Photo by Jason DeVarennes



Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 31 - Recuperating from Chasing Redemption

Total - Pamela - 838 km,  John - 609 km
Dec 31 - Pamela 29 km, John 29 km
Dec 30 - Pamela 74 km, John  88 km
Dec 29 - Pamela 105 km, John 28 km
Dec 28 - Pamela 110km, John 51km 
Dec 27 - Pamela 130km, John 44km
Dec 26 - Pamela 96km,  John - 100km
Dec 25 - Pamela - 75km,  John - 75km
Dec 24 - Pamela and John - 164 km
Dec 23 - Pamela - 55 km,  John 30 km

Chasing Redemption is hard going, especially for someone with such a cheeky attitude.

So today, we decided to sleep in. Cocoa was also tired of getting up early and, for the first time ever, I had to make the bed around her!

MayorFixie, a fellow Ride Studio Cafe Denizen, agreed to ride out to the remote start and lead the planned ride from Framingham to Purgatory Chasm, after I came up with a long list of excuses for blowing it off.
  • well and truly redeemed already
  • one visit to Purgatory per week is enough
  • chain, tires, shorts (and legs) are worn out
  • car to transport bikes and bodies to remote start is out of gas
  • can't afford the food bill anymore
  • need a new size small Rapha Ladies Rain jacket, please!
But John and I decided to have one more go at finding Redemption a little closer to home. So we looked up our nearest Redemption Center on Google Maps and made our way there.

to discover that we really must be totally beyond redemption!

The week finished the way it began, a bit grey!

But we found our way to the mothership, otherwise known as Ride Studio Cafe, where MayorFixie reported that no one else showed any interest in Purgatory today.

And then feeling we really had earned it, John and I headed for Vicki Lee's

Friday, December 30, 2011

December 30 - World's End 2011-style

Last May, we survived Harold Camping's predicted rapture and had a rapturous good time doing the East Coast Rapha Gentlemen's Race. Today, we rode to World's End and, yet again, it did not. We'll see what 12/21/2012 brings and whether the Mayans had it right. Maybe we'll plan to do this route again on that day. If I have to be somewhere when the world ends, this is as good a place as any - actually much better than most. It is an absolutely beautiful spot. I'm so glad it has been preserved and is maintained now by the Trustees of the Reservations.

We had a good crowd for the End of the World ride today. Jon, Donny, Bob, Gene, David, Rich, Frank, John and I had a glorious ride along the south shore coastline with lovely views of the Boston skyline. John, Jon and Donny took off at a brisk pace, while the rest of us enjoyed a more relaxed ride. This isn't to say, we didn't push ourselves. Noticing I was being a proper FixiePixie, riding my fixie, Bob kept proposing we climb up to various round towers we saw along the way. I cannot resist a round tower, especially on top of a hill.

Not to be outdone, the lads did a bit of rock climbing in the middle of their ride.

From Pemberton Point, we had a nice view of the Boston skyline, one I'm sure is spectacular on a clear day. 

At the end, we explored the lovely tree-lined gravel carriage paths winding around the 4 large drumlins that make up World's End.

I just don't possess the vocabulary to do justice to the views today, so I'll have to let the pictures speak for me.

BTW, I gotta love strava, we stopped for almost an hour for lunch, and I still got QOM on a stretch of road which included that stop!

John surpassed his 500km goal today and I broke 500 miles! But we had company and help along the way. Our riding companions over the last 7 days logged 2660 kms at well, so maybe we should really get to count 4042 kilometers worth of redemption.

for all the photos from today...

Jon Lawrence/MayorFixie will be leading tomorrow's ride from Framingham to Purgatory Chasm, since we've decided we truly are beyond redemption, and a visit to Purgatory just won't help us. In addition to riding lots this week, I have driven more in one week than in the past three months! Weatherspark is telling me that riders who are out in the afternoon will likely get to make use of their rain gear. If you are planning to ride, please email Jon (jonathan dot lawrence at gmail dot com) so he will know to expect you.

We will let the car rest tomorrow and probably just ride over the Ride Studio Cafe to wish everyone there a Happy New Year and pick up some coffee beans.

We will also try to catch up on some of the stuff we've neglected this week while we've been in eat/ride/eat/ride/eat/ride/eat/blog/sleep mode. I think the cat wants some attention...

So far - Pamela - 809 km,  John - 580 km
Dec 30 - Pamela 74 km, John  88 km
Dec 29 - Pamela 105 km, John 28 km
Dec 28 - Pamela 110km, John 51km 
Dec 27 - Pamela 130km, John 44km
Dec 26 - Pamela 96km,  John - 100km
Dec 25 - Pamela - 75km,  John - 75km
Dec 24 - Pamela and John - 164 km
Dec 23 - Pamela - 55 km,  John 30 km

Thursday, December 29, 2011

December 29 - A Pagan Celebration

Last week, when we came up with our list of Redemption Rides, we had a few obvious choices like Redemption Rock and the two Purgatory rides, but some of the others required a bit of literary license. I must admit Pagan Hill is one. It is actually Pegan Hill , but this, the highest spot in Natick, does so fit with the original meaning, that we call it Pagan Hill. As one of the local hill-climb training spots, it also seems like a natural place for a band of druids to cast spells that make cyclists dance up hills effortlessly.

When standing atop the hill, I can almost hear the three witches from Shakespeare's Macbeth, "Eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog..."

And today, I wouldn't have minded finding a boiling cauldron up there filled with hot chocolate.

We seem to be in a weird pattern of wild temperature swings. Last Thursday, I was riding with shorts, light jersey, leg and arm warmers and a vest. And my ventilated summer shoes! One of my riding companions tweeted a photo of her glove-less hands! Yesterday was 50F at dawn, but the Fahrenheits fled as the day wore on, and by this morning, their population was in the teens. Which is to say, it was actually far more seasonal than we've experienced most of this month. 

Base-layer: shorts, Ibex merino wool crop top,
Ibex merino wool zipped turtleneck, Ibex merino wool leg warmers

Outer layer: Rapha ladies winter softshell, Ibex merino wool softshell pants

Extremities: Bridgedale wool socks, Lake winter cycling boots, Chiba overshoes,
Lake Mittens with handwarmer pocket,
Ibex merino wool neck warmer, OR windstopper skullcap, Louis Garneau Helmet cover,
Oakley Progressive Transitions glasses,
Zelig Cat!
This also seems to substantially reduce the number of cyclists willing to head out on a long ride. When planning rides in hard-core conditions, it does make sense to expect just hard-core riders to show up. My usual riding buddies were also resting up after the previous few days, so they could make it to World's End on Friday.

I've been riding a lot lately, so I need two breakfasts and two lunches and two dinners!
So there I am, having my cortado and scone at Ride Studio Cafe, when Roger and Jonathan arrived with their weightless bikes and fast legs. Fortunately they were kind and took mercy on this social pace rider, sporting a bike with couplers, generator lights, fenders, giant seat bag and handlebar bag, who also had the desire to stop for the occasional photo. Chip joined in part way through the ride and fell right in to the social pace. There were lots of stories about cyclo-cross and doing hill repeats on our feature climb. I did suggest they could go up and down a few times to wear themselves out, while I rested. But no one took the bait, and they continued to be kind, and to take it easy on me.

Jonathan, Roger and Chip at the base on Pegan Hill.

Jonathan, Chip and Roger at the top.

I have a new camera, a winter solstice gift from the Fear Rothar, who expressed a desire to appear less fuzzy on the blog. After our trip to Ireland, he observed that his photos, with me as the model, were all clear, where my pictures of him were all just a bit less so. I claimed it was the Zelig effect, but he found a new point and shoot camera for me anyway. And indeed, he is appearing a bit sharper these days. But the new camera has so many new features and modes and settings, that I sometimes am overwhelmed, or accidentally forget and leave it in a mode that doesn't work so well. I did exactly this when I snapped my coffee shots this morning, so sadly all my on the road shots leading up to the feature climb were all in gourmet mode, but came out half-baked.

Pamela on the move!

John again had to work today, but managed to slip out for a 28 km ride to visit Norumbega Tower, the closest approximation of a round tower in the area. Round towers, whose origin as pagan fire towers or Christian bell towers is a source of debate among Irish scholars, are a frequent feature of John's rides in Ireland.

Another brilliant sunny day!

Friday's ride starts from World's End in Hingham, following the CRW south shore coastal route created by Andy Brand. We will carpool down and meet other riders there at 10AM. Please email pb at blayleys dot com if you are joining us.

So far - Pamela - 735 km,  John - 492 km
Dec 29 - Pamela 105 km, John 28 km
Dec 28 - Pamela 110km, John 51km 
Dec 27 - Pamela 130km, John 44km
Dec 26 - Pamela 96km,  John - 100km
Dec 25 - Pamela - 75km,  John - 75km
Dec 24 - Pamela and John - 164 km
Dec 23 - Pamela - 55 km,  John 30 km

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December 28 - From Purgatory to Paradise

After the disgrace of Monday, I worried a bit that today's ride to Purgatory Falls might also not go as planned. But the weather gods cooperated somewhat, allowing for a glorious ride from Purgatory to Paradise and beyond. I say somewhat because the high temperature for the day, 50F, occurred in the wee hours, while it was hosing down with rain, incidentally. Then the temperature fell throughout the day, approaching freezing when we finished, but it was clear and sunny. And while the roads were wet from the evening downpour, they weren't icy thanks to the 50F overnight temperature. Dressing for these conditions (temps falling) was challenging, but we all managed to select the right combination of clothing. BTW, I mentioned my desire for some Rapha women's tights in yesterday's entry. Well, Zabeth came through for me. She had accidentally ordered an extra pair when Rapha was having a sale, so she passed them on to me at the good sale price. And I absolutely love them! Rapha can still send me a pair for free- ladies - size small, please.

Today's route includes some of my favorite roads. Years ago, John and I put together a 200km route for the local brevet series. Over time, some of those roads have gotten busy, so I have proposed replacing the middle part of the 200km with this route. I think it will happen this year. Hopefully the riders won't hate me for replacing the busy roads with some quiet, scenic (which translates to hilly) roads. There are some magnificent views along the route, but I will say that riders have to work hard to earn them.

The reward at the top of the toughest climb

Hey look at us, we are sooooo cute!

The new sections include the descent to Purgatory Falls, followed by the climb to Paradise Farm.
Pamela, Marc and Bob in Purgatory
Bob climbing out of Purgatory towards Paradise

This is followed by a descent off Pead Hill and then a wee section of dirt, which is offset by another magnificent view. The dangerous part of the ride involves a very badly angled RR crossing on a main road followed by a left turn on a right hand bend off that same main road. Then we enter a lovely tree-lined road that follows a babbling brook up toward Temple and views of Pack Monadnock, which we mercifully pass on climbing today.

Pamela is having fun with her new camera
The descent from Temple is gentle, but on brutal pavement and is followed by a climb up to another panoramic view. This climb was welcomed today as we needed to warm back up. The final big climb brings us past Parker's Maple Sugar House. It seems the town of Mason passed on all that road paving stimulus money that so many other towns took advantage of this year, as evidenced by the condition of their roads - the roughest I have been on in ages. We were pushing daylight, so we made a beeline from Brookline back to Hollis, but still came in with 110 kilometers for the day. It was a glorious day with great company and great views.

We had 4 hardy souls for today's ride: Dena, Bob, Marc and me. We all carpooled up together in my wee little Fit, which normally gets about 40 mpg, so with 4 people, we got 160 miles per person gallon.

John again had to work today, but he did get out to verify that *Pagan Hill is still there. With that assurance, we will ride out to Pagan Hill from Ride Studio Cafe at 10 AM on Thursday. It is to be brutally cold overnight tonight - quite the contrast from last night. So wear a few extra layers if joining me on Thursday. And show some mercy, I have a lot of kilometers in my legs now. 

*Pagan Hill is actually Pegan Hill, but we changed it to fit our theme, please don't sue us!


Echo Bridge
Have cross bike, will carry!

So far - Pamela - 630 km,  John - 464 km
Dec 28 - Pamela 110km, John 51km 
Dec 27 - Pamela 130km, John 44km
Dec 26 - Pamela 96km,  John - 100km
Dec 25 - Pamela - 75km,  John - 75km
Dec 24 - Pamela and John - 164 km
Dec 23 - Pamela - 55 km,  John 30 km

Too many great shots to chose from, click here to see all the photos from the day