Usually about 150 riders. It splits pretty evenly between pelotons versus more casual riders. Last year, my friend and I rode the first 40 or so miles with a large, fast pack. After that there were smaller pacelines. In general though, all the riders were really friendly, etc. Definitely not a hammerhead/ego type atmosphere, even in the large groups.
They do have a bag drop, which is GREAT. However, no shower facilities. It is pretty casual. Some people stay the night after the ride. But, my friend and I hopped on an 8:30 ferry back to Boston. We finished around 4:30/5:00ish so we had some nice downtime before heading back.
Didn't get free to ride until 4 o'clock. By the time I got to Arlington Center, I realized that I hadn't dressed for conditions--my kit was a little too much "cool weather" on a breezy day on the boundary between cool and cold. Doubling back and changing put me back on the road at 4:30. After that false start, I rode out the Minuteman. The low sun striped the path with tree-trunk shadows like bar codes, creating the familiar stroboscopic effect and evoking John Lincoln Wright's "Horizon Line", one of the best road songs ever.
The same low sun vividly illuminated the bare trees on their sunny side, Nature's own high-definition display.
When I got to Depot Park, Bedford, I knew my original Carlisle-Concord route intentions had run afoul of the time lost at the beginning of the ride. Plan B was to start back on the Minuteman, take a left on Wiggins Avenue, then hop onto Preston Court and cross the Shawsheen River on the Bridge Street Path's small pedestrian bridge (a.k.a., the Preston Court Worm-hole). This turned out to be in good, rideable condition.
The Shawsheen was running high from the end-of-the-thaw run-off, but was not in flood.
From there, followed Bridge Street and Shawsheen Road to Page Road, and headed East. That got me a staged climb up a significant hill, pleasantly warming. Near the top, I noted that the "Please don't squish my chickens!" sign has been taken down, though the hub caps are still nailed to the fence. Hope this doesn't signify one more unwanted change. Crossing the Lexington line, Page Road becomes Grove street. I stopped at the top of the hill to look back West and take a picture.
I enjoyed a brisk descent on Grove Street, missing 30 mph by .4 only because I maintained a relatively upright position on the bike to scan the pavement for damage wreaked by the Winter's insults; as it happens, I needn't have bothered, the pavement is in fine shape. This was the first time this season that I've ridden this hill, expect I'll return to it soon. 23 miles (including the false start) through Arlington, Lexington, and Bedford, with 1486' of elevation gain.
On the ride out, I had been thrilled by numerous red-wing blackbirds calling in Tophet Swamp. That's a harbinger of Spring, cold weather or no. As I rode back through Arlington's Great Meadows in the fading light, there was no mistaking that critters (frogs? bugs? birds?) were adding volume and complexity to the pale hints of the Night Chorus that I'd heard on rides over the last few weeks. Hurrah!
I rode my first 37 mile loop de loop sherborndoverwestwooddovermedfielddoversherborn of the year. The only black ice was in Sherborn where the Rocky Narrow Conservation Land upper field drains across the Forest St to the lower field.
The sparrows, tufted titmouse, chickadees, junkos and grackles were rustling in the rhodies about the upcoming weather, a few crows swooped over as I rode and a deer was unimpressed with my finish. Nice to get out
Got out ahead of the snow this evening for a cold, dark, breezy 10 miles on the Minuteman. A contemplative ride. Passed an old couple chatting amiably in Mandarin as they walked the trail together: bai tou dao lao.
Commuting was fun today - maybe the wind and sleet were a little annoying, but there's nothing going through the slush on slight knobbles and totally not caring. Next winter I'm going to buy some good over-glasses ski goggles.
Rode out the Minuteman to Lexington Center at the end of the day, 10 miles. At the turn-around point, a delicate peaches-and-plums sunset was in progress that illuminated my rear-view mirror for much of the return ride. The temperature dropped through the 30s over the course of the ride; it wasn't freezing when I was out, but was definitely headed in that direction. The critters singing in the darkness to their inamorata were still at it tonight; yesterday's snow seemed to have slowed them up not at all.
The Minuteman, at least between Arlington Center and Lexington Center, was well-plowed, mostly bare, dry pavement with some wet spots that will have turned to black ice by morning. I encountered two stubborn ice patches under bridges, a small one at Lowell Street, Arlington, and a larger one at Maple Street, Lexington. There was a large, deep puddle at Season's Four that will be more fun in the morning, when it has a skin of ice.
Near Pierce Field, an Nstar bucket truck was parked square in the Trail, lights flashing, with an lineman working on a transformer up in the tree branches.
After threading around the truck, I encountered two young men about 30 yards further on, standing on the trail-edge having a whiz in the snow. That was the last display of utilitarian expedience of the evening, and I rode home without further incident.
Attachment 305794not exactly a ride report but a bike report! just picked up a Trek Domane 4.5
only 10 mile or so today, but it ride like a Cadillac (inagoodway)
mtalinm, that looks like quite a bike. Enjoy!
thanks! it's Trek's Roubaix-killer. and if the reviews are to be believed, it just might be...they developed it for/with Fabian Cancellara, who rides the cobblestones and another nasty roads (like my commute into Boston!). had to drive my kid to school this morning but will try the full commute tmw!
Be careful! I rode my long distance speedy bike yesterday with rubber banded plastic fenders and came back pretty road-gritted up. You sure you're ready to expose Domane Mtalinm outdoors in Metro Boston March?Attachment 305900
anyone else waiting patiently for wells ave to start up? got postponed again this week.
It is nice to have such an institution as the Wells Ave races. I've seen the Hub on Wheels crits around City Hall and would like to get over to see Wells Ave. racing. Close quarter racing is certainly a whole different skill than a few local time trial and triathlon races. Have a great season!
We awoke the tandem from its nap and rode the MM Bedford to Alewife and back, about 20 miles.
Continuing east from Arlington Center:
Stopped for a snack in Lexington. We wondered if anything lives in there:
29 miles through Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, and Billerica today, 2732' elevation gain. Left a bit after 11, rode out the Minuteman as far as Revere Street, Lexington, then made my way via Hancock Street and Burlington Street to Grove Street, across Rt 128 (with no ramps), and up the big hill. Just beyond the top, crossed the Lexington-Bedford line where Grove Street becomes Page Road and narrows. Stopped here to photograph the collection of lost hubcaps hanging from the fence at Susan Corey's farm, one of her monuments to the folly of those who bomb up and down the hill at 40 mph (the famous "Please Don't Squish My Chickens" sign is another; that's down at the moment, for whatever reason).
Bombed down the hill myself, with a cold head-wind that limited my top speed to 27 mph, real air-brakes. Squished no chickens. Crossed the Shawsheen River, and continued on Page Road to the intersection with Springs Road, and headed North on that. Springs Road runs through the extensive Bedford VA Hospital campus. I'm used to seeing that from the back, riding up the Narrow Gauge Rail Trail; that was covered with snow today.
Springs Road is agreeably twisting and hilly, but has a few holes in it: a rough patch shook loose a tail light, which I noticed, fortunately, recovered, and reattached. Rode past the Middlesex Community College campus, the Springs Brook swimming area (wrong season for that), and Fawn Circle, its mansion a tacit connection to the mineral spring for which Springs Road is named, a famous and profitable spa in an earlier era. Crossed the Bedford-Billerica line towards the North end. Springs Road terminates at Concord Road; took that North to Dudley Road. Where Dudley Road crosses Nashua Road (Route 4), stopped to admire the Job Hill Cemetery. The Town of Billerica would like to remind us that if we aren't dead, or have business with the dead, we can get a big ticket for getting up to monkey business there.
Dudley Road is a favorite haunt... oops, slip of the tongue, the stories about the haunted convent are bogus; it's really nun of the above.
Continued as the road crossed back into Bedford, and bumped along the at-times-crocodilian pavement that defends Dudley Road's treasures: deep old Massachusetts history*, stretching well back into the the 17th Century, some of it preserved in a state park, some in a scattering of architectural gems, some simply in names, land-forms, and stories, some, like the chestnut trees destroyed when Huckins Farm was developed, gone and fading from memory (the demonstrations against that seem to be in the Google Shadow, can't find a link to 'em). This is my favorite short ride, there's a lot packed into it.
Dudley Road wound back South and East and terminated at Route 4. Took that South to Pine Hill Road, and followed that East; at the Springs Road intersection, it becomes Page Road again. Did the staged hill climb back up, and then charged down Grove Street in Lexington. Hit 31 mph this time, the tail-wind and the smooth pavement helped, then back to the Minuteman and home. Despite the wintry conditions, there was lots more bird song--from more species--than a couple of weeks ago. Spring may come yet.
* Dudley Road history starts on page 4 of the linked PDF.
Rode out to Lexington Center and back on the Minuteman at the end of the day, 10 miles. While the worst of today's weather passed to the South, marching clouds and a gusty and confused wind dominated the gestalt of this ride.
For reasons meteorological, physiological, and psychological, in whatever proportion, the section of the ride after dark was phantasmagorical, with lots of little transient manifestations, both visual and aural: one of the spookier night rides.
I got out for a few miles on the Blackstone Bikeway. Nothing phantasmagoricalistic, but I didn't get wet only because the water falling from the sky was of a form that would bounce.
Minuteman to Lexington Center, 10 miles, cool, bright, clear, breezy, with enough clouds to give structure to the sunset.
Saw a bat hunting.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Great pic Rod! ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
After living vicariously through you guys these past weeks, I was finally able to get out for a couple of out and backs to Concord the past couple of days.
Felt great to be on the road, and not riding the trainer in front of a monitor going nowhere.
Felt like this guy for the first few climbs...Attachment 307328
Even this guy passed me on Concord Ave. Attachment 307330
Saw the Super Guppy at Hanscom. Attachment 307331
Tried drafting behind these guys from "Team Turkey". Attachment 307332
Despite all that, I never really seriously got into racing. If I had started when I was younger, or in college I probably would have stuck with it. But, at this point in my life I'm just more concerned with riding for fun/fitness or the occasional feisty group ride.
By the way, watching the "A" race at Wells is incredible-- and humbling-- about an hour averaging 25-27+ miles an hour. I may actually mosey on down there and spectate a few Sundays this season. I live about 5 minutes away (downhill!) so there's really no excuse not to go and at least watch. If anyone wants to meet up to go watch and then ride slowly after just let me know!
Out to Lexington Center this evening, 10 miles, riding through the cool darkness and listening to the Night Chorus tune up for Spring.
A couple of bunnies crossed my path, but laid no eggs.