This gallery contains 15 photos.
This gallery contains 7 photos.
Full Results Here
Nerac Riders: Jill, Mike, Steve and Pete
Lots of things are new to me lately. Strava, my bike, different rides and people on those rides. I got a message on Strava about the B+ ride at Alternative Spoke listed under NERAC Earth Cycling. After a couple of text with Steve, of course during my breaks at work-never while I was supposed to be working!!, I decided to try this new ride out.
Of course karma was in full swing and I got tied up at work getting out an hour late. On the up side I found my old beat up truck would do 80 mph all the way from Manchester to Stafford then back to Willington without the motor blowing up (a new thing)!
So I flew home changed, grabbed a Clif bar, helmet, shoes and my new bike. I got to the ride with 5 minutes to spare. As I was getting my bike and stuff together I realized I forgot my seat pack (a new thing), so no tube tire levers or CO2, too late now I’m going without it.
After chatting with Mike, Jill and Steve they introduced me to Ed Saunders the ride leader. Then after the B ride left we were off. We ventured out into Tolland, Ellington, Vernon and eventually back Willington.
It was in Ellington that I flatted with no tube or anything. Luckily Steve is a great guy and gave me his tube and CO2. Thankfully Jill didn’t give me “the riding with no spare lecture”, although she wanted to, I lucked out because there was a couple walking their dogs so her attention went to them and I changed the tube as fast as I could.
We eventually headed back to Willington, it was getting pretty dark I thought “would have been nice if I didn’t forget to put my new blinky light on my new bike” when my new bottle holders starting pitching out my water bottles, I wasn’t stopping for them so I just rode the last 10 miles dry.
All in all it was a fun ride everyone chatting, good climbs and fast downhills. Our leader Ed had a good loop going despite the new bike guy being a p.i.t.a. with problems. Back in the parking lot he said for us to come back and ride anytime. Then he came over to check out my new bike and see if anything was still left on it he commented “well at least your motor was running really good”.
Also Ed does an excellent job as a ride leader. He reads the group and keeps an appropriate steady pace. He also patiently lets the ride regroup whenever possible. This makes the ride enjoyable for everyone as it takes the pressure of riders who climb slower. He also managed to ride and chat with everyone in the group. Nice job Ed!!
I’ll be back for this ride but next time I’ll be prepared with my bike dialed in, tubes, lights and new water bottles.-Pete
This past weekend I found myself driving up to Byfield, Ma. To ride the Blazing Saddles Century. After seeing it in the NERAC newsletter I had registered for the century but after having yet another unexpected eye surgery and two weeks off the bike I opted for the metric.
Having never done this ride I wasn’t sure what to expect. One of my coworkers had ridden it 10 years ago with 3 hrs sleep and a hangover. Despite the self induced trauma he said it was a pretty good ride and completed it.
Once there the pre reg process was smooth and organized I was rewarded with my shirt, cue sheet and complimentary North Shore Cyclist water bottle. I hopped on my IF and headed out. I saw a few cyclists hanging around talking and thought they were waiting for friends. What I didn’t know was it was a mass start and I had left 20 minutes early.
Once out on the road I found the markings a little scarce, usually one before a turn and one confidence arrow after. All the marks were white and the same design, so when the splits for the 100, 62 and 50 came they would have the number under the arrow. There were also a lot of different markings painted on the road that made it a little confusing.
At the century and metric split there was quite a bit of confusion with many people missing the turn for the metric, me being one of them. Once back on course you had to be mindful of the turns, when you’re rolling along at 20+ mph all that paint starts to look the same.
Other than that this was a great ride. Once you got out of the school area the roads turned into quiet rolling country lanes that went by fields of purple and yellow wildflowers, wooded areas and farm land complete with cow poop aroma. It also followed the Merrimac River for a time as well, making it a very scenic ride with the smell of the ocean in the air. I was pleasantly surprised on how rural this part of the state is. For some reason I had a misconception that being the north shore of Boston it would be more of an urban environment with busy roads and heavy traffic.
At the rest stops I found very friendly volunteers at lots of food choices. For example it ranged from fruit, cookies, PB&J sandwiches, PB & banana sandwiches, Gatorade and water. The first one was located in a park with a small pond and music playing. The second stop wasn’t open when I passed it so I had to conserve my lone half full water bottle for the remaining 15 miles. I wasn’t alone as the other six cyclists who finished at the same time had the similar issue. I think due to our early departure and a pretty fast pace we simply arrived at the second stop before the volunteers did.
I would recommend this ride, for next year, and would consider doing it again as it had some great scenery, friendly volunteers, well stocked rest stops and a grill with hot dogs, munchies and soft drinks at the finish. -Pete