The Sourland Semi-Classic has repeatedly reminded me of how bad I feel on hard early season rides and gives me the solid kick in the ass needed to get prepared for the rest of the season. That being said – it was a GREAT time and was the gauge I needed for what is still to come.
But what is a semi-classic you might ask…
These are prestigious races that sometimes make it onto the World Tour Calendar, but are often contested by invited second tier professional teams along with the top teams, to provide greater local interest. Often these are used as training races by stars tuning up for the Monuments, and in Belgium are often held on Wednesdays.Kermesse Sport – What is a Semi-Classic
So the Sourland Semi-Classic, for me at least, is a chance to get out there with a bunch of friends and test to see how the winter has gone and identify the weaknesses I have to focus on in the next couple of months.
Beyond that, the course is great and had some of the best sections of pavement I have ridden on in some of the more remote parts of Jersey. The railroad crossings in the first few miles were easy, well maintained, and had guards to make sure no one pulled a bonehead move like I did all those years ago. The Raritan Township and Readington Township Police Departments blocked all of the intersections – including Interstate 202 to make sure we were all safe rolling out.
Before the start of the ride, the coordinator warned us that Ride with GPS states what the vertical was and he didn’t want to hear any gripes if our devices came up with something different. The vertical on the ride is claimed to be 3,450’, but my GPS had me a little over 4,200’. I probably should have thought about that one a little bit more when he announced it.
Once out there the fast folks queued up at the front and were gone leaving us old heads to ride with one another for the remainder of the morning. I rode with the same pack of about 12 guys for the majority of the ride with a few chunks of time by myself questioning where I could turn off and cut the ride short to get back to some pizza and beer. As my mind started shifting towards the dark place, Sourland Cycles made my day (and mood) much brighter – PB&J’s, some pickle juice, and Hammer Nutrition to recharge the brain and motor.
I only had two run ins with cars during the day, the first was the crazy lady who parked her car at a 45 degree angle blocking the exit of the one lane Biden Brook Bridge on Aunt Molly Road yelling out her window. The second was a person who wouldn’t share Orchard Road with me. So I just held my line and accelerated right at them. Don’t know if that was the best way to handle it, but it made me feel pretty good at the time (even better that Joe Chahwan caught it in a picture)
Even though this year was NOTHING like last year’s weather (read – last year was pissing rain and cold, this year was 55 and sunny), people’s bikes were still coming in dusty. Hunterdon Havoc NICA Team was hosting the bike wash station to raise money to keep getting more and more kids involved in the cycling community.
In the end, it was an amazing day where I got to connect with a bunch of friends I have seen in over a year and ride through some of my favorite back roads in my favorite State – New Jersey!
I know events like this are labors of love, so I’d like to say thank you to:
- Kermesse Sport – without their hard work and coordination, this and all their other events, would not be here.
- Raritan Township Police Department & Readington Township Police Department – thanks for helping us to be safe out there
- V5 Cycles – thank you for helping me with a bar plug that somehow or another disappeared and for hosting the start and after party
- Sourland Cycles – your rest stop was much needed and very much appreciated!
- Joe Chahwan – I appreciate you running around the Sourlands to capture images of us so we can relive the experience
- Love the Pain & Mojo Racing– for supporting me with kit and gear
- New & Old friends – for being out there to enjoy such an amazing day and helping each other with a consistent barrage of insults and encouragement – True Jersey Style!
Thank you again for a great weekend and I’ll see you at the Hell of Hunterdon in a few weeks!