After a very cold spring, on Monday I did my first century of the year, following the route that I first explored over the Fourth of July weekend last year: from Boston up to Beverly, looping around Cape Ann to Rockport and Essex, back to Salem, and down to Boston again.
It’s a good example of why I do such long rides. It was a beautiful day: nice and warm, but with cool sea breezes coming off the ocean. The lilacs and magnolias were in bloom, and I passed numerous places of interest: Hammond Castle, Stage Fort Park, the surf-pounded shore at Bass Rocks and Magnolia, Good Harbor beach, Halibut Point, the little footbridge at Annisquam, the Gloucester fisherman’s monument and the drawbridge,the Salem witch house, my birthplace and the first house I lived in, the Chamber of Commerce my father ran, the offices of one former employer (Business Innovation) and three former clients (NYNEX, Supplyscape, and Habama)…
The ride started out really well, and I didn’t even think about stopping for a rest until Mile 50. As the odometer eventually clicked past 90 and 100 miles, I found myself gradually losing power, and had a hard time getting over the route’s one big ascent in the Middlesex Fells. I was tired enough that I cut the ride “short” by returning to Boston via Rutherford Avenue in Charlestown rather than going through Davis Square and Cambridge. But in the end, I still racked up a 115-mile total.
Overall, I really enjoyed the ride, and was pretty pleased with my level of fitness. I’m happily re-acquiring my long-lost tan lines, and feeling more confident approaching next weekend’s Tour d’Essex County century, which traverses several of the same towns I just rode through.
This is a pretty typical time for me to break the 100-mile barrier. I’ve done a solo century in early May in four of the last five years, and done another century in late May for the past three years.
After Memorial Day weekend’s Tour d’Essex County, I’ll do Outriders in mid-June, Mount Washington in mid-July, and PMC in early August. So aside from the weather-slowed start, this year looks like it’ll be pretty typical, in terms of rides of more than 100 miles.
Unless I get some inexplicable urge to do an additional, unplanned solo century just for the fun of it…