Paul walks his bike over the Milford bridge on the return to NJ
For my second 200k in as many days I had agreed to meet my friend Paul to ride his Noximixon route. Our start time is 7:30am at the McAfferty's in Princeton Junction, NJ. I'm up at 6am to get ready and make the 35 minute drive to the start. I feel a little stiff from the prior days effort on the Hawk's Nest 200k (see prior post for details). It takes the next 45 minutes to get the bike and gear loaded up. Leaving me enough time for the drive over and a few spare minutes to wolf down some oatmeal before the start. All goes according to plan. I meet Paul in front of the store at the appointed time. For the first time in memory we actually start a permanent on time.
The route heads through the town of Princeton, then heads to Lambertville where the bridge into Pennsylvania is crossed. From New Hope. Pa we head to Carversville, then Quakertown, passing by the Noximixon Reservoir, for which the permanent is named. I notice I don't have the climbing legs that Paul has today. He is out climbing me on all the hills en-route to the first control in Lambertville.
We get through the control smoothly and cross the bridge. Shortly thereafter I get a flat on the front tire. It takes forever to find the cause of the puncture. Paul actually scrutinized the tire and found a tiny sharp gravel fragment embedded in the rubber which barely broke through to the tube. We lose about a half-hour total with the repair. When we arrive at Richlantown we are only about 25 minutes ahead of the control close.
After a bite to eat we head to Milford with one big climb in between. We arrive and are still only 25 minutes in front of the closing time. We were hoping for a sub eleven hour finish, but we were both kind of doubtful that it could happen. We make quick order of the Milford control. Our next control is Ringoes where we agree to keep the stop to ten minutes. We manage to live up to that promise and head east for our penultimate control in Kendall Park.
I notice we have picked up a lot of time since Milford. With thirty miles to the finish I start doing the math in my head to project a finish time. I figure it is now possible to meet the original goal, if we keep a good pace and do a super quick stop at Kendall Park. After a quick discussion with Paul the plan is in effect to shoot for under eleven hours. There are two good sized climbs in front of us the first being Lindbergh Road which climbs up the Sourland Mountain Ridge. It comes upon us quickly. The climb starts gradually, then steepens near the top. I manage to climb steadily avoiding the use of my smallest chain ring. Once over the top it is downhill to Route 518, then a flat run on 518 to Rocky Hill. We are making good time when we spot a cyclist on the opposite side of the road, who appears to have a mechanical issue. When we check to see if he needs help he asks if we have an allen wrench. I see him eyeing up our oversize rear packs. I'm sure he's thinking there has to be an allen wrench in one of those packs. We cross over to his side and both produce a multi-tool allen wrench from our packs. It turned out his saddle had come very loose. It took him a few minutes to tighten it up and we were all back on our way. We continue east and pass through the small town of Rocky Hill. Our final climb appears, which is Old Georgetown Road. This is a substantial, but manageable climb. Once to the top we are minutes from our control at Kendall Park. We use an ATM receipt for documentation and continue without delay.
We have only about 11 miles to the end. The terrain is as flat as a pancake. I'm tired, but am now smelling the barn. Paul and I work together smoothly to cover the ground with lots of time to spare. We pull into the shopping center and obtain an ATM receipt that is stamped at 6:10 pm. Our total time computes to 10hrs 40minutes. Right on par with the 200k ridden the day before. I'm happy with the accomplishment. It's the confidence boost I needed for the 400k next weekend.