Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Leading the Lost to the Lake - Festive 500

We woke to brilliant sunshine. The thermometer, on the other hand, displayed something that challenged my brilliance! The mercury, for any who remember non-digital thermometers, was buried deep where the sun doesn't shine!

For those having trouble with the metaphor...
And for those having trouble with the units (it was a photo of John's thermometer)...

But the crew that gathered at Ride Studio Cafe for the ride at 10AM this morning was not to be deterred by mere cold temperatures. The place was packed with eager cyclists when I arrived.  Henry and Geoff again graciously agreed to serve as super-domestiques for the fast riders.

There is a big storm predicted to arrive in the western suburbs overnight tonight with a chance of measurable snow (shovelable snow). It looks to start as snow and change to heavy rain in the area of the ride. I asked if anyone there was planning to ride on Thursday and I got one raised hand! I'll ride over (likely with studded tires) and if anyone wants to ride really slowly with me, I can keep them company! Stay tuned to see who is crazy enough tomorrow...

But back to today:

James and Geoff inside the warm cafe

Outside the warm cafe, just before the start, looking quite chipper

A large crowd of fast riders headed out first.

Then, I had a little company join me for the moderate paced ride, the fun group in RSC parlance. James and Katie rode out into Carlisle before turning back on the short route. Marc and Scott joined me for the full ride, including lunch at Fihlo's Cucina.

Scott riding past a frozen lake in Groton

I needed more calories after my butternut squash soup!

Marc, riding past a frozen lake in Chelmsford
Lost Lake Road is one of my favorite roads in the area. It has everything a cyclist could wish for: twisty and windy, with lots of ups and downs, including one uphill with a sharp left-hand corner, where most sane cyclists are tempted to touch the brakes going up, thanks to the g-forces generated at the corner. This road is a rite of passage for local cyclists. At some point, everyone is told about the Lost Lake roller coaster and the temptation to brake going uphill, and they must experience it for themselves. Once ridden, it becomes a regular destination. I've been making regular treks out for over 20 years. John and I developed this ride over many years and have tweaked it to perfection [Ed. typed with one hand while patting back with other]. It follows lovely quiet back roads into Groton, where there are several great choices for lunch or a quick snack. Then we hit the roller coaster and follow another series of quiet back roads back into Lexington. A couple of years ago we mentioned while riding on one of the RSC Sunday club rides, and generated some interest. Being longer than the usual Sunday ride, we selected a date, and announced it as a special ride. Everyone who came, loved it and the reputation began to spread. We've used it for several special events since, including a fund-raiser after the earthquake in Japan, and the season-opener for long rides last spring. It's a favorite on my Tuesday rides as well. So naturally when I was trying to select 8 rides for the Festive 500, this one made the cut!

It did not disappoint today. I was a bit worried there might be icy patches from yesterday's snow, but we only had one section of frozen runoff on the way out to Groton. But not knowing for sure what lay ahead, I showed some caution on Lost Lake, not taking full advantage of the roller coaster. I also had a belly full of butternut squash soup and zabagione, so I was also trying to ride at digestive pace - that is a pace well below the VOPuke threshold, so one can digest lunch, rather than taste it twice.

I think I may also be getting a bit tired, although I'll get no sympathy from John, who did manage to sneak away from work today for about 50kms. It isn't just the 350kms I've ridden so far in the challenge. I think it has something to do with the almost 29,000 kms I have ridden this year (well trained or well and truly over-trained). As such I am looking forward to some snow tomorrow that might enable me to take it a bit easy. We'll see...

BTW, I pushed darkness a bit on my way home after the ride, but the reward was a Festive 500 watt display!



  1. Pamela, thanks for the ride. We had a great time. While anticipating the lost lake roller coaster left turn a car in for front of us spoiled the fun as we had to hit the breaks on the down just before it, but still it is a great section with lots of twists and turns. Take it easy in the next few days and lets hope the weather and conditions are good on Saturday for the long ride to Wachusetts.

  2. Henry, Thanks for leading. Sorry the car spoiled your roller coaster. You should have turned back and had a second go!

    We slept with a window open last night so we could hear the wind and rain as it howled and hammered. I'm thinking I could score some "Rapha Epic Points" with today's ride! I just need to bring the waterproof camera to document it.

    No such thing as bad weather!