It’s June, so the cycling season has gotten serious. Here are the three most recent developments…
After opening the month with my first Tour d’Essex County (see previous post), last weekend I went to Maine to visit my mother. Except I did so by bike.
No, I didn’t ride the whole 360-mile round trip, but after taking Amtrak to Portland, I rode the 66 miles from Portland to Augusta on Saturday, then back again the next day.
Not that anyone reading this knows the area or cares, but my route basically follows Route 9 from Portland, past Bradbury Mountain in Pownall, crosses the Androscoggin at Lisbon Falls, endures some more serious hills going up to Sabbatus, then finally dumps Route 9 for the Litchfield Road and the Whitten Road into Augusta. It’s very hilly, and doubly hard when there’s the usual northwest headwind.
Still, it was well past time for my first back-to-back long rides of the year, and doing 136 miles over two days was good training for the upcoming Outriders ride.
On the other hand, I’d done the hills of Waltham’s Trapelo Road only two days before, and by the end of the Maine trip, my right knee was complaining pretty loudly. So I spent a few days off the bike to let it recuperate.
Item number two: yesterday was the 130-mile Outriders ride from Boston to Provincetown, at the far tip of the Cape of Good Cod.
I rode pretty strong, but started slowing down a bit after mile 80. My knee wasn’t happy, so I took it a bit easier on the hills and didn’t do any jackrabbit starts.
My buddy Noah came with, which was nice. He’s a strong, young rider, but he was undertrained, and had a bit of the bonk about the time we hit the century mark. Not only was this his first Outriders ride, but it was also his first time riding on the Cape, so I had fun taking him on the rollercoaster Route 6 Access Road and the CCRT and Ocean View Drive.
Despite our travails, we recovered and finished well. The ride seemed shorter than usual to me, and I felt better at the end. Part of that might be because it was a very cold day—about 61 degrees, with a stiff northeast headwind—but even so, nine hours and 130 miles makes for a very long, exhausting day in the saddle!
And, of course, this was my second century of the year, which keeps me on pace with previous years. Here's the GPS log.
After dinner and ice cream in Provincetown, we hopped the 8:30pm ferry back to Boston. I’m thinking perhaps next year I should host a pre-ride breakfast at my place, since I’m only a few blocks from the start.
The third item is that toward the end of Outriders I rolled over 20,000 miles on the Plastic Bullet, which has been my primary bike for the past six and a half years.
That bike’s been very good to me, and I don’t look forward to replacing it with a new, unknown quantity, but it’s definitely showing its age. My previous (steel hybrid) bike was retired with a little shy of 17,000 miles, so the PB has done a very admirable job. But as much as I hate to say it, it’s almost time to relegate it to "beater" status and find myself something new and shiny.
But first, we’ve got to spend another couple thousand miles together, doing my first Mount Washington Century and this year’s PMC, and maybe my first Maine Lighthouse Ride. So there’s still some more good times ahead for the old steed…