Many thanks to volunteers, organizer and RBA for yet another very enjoyable NJ400. This coming from a Randonneur with no big love for flat routes, however somehow this one is the exception I keep coming for more; and I hear I am not alone.
The new controle at the Tavern was a hit. Great food served promptly, and by a fellow Randonneur, what more can one want? My butt also thanks this new controle for adding the nice novelty of having bathrooms on the way back, versus past versions where we didn't have any to speak of for the last 200k of the ride. OK, I know, that was good training for further, longer distances...
So, here is a control that keeps alive and well this great tradition of the NJ gastronome's series. Not for us, the mere energy bar thrown through the window of a semi-closed 24 hours gas station. NJ Randonneurs live to eat, and to eat well!
(Talking of which, I do recommend the grill at the start/finish of the upcoming NJ600. Good food and nice wine list. Now how often to do see THAT on a Brevet controle?)
I am still feeling a bit guilty for sneaking out upon finishing to hit the pillow, instead of keeping Paul company for this soooo long wait for the last rider. Though it wouldn't have been long before I fell asleep and shut down company anyway.
Barbara, it was very nice to see you in good spirits in Vincentown. Wishing a prompt recovery to this wrist, and looking forward to seeing Ron and you back on the tandem.
One little puzzle: Paul swore to me that the route this year (excepted for the out and back to the Tavern) was exactly identical to last year's. Yet I swear that the approach to Salem has been changed this year, as follows: about 15 miles from Salem: the formerly used little lanes that used to change directions every mile or so, deliberately created so to bring some variety from the long straight lines and offer some respite from headwind and sun, have now been replaced by a long straight stretch under blazing sun and without a square inch of shade to be found alongside. Is it a deliberate change (e.g., need to shorten stage 2 to make room for the new detour to the Tavern and back; or, organizer tired of lanes and wanting nothing but straight, exposed roads)? Have we been caught by the route police for offering a route that can be short-cut somewhere, and had to modify making it less enjoyable along the way? Or is it just a good faith oversight? For what it's worth, given a choice I reckon I prefer the lanes particularly at that place and time. When it gets close to noon on the way to Salem, I can use every piece of shade and every respite from headwind I can find...