20 May 2018
The day after Tom's Yardley loop I had enough legs and time left over to drive to Allentown for Chris' "Sumday B."
The forecast was iffy. Sue and Chris were standing outside Bruno's when I got there. Both had riders who had pre-registered. Neither showed up, leaving Sue standing around by herself and Chris left with me and a new guy, Pete R, who had met us at the PFW Spring Fling the week before. Jim Bruno said he'd take a ride with Sue if she were willing to wait an hour. I don't know what happened after that, but the experience left me pissed off enough that I was determined to bring it to the PFW Board's attention at our meeting the next night.
Before we got started I noticed the moose weather vane across the street and scuttled over to get a picture.
Chris was leading without a script, as usual. He figured we'd head down to Mount Holly. The rain would be coming from the south. All we'd need to do would be to get back to Allentown before the rain did.
At the top of Harker Road we could see what the sky was up to at the southern end.
At 18 miles out we were farther away from Mount Holly than Chris had planned to be, so we made our way towards the Old World Bakery in Smithville instead.
Inside was packed. Maybe because it was Sunday all of the tables were covered in linen cloth with linen napkins. Chris pondered the pastry display.
"You want that one," I said, pointing to an oversized pair of cookies separated by a thick, white filling.
The woman behind the counter, far more cheerful than the situation needed her to be, started to reach for it.
"No, no!" I said. "I'm only kidding. If he gets that I'm not riding behind him."
"If he barfs it'll land on me." That cracked her up. Chris settled for something smaller.
Outside the azaleas were beginning to bloom. I love azaleas. If I could find one of every kind I'd plant them all in my yard. The ones here were different from ones I'd seen before: the flowers weren't a solid color. They were light pink with a darker pink rim.
We got back before the rain.
The following weekend was rained out. Monday was clear enough for me to take my bike into work. It rained on Tuesday. It rained on Wednesday. It rained on Thursday. It rained on Friday.
Tom had a ride scheduled for Saturday.
It rained on Saturday.
His blog post hinted that he might move the ride to Sunday. I woke up at 6:45, fully prepared to scurry around and get out of the house and into the car, bound for Lambertville by 8:15. Tom usually sends an email and posts to his blog before 7:00 a.m. Today there was nothing.
I emailed him and Jack H emailed him too. Hearing nothing, I volunteered to lead from Pennington, and Jack was raring to go. Two is a quorum.
I sent an email to the usual suspects and posted to the club ride calendar too. Within an hour Pete G had registered. Two is a quorum; three is a party.
Pete R, the guy from last week, was already there when I rolled in. So was Jack. Pete G arrived a few minutes later, followed by Ken.
My goal was to get some hills in. It had been two weeks since the last time I climbed anything, which made me nervous, because in a little over a week I was hoping to be working my way up Cadillac Mountain again.
So we headed up the Sourland Mountain towards Frenchtown.
The forecast was for clearing skies with a chance of thunderstorms after 2:00 p.m.
The sky over Mountain Road at Rocktown Road didn't look like it had any plans to clear up any time soon. (I didn't edit these pictures one bit; the sky really did look like that.)
Around the corner, on Rocktown, one of Unionville Winery's vineyards was starting to come to life.
Ken left us at the end of Rocktown Road. He went south; we turned north.
On our way out of Mount Airy we came upon three Anchor House riders in training. They were slightly faster than us. I tried to keep up but thought the better of it. Jack stayed with them. We all reconvened at the top of Sandy Ridge. They were headed towards Federal Twist.
"Better down than up," I said, assuming they'd be starting from the top.
"We're starting from the bottom," they said, with no enthusiasm whatsoever.
The turned right and we turned left.
A group of C+ Free Wheelers was already there when we rolled in. Bill C had seen me on my way to Pennington. He'd been a minute behind me, heading to Rosedale Park to ride with Bob P, Alan K, and David S.
George D was there, too, inside the vestibule, with another group of Anchor House riders.
I found a spot on the stone planter next to Bill's group. We griped about the weather. Nothing elicits a collective groan more effectively than someone saying, "It was so bad I had to spin indoors twice."
When a group of Team In Training cyclists came by there was no room left for them to sit.
I was taking my time, catching up with Bill's group, when Jack called over. "There's thunderstorms coming," he said, and everyone got up at once.
That would give us two hours to get home.
We didn't dally on the way back, although I did pause for a minute to talk to the cows in the creek on Dunkard Church Road.
The creek leads to the Third Neshanic River, which leads to the South Branch of the Raritan River, because of course it does.
I probably didn't choose the fastest route home, now that I look at the map. I picked Back Brook Road. It's one of the prettier roads around. The problem is that it dumps out on Van Lieus, one of the most annoying roads around, with its rough chip-seal pavement and those steep little inclines.
We made our way sideways up the mountain, all the while the dark clouds to the west getting darker and closer.
A brief downpour hit us on Wargo Road. The cool rain felt good.
I didn't spend much time in the parking lot at the end of the ride. With fewer than four miles left for me to get home, I was relatively sure I'd beat the rain. I was less sure when I got within half a mile of home. It was looking mighty dark for mid-day.
A quarter mile from home my rear tire hit something that sounded like a rock. I saw the tire start to go flat. I didn't stop. There was air enough in it to get me home.
I fixed the flat as soon as I got inside. I fully expected torrential rain by the time I was finished. That didn't happen. I had some lunch. No rain. I took a shower. The sun was out.
The forecast for this coming week looks a lot better than last week's. We might only see one day of rain.