With cyclocross season approaching fast, Charlie has mapped out a new road loop designed to give us a 'cross emulation workout.
Camera in hand, I prerode the route, although I'll admit I messed up the final climb by turning too late on King George. Sorry, Chaz.
So here it is, kids. A scouting report of Charlie's 'Cross Loop:
Warmup will be on River Rd, just like every ride ever
We'll do a little stretch in the park in Bound Brook, then warm up on Mountain Ave.
Once we've 'crossed 22, the fireworks will start almost immediately. Washington Rd goes up. For serious.
Once you get to the top, make a left onto Hillcrest. It's slightly downhill, definitely not a place to relax. Put it in the big ring and pedal.
You'll hit a T interesection with Vosseller Ave. Make a right and climb for about 15 seconds, then build up some speed on the descent and hang on for dear life. It's a straight shot and should be very fast.
What goes down will eventually go up. The grade will go from false-flat to grind pretty quickly. The faster you descended, the easier the climb will be.
Right turn onto Washington Valley Rd. This is a relatively high-traffic road, so hug the shoulder and remember to go fast.
After a short descent, you'll make a hard left onto Dock Watch Hollow. Be super-careful, this is busy and there're piles of sand, and you'll be coming into the turn fast.
Drive it over the little bumps until you get to Mt. Horeb Rd. You're crossing a busy road. Respect the stop sign.
As soon as you cross Mt. Horeb, you'll go up. Don't be intimidated, it's steep but it's short.
The descent is long and shallow. Don't relax. This is a 'cross practice, you'd better be pedaling. At the end, make a right turn onto Mountainview Rd.
Mountainview Rd rolls. Charge up the hills and keep that momentum building in between.
Before the traffic light, make a right onto King George Rd.
King George starts with a long pedal-able descent, but you'll need to stop again when you cross Mt. Horeb.
After a fun, fast descent, you'll come to a traffic light at Washington Valley Road. This will be a big pain in the butt, and it might cost the leader his gap over the chasers. Still, when on a Rutgers ride, obey the laws.
You'll have one last climb, a not-too-steep bit up King George. What's cool about this climb is that it's sort of 'crossy... the road is so chewed up that you have to choose your line wisely and practice good form when climbing out of the saddle.
Just before the end of the climb, you'll make a right onto Hillcrest Rd. If you hit a T intersection, you've gone too far.
This part of Hillcrest has a bunch of rollers. Don't be distracted by the view of the Raritan Valley, and don't slack off. This is the last place where chasers can make up ground.
Finish at the intersection with Washington Rd. Phew.
So, to recap:
The climbs... Washington, Vosseller, Dock Watch Hollow, and King George.
The hazards... Left onto Dock Watch Hollow, crossing Mt. Horeb, crossing Mt. Horeb again, and crossing Washington Rd.
Oh, and the wildlife.