|(Mark and Neil, property of Disney)|
We were out late in NYC last night, so late that I refused to look at the clock after 1:00 a.m. No matter; I was determined to be on Winter Larry's Cranbury ride today.
Yesterday I took Gonzo up to Princeton and back for a meeting. It was a pothole recognizance ride; bike commuting begins on March 10, provided I can see the road. So, sleep-deprived as I was, I had mostly fresh legs under me. I also had caffeine in me, which served only to make me feel awake as I would on a normal caffeine-free day.
The forecast was for a very slight chance of rain ahead of this evening's snowstorm. The air was above freezing. There was almost no wind, and a thick cloud cover hung over us.
We were seven, the perfect number for a Winter Larry ride. Most of the fastboys from last week were elsewhere, leaving the ride to us mellow folk.
Mark and Neil were there. I know that for some of you the Mark and Neil Show is an acquired taste (for which they're proud). I enjoy their tomfoolery.
As Winter Larry was finishing up his pre-ride speech, I asked in a whiny, sarcastic voice, "Can we go to Clarksburg? Pleeeeeeeease?"
"Just for that, we're going to Clarksburg."
We headed south, then hooked west in Allentown towards Robbinsville. As we rounded a corner, I caught the end of a conversation between Larry and Neil:
"So, Larry. Do snow banks pay interest?"
This is the sort of thing that one might hear in one's head as one is drifting off to sleep. In some other world, it would make perfect sense. Today I was just groggy enough that it seemed completely rational.
What followed for the next few miles were more groaners from Neil and Mark. A dead branch in the road prompted Neil to ask Larry if it was a branch of a snow bank. Snow on a berm caused me to ask Neil if it was a mega-bank, to which he answered in an even worse pun, which I've fortunately forgotten.
Just north of Walnford we got pelted by sleet. We stopped to check the radar and decided we'd best head back to Cranbury, away from the edge of the storm.
Clarksburg: there but for a few drops of rain.
When we passed through Allentown again, we were out of the rain, so we decided to stop at Bruno's. None of us had been there since the bike shop moved to Main Street and added a candy store in the rear. Bikes, chocolate, and coffee. 'Nuff said. (For the record, I didn't try the coffee, so I can't report on it).
There were a few more drops of rain when we set out again, but we left it behind in Allentown.
On Old York Road, between hollering "Hole!" at regular intervals, I found myself next to Neil and Mark. "I like riding with you guys."
"Yeah," Mark said, "Without Neil we're lacking a certain je ne sais quoi."
"Je sais quoi," I answered.
"I like to think of us as Abbot and Costello," Mark said.
"Naah," Neil replied. "More like Waldorf and Astoria."
Waldorf and Astoria? I said, "You mean Statler and Waldorf?"
"Yeah. Those guys."
We took a fairly direct route back to Cranbury, the sky to the south of us looking ominous. We had gone only 35 miles.
One day in the distant past I had decided that a ride doesn't count unless it's at least 40 miles. Count towards what I don't know. I don't even record my individual ride distances. Nonetheless, I had to do at least 40 today, what with impending April metrics and summer centuries looming, so I ambled off towards Plainsboro and did some of the Plain Jim Pre-Ride Loop in reverse. "This is pathetic," I was thinking. "I'm aiming for 40 in March. Last year at this time I bet I was shooting for 60."
40, 60. One of those numbers is probably the total inches of snow accumulation we've had this winter. Sean has been counting: tonight is our 14th storm. As I said to Neil, we'll be making big deposits into our driveway snow banks tomorrow. Ba-dum-bum.