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: Fools Classic and Why You Should Do It

Events: Fools Classic and Why You Should Do It

(2016) Day three of Spring Classic Withdrawal looks something like this: Furiously typing terms into Youtube for all of the footage I missed Sunday. Each time I thought I had a decent connection an error message would appear on the black screen. I’ve also read every single article from every single cycling site. I’ve read the open letter about the dangers of disc brakes to the farewell of Fabian Cancellara. Where there was anticipation a week ago, there is a void today. More scheduled cobbled races would saturate this feeling I think.

 

Luckily in these parts there is one more gravel event to prepare for the 2016 season. Several years ago a bunch of guys met in a parking lot to ride the Delaware Valley’s unpaved sections. More recently the ride split in two, one being the highly successful Hell of Hunterdon, which stays in New Jersey, and the other is the overlooked Fools Classic, which stays in Bucks County. I’ve said before that Hunterdon County's unpaved roads are much different from Bucks County's. I would even dare to say Bucks unpaved roads are in the category of technical.

 

Where there are hundreds of riders and multiple waves for the Hell of Hunterdon, the Fools Classic is an old-school ride. If the group rides away, one must search within to find the motivation to push forward. My first experience at Fools saw me between groups, too hung-over to catch the lead group and too cold to slow down for the chasers. I wound up catching the stragglers of the lead group with about twenty miles to go. I also downed only half of a water bottle that day.

 

These roads are the dark hollows of some German fairy tale. They pass through wrinkled land that aggressively juts up in all directions. There are beautiful experiences to be had in this neck of the woods. It’s eerie and comforting at the same time. When I think of the Fools Classic, I think of the dark pine trees lining dirt roads, still dripping from precipitation and residing amidst fog. I also think I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

This is a classic ride that unfortunately doesn’t get the accolades it deserves. It is the truest sense of Bucks County. Don’t worry; the course passes a handful of general stores to stock up at. It has a long drag down River Road to let the legs do their thing. It also has a beer wagon at the end in Mad Princes’ Brewing, a local nanobrewery.

 

This course makes you work for the result, which is good because when this is all said and done, you may just feel like you’ve had enough of the Spring Classics by this point. The bike may actually cuddle up like a puppy dog longingly searching for an answer to what just happened. Come and ride the roads in my part of the world, I think you'll find them suitably challenging.

Essay: On the Finer Points of Roubaix

Essay: On the Finer Points of Roubaix

Review: The Sufferfest’s Do As You’re Told

Review: The Sufferfest’s Do As You’re Told