The season ending pastry ride was announced a few weeks ago and confirmations started pouring in pretty quickly. The rules were simple. Show up, be prepared to eat tasty treats, leave your powertaps, SRMs, and race wheels at home. Wear some wool, maybe a leather helmet, and expect to enjoy 2.5 hours of casual riding with good friends and teammates.
The only downside was that the ride started in NH and a bunch of us live in Boston. The solution that we came up with was to ride up there and then enjoy the group ride before hopping on a train to get back home. Here is a chronology of my day
6:15am: Wake-up (tired) and confirm it is still raining and that fenders and waterproof clothing will be necessary.
6:30am: Get the fenders and all-season wheels mounted
6:45am: Start consuming calories (two bowls of Raisin Bran Crunch) and sit around debating whether or not I can just bag the ride and go back to bed. Verify that three others are committed so I probably need to show up.
7:15am: Reluctantly pull on my finest lycra and apply some embrocation while hoping it might stop raining before I walk out the door.
7:30am: As I walk out the door, I’m able to confirm it is just a light mist. I’ve got to drop off my bag of clothes and stuff in Watertown to be shuttled up to NH by Mr. Bramhall.
8am: I drop off the bag on Jeff’s front porch just as the mist turns into a steady rain (Can I just sleep on the porch for a little while?)
8:33am: Arriving fashionably late (and unfashionably soaked) at Peets in Lex Center I noticed there are three fine racing machines leaned against the wall. My hopes of missing the train are dashed.
8:45am: Final bits of pastry and coffee are consumed and we walk back out to the steady drizzle to begin our journey north. Luckily Murat has the route dialed because apparently he spends most weekends finding the best roads within riding distance of Cambridge and none of us really want to be fumbling with a map or written directions in these conditions.
We estimate our trip at 45 miles and give ourselves a generous 2.5-3 hours to complete the journey, not quite knowing what we’ll encounter. Murat is wise enough to find a flat route and despite one flat tire (which was rather wicked btw) we still make it to Simpson’s in under 2.5 hours.
11:15am: I am really impressed with the upbeat spirit during the ride despite the fact that it rained, drizzled, or misted for at least 43 of the 45 miles. When we arrive at Matt’s, the garage is open and we are greeted with dry t-shirts and treated to a huge spread of delicious treats, including some gingerbread cupcakes (gotta remember to get that recipe) while Matt dries out our soaked clothes on ultra gentle cycle.
11:30am: Hanging out with the Simpson family and their dog is great. It almost makes me forget the soaking wet chamois and 35+ miles that still lie ahead of us.
11:35am: The first wave of riders show up. Ronny, Mark, and Tom roll in together. I’m impressed that people didn’t back out due to the weather. Then Ronny tells me it is sunny at his house right now.
11:40am: Jimbo rolls in, with wool and leather helmet. Nice
11:45am: They’re coming fast and furious now. Justin, Stephen, Jeff, Eli, Kerry, Roland.
11:50am: Steaming hot jerseys, arm warmers, and vests are delivered from the drier. It feels soooo good to put them on.
Noon: The grandparents arrive to watch after the three Simpson daughters freeing both Matt and Kerry S to chaperone the ride
12:15pm: We embark on the most casual of casual rides
12:16pm: We discover that Roland’s casual gear is missing as he rides off the front
12:30pm: Conversational pace, everyone is behaving and enjoying the company
1:14pm: Justin shares coffee (and milk) from his travel thermos with anyone who is interested. I guess, since there are not Starbucks every quarter mile in NH we have to bring our own coffee. No complaints though.
1:15pm: Time check confirms that those trying to catch the train back to Boston ought to pick up the pace a bit. Roland is happy to help with this and he turns the casual pastry ride into a bit of a speed ride.
2:00pm: After 45 minutes of beautiful, rolling hills and slightly faster than desired pace, Roland has delivered the 4 of us to a turning off point.
2:08pm: We say our goodbyes and head off on the route that Roland just described
2:09pm: Woops, none of us listened very well to Roland and after successfully completing the first turn, we are unsure of the next turn. Consulting Nick’s Garmin 705 gets us back on track and we access our time/speed requirements.
2:10pm: The train leaves at 3:04, we estimate 12-13 miles to go, on a paved bike path covered with leaves and a few weekend walkers. Pacelining begins.
2:25pm: It’s sooo cooold, and Yash is starting to fade a bit. Murat whips out some food and forces Yash to consume. Within seconds Yash is back to full strength and pacing us to the train.
2:50pm: Enough time to spare, we roll into Ayer and Murat recognizes the commuter rail stop a short distance away. We load up with chocolate milk and snacks at the Mobil Mart and begin analyzing what was an unexpectedly great day with friends, pastries, and 90 miles of pavement.
3:05pm: We’re encouraged to take the last car on the train since we’ll have an elevated ramp in Porter Square to aid in unloading our bikes. What we don’t realize is that we are also sent to the back due to our smell, appearance, and nuisance factor.
3:10pm: The bikes are piled in the back of the train and we all start removing wet shoes and socks.
3:45pm: Conversations shift between bicycles, bars, women, and racing while the train lumbers into Porter Square.
4pm: We unload in Porter and head off in four different directions. The weekend is over and another killer ride is in the books. The season isn’t over, just changing.
Thanks Matt and Kerry for organizing the event and letting us invade your space for the day. And all the HUP and FOHUP who made the ride, let's do it again sooner than later.