Riding the Jersey Coast

It was a little warm this weekend. Ok, it was 94 degrees with a heat index of 105 so maybe it was more than a little warm. But it was still a great day to be on a bike. Especially near the beach. I call my “home” home suburban Philadelphia. Upper Darby to be specific. But I call my other home Ocean City, New Jersey. A typical shore (yes, we call it a shore here in the East as in seashore…) community with a blend of weekend warriors, day-trippers, weekly vacationers, and permanent and part time residents.

 Although very flat, the shore can be a great place to ride with nice wide shoulders, and plenty of riding options featuring picturesque views and the often present scent of an ocean breeze.  On Saturday, I headed out at about 7 AM with a couple of modest goals in mind. First, to fully road test my nutrition intake plan, second, to log 100 miles of riding and third, to enjoy every minute of it. Or at least enjoy most of it. It sounded easy enough. And after the ride I knew I’d be able to kick back and enjoy a few well deserved hours on the beach.

What I didn’t realize was that someone had added a few extra agenda items for me. Apparently someone thought I needed to practice changing a flat tire (twice) and wanted to test my patience and resolve in the meantime. Although those items popped up just 15 miles into the ride, I handled them effortlessly and resumed my journey. No problem. I rode through beautiful Belleplaine State forest and revisited the venue of the Cape May Triathlon which was held a month earlier.

I then made my way all the way down a strip known as Ocean Drive. Ocean Drive essentially hugs the coast and runs through all of the South Jersey beach towns. It’s very scenic as you travel over the bridges and causeways. If you can block out the congestion at certain points as people try to get to the beach, it is a beautiful place to ride.

There are a few things that you will see every time you head out to ride at the Shore. I’m not sure what it is about road kill and flea markets in South Jersey but she sure has her share of both of them. Interesting road kill too. And a lot of unidentifiable road kill. Snake road kill, skunk road kill, turtle road kill, um … some other kind of road kill. You name it; you’ll see it. And if you can’t name it, you’ll still see it. You may see it for the next couple of weeks. And it’ll get a little funkier each time. Maybe the birds of prey can’t recognize some of these things either and figure it is best to just leave them alone. 

I reached my turnaround point on Ocean Drive and decided to pull over for a minute to enjoy the scenery, choke down a gel, and make a quick cell call. In that 5 minute period, I think I had 2 cars and 5 cyclists check on me to make sure that I was OK and didn’t need any help. I’ve said this many times before, but I still get blown away by the camaraderie that one sees out there on the road. I finished my gel, ended my call and headed back. The ride back on Ocean Drive always seems much faster. I’m not sure if it’s the wind or the psychological effect of going home. But whatever it is, it works. 

Of course I had had a couple of interpersonal exchanges with a few people along the way home. No ride would be complete without them. There was the guy in the passenger seat of a nice red convertible who felt the need to look right at me and spit at my feet as we sat at a red light. No problem bud, have a good day.

But for every irate and ignorant phlegm-meister, there is a kid with a lemonade stand there to make things all right. Of course, I had to pull over and fill up with some fresh squeezed and give the kid an extra three dollar tip. I made his day but not half as much as he made mine. Spend that money wisely dude. 

So, I made my way back home. Shoveled in a couple of PB & J’s and listened to my neighbors remind me of how slightly off center I can be. I just smiled politely and said … “thanks”. After a quick shower, I found myself perched quite comfortably in my favorite chair on the beach enjoying the sights and sounds of the Jersey Shore. Mission(s) accomplished. My nutrition worked out. I got my 100 miles in. And I enjoyed every minute of it. As I reflected back on another great ride, I reminded myself how lucky I am.

This entry was posted in cycling, training and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
Listen to internet radio with RemissionMan on Blog Talk Radio
"Be the change you wish to see in the world " - Gandhi
string(18) "/home/jw3x14i9m7i0"