Known for riding off the front of group rides only to be caught in the first mile, CJ got back on a road bike and realized he must win the Donut Derby at least once in his life. Regularly pledging he's "not a climber," he can be found as a regular attendee of Trexlertown's Thursday Night Training Criterium or sitting on the couch watching Paris-Roubaix reruns. CJ has been a constant rider of the Hell of Hunterdon in New Jersey and races the Tour of the Battenkill before going into seasonal hiding on cross-country ski trails.

Essay: On the Longest Shadow (Part Two)

Essay: On the Longest Shadow (Part Two)

(2015) Things have been quite busy around these parts lately. As I wrote last Thursday I was sworn to get out for the last post-work weekday ride before Daylight Saving Time. I managed to find the ability to get out on Friday for yet another short ride. Yet it served every purpose I intended. While not using the same route as the day before, I headed out into some of the farmland around here. Farmers have recently spread manure on their fields. Riding past them makes me think of still-wet gym socks. It’s pretty tough to hold my breath riding past the treated fields.

People were out gearing up for the weekend. Not only was it Halloween and the clock shift, it was also a chance to prep the house and yard for fall. Leaves were being blown into the road, the lawn was getting cut one last time, and firewood was being split. The distinct scent of backyard fires created a blue haze.

I turned down a typical farmer road to snap a picture of a location that always bewildered me. Alone stands a chimney and hearth. Trees and bushes have reclaimed what was once a house. What that house looked like I’ll never know. Someone in the past worked hard to produce that chimney. Now it stands alone surviving the weather until it collapses. The farmer road is bumpy and thin. It’s close to cobbles.

 T he solitaire hearth defying corrosion and time.

The solitaire hearth defying corrosion and time.

Making the turn to head home I ogled the fall scenarios. People were plopping pumpkins down on the porch. Garden flags were slid onto the poles welcoming trick-or-treaters. The road was covered with clumps of dirt from the farm tractor recently through this area. Coming back would be a sad return. The last post-ride work’s miles were winding down.

This is where I got the elusive photo I missed the day before. Riding past the turf farm with the farm fields and tree line in the background, I snapped a quick photo of the longest shadow I would see for a while. It was an enjoyable way to end this chapter of the riding season.

Now I’ll have to come to terms with the trainer on weeknights. But that’s ok. There are ways around the boredom of pushing the bike on rollers for the next couple of months. And a new interest in riding outside will be restored when the time comes.

Rides We Like: Up on Chestnut Ridge Road

Rides We Like: Up on Chestnut Ridge Road

Essay: On the Longest Shadow

Essay: On the Longest Shadow