|Date||September 22, 2012|
|Hosts||Cheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook|
|Who (else)||Brenda and Larry Isherwood, Dale and Bill Fisher, Barbara Flint and Neil McPhee, Pat and Ed Gifford, Susan Nicolich and Dave Snope, Harriet and Bob Voysey, Linda and George Wells|
Participating were Teams: Isherwood (Larry and Brenda), Voysey (Bob and Harriet), Gifford (Ed and Pat), Fisher (Bill and Dale), Wells (George and Linda), Snope/Nicolich (Dave and Susan), McPhee/Flint (Neil and Barbara) and our leaders--Cook/Prudhomme (Mark and Cheryl).
Autumn arrived at 9:49 AM (EDT), Saturday, 22 September, ushering in with ominous clouds that darkened the skies over New Jersey. NOAA, along with the radio and television stations, kept warning that rain was coming. However, NOAA's radar pictures showed a slightly different story. While there was rain, it was moving north east -- way off in western Pennsylvania and western upstate New York and not moving directly east. So, Team Wells, the wimpiest of the DOGS weather wimps, got their tandem and gear together and headed to Mark and Cheryl's house in Annandale. During our caffeine stop at Starbuck's, en-route we checked and double checked the NOAA site on the Netbook. The rain wasn't moving but the clouds were still thick. As we drove South on 287, we noted that the cloud cover was getting thinner and thinner and the occasional spot of sunlight was seen. Oh! Happy Day!
The gathering of DOGS is always interesting. There are the usual suspects arriving and greeting each other, and sometimes the arrival of teams we haven't seen for a while. Greetings and introductions proceed (there are always new teams), and new pieces of equipment to be discussed. Then comes the pre-ride instructions by the leaders, the gathering for the group photo, and we're off!
Saturday's ride was a reprise of a well-established ride known to the various bicycle clubs in the area. Mark and Cheryl made some changes that made it a good DOGS ride. As Mark noted in his pre-ride talk, the surfaces of the back roads were pretty bad so we had to stay alert for potholes and other dicey road conditions. The beginning of the ride was basically downhill, crossing Route 22 and making our way towards the first real climb of the day -- the ascent to the Round Valley Reservoir. While we gingerly made our way through what seemed to be the town's garage sale day, we were greeted with lots of comments on a pack of eight tandem teams riding together. The initial climb is only 143 feet, but the grade tops out at 7.8%. It is brief, but tough. There is a small flat section for catching your breath and then another climb up to the top and descend rapidly to another valley filled with rollers. This is a section of rolling terrain that all bicyclists, particularly the tandemists, love. Inertial speed allows tandems to fly up the grades and blast down the other side. Then we came to the designated re-grouping stop at the Stanton General Store and headed back to the start point.
The fun began almost immediately after the pack re-grouped as Dreahook Road -- another section of undulating rollers. We spotted another tandem team going the opposite way but they did not stop. We will have to find out who they are. Team Wells did not make the ice cream stop and pedaled on. Mill Road was a pleasant surprise -- it had been resurfaced since the last time we rode here. This was a great improvement as George used to rate this road as "Bonanza." If you are old enough to remember the series theme song, you get the idea. Just sing the melody using the word "bump," now, it's a really nice road. We wended our way back across Oldwick Road (523) to Rockaway Road and then back to Mark and Cheryl's. We were not back long before the group arrived and we all went through our post-ride changes and started the post-ride talk and eat fest. As usual, the food was great and the conversation interesting and often humorous. Mark led a small group on a hike while the rest of us talked on as the sun moved lower in the west. Finally, Team Wells had to depart because Molly (meow) was home alone and in need of her afternoon food and medication.
We put everything away, cleaned up and sat down with Molly. Finally, around 8:00 PM we heard the sound of rain on the roof, a flash of lightning, and a distant roll of thunder. The storm we were warned of, earlier in the day, had arrived, long after the ride was complete.
We had a good turnout but we were sad that more of you couldn't have participated. However, there are more rides on the horizon. On the 29th, Team Troike is celebrating fall with another flat ride from their new home in Atco, New Jersey. (Unfortunately, Team Wells is committed to another event that same day.) October has Team Isherwood hosting another Dirty DOGS weekend in Delaware. And there are still weekends available so that you can share one of your favorite fall routes with your club members. The DOGS tandeming season is still in full swing!
Linda & George Wells
Leaders -- Doubles Of the Garden State (DOGS)