It’s almost Friday folks. Do some cool skids today.
This last weekend I rode the D2R2 with my parents – a gravel ride out in Western Mass, infamous for being one of the hilliest rides in New England. Here are a few things I learned:
1. Biking up endless, gravel hills is WAY more fun than I thought it would be. Seriously. I had a blast. The route was beautiful, the people were great, and the beer was delicious.
2. Charles of ARTCRANK was right that gravel is way more tiring for your arms than you would think. I expected my legs to be exhausted, but at the end of the day my legs felt fine but my arms were wicked tired.
3. I’m stronger than I thought I was. I’ve been pretty nervous about this ride all summer, and so I’ve been putting in miles whenever I could and going out of my way to climb hills on normally flat routes – and the crazy thing is – I think it paid off. Right now my legs feel like they could eat hills for breakfast. I’m proud of myself for how I rode, and I feel good right now. Strange how training can do that…
4. If I thought I loved my Space Horse (my bike) before this ride, I love it even more now. I made a few adjustments in the last few weeks that made a huge difference, and I think I’m finally perfecting the fit. I put on a different crankset, and a third stem, and I think I’m dialing in the fit. Geez, I really love that bike.
5. My parents are cooler than me. But I already knew that.
The leaves are beginning to fall on the Southwest Corridor (my main route to work), so I spent last weekend panicked that summer is ending. I had this feeling of urgency that I needed to ride my bike as much as possible and spend all day, everyday outside. This was amplified by my rising anxiety about the D2R2, and the sinking feeling that I’m not ready for 100K of gravel and 10,000+ ft of climbing. I think that I’ve finally convinced myself that I am prepared. We’ll see.
That being said, I spent as much of the weekend as possible out riding. I took full advantage of my 3-day Friday-Sunday weekend. I rode between drinking beers with friends, played bike polo three of the nights, biked to eat delicious meals, went on a brewery tour, attended a women’s bike festival, and raced an alleycat for the first time in two years. With the exception of a 12 mile race, I rode 110+ miles over four days without intentionally going out ‘riding’ once.
I tried to recreate most of the weekend on Google Maps.
It started Thursday after work – I rode from work to a beer on the Esplanade, attended a National Moment of Silence for Victims of Police Brutality, made a quick trip home and then decided to go to polo because… well because its polo.
And then Friday morning I kicked it off with some dim sum, then explored the Arboretum with someone new to town, played polo and had a beer to celebrate a friend’s birthday to round out the night.
Saturday I went to Boston Bikes’ Women’s Bike Festival (more on that later this week) in West Roxbury, fixed up my bike, and then some friends and I did our monthly 6-pack shuffle ride.
And lastly Sunday I unintentionally rode 20 miles, played 2-3 hours of polo, and then decided it would be a good idea to race what was supposedly a 6 mile sprint race, but was really a 12 mile alley-cat. Oops. I don’t really have any idea how I routed through some parts of Boston, but this map is my best estimation.
[Aside: I had a fun time racing and I'm glad I did, but I have to say that it was sort of disappointing to go to my first alleycat in 2 years, and out of a field of 50ish racers I was 1 of 2 women. Sorta feels like fixie bro culture hasn't changed much in the last 7 years. ]
In all, it was an excellent late summer weekend of drinking beers outside by bodies of water, playing polo until the lights went out, playing polo in the daylight, riding up big hills carrying 25 pounds of smoothie ingredients, eating three different kinds of pork in one meal, eating burritos for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (yes, that really did happen in one day), enjoying a leisurely brunch with friends, hanging out on a castle ledge looking out over downtown Boston, and remembering that feeling of sort of wanting to puke during an alleycat.