On the Harvard Honor Roll
This spring hasn’t offered any warm days, at least not at the coast, where a very chilly sea breeze kicks up any time the temperature threatens to break out of the low 50s. So when Tuesday looked to be the only favorable day all month, I took a PTO to do my first century of the year.
The timing was doubly important because next weekend is forecast to be rainy, and I usually try to get one century under my belt in early May. The weekend after that I will be out of town, and the following weekend is the Tour d’Essex County, my first organized century of the year. So it was pretty much now or never.
I also wanted to see how the new bike felt on its first hundred-mile ride. Overall, I felt really comfortable on the bike and it performed quite well. With that acid test under my belt, I think I can safely say that I’m quite happy with my purchase, although there’ll be a more specific review forthcoming.
For a route, I chose to solo the ride out to Littleton, then down through Harvard, Hudson, Sudbury, and back (GPS log). The last time I rode this route was an attempt at a solo century last June, when I was dropped by my buddies and struggled mightily in the summer heat just to get home (GPS log). On that ride, I returned to Boston with 95 miles, but was completely unable to undertake another five miles to complete the century.
This year I took it easy and stayed within my pace. Although my average speed was below 16 mph, in many ways I still made better time than I did on that 2012 ride, and I was also able to ride the first 45 miles without a single rest stop. However, my strength was definitely flagging in the last quarter of the ride. Of course, one’s first century of the year usually is all about the pain.
The weather wound up being near perfect, starting in the high 50s in Boston, but climbing into the 70s and 80s the further I got from the coast. While a strong sea breeze did kick up in my face on the return leg, at least the temperature stayed in a pleasant range.
So it was a really nice ride, and at least the first 50-60 miles was pretty relaxed and comfortable. Those last 30 miles, though, made me very glad to have my first century of the year behind me!
And now I can take a couple rainy days to recuperate, while knowing that I should have little to no problem completing the Tour d’Essex County at the end of the month.