This past Saturday (yes now 6 days ago) I woke up even earlier than I do on a weekday in order to catch the mythical HUP Arlington road ride. Not being a fan of Arlington and more specifically the route I have to take to get there I've shrugged off this ride all spring.
I've missed riding with the HUP originators like Stephen Jablonski and Mike Salvatore so I finally made the effort to get up early and head over to Arlington for what promised to be enjoyable company, long miles, and acceptable weather. In attendance was Stephen "I know every awesome side road in MA" Jablonski, Yasushi "it's sooo cold" Katsumi, Jeff "I swear, I've never ridden a century despite the fact that I am ripping your legs off at mile 125" Bramhall, and Graham "my beard is better than your beard" Dimmock. The plan was to ride casually to Harvard and then decide whether or not to continue to Wachusett Mtn. The overnight rain left the roads wet for the first hour but as the sun went to work, the roads dried and the temperature rose.
We took the normal route to Harvard and everyone (except Graham since he was racing on SUnday) decided to power on to Wachusett. I've only ridden to Wachusett once before and that was following the CRW Climb to the Clouds route so I defered to Stephen who had printed out some options. I also had google maps on my crackberry to supplement the decisions. I don't know how he did it, but Stephen got an absolutely awesome backroads route from mapquest (usually my least favorite direction site) that we only screwed up once. When the four of us arrived to Wachusett, there was no doubt that Stephen, Jeff, and I were going to ride up to the summit. Yash said not to wait for him because he didn't plan on summitting. We waited at the summit anyway and Yash came rolling in just as we were about to head down. I think he impressed himself the most.
We took the same general route back to Harvard and then took the usual (with a few excellent detours compliments of Stephen) route from Harvard. We stopped for a crummy lunch in Sterling and delicious pastries in W.Acton before cruising into Arlington. The final numbers are a bit daunting but surprisingly the spirits were high and the sense of accomplishment from the group was through the roof. I'm really looking foward to the Gentlemen's Race with Stephen and Jeff. If this ride was any indication, we will have a strong, positive team in New Paltz.
On Sunday we were invited to retell the experience at Chip's place while he and his wife Pam put out an impressive food and beverage spread for us. Thanks to Tom's wife Gretchen for the Hupcakes and to Rob for the H1N1 guacamole. Thanks as well to Pam for letting smelly bike people invade her house and use her hot tub.