Just what is it about Tuesday evenings this year?
I suppose distance lends enchantment but I don't recall last year being so full of torrential rainstorms and thunder and lightning.
At least, we set off on this week's Grind without the expectation of bad weather. I had checked and the forecast predicted trouble by 10.00pm, a good hour or two after our usual finish.
It was back into the Sourlands after the usual sprint along Skillman Road.
The first climb is north along Hollow Road. Hollow Road curves up alongside the Rock Brook almost like a Devon country lane, although wide enough for two cars ... they don't know what a narrow road is here. The climb seems moderate enough although with a slight kick a few hundred yards before the junction with Long Hill Road.
Once again the climb towards Lindbergh Hill is easy enough, but by now I've done enough around the Sourlands to know that it will save the best until last, and it does, a final steep section just before the undulating descent along Lindbergh Road towards Ridge Road.
The ride along Ridge Road, crossing the Rileyville Road into Mountain Road makes you realise that in actual fact, New Jersey isn't just the land of The Sopranos and chemical works, but contains many miles of very attractive countryside for cyclists. Bowling along a woodland road doesn't come much better than this.
The problem is with speeding through the woods, is that you don't see the weather moving in, so by the time we'd swooped down Linvale to the Wertsville Road the first drops of rain had crept up on us.
After a hurried meeting in the rain at the bottom of Rileyville Road, we decided it was just as quick to carry on with the original route and press on to the top and return along Ridge back onto Lindbergh and after the obligatory final steep kick a glorious swoop down Long Hill which never surprises me and then down Hollow, which always does.
It always seems the ascent of Hollow is steady enough, but not really taxing, yet the descent seems steeper and longer than the climb. But the sensation sweeping down that valley at 30mph more than repays the effort of getting to the top in the first place.
Well, we made it back without getting too wet. Thanks to Jeff, Steve, Beth, Dave, and special thanks to Diane who compiles and leads these rides every Tuesday evening throughout the summer.