After the pre-ride, Chris Nadovich rated this route “tough but fair,” and I would have to agree. Well, maybe except for the first 5 or 6 miles after crossing Rt 611 in Riegelsville and continuing up the hill on Delaware Rd. Gallows Hill Rd felt especially long with its series of steep-ish bumps, but then I was nursing my bike along and wishing for roads that would put less pressure on the drive train. Since about half way through the ride, I’d been hearing ominous clanking noises from the bottom bracket region of my bike every time the road tilted up, so I was taking it very easy to make sure that I was going to be able to ride to the finish…a slow finish on the bike was better than tacking a hike onto the end of a long ride. I took my bike to the shop the next day to discover that both the bottom bracket and rear cog set needed replacing. Even so, I was considerably luckier than another rider who DNF’d and ended up walking 5 miles. Still, I was feeling a little tense on those hills near the end.
You have to wonder if this route might be just a little haunted with road names like Gallows Hill Rd, Rattlesnake Rd, and Shades of Death Rd. The route also passes along Ghost Lake and Fairy Hole. There were beautiful areas of forest and sweeping views of mountains that we did not have to climb on this day, but…. I also heard that one spot tracker somehow managed to escape the gear of the person carrying it. Or maybe these mishaps are solely due to lack of sufficient attention on the part of riders.
There’s another ride that I’ve done a few times in NJ, just a short 100K route, but every time I’ve done it, something (not usually serious) happens to my bike. Although, hmm, one time right after finishing this route, my bottom bracket stopped working entirely. Spinning the cranks resulted in no action at all from the rear wheel. No noise, no movement, nada.
Haunted or not, any ride that provides an opportunity to stop at the Milford Bakery is a great ride. On NJ rides, I rate routes by how many super Wawas we use as controls. On Saturday’s ride, looking forward to a croissant at the Milford Bakery made me cheery right from the get go. And the Bagel shop in Portland (this shop replaces the diner that used to be there) was also an excellent place to get something decent to eat, get out of the sun for a few minutes, and use a clean restroom.
I’m grateful to the volunteers who made this ride possible, and I’d like to express a special thanks to RBA and grill master Tom Rosenbauer for the excellent barbecue meal at the end.