Tandems East Tandem Weekend 2004

DateJuly 16-18, 2004
HostsTandems East (Barbara and Mel Kornbluh)
WherePennsville, NJ
Who (else) (including) Susan and Greg Adam, Judy Allison and Malcolm Boyd, Helen and Bob Bird, Christina Chan and Rich LeGrand, Claire Hamanaka and Walt Willard, Brenda and Larry Isherwood, Cheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook, Linda and George Wells,

While this wasn't an official DOGS event, (it is run by Tandems East), there were at least 20 DOGS Teams who participated in Mel and Barbara Kornbluh's (also DOGS) Tandem Weekend that was held this past weekend, Friday thru Sunday, 16 thru 18 July. So, we think it deserves a mention to the club.

All Tandem rides were from/to The Hampton Inn located in Pennsville, NJ (Exit One, New Jersey Turnpike). This was the second time the Tandem Weekend was hosted from this location and the rides were familiar to many of us. The weather was familiar, too--beautiful weather for riding our tandems on Friday and Saturday and rain on Sunday (today). Many teams ignored the rain and got out there and rode either the 44 mile ride that was planned for today or the 19.5 mile ride that we did last Friday. For some reason, Barbara and Mel have had the unfortunate luck to be able to predict the weather months in advance when it comes to rain on Sunday (the third and final day of The Tandem Weekend). However, more about that later. Many thanks to Team Isherwood who shared the spare tandem space in the back of their van for Team Wells to park their tandem all weekend when we weren't riding "The Enterprise," and out of today's horrible weather. We were glad we didn't have to lug her into the hotel--you guys are the greatest people in the world! Thanks, once again, Brenda and Larry.

The arrivals made this event into a form of reunion of tandemists for the DOGS as well as for many of us who are regular participants in Tandem Weekends. A few weeks ago, Mark Cook told us how he and Cheryl got in to tandeming. His friends from college told him of their favorite hobby (tandeming). Cheryl agreed to try it out, found she had lots of fun, and now they have added one more activity of things that they can do together. When Linda and I learned that the friend was none other than Ann Boehm (and Captain/Husband Tom), we replied "We know them!" Welcome to the biggest small town in the world! There were a bunch of reunions going on as the tandemists arrived, as well as first time introductions to new friends and friends to be.

Friday's ride was a quick out-and-back to Fort Mott logging 19.5 miles. While there were no hills, there was the wind factor. An onshore breeze (from the Delaware River) made headway on the outbound section slower. Team Wells hooked up with Team Bird (Helen and Bob) on this ride and got in some needed drafting practice. Following a shower and gathering to catch the latest on the TdF (only available in the "lobby/breakfast nook" area of the hotel--which kept the Tandem Weekenders together, watching the race, rather than in their rooms). A bunch of DOGS had dinner together at a local restaurant. Many thanks to Brenda Isherwood who, despite a really hectic schedule of getting her son ready for college, doing her day job, keeping Larry in line, and keeping up her training, pulled together the whole Friday night dinner affair. We had a separate room in the restaurant where we had great discussions of tandems and tandeming over a nice meal. Team Wells even "broke training" by having a larger than normal evening meal with dessert. It was great (talking with our fellow DOGS and "breaking training" for one night). A few of the DOGS went bowling following dinner. Since Team Wells didn't participate in that activity, we'll leave others to report on that competition.

Saturday was a great day. Even though there was a threat of rain in the forecast, the day turned out to be beautiful--sunshine, blue skies and low humidity, and the winds from the previous day had subsided! By pre-arrangement, Teams Wells and Bird took their own pace and drafted each other on the ride (up thru lunch at a private park). Each of us keeping the other in check when there was a temptation to blast down the road or chase down someone who passed us (including an early breakaway by Mel and Barbara). We maintained a good pace with fairly long pulls that kept us moving along smartly. Along the way to the Cookie Stop (and you can't believe all the delicious cookies and breads that Barbara made (thank you so much, Barbara)), we even passed the occasional tandem team. This year was Team Wells fifth year at Mel and Barbara's Tandem Weekend. Each year, we go home thinking, "Barbara sure outdid herself this year with all those delicious, different kinds of cookies and breads" and every year there are even more different kinds and more delicious than they were the previous year! (You sure were right Mel when you said that Barbara has been spending so much time baking, that she could open up her own bakery!) Team Wells did confuse Team Bird at the Cookie Stop. The "Potty Stop" was beyond the cookie stop by a quarter-mile and Linda made this the first priority for both her and George, after which, we returned to the Cookie Stop, reconnected and the four of us proceeded on towards lunch.

There were a few mishaps along the path to lunch. Team Wells (true to form) managed a zero-mph fall when we went to turn left at an intersection. A skinned left knee for George and skinned left elbow and the left side of her leg (but no appreciable damage) to Linda, especially, in comparison to the major accidents in past. (In the case of George, though, it was the third time in three weeks that I skinned the same spot on my left knee--but that's another story.) Team Bird managed to drop their chain once but, with some teamwork, we made it to the lunch stop in good order.

Until I (George) started eating, I didn't realize how hungry I had become. I think we'll have to eat a bit more on the road, especially in October when we join at least 20 other DOGS teams in the flatlands of Maryland for our first Seagull Century. Following lunch, we added Team Adam (Greg and Susan) to our group. We three teams practiced shifting the lead and rotating through the line. The pulls were between three and five minutes, giving the drafters a good recovery before sticking their nose in the wind. We managed a pace that hovered around 18 mph, but after long miles of absolutely flat roads, the legs did protest the rollers that the last 20 miles threw at us.

During the final miles getting back to the hotel, I mentioned to Linda that the last time we had been on this route, we were being passed by just about everybody and, even though there were only two miles from the end, we had to stop and rest under a shade tree. (How things have changed for Team Wells.) Our little threesome maintained the pace and arrived back at The Hampton with many other teams.

Saturday night was another great food event, under a couple of tents next to Cowtown. Yup! Pardoners! The event for the Saturday evening at Tandem Weekend 2004 that Barbara and Mel had cooked up for us was a Rodeo! And, yes, there is a regular Rodeo in New Jersey. I can report that it hasn't change all that much in the 34 years since the last time George was there. The announcer and participants were different but the basic patter of the announcer, as well as the bad jokes, were all the same. We saw some bull riding, bull wrestling and calf roping before the fatigue of 66 hot miles took its toll on our eyes (as well as our bodies). So, we went back to the hotel.

Sunday morning we awoke to rain showers. The Weather Channel showed a large (yellow) rain mass heading our way from Delaware (and we could look out our hotel window at the Delaware Memorial Bridge)! There were those dedicated tandemists who were determined to ride despite the weather while the majority opted to occupy the lobby and watch the coverage of the TdF. As if on cue, the brave riders took off, got out of sight, and the heavens opened up! We watched the tour and talked for about three hours as the tour progressed and the various tandemists (soaked to the bone) arrived back at the hotel.

As we said in the first paragraph, the big red van of Team Isherwood was keeping "The Enterprise" dry and clean all weekend when we weren't riding her and, since Teams Wells and Isherwood live about 15 minutes from each other, Team Isherwood offered to bring "The Enterprise" to her garage at 166 Brook Drive, Dover. Of course, lunch was excellent and more food than we could eat. But, once again, lots of pleasant conversation as we dined on salads, sandwiches, chips, pretzels, soda, water, ice cream and more of Barbara's delicious goodies. Soon after lunch, lots of goodbyes were heard and promises of "see you next year," as well as comparing schedules about individual get-togethers throughout the year. Team-by-team we all got into our forms of carrying our great, long, steeds (tandems) and headed for home--traveling north, south, east and west--with some of us riding in torrential downpours. (Sure hope everybody made it home safely or to their next destination.)

Just a bit ago, we had a call from Brenda telling us that they were minutes from our door. In another example of perfect timing the rain stopped just long enough to unload our tandem and get it parked in its spot waiting for the next ride.

Linda & George Wells
Leaders - Doubles Of the Garden State

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Copyright © 2004, Linda and George Wells (text), Walt Willard (photos)