We are hopeful for a better outcome this time. The ride begins at Bridge Street Bagel & Deli in Milford, NJ. Arrive early enough to eat one of their delicious breakfast sandwiches. Parking is down the street in the US HealthCare lot across Church St. from the Milford Market. Online registration is open and will remain so through midnight Thursday, January 30.
Riders are also reminded that lights and reflective gear are mandatory in view of the limited daylight hours and frequent overcast skies. See the reflectivity guide for best practices.
A pre-ride of the course was conducted on 23 January by Chris Nadovich and Bill Olsen. Chris writes:
The course is in decent shape, at least it was this past Thursday. The shoulders were mostly clear, but the usual winter hazards are still present. Look out for potholes, rocks, tree branches, and occasional ice patches on the shoulder, especially approaching Hope, and double especially on 29 from Stockton to Milford at the end of the ride -- a segment many will ride in the dark.Speaking of gear, riders will want to make sure that their winter riding gear is fully sorted before clipping in. Past experience suggests that riders need to be ready for anything. The key word for the day is layers, and lots of them. A water/snow resistant shell should be among them. Riders should also have good solutions for protecting face, hands, and feet.
The controle in Hope has two port-a-potty style restrooms. Riders might be reluctant to use them, but Bill inspected one of them (not sure which) and passes on his assurance that it was five-stars.
Besides the official controles, there are numerous mini-marts along the course. These can provide a solution for cold extremities or frozen water bottles in the form of hand-warmers and 24 oz cups of hot water, not to mention a brief respite in a warm indoors.
Personally, I thought there were still some potholes on the descent after Sourland mountain, but in Bill's opinion I don't: "fully appreciate the improvements to the road into Hopewell. The ruts and broken pavement on the downhill were a real hazard. Compared with what it was, the surface is now ‘glass smooth.’" Fine. Please look out for any 'broken glass' when approaching Hopewell, OK?
The Brick Market in Hopewell is a congenial place. It offers an amazing variety of delicious food. I enjoyed an amazing bowl of prosciutto soup. Be aware, however, that they have several "Order Here" counters that offer different things. To minimize lost controle time, plan your purchase strategy carefully.
The climb out of Hopewell is relatively narrow and trafficy. I'd recommend putting on reflective gear at Brick Market before tackling the grade out of town.