Had been hoping all week to get to do a long ride this weekend, and it turned out the weather, work, and family all worked out so I could do it today. I also wanted to ride with the Brands group this weekend so I incorporated the group ride into my plans.
Usual oatmeal and coffee pre-ride breakfast, then out the door at 5:30 AM. Rode down the Jones Beach bike path (before the airshow crowds showed up) and it was a good ride except for the swarms of gnats at each of the three bridges. Was going to do two laps but the gnats made me think otherwise. Instead, I opted to do a dozen or so loops of the Cedar Creek Park loop road, same course as used for last weekend's Tour de Parc criterium.
Time check, 6:55 AM so headed over to Brands for the 7:00 AM start. A good turnout of familiar riders, at least 15. By the time we got up Round Swamp Rd., we were in three or four groups already. Up the first LIE hill, I saw Ariel, who was taking photos of us and I stopped to say hi. He is out of commission right now with a separated shoulder. I got back on the road but the group was long gone. Ate a CLIF bar at mile 40. I caught up to groups of 1, 2, or 3 riders but it looked like the group sort of disintegrated. Most of the rest of the way like this, then I turned solo again, to do West Hills. Stopped at a little park for a bathroom break and refilled a water bottle. Up to Rt. 25 then straight back to Brands.
Now with 73 miles, it took a fair bit of willpower to head back out into the wind. Ate another CLIF bar and went straight up Round Swamp Rd. again, up to the Northern State Parkway, then looped back home. One lap around the block to get the odometer to tick over to 100 miles!
A good ride, great weather, but a little less wind would have been nice! Wish the Brands group would have stayed together a bit longer but it was my decision to stop and visit with Ariel. Maybe I'll get to see some of his photos, should be some good action shots!