Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Saturday, December 24, 2011

December 24th - Ride to Redemption Rock

It all started innocently enough. John and I were talking about a theme for the upcoming Festive 500 rides, when we realized Rapha had already provided the theme for us: Ride to Redemption. John suggested we simply Ride to Redemption Rock out near Mt Wachusett. Next thing I knew, we were also talking about riding to Purgatory and Brimstone and Grace, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Before all those other rides we would kick off the week with a long, hard, hilly ride to Redemption! When we planned this 90 mile ride, starting from Ride Studio Cafe, for the eve before the day when everything is closed, little did we know the temperature would never even think about rising above freezing. But given the long hard day and the early sunset at this time of year, we figured we should get an early start, so we planned an 8:30AM departure from the Studio, which meant a 7:30 AM departure from home, which meant a 6:30 AM alarm. Oh that hurt.


We got to the Studio as Rob and Patria were tuning the grind so our espresso would be perfect. Henry arrived a short while later, as the only other person insane enough to do this ride on this day. David joined us for the first bit out to Concord before heading home to meet family obligations.


It was somewhere around Concord, that Gigi, my GPS became very unhappy that I was ignoring her, and I realized that we were doing the route in reverse! I'd put together 8 routes in a very short period of time, 4 of which leave from RSC. I made an effort to try to have different ways in and out of Lexington, so before we left home, I had a quick look on the computer to remind me how I'd planned to go out for this one. I saw a line heading out to Concord. Silly me - I didn't pay attention to the distance on that line, or I would have realized it was the return leg. Well it didn't really matter, the ride should flow well either way. But Gigi, the 705, simply could not cope, and stopped displaying a track. Fortunately John has an 800 on the front of the tandem, and his GPS continued to display the track. I know most of the roads around here well enough that I can find my way out and back to Mt. Wachusett without GPS or maps, but if we just let me pick on the fly, we might end up with a 160 mile day, rather than a 160 km day!

Once we'd figured out we were riding in reverse, we relaxed and enjoyed a few roads in a direction we don't normally ride. It was like being on new roads. We continued out through Harvard before coming to the out and back part of the route. Years ago we discovered a lovely series of quiet roads that lead straight to the mountain. If we tried to make a loop and stay on lovely quiet roads, we'd have to go around the reservoir and be back approaching 160 miles, so I had made the decision that I love these roads in both directions, so that's what we'd do. We did have a little loop at the far end, where we climbed the mountain using a series of tiny steep roads, and then descended on the main road in search of Redemption, or at least Redemption Rock. Then it was up Justice Hill before the downhill trending ride home.

Did I mention it was cold? As you can see John was willing to pay any price for toe warmers!
It was especially nice to be on the tandem in the cold.

A lovely stone house served as a great photo op to break up the climb up the mountain.
The lads stood out in their red jackets!
It was cold, but the sun and blue skies were brilliant! Fortunately the road to the summit is closed now and covered in snow and skiers at this time of year.

Ah, Redemption. This is what we came for!
Having achieved Redemption...

Redemption Rocks!
The high temperature for the day - yes that's -2.1 C
John's none too happy about his frozen bottles.
Riding past the one hill we didn't ride over today!

Special Congratulations to Henry. This was his longest ride ever! But it didn't show. He climbed like he had polka dots on under all the layers, and descended like a demon, matching pace with the tandem with ease. 

See all the photos here

Tomorrow, we will host the ride to Brimstone from Cafe Blayleys in Watertown.

Dec 24 - Pamela and John - 164 km
Dec 23 - Pamela - 55 km, John 30 km

1 comment:

  1. Pamela and John thanks for the great ride. Loved all the views and the great climbs. Could not believe I almost did a weelly on one of the ascends, because of the grade, Insane!!!. You guys have some stamina, on the way back almost chocked on my energy bar trying to keep up with the 22mph pace you two generated together on the way back. Good luck achieving your goal of 500 miles before new years eve, hope to join on one of the remaining rides.