Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.
Saturday I got a ton done. Between 7:30 and 10:00 I made banana bread and a huge breakfast for myself (two eggs, four pieces of bacon, two pieces of toast, and a big glass of OJ), washed all the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, folded the laundry, cleaned the bathroom sink and toilet, picked up the house, and made the bed. Then at 10:00 Ian and I went to Worcester, where after some travail we met up with my long-lost pal Amanda Pollack. The three of us then zipped off to play a couple games of bowling (why should two games of bowling for 3 people cost $30? I ask you.) followed by ice cream at Ulhman’?s. I had black raspberry chip, which was quite tasty, and in keeping with my plan to try their flavors alphabetically so as not to be paralyzed by choice. Then Ian dropped me off at home, where I ate a most of a Everything Sandwich while he dropped Amanda off. By 2:00 I had set off for my first 50-mile ride of the weekend.
Sunday we went to church, had a very mediocre experience, and left. We plan on redeeming the day by watching Serenity when night falls.
Seeing a lady riding on the ARRT pulling a trailer — and instead of a toddler back there, she had a small lap dog! Although this is my first time seeing this phenomenon, apparently it’s much more common than I thought.
Also, while riding on the bike trail at a point where it parallels a major road, a carful of teen boys shouted at me: “F*** you, b****!” At first I felt offended, but then I realized they were cruising around in Mom’s Toyota Camry, so I settled on pity. Poor kids who have nothing better to do than cruise around and shout at innocent bicyclists.
Almost running over the legs of a teenage boy resting from rollerblading with his legs outstretched straight across the bike trail (his friend on the other side did the same thing; together they reduced the trail width to half its normal size). This was, as I said, in a tunnel that you come to around a sharp turn, so you can’t see into it until you’re almost inside. Fortunately I had slowed down and entered the tunnel cautiously — also I was at almost 50 miles for the second day in a row, so going slow was par for the course. Otherwise I surely would have flattened his legs, as well as having a nasty crash myself. As I passed I told them, “You guys need to move. That could be really dangerous; somebody could hit you.” They said nothing and I moved on.
Using the dazzling, amazing headlight Mom sent me as a very early birthday present. That was the only good thing about the dark, horrible rainy weather I did not dress appropriately for at all (no booties! How could I not bring booties for 45° rainy weather? What was I thinking, that it would be 70° and sunny again?). At least the light worked beautifully. Based on various recommendations, I have decided to buy a Planetbike Superflash to round out my dim-light riding entourage on Davey.
[NOTE: If the maps below don’t work, I can’t do anything. It’s a bug in the MapMyRide /Google Maps thingy.]
Lots more bike talk.
The day started out dark and rainy, but by 12:30 the clouds had cleared and the temperature soared into the mid-60s. My heart soared, too, because I had resigned myself to a nasty wet ride. By 2:00 I had started out, bringing my neon vest just in case the big towering clouds that had moved in decided they wanted to dump some rain.
They held off for quite a while. In that time, I saw a cyclist with a bright jacket far in the distance, caught up with him and his buddy, and determined that we were all heading to the same place. They willingly let me join them, and that sped the miles between Maynard and Concord — both in my perception and literally, since riding behind people broke the wind, and we kept up a pace of at least 16 or so miles an hour the whole time. Even not drafting, there’s something about riding with other people that makes it easier to ride faster than when I’m alone.
I rode with them to Concord center, where we chatted briefly about tires and saddles, and I ate some of my food. A few fat raindrops fell, but nothing alarming. I felt plenty warm, so I didn’t take out the vest. At that point, they turned around to return to Framingham; I would have liked to ride with them back, but I still had 30 miles to go, so I took off on my own. About five miles later, I saw a guy in a yellow shirt ahead and decided to catch up to him before I turned around. When I caught up with him, I asked if the road led back to Concord. He said no, but then added that he would show me a road that looped straight back to Concord center. Not long after we started riding together, a truck with a horse trailer passed us; a second later, we heard a sound that could have been thunder or the trailer going over a bump. Unfortunately, the appearance of some impressive jagged lightning settled that question quickly enough.
Then it rained.
And by rained, I mean torrential, instantly-soaking, visibility-cutting, inundating thunderstorm rain. It hurt my arms when it hit me. It flowed in rivers down my glasses. It flooded the roads instantly and hid all the cracks and potholes. It soaked me through. My guide’s bike (a serious cyclist, he probably wouldn’t be caught dead with fenders) threw up water from its rear tire right into my face. My shoes became small reservoirs. I turned on my pathetic little lights, not having received Mom’s gift yet, and wished I had put on my vest. We got back to Concord and parted. Finally I put on my vest as the rain started lightening a bit; I figured that the extra visibility would benefit me, at least, since drivers would have to squint against the bright sunny reflections off of the very wet road.
After the incredibly soaking on my unplanned loop, I rode almost straight home, with only one wrong turn in stupid West Concord, where they expect people to magically know where Route 62 goes without any signage. I felt good the whole time and enjoyed the warm weather, not even feeling too cold even while soaking wet — a novel experience after this winter. Then I took a long, hot bath.
This ride started miserable and only became minimally more tolerable as the miles rolled by. I brought the wrong clothes to church, omitting my waterproo
f pants and warm booties. Why did I believe the weather when they said partly cloudy today? We came out of church to find a steady rain falling, which I was ill-prepared to face for 50 miles. I did bring my jacket, but that was the only appropriate clothing I had with me. My hands started off freezing, but they warmed up tolerably over the ride. My hands, however, started out only slightly damp (my shoes never dried completely from Saturday’?s downpour) and got wetter and colder over the course of the ride until after about 13 miles they felt like blocks of ice attached to the pedals. The remaining 37 miles didn’?t bring any improvement in that department.
The start of my ride, from Holden to Rutland, involved some mighty long or steep climbs. I earned those first eight or 10 miles. Later, I lost all that elevation in one amazing swoop down from Princeton, a four-mile stretch of perfectly paved, almost straight downhill that brought me easily to 38 mph as I coasted along. That made up for the toiling I did early on. It was fantastic. I just pray I never decided to head the other direction on Route 62; four steady, steep uphill miles… Ugh.
The route proved scenic in a rural way, passing through working farms and wooded land, by several ponds and reservoirs (most notably the beautiful Wachusett Reservoir, where I got to see the impressive wall holding back all that water). The sun made a few tentative appearances, but mostly heavy gray clouds dominated my three and a half hours outside. Almost no traffic frequented the Hubbardston end of Route 62, and I swear I rode five miles at a stretch without a single car passing me. It was nice, although the road tended towards the heavily cracked, potholed, patched, and rutted — I guess it gets repair commensurate to the amount of traffic it receives. At about 30 miles I popped out in downtown Sterling, nary a mile from where some friends of ours live, and I felt a little disheartened. Their house is only 10 miles from church directly; I had ridden three times that distance to get there. Then I reminded myself that the point is to take the long way around, which made me feel a little better.
The big excitement on this ride was that just outside of South Lancaster, a cop passed me, lights blazing, at at least 60 mph. He was flying. I kept riding and figured I would see who he pulled over when the time came. But when the time did come, he had parked his car in the middle of the lane and was overseeing traffic guidance around a nasty accident. A car had, apparently out of the blue, swerved off the road and into a telephone/power line pole, knocking it seriously askew and smashing the front of the car spectacularly. By the time I got there, a line of traffic had already built up around the police car; I rode by on the shoulder and stopped, watching the emergency vehicles. An ambulance pulled up, disgorging paramedics with a stretcher. A discussion ensued about which lines were power — I could hear the crackle of electricity clearly — and which were telephone. Thankfully it appeared the power lines had remained hanging clear, unbroken. Eventually the cars in my lane gave up, turning around to find alternate routes. I dismounted, crossed the street, and walked by on the far side of the scene. The cop said nothing, and I stayed clear of the firemen who arrived, hurrying with various serious-looking tools (an ax; a crowbar). As I rode on, the cars on the other side of the accident also started turning around.
I hope the person in the car was OK. I couldn’?t imagine how they had gone from driving on a fairly straight, flat road to swerving uncontrolled into a pole. At 1:00 or so in the afternoon, it seemed a little early for drinking… After that things went smoothly. Much more smoothly, in fact, than my Sunday rides before: I felt really good (thanks, I’?m sure, in part to a steady tailwind once I got on Route 62) and not nearly as tired as I have on previous Day Two rides. I’?m also getting used to 50 miles, food- and drink-wise, as well as what pace I can sustain (about 14 mph). I think so far the training schedule is serving me well, helping me get used to two long rides in a row without dying off.
That is all.
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