Monday, December 31, 2007

The Langster's Last Ride of 2007

It was sunny and above freezing today so I decided to take a bike ride. By the time I got my clothes on and checked the pressure in my tires it was around 10:30 AM. The temperature was in the mid 30s. Originally I was only going to go out for 20 miles but as soon as I got over the Holland - Telegraph Hill Ridge I decided I would go further. The only decision was how far should I go.

The sun was shining and I was feeling good so once I got to Colts Neck I decided I would head over to Rumson and Sea Bright. I figured the ride would be around 45 miles maybe more. The traffic was good since I think most people took today off from work. It was the usual route through Holmdel, Marlboro, Colts Neck, Shrewsbury and Little Silver. I took RT 520 through Rumson and I turned off on Ward Ave and started to make the trip back home.

As I was getting closer to Oceanic Bridge I realised that one of my goals for the year was to ride Navesink River Road from the Oceanic Bridge back to Rt 35. I rode Navesink River Road on the maiden voyage of the Langster from RT 35 to the Oceanic. For some reason I had in my mind that the reverse would be much harder.

The wind was pretty strong today. I had felt the head wind at several points on the ride but once I turned to make the return trip I really felt it. Crossing the Oceanic Bridge was a challenge. I usually ignore the sign at the drawbridge telling me to walk my bike across the steel mesh decking but today I decided it was not worth the risk of be blown over and slipping on the roadway. Even on the paved/concrete part of the bridge I was had to fight not to get pushed into the traffic coming up behind me.

The real challenge of riding Navesink River Road back to RT 35 is that the off ramp of the Oceanic Bridge has a slight grade up with a stop sign where it meets Navesink River Road. Once the left hand turn is made onto Navesink River Road it immediately starts a long steep climb. There is no opportunity to get some momentum going. There is also a switch back that creates a blind spot for the cars coming from behind (I was a little worried since the shoulder is very narrow does not allow any place to bail). While this was the climb I was worried about most it actually turned out to kind of fun. The bonus is that once you get to the top there is a nice down hill drop that shoots by the entrance to the Huber Woods County Park.

My favorite part of riding Navesink River Road from RT 35 is what I like to call the Jon Bon Jovi Drop. This is a really nice down hill section with several S turns that are really fun to hit if the traffic will allow me to get into the middle of the lane. Jon Bon Jovi is rumored to live somewhere on Navesink River Road.

Riding this hill from the other direction is fun but for a different reason. It is the second most challenging climb on the road. Since I really like to climb this is fun for me. Once you get to the top is another nice down hill followed by a shallow but steady climb up to RT 35.

Once I crossed RT 35 it was over the NJ Transit tracks and back to Nut Swamp Road. I have to make a detour back to my house because there is construction by Garden State Parkway Exit 114 which messes up the road the evenually turns into Laurel Ave.

I ended up riding 50 miles. Actually when I got back to my house I had 48.5 miles on the computer so I decided to do six sprints around the lake (~1/4 mile each lap).

Tomorrow I am going get a short ride in during the morning just to kick off the New Year.

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