Sunday, July 14, 2013

Weather Wonderland

I rode the RUSA Belmar-Princeton-Belmar 200K solo on Saturday in central New Jersey.  Thick soupy fog,  four torrential rains, beastly hot sunshine, and delightfully cool cloudy winds.  All in one day.  It was great.

I rode the four miles along the ocean to the 6am start.  Dozens of police, vendors, and organizers were setting up for the day's Belmar 5K foot race.  Luckily, I was able to bike through the cordoned-off road, rather than have to detour even before the start of my ride.

I rode the first three hours without eyewear since it was so foggy.  Fog instantly condensed on the lenses.  I missed my rear-view mirror.

The housing market is booming back.  I saw several new housing developments since I rode last summer.

Roadside poison ivy is booming too, vines hanging from trees over the road, and lush ground growth encroaching along the fog line.  Be careful.

As I rode through Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force base, I heard lots of booms, but encountered no black helicopters this year.  A few miles later, a huge lumbering four-engine propeller plane passed directly overhead to a landing.  Neat.

A first: As I passed one of many horse farms, I saw two harness-racing rigs racing around a track.  It looked like two large men in little  recumbent chariots getting mud kicked up in their faces from the hooves.  I laughed.

Firemen were collecting donations at the main intersection in Hightstown.  I got stopped at the traffic light next to a friendly fireman.  He chatted me up, and asked my route.  He immediately interrupted me, incredulous, as I started listing towns.  "Wait, Belmar at the shore???"  Excited conversation followed.  Yay rando.

One of the checkpoints is at a pizza restaurant in Cranbury.  I couldn't resist.  I sat for a slice.  Delicious.

As a kid, I loved biking in the rain.  I especially loved riding through lakes that formed in a nearby park (where the only hazard was bumping into a submerged picnic table, but that's another story).  Saturday's rain was a throwback.  Each time I rode through a storm, I got totally soaked, raised rooster tails through shallow puddles, and the rain temperature was comfortable and not freezing.  Yay.

I did zen cycling most of the day.  I had memorized the route and its recent updates, never looked at cue sheet or GPS.  And no odometer.  I 'woke up' several times wondering where I was, and always recognized my location shortly.  Fun!

This is a great route.  Many thanks to Rando Paul for creating and maintaining it.

Click here to see a few boring checkpoint photos