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Ramapo Rally (8/19) review (of sorts)

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Ramapo Rally (8/19) review (of sorts)

Old 08-28-12, 08:32 AM
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Ramapo Rally (8/19) review (of sorts)

(Disclosure: I'm a member of the club that runs this.)

This is BTCNJ (a large bicycle club in northern NJ) "ride rally" day. The rides started at Campgaw (a county park) in Mahwah, NJ. There are rides of varying lengths and difficulty (some flatter than others). There's even a double metric (125 miler) with close to 8000 feet of climbing (including the rather steep Schooley's Mountain). I did the century (5800 feet of climbing). The century is hillier than most of the other NJ centuries (not counting the unusual "Hillier-than-thou").

The century route goes south west from Mahwah to Chester, NJ (the 125 route adds a 25 loop south from Chester). The course is marked with arrows in colors matching the cue sheet colors. In prior years, some towns did not permit arrows to be used and the club had to post signs to direct riders). This year, the whole route was marked with arrows.

Some riders got confused by other arrows from some other event. These arrows did not look like the rally arrows (small arrows with dots at the tail). The problem that these riders had points out that actually reading the cue sheet is helpful. In one place of confusion, the other arrows pointed down a street not listed on the cue sheet. While it's nice to be able to just use arrows, it might make sense to use these sorts of rides as practice for using following cue sheets.

There were rest stops every 20 miles or so. I didn't stop at all of them. There was food (bagels, coffee, etc) at the start. None of the ones I visited were crowed but I also left early. There was a fairly-diverse offering of food (bananas, PB, oranges, various Clif bars, salami sandwiches (at one)). There were sandwiches at Chester. There was food (sandwiches, cake, ice-cream, etc) at the end. (Traditionally, the club has members bake stuff but that didn't happen this year). The club tries to have some food available for stragglers who show up after the ride is officially closed.

There were also a few vendors and massages at the start/stop (though, these closed up at around 3:30-4:00PM).

The weather this year was exceptionally good (bizarre for August in NJ): cool without too much humidity. Often, this ride can be hot and humid. Last year, there was an amazing amount of rain which continued through-out most of the day). Even with that, some riders went. There were even a few crazy people who signed up in the morning as it rained to ride!

The routes high-light the rather good riding that northern NJ can provide.

The cost of the ride is $35 and it's well-run. In lieu of the standard t-shirt, the club provides some sort of bicycle-related small thing. This year it was a solar-powered flash-light (nicer than I expected). Other years, it's been Camelback water bottles or Park mini-tools).

BTCNJ also runs a ride day in early June (6/9) out of Bergen Community College, in Paramus, NJ for the Bergen County government (the longest ride is 45 miles).
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Old 08-28-12, 12:02 PM
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Sounds better than when I did it several years ago out of some ski place near Ramsey. It was God-awful hot and humid, and too much of the route had too much traffic.
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Old 08-28-12, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Sounds better than when I did it several years ago out of some ski place near Ramsey. It was God-awful hot and humid, and too much of the route had too much traffic.
Campgaw is the "ski place near Ramsey".

"New Jersey" is an old indian word for "God-awful hot and humid". (Anyway, the weather isn't peculiar to the area where the ride takes place.)

The traffic might be a bit higher than what might find on the Farmlands (late May) or the Princeton ride (early Aug) but you are talking about the state with the highest density of population.

The ride is well attended year-after-year.

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Old 08-28-12, 12:49 PM
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I used to ride the Ramapo Rally when I was there. I got socks one year and I think a shirt the previous year.

Not sure if they still do it but I used to also enjoy "Country roads" which was a metric century and put on by the Orange County Bike Club. I used to make it a century by riding to the start and back, at which the metric century would be roughly 115 miles since I lived not far south of Greenwood Lake at the time. That ride stayed mostly around Orange County but might have ventured into NJ around Mountain Creek..

I used to also do the Farmland Flats which njkayaker mentioned down by the shore...

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Old 08-28-12, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay H
Not sure if they still do it but I used to also enjoy "Country roads" which was a metric century and put on by the Orange County Bike Club. I used to make it a century by riding to the start and back, at which the metric century would be roughly 115 miles since I lived not far south of Greenwood Lake at the time. That ride stayed mostly around Orange County but might have ventured into NJ around Mountain Creek..
They still do (some version of) that ride.

https://www.ocbicycleclub.org/index.php
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Old 08-29-12, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
They still do (some version of) that ride.

https://www.ocbicycleclub.org/index.php
That is cool, thanks for the link. I think out of all the organized rides I did when I was in NJ, I enjoyed the rest stops at "Country Roads" the best, plus one of them is at that Animal Sanctuary which has Camels.... Ha, Camels! Country Roads always had like homemade stuff which was always yummy. I enjoyed all the rides that I did (otherwise, I wouldn't do them!) and each had their own pros and cons...

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