Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December 27 - Paradise Lost Lake and Beyond Redemption

The Festive 500 - Ride to Redemption continues. Today, John had to go back to work, but I continue to enjoy freedom from proper employment. A few weeks ago I started leading a social pace ride out of Ride Studio Cafe on Tuesdays, so today's Redemption Ride was just my Tuesday Social Pace Ride, meaning I would likely have a bit of company. We started with a total of eleven riders, with a few planning to cut off at some point for a shorter ride, but most planning for the full distance. It was another amazing December day, not quite as sunny as yesterday but an almost balmy 40F at the start. I was definitely dressed lighter than in previous days. If only I had a nice pair of the Rapha Ladies Winter Tights... Maybe I can win some in this contest!

The planned route for the day was one of our favorites, heading out along off-the-beaten track roads toward Groton and featuring Lost Lake Road. We've often described Lost Lake Road as having a climb where you'll feel like using your brakes. The G-forces are amazing as you fly down, then quickly up and around a 90 degree left hand bend followed by a 90 degree right hand bend, and then some more ups and downs. You really just have to experience it yourself though. Last year we'd told some of the Sunday morning gang about the road, but they had their doubts, until we led a ride there. Since then it's become a regular route out of the Studio.  With a little editorial license, we made it fit into the theme for the week.

I have to admit that I'm getting a little tired from all the riding, not just this week, but over the last few months. John and I both felt as if we were riding on worn out legs yesterday. That lucky John had an easy day of cycling since he also was expected to work, so he couldn't join us for the full day out. I get zero sympathy from him, as you might expect. But I did ask my riding companions to be kind.

Getting the hang of the over the shoulder on the move shots!
Colin and Jonathan showed clear signs of testosterone poisoning and apparently did not get the memo about this being a social pace ride. They hammered off the front and it seems they got hopelessly lost, but did manage to eventually find their way back to the Studio. I have provided links to cue sheets and GPS tracks for all the rides, and there's just not much I can do when folks speed off the front without cue sheets or GPS data. What can I say, I am beyond Redemption!

David and Emily arrived on their tandem shortly before the start. They planned to just ride out to Chelmsford with us, and then head off home to continue packing for their forthcoming move. We had a lovely chat and we rode along together. Emily had provided some enhanced photos of me and John, indicating exactly what would happen to us, should we stop riding after achieving redemption. Thanks Emily. You are a sweetheart for keeping me motivated. I will remember this!

With the victims of testosterone poisoning well off the front, and the tandem turning down the bike path, we were now down to Dena, Zabeth, Bob, Frank, Gene, Ira and me. We had truly settled into social pace, riding along side by side chatting away the kilometers. Everyone made it through the dirt stretch on Rocky Hill and the uphill braking on Lost Lake. I had said I'd stop for photos and would see the group at the Dunkin Donuts at the end.  As I neared the end of the road, I did notice a potential problem as the route actually bypassed the DD by heading though a residential neighborhood. But Bob and Dena are both very familiar with the road and the DD, and were the only two with functioning GPS units; therefore the only people actually navigating. So I figured they would get everyone to the lunch stop. However when I arrived at DD, I saw no bikes. A quick phone call to Bob's mobile, and we were all back together and chowing down.

Breaking them in gently with this little section of dirt

Paradise Lost Lake behind me
 Zabeth left us at the DD. As she is building up distance to recover from a back issue, she had arranged for husband Dave to come out. Waiting in a nice heated donut/coffee shop seemed sane!

The stone arch bridge

While we were having coffee and lunch, I took the opportunity to mention a little deviation from the route that would involve a nice photo op as well as a little more dirt. Neither Ira nor Frank are fans of dirt on the roads bikes, but they will be assimilated. Bob and I love to put dirt on our rides. Dena is phased by nothing.  So we headed up a small road and then turned off beside some train tracks before climbing up a little trail to reach a lovely railroad grade that crossed a nice stone arch bridge. We stopped for photos and then continued on toward Lexington.

Riding along the lovely unpaved railroad grade

some Festive scenery
We got back to Ride Studio Cafe in ample daylight, where we enjoyed Hot Chocolate, expertly made by Erica, compliments of Frank.

Erica, our beloved barista
I am now over 500kms for the challenge, so officially Beyond Redemption, but we already knew that, didn't we.  I still have 4 more days, so will, of course, continue to ride, or risk growing into Emily's photo. It looks like the weather will cooperate for tomorrow's ride from Hollis, NH to Purgatory Falls, so we are definitely planning to attempt it. We have a small group carpooling up. If you are coming and haven't told me, please let me know by emailing me at pb at blayleys dot com.

While John had to work, he did manage to get out at lunch time for 44km.

So far - Pamela - 520 km,  John - 413 km  
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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