Valley of the Saxons

94.95 km – 8714 meters

This ’37th’ round of 2013 took me through historic German Valley on a beautiful warm Spring day. The roads go up, the roads go down in these parts, but it seems like one spends more time pedaling ‘up’ rather than down!

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This part of Morris County, NJ was originally settled mainly by the Germans of Saxony, though much immigrated from all parts of Deutschland as well. The area is dotted with churches and farms from the early 1700’s. Lutheran, Presbyterian, Moravian, Reformed and Episcopalian to name but some. Today, many churches from the 1700’s still stand and many farms still operate in German Valley.

Many of the streets, landmarks and farms in the area still retain their German ancestry and namesakes. Ort Farms is one of my favorite places to stop and grab some fresh
produce and a bottle of water along the way…a friendly staff (mostly the ort family) and great views of the Valley floor are the standard fare.

Of course one of the most famous landmarks is Schooley’s Mountain, which I have
ascended many times, but today I was plunging down the mountain. Only to be slowed by a trio of inept das auto drivers! Though I did ascend two big climbs today, within the
Valley. First up was N 4 Bridges Road. It may only be .72 in length and 370′ up, but it has an average grade of 10.5%!

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From there I wound my around to Naughright, 1.2 miles long, with a 7.5% mean gradient, rising up 495′. While not ‘euro’ tough stuff, still pretty decent climbs as far as gradient goes…

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I did hit two other fairly significant climbs as well, one prior to rolling into German Valley, which was the 3.5 mile long Old Chester Rd and one on the way home, Mt Paul. And of course, Liberty Corner to close out the day. Unfortunately, I found myself struggling mightily up all of the climbs except Mt Paul today. I was barley able to keep going up
N 4 Bridges and was sucking every breath for precious oxygen…Then going up Naughright, the sun was beating down, heating things up just that extra bit more.

Even though I was grinding it out, I had to remind myself how great the day was at that moment. The blue skies, layered with the images of story-book clouds. The passing landscapes lined with greenery and flowers, the sounds of Spring…morphing into Summer.

But for some reason, my fitness level has degenerated at bit. I was climbing fairly well during April and May, but a few weeks ago I started to notice my ability to wane…and, I have no real solid answer as to why- yet.

All in all it was another great day in the saddle, enjoying life and the bike. The struggle, the scenery, the risk and the reward…

http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1411274/elevation_profile

Auf Wiedersehen!

Moving Mountains…

Start Date: June 1, 2013/12:59 pm
Ride Time:  4 hours, 4 mins (total time 5:06)
Temperature: 90°
Prototype: 47 years, 8.44 month old rider
Distance/Ascent: 55 miles – 4600′

-It was the 3rd day in succession of riding this week, with plus 90° temps-
each of the 3 days. Thankfully, it hadn’t really bothered my riding so far…

Today, the Antagonists of hills lay ahead. I rolled out, making my way up the
slight, steady grade of Meeker then down to Harmony Falls and then
onward to the climb of St John on the Mountain.

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Hardscrabble, bumpy and broken throws her all at me, 3 miles,
long, 675′ up at about a 4.6% avg grade. I keep the pedals turning,
fighting for every second. Off along the edges of the road, lay
the remnants of the 7th Brigade, as Revolutionary rocks form
the hardscape, while the streams run their course.

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The top of Talmage- with the heights of Randolph in the distance

The miles are rolling by and the scenery has me smiling today.
I approach the 3.5 mile Cold Hill-Woodland Climb that takes me
past Potts Reservoir– The rays of sun dance and glean off the still water.
She rises up 547 feet, with a slight reprieve and dip in the middle.

I’m struggling to keep a steady pace. Shoulders rocking, labored
breathing, The sun is pounding my head like a 10lb hammer sledge.
The cars of passers by, look into my suffering eyes…I’d ask them-
tell me what do you see- someone real? yea this is for real, as real
as it gets… At the summit of Mt Freedom, I stop for a respite, water
and food to fuel the second half of the journey.

I roll down South Road- peeling off onto Ironia. This is the big, fast
descent of the day. I was thinking to just coast and roll down her wicked
esses- but just then, the ‘racer’ got the better of me…

Carbon wrapped in Flesh and Bone, plunging down steep Ironia-
Riding into sweeping Fury…
( I scorched the downhill- 1:37 and shattered the record of 1:49-
Now I covet the #1 spot…but for how long?)

The road bends right-left-right-left, with a decreasing radius in the
2nd right-hander. Here is where I nearly met my fate… I made a rare mistake of
turning in just a second or two early, I was in way too hot…and had to just feather the rear brake. The tire locked for a brief moment, my eyes-wide with fear…I immediately
released the lever and the rear tire hooked back up.

I stomp the pedals and the gears once more gathering  precious speed down
Snake Hill- as my heart rate slowly comes back down. Oh, I got lucky today, no doubt.
straining the limits of machine and man…laughing out loud with fear
and hope I had a desperate plan…”

Three more climbs were still in front of me before I made it back
home, Campbell, Clark and the finish up old familiar Liberty Corner.
The 90° heat was beginning to takes it toll…as I could feel my face radiating,
the sweat pouring off my arms and legs. Thankfully, there was
a little shade on the Clark and Liberty Corner climbs for a bit of cover.

I am taking on a steady flow of water and now at mile 50 I was empty.
So one last water stop at Dunham Park, just 4 miles from home…
It’s 5:37 pm now and the sun shine is unrelenting, but Sol is a welcome friend, always.

My hands, back and neck are all aching, as I head for the solace and
comfort of the house door. I’m thinking about the big post-ride meal,
as I look to bright, blue sky with thanks and remember the sights
and sounds on this first day of June…

Cogito – Ergo – Zoom…

http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1370222/elevation_profile