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.

Events: Festive 500 Day Seven

Events: Festive 500 Day Seven

(2015) Ride Distance: 40 Miles/ 55 Miles Remaining

I almost called it quits today. The Groundhog Day continues where I fling open the curtains in the morning only to find a familiar scene: fog enveloping the back yard. I waffled back and forth whether to ride. And as I filled up the dog food container I felt a nagging that my forethought was trying to get a hold of me. I thought that I should cut up the heavy plastic bag for future boots. I’ve used them numerous times before, and they work wonders. “Psst” is all I managed to hear.

And I managed to get out. Today was to be the day I took a monstrous bite out of the remaining 90-plus miles. The total was hanging out there. Begging to be broken off in one fell swoop. I had to get out. Yet I kept thinking I should turn back because of the dense fog. Cars would burst into view from out of cloud only scores of yards in front of me. I was passively concerned. “Psst” was all I heard from my bike.

I meandered through a development and accessed Holicong that would take me up and over the mountain, past the old church at the top of the hill. The outhouse doors were open. I never noticed the outhouse before. “Psst” was being echoed from my bike.

I came down the southern side of the hill and made a turn toward Pineville when I noticed the cushy feeling beneath the handlebars. I finally realized what the sound was echoing from my bike. My front tire was going flat. I made it to the Pineville Tavern parking lot where I could swap a tube in safety. And if the second should be deemed unworthy, I could sit for a beer while the SAG wagon came and got me. I probably would have called my old college roommate from New Jersey just to buy me some bar time.

  Fairly certain there are worse places to have a puncture.

Fairly certain there are worse places to have a puncture.

I located the prick in the tire and remembered the nagging thought I had prior to departing: that plastic dog food bags make great tire boots. I thought to go into the tavern to find someone’s business card to swipe off the entranceway when I remembered my Kind Bar. I ate it and booted the hole with the wrapper. I had to cut my intended ride short. So much for the giant chunks of mileage being carved out of the balance.

  The middle portion of Jericho Mountain climb.

The middle portion of Jericho Mountain climb.

To punish myself for not listening to my intuition I sent myself over the rough-and-tumble south side of Jericho Mountain. Before I did that I snapped a photo of Washington’s Headquarters, a sprawling historic homestead that is a private residence. On the approach to Jericho I looked around at potential locations the Doan Brothers would have used as hiding spots. Their supposed two-million-dollar bank loot is still out there somewhere all these years later. The bank they knocked over was my original Newtown destination.

  The Keith House, Washington's headquarters prior to the crossing of the Delaware River. Behind the house is Jericho Mountain, used by the Doan Brothers.

The Keith House, Washington's headquarters prior to the crossing of the Delaware River. Behind the house is Jericho Mountain, used by the Doan Brothers.

I huffed it over Jericho and met up with another covered bridge. Van Zant was not a bridge I had crossed this year. I accidently found myself on Aquetong Road, an old carriage road that has morphed into a secondary road. People fly on it. Cyclists struggle up the hill.

I came out in New Hope and headed back with my sights set on Wismer, one more remarkable climb for the Festive 500. It’s one I try to avoid. The bottom slopes wear the rider down with a false flat in the middle. A cyclist will slowly regard his undoing as the second heavy climbing wall stares back at the false flat. There are always cars coming up from behind.

  Side effect of the altered route led to crossing Van Zant Covered Bridge, not crossed in 2015 until now.

Side effect of the altered route led to crossing Van Zant Covered Bridge, not crossed in 2015 until now.

I returned home eager to add up my miles. It was certainly not the amount I was hoping for. Tomorrow will have to tender the balance of 55 miles. I’ve already put flat repair boots in the wallet. Checking the weather already calls for fog and wet weather. Groundhog Day. At least tomorrow it will be the last of it.

Events: Festive 500 Day Eight

Events: Festive 500 Day Eight

Events: Festive 500 Day Six

Events: Festive 500 Day Six