You know it was a hard ride when you wake up the next morning still feeling hollow-hungry. Strava says the ride took 2820 calories.
Joe and Chris were coming for 2:00. We’d planned the ride with visions of a sunny April day. As Joe stepped onto my porch, the rain was mixing with snow. But Weather Underground said the rain wouldn’t last, and indeed, it slacked off just as we swung onto our saddles.
“How many miles?” Chris asked.
“Jesus Christ. Last night at the bike shop you said 25.”
“No, I said forty one.”
He said, “That must have been after the 8% beer.”
The descent from my house to Old Roxbury was cold. We’d get warm soon. The wind was more concerning, straight into our faces even in the valley. When we hit the gale along the open ridge top of Dorothy Diebold Lane, we knew just how bad this was going to be.
Steep Rock was quiet, sheltered by the ridge on the other side of the Shepaug, but the more open valley along 47 out of the Depot funneled the wind right into our faces. That disappeared when we turned onto the old tracks. We figured we might hit some mud along the old rail bed – There’s nearly always water somewhere on them. We didn’t figure we’d hit a 6 in. deep puddle that ran for what was probably 200 feet. We tried riding the side, but that was just mud. The puddle at least had a hard bottom, and we rode its center, our wakes lapping the shore.
If the ongoing rain hadn’t been enough, the puddle ensured that our feet were wet.
Joe said, “This is what happens when a mountain biker plans the route.”
My legs burned on the Whittlesey Road climb. The down to 202 was cold, but the occasional rain had stopped and the skies were bluing. Eventually we got to West Shore Drive. The west wind hit us full on when we came around the point of Mt. Bushnell. Waramaug had whitecaps on it. We only had to ride that for a mile or two, but it was’t much fun. It was just work, our heads down, our legs churning.
Of the three of us, I was the only one who’d ridden Gunn Hill. I couldn’t really warn the others. In any event, they’d only hate me for a few minutes, and value the having-done-it for months. Gunn Hill was rain-soft dirt and stupid-steep. Joe’s roadie legs got him up first. I stopped for a moment to ease a nascent cramp. Hearing Chris’s locomotive-breathing pulling away got me back on the pedals almost immediately. My quads burned, burned so that I wanted to quit, burned so I knew there’d be cramps later.
I made it up. We all made it up. And we were all cold descending Findlay, descending Walker Brook. For me, from Walker Brook home was a suffer fest. The climbs – Judd’s Bridge, Apple Lane, Old Roxbury, and even the first bit of Transylvania – all heated up my burning quads.
So, yeah, it was a good ride.
And Strava is a lying bitch. There’s no way that was only 2820 calories.