Photo by Jason DeVarennes

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

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