get going. The weather was partly cloudy, right around 60 degrees. Perfect weather for DOGS, considering travel soccer games on Saturdays meant no rain date was scheduled. Four teams split between the 27 and 37 mile options, or so we heard, since we lost sight of them within the first two miles! Team Meixner and the moms and kids embarked on the 19 mile route.
Though known for being flat, a fair number of rollers were found and enjoyed. As is common in our area, a decent breeze blew up to alternately help and hinder the teams. For our viewing pleasure, the blossoms were still hanging on in most of the orchards, including not only peaches but also apples. We were also enjoyed a surprising number of vineyards. Each year we are blessed with fewer orchards but more housing developments.
The teams started returning about two hours after the start. There were more than a few positive comments regarding the scenic routes and the relatively low volumes of traffic. The grill was fired up, and the marinated lamb was soon sizzling. Macaroni and cheese was whipped up for the kids. These were joined by a tasty shrimp dish, yummy orange cranberry bread, curry pasta salad, and a variety of tasty desserts. The kids enjoyed hanging out in the hot tub. The adults engaged in cheerful conversations about tandems, tandem designs, tandem components, tandem riding, tandem touring, etc. As the sun peeked out and began shining on the deck, the awning was cranked out to provide some welcome shade.
To boost attendance on future rides, hosts are encouraged to include a sub-25 mile option. You never know who might join you.