The first few miles are on dry roads. We do have to go through some puddles and squish through soft cinder. I am slowly losing gears. By the time we get to the Pole Farm for the long, shallow climb into the wind, I'm no longer able to shift into my climbing gears. I have to resort to the tiny front ring instead. Good thing I'm a masher by nature.
This is the big little hill that divides the park into the Delaware watershed and the Raritan watershed. This picture is from the Raritan side, just over the top of the hill.
I stop again when I get a little closer.
We skip the path through the Rosedale stables, figuring it will be too muddy. We stay on Federal City Road instead. I take the opportunity to wail on the rear shifter. Nothing. I'm having trouble getting into the granny gear up front too.
Pete leaves us when we get close to his house. Tom and I turn north, up Pennington-Rocky Hill Road.
The trail through the woods next to Carter Road sends us across Carter and abruptly ends at a sign warning us that we're on private, Bristol-Myers Squibb property. We stop in the parking lot to figure out how best to avoid the mud under the power lines off of Province Line Road. Tom has a trail map with him so we double-check. We'll stay on Province Line all the way across Route 206.
It suddenly feels a lot colder. On Pretty Brook Road at Province Line I have to put glove liners under my lobster claws. My feet, toasty until now, are also getting cold. I need to circle around a few times too. We have that big climb after the bridge and, without the big rings in the back, I need to get into the granny ring. The derailleur finally moves and I follow Tom down the hill to the Stony Brook.
After yesterday's 60 degrees, two inches of rain, and five inches of melting snow, it's no surprise that we have whitewater.
It's a little calmer downstream.
On the ride home on Princeton Pike I stop for a few more pictures at the edge of the Cherry Grove Farm property. This is the pasture that extends all the way to Route 206. In the spring the cows graze here. Now it's under water.
I dread having to haul Grover up onto the repair stand to tighten the cables. I have a sinking feeling that we're in for more trail days and I can't afford to screw anything up and lose the bike to the shop for a weekend.
I wheel Grover inside. Instantly, muddy water begins to drip from the bottom bracket. I shove an old towel underneath and walk away.
An hour later everything is shifting fine.