When our Party Size crew got invited to do a satellite ride along with Roached Clips out of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, for their First Annual Holiday Ride in honor of 4/20, we were all in.
Party Size founder Andrew and I had planned to do an out and back from High Bridge to Pittstown, via Landsdown and Capoolong trails. Both trails were once railways so they're nice and flat, and it kept the ride over 50% off-road. Unsure of the skill level and speed of some possible attendees, I pre-rode the route a few days ahead of time to determine a good turn around spot- to create a 16 mile ride that wouldn't have us returning in too much dark. I knew the sun would set on the return, and I wanted to minimize the group time on the road in the dark.
Our rides usually vary from a few to 8 or 10 people and we were all stoked to do a special ride. Then the realities of week night schedules, spouses, kids, and covid all kicked in- and the crew was down to two. Didn't matter - we were ready to party.
George and I met at the High Bridge lot and caught up for a few minutes sending the ceremonial last minute texts - "hey are you coming?". No takers, it was just us. Oddly enough we both ride the same frame, a Poseidon Redwood, so we spent a few minutes comparing notes on the ride and our different build outs. Roached Clips sent out some swag- flyers, stickers, and their proprietary roach clip valve caps - all awesome stuff. We admired the goodies and were on our way.
Weather was perfect and 4 mile ride to the trailhead was a breeze. Luckily the trail was dry and pretty empty, so we chatted a bit but got down to business through the first 1.5 mile Landsdown gravel section. George had never been this way, so it's always fun pointing out landmarks and telling tales of past rides. Then we got on the Capoolong. It's a great single track route along a creek that's intersected by small roads at pretty even intervals. The fun part of Capoolong is each section gets shittier than the last as you head towards Pittstown, with the trail becoming increasingly rockier, rootier, and ruttier. George and I took turns riding in front through each section, I always find it a little nicer being out front for a bit rather than staring at a butt for most of the ride.
There is a sketchy bridge that I had set to be our turn around spot. I half expected to find some like minded people celebrating the occasion, but we were the only ones there. The bridge has some great graffiti like REDRUM and YOU'RE GOING TO BE OK- not sure if we're supposed to feel terrified or safe in the dark. We hung out there for a while, recounting sketchy rutt spots and shooting the shit. We noticed the sun dipped beyond the horizon and it was getting dark fast. We popped on our lights and headed back to High Bridge the same way we came. We stopped in downtown Clinton to shoot a few photos of the Red Mill, we wouldn't be proper New Jerseyans if we didn't.
As we arrived back in High Bridge we headed to Party Size's favorite watering hole, Circa. Owner and rad cyclist in his own right, Ruddy, wasn't behind the bar but there catching up with some friends. We gave Ruddy some Roached Clips swag for always being our gracious host, and he reciprocated with a 420 gift of his own. George and I talked about past and upcoming rides over a few IPAs, and called it a night.
18.3 miles, 1:39 ride time. 1st Annual Roached Clips Holiday Ride in the books.