Why Colonial to Pennington and not Colonial to Princeton? This was a ride that had not been done in some time, we planned on doing it last year but were advised against it due to some bad roads and potential canal overflow. A few weeks ago while I still had some time off, John Warner and I drove out to explore this ride. We drove the course taking notes of the detours, road conditions, distance and a place to eat which we decided would be in the town of Pennington. Throughout the drive I recall John saying “this is not the Princeton ride I remember”, “this ride is not the Princeton I’ve done with Tony”.
Back home I edited the already mapped out course (Colonial Park to Princeton). Due to the detours the course extended to 60 miles, after a brief discussion with John I went back and made some changes to reduce the mileage to a little over 51 miles. We reduced the course by cutting out a section of the ride before lunch and bypassing the Town of Princeton, hence we renamed the ride Colonial Park to Pennington.
THE RIDE: Out of Colonial Park a left, then a right and another left brought us to the Canal (Canal Rd) and it’s a section we’re familiar with because it’s how the Rocky Hill starts but unlike the Rocky Hill ride we return the same way, something Sheila had suggested a few rides back during the Rocky Hill ride. A right out of Canal Rd onto Griggstown Causway we crossed a bridge too narrow for a car and a cyclist to fit, a left after that crossing and roads begin to come up, from then on we were challenged with a never ending section of hills, some short with grades demanding chains to churn and gears to grind. We encountered rolling hills all the way to our lunch destination in Pennington but I felt we hadn’t descended what we had climbed to that point. After lunch heading back to Colonial Park we had more of the same except I could now feel that we were making up for the elevation gained, the return was some exceptionally long fast descents.
Throughout the ride the scenery was breathtaking, and working the hills was made easy by the canopy created by the foliage and overhanging trees, for the most part nature provided us with air-conditioning, in fact I didn’t feel the sun until we were back in the open at the Colonial Park’s parking lot.
A Special Ride: All twelve members attending, B and B+ rode together. The faster group toned it down to ride at the more relaxed B pace and the B group stepped it up on the hills and showed they had what it takes. We rode well together enjoying each other’s company and some of the more skillful shared some of their knowledge with the not so skillful (thank you guys). We all sat together at the lunch stop to enjoy a meal and it seemed like no one was in a hurry to get going again, but we had to finish the ride, so off we went to get back home. Along the way, we repaired a flat and had an incident where the GPS’s used (all three) would announce a turn coming up, then a few yards after the turn it signaled that we were off course, confusing us, however, thanks to the cue sheet and the use of Google Maps Gary confirmed we were on course (thanks for your help Gary). Toward the end with a few miles to the finish the B pace got more relaxed and the faster group sprinted to finish.
This ride gets the thumbs up and goes on my favorite rides list.
Attending the ride: (B+) Steve Lambardi, Roy Evans, Jack, Gary and Sheila. (B) Lex, Gale, Corie, Nancy, Andrea, John Warner and myself.
BTW: When John and I drove this course we didn’t notice these hills and up until the day of the ride I’m thinking this was a relatively flat ride. Huh, what happened?