I'm sure others will weigh in with their thoughts on the ride as well, but here are mine:
To put it simply, it was a wonderful ride, which I hope is added to the club's regular rotation, possibly as a fall ride when it's likely to be a little cooler; the 4th of July weekend won't always be this nice, and a 70 miler with lots of climbing wouldn't be near as pleasant in humid 90°+ temperatures :-D.
If you want more details, read on:
The weather was absolutely perfect: about 80°, sunny and dry, with almost no wind. I pulled into Goddard park around 8:30 for a 9:00 start. It was the first time I've ever been in the park, and it's quite impressive. It took a bit of guessing which way to go, but I figured it out. When I got there, there were already a few people getting ready, and when I saw Alan's yellow jersey, I knew I had the right spot. Unloading the bike, putting on the sunblock, loading up the jersey pockets, etc, took 15 minutes or so, and we were standing around seeing if anybody was going to pull in at the last minute, and sure enough, somebody did. So we pulled out at about 9:05, and I reset my cyclocomputer's altimiter to keep track of the climbing and altitude along the way.
Alan led the way, circling through the park, and then along the city streets until we got out of town. The early parts of the ride were mostly flat with a few short climbs to get the legs warmed up, but as we got further out, the hills got steeper and a bit longer. Alan warned us that he was not going to be able to keep up with the rest of the group, so we let him and John fall back while Paula led the way since she knew the roads. At one point she suggested an alternate route which kept us off of Rt 94 in favor of a series of more rural, shady, and less-trafficed roads, and it was a very nice route. We had one significant crash when Jim lost control on a patch of sand, and just missed crashing into a rock wall surrounding a cemetary. He did a very acrobatic flip with the bike going over him while I dodged out to the left. He ended up with some significant road rash on an elbow and both knees, and the bike suffered a bent handlebar, but no damage was done which prevented him from continuing; even the front wheel stayed true. Pete knew some people who lived just a 1/4 mile down the road, so we went there and Jim got his scrapes cleaned and bandaged, and the rest of us refilled our water bottles. I don't know their names, but I want to thank them again for their hospitality to a batch of cyclists dropping in unannounced.
The rest of the route was pretty uneventful, but the reception at the top of Jerimoth hill was pretty cool. The people who own the land had given permission for cyclists to ride up the little two-track trail up to the peak of the hill, and a couple of guys from the "High pointers" organization were guiding visitors and telling a little about the history of the area and its current situation. Then the six of us all climbed up on the rock with our bikes while they took pictures, which they promised to e-mail to the club. Hopefully, we'll see them on the web site. A few minutes of talking, snacking and resting, and we headed back out on the road. At this point we had about (IIRC) 33 miles at about 14.3 mph.
The ride back was largely uneventful, over mostly empty, rolling country roads, with a few short stretches of busier highway riding. We stopped at the Summit General store (I have no idea where it is, though) to reload on water, Gatorade and food, and while we were eating Alan and John pulled in. It turned out that they were just getting to Jerimoth hill as we were pulling out, so they decided to keep going instead of pulling in and checking it out. To me, it seemed to kind of defeat the purpose of this ride, but that's just me ;-) We had one flat on the way back, and it happened to one of the guys who were hanging at the back of the group, so we didn't know it at first. The lead group had stopped in a parking lot to wait, and a guy in a car asked if we were waiting for two other riders, and when I said yes, he said that they had a flat back at the bottom of the big hill. And it was quite a hill; I set a new personal top speed record at 46 mph.
We averaged much faster on the way back (as expected, with the 800 feet of elevation drop), but there were still some significantly steep, though mostly short climbs, and a few longer but more gradual climbs along the way. Thanks to a couple of detours, and chasing down the lead pair when they missed a turn, I ended up with 73.1 miles (instead of the designed 69) at an overall average of 15.2 mph, with a riding time of 4:47 and 3624 feet of climbing. We pulled into the Goddard Park Beach parking lot at about 3:15, 6:10 from the time we left. A couple of us decided to wade out into the water at the beach, though I only went in ankle deep; the water was warm and had lots of algae in it, making it kind of slimy.
A wonderful day on two wheels, and I hope you guys who did the ClavicALE ride enjoyed yours as much as we did this one!