What Happened To The Tuesday Night Hustle?

July 15, 2015 § 1 Comment

If you are a bike nut, and of course when I say bike I mean bicycle, and not a motorcycle. Really we would say a cycling nut because we are “cyclists”, and not just “bicycle riders”. What is the difference? WTF knows, but there is a difference! So, if you are a cycling nut, and you are nuts enough to race your bicycle, and by race that could be race in mass start events like weekend criteriums, or road races, or it could be race as in you are a tri-head, but you really really really love the cycling portion of the event, and to go fast on the bike is something that you think about all the time when you aren’t riding.

Along comes a weekly ride that you have been waiting for. A ride that you have read about in other parts of the country, or friends of yours from Ogalala post to their Facebook accounts every week about this ride that totally kills them, and you think “Damn, why isn’t there a ride like that at The Jersey Shore?” Sometimes you have that ride on weekend if the right people show up, but generally you want something like that during the week. Something to break up the week and give you a decent workout mid-week, and prep you for whatever the weekend will bring. Something that has you just on the limits of your abilities, until you fall back and drop back in behind the last person of the pace line and ahhhhh, just enough relief that you realize you can hold on for another turn.

That is what the Tuesday Night Hustle means to Jersey Shore cycling nuts. It all started not too long after Jonathan Erdelyi opened The Red Bicycle Studio in Red Bank thus bringing a bike shop back to downtown Red Bank. When Spring rolled around he started going out on Tuesdays at 5:30. The initial meets were at Marine Park in Red Bank, and soon rumors of the ride began to circulate around. I found out about the ride during one of the regular Saturday rides out of Tavolo Pronto, and made the commitment to get out there the following Tuesday. At that time the course followed the bike route of the Red Bank Triathlon, a challenging course with some good climbs that runs out into Holmdel and back. Some of the issues with the course included the exiting traffic from Red Bank during the start of the ride, the condition of Crawford Corners Road in a section just North of Red Hill Road; The condition of both sections of Holmdel Road, as well as the traffic factor on Holmdel Road. However, with all those obstacles, the nature of the ride was that once we rolled out and over the Front Street Bridge and turned onto Hubbard, it turned into an all out drop ride. It might be safe to say, the effort ramped up, and by the time we hit Middletown-Lincroft road, we were putting solid efforts in and shedding riders.

A drop ride is a drop ride. When you get dropped, the thing to do is to regroup with the other dropeez and to try and make it back on, or at the very least, pick up more dropeeze as you go. For those at the front, what a thrill. That first year was fantastic! Yes it was kind of dangerous, and yes, we kind of took some foolish chances, and yes we might even have been assholes to traffic, but we were flying along, taking pulls, and holding on for dear life. If you could hold on for the final run down Nutswamp, you were in for one hell of a finish. Between Jonathan, Doug, Cole Porter, myself and anyone else who had hung on, the run down Nutswamp was  30-33 mph of pure adrenaline speed. Pack that in tablet form, and give me a couple with a glass of water. That was THE shit!

After a hard winter, bad roads got worse, and though we all looked forward to the coming Tuesday Nights, and we did have some great runs, it was dangerous, and there were close calls, and the roads were worse. Personally, I felt like that ride had reached the point where it was just getting a little too dangerous for the road conditions, and I stopped showing up. At some point, a lot of others did as well, and then construction on the Front Street Bridge began, and the Bamm Hollow project began, and the reality of continuing that course logistically became too much.

This year The Hustle came back with a new course. The start moved to the new Fair Haven location of the Red Bicycle Studio, and the route went out to Sea Bright and North to include Sandy Hook and return. A relatively flat straight run with minimal cross traffic intersections, and long runs of all out effort. The warm-up was pretty much out to Sea Bright where once we’d hit Ocean Ave North, the fun began. On great days, the wind was from the South and it was all Pleasure Before Business 33+ mph down Ocean and into Sandy Hook, where really, we didn’t slow down. All the way out to the end at full gas was a lot, and we shelled some riders, but that is the nature of the ride. Hell, I shelled myself more than a few times! Was feeling great until I wasn’t, and then that is all it took.

So now, here it is July, and a few weeks ago, Andrew Brennan asked me at Wednesday’s GSVA Track Meet what happened to The Hustle. He showed up and no one was there. I couldn’t make it a few weeks, and finally last week I made the commitment, and the only person there was Derrick, who was out on one of his first rides since smashing his collar bone in a horrible crash at the entrance to Sandy Hook. Just the two of us on a nice July day. This week, when Jonathan posted the ride, I made it a point to express commitment, and this time it was Derrick, Douggie and I. Just 3 of us. What has happened to everyone? Where is Paul, and Lenny? Grant Aidner had started out with us and though he was getting dropped, he was getting stronger. Andrew would be back with us if he knew there would be regular participation. There are some who have up and coming Ironman Competitions, or other competitions, but that doesn’t account for everyone.

So, in the spirit of finding out what is wrong, I put together this survey to see what is on people’s minds, and what could be done to get riders back into the fold in this event. The reality is that the Sandy Hook loop is, IMHO, a much safer route overall, and though it lacks the separation making characteristics of a good hill climb, the sheer speed of the group is enough to shell baby seals off the back where club happy Canadians can’t wait to bop them over the head.

Finally, if someone pissed you off, then I am sorry. Get over it and come back to the ride. There is safety in numbers, and with a stronger group, everyone benefits, so let’s get this ride back on the front pages of our lives and let’s all start looking forward to Tuesday’s and when it comes to telling your spouse what you are up to, just don’t mention anything truthy about the ride. Come out for a beat down, and have some fun.

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