Sunday, April 23, 2017

Purgatorio: Wachusett-Purgatory Chasm 200k (4/22/17)

Pretty sure that's Avalon out there - King Arthur will be coming any day now.

Event: NE Rondonneurs' Wachusett-Purgatory Brevet
Distance: 200k
Goal Time: 11:00:00
Actual Time: 12:10:00
Miles on the Day: 

A mini-epic poem for a mini-epic ride

(after Dante)

Down Mass Av'nue to speed my rapid course,
My little bike carried Jesse from bed
And soft pillows' sleepy magnetic force.
Valdez's magic liquor striking my head
Waking up through my personal prologue
Down empty streets to Bedford my bike led.

Calling to Calliope to unfog;
To Ghisallo to shake from poets' suite
The words from my mind and onto this blog.
At Hanscom did we all Randdoneurs meet
For the cuesheets,bathrooms and brevet cards,
Before off on two hundred k on streets.

Evan's Notch in my building's bike room - fully loaded

Away we dashed - red lights blinking as stars,
Amidst unearthly milky way of mists.
New Garmin -Virgil - would direct me far:
Beeps for turns to come and bonks for ones missed.
But new gadgets cannot drive untrained legs
And hills through Harvard/Bolton still exist.

Acton's Minuteman Monument - maybe the last time I saw another Randonneur on the road

At Lancaster those legs began to beg
Despite the route ahead and up did plow
The higher up, the lower in the dregs
I felt. As fog fell like a heavy shroud
Concealing the road to Wachusett Mount
Thus, literally, a climb to the clouds.

1392 feet - felt more like 13,920

Wheeling from the controle - forced to dismount.
Any speed downhill became empty boasts,
Surprised from the fog had to account
For eerie beasts appeared like gobbling ghosts
breaking the mists in unholy surprise
I slowed from speeding down to merely coast.

Below the clouds the sun threatened to rise
Flaming off rain and overcast amuck ~
But only peered translucent in the skies.
When that evil hiss of tyre flat struck
I was forced in cold drizzle and damp mud 
To twist away a tube and get unstuck.

This is where horror movies start

In Grafton with Vet School and blooming buds
The road rose up toward the sky again
Fears of Wachusett began to flood
A muddled mind seventy miles atwain.
One long climb would bring me to the Chasm
Where it was easier I ascertained.

To Chasm

Hike into the gorge - iconoclasm - 
Was I the first to do upon this day.
Slipping on rocks and other phantasm
Thru canyon and o'er rim I made my way
To pavilion where Evan's Notch was parked
Awaiting me to trail Virgil's display.

Purgatory Chasm

The final forty-six was marked
By fewer hills and more flats; but, as night
began to fall and make yet further dark
I worried about cars and driver's sight.
Lights white and red returned for extra beeps
Making ahead less dim and l'il more bright.

Tired on a long day I want to sleep
Through Great Meadows - forest and bog - I flagged
With miles to go and promises to keep. 
Almost home and through Walden Woods, I dragged
O'er the hill that ere high as edelweiss.
Two hundred brutal k, from now I bragged.

On to Somerville and Seth's meatballs nice,
And Paul's coffee stout, earthly paradise.

Editor's Notes
 - I see what you did there
 - Is there any other kind of mud?
⋆ - Maybe you shouldn't try to rhyme chasm.
 - Not certain you wrote this line...

Other pics from the ride

Horse with a sweater on.  He appeared annoyed I was there.  (or she)

Apple Blossoms in the mist

After my flat, I thought about switching to these.

Fancy l'il bus

Playing around in the Chasm

Purgatory Chasm - detail

At mile 87 - odd sign on a Purgatory ride

Last stop to get on reflector vest and square away the lights.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Shhhh! The Silent City: Malta, Day 9, Mdina (3/11/2017)

Cathedral in Mdina
Our last day in Malta - Urvi's Birthday - we took a one hour bus ride to the old capital - Mdina (The Silent City).

Old capped Well

Main gate from inside

Streets ready for Lent

St Paul's grotto.
St. Paul shipwrecked off the coast of Malta.  And when rescued, was brought ashore.
He is said to have preached beneath the city in this grotto.



Large bronze seal from the weird museum

Mosaic on the floor of a Roman House

I, Claudius, have no nose
in the sitting room of the Roman villa
Fontanella Tea Garden

In the Tea Garden with a Erdinger Dunkel on the bastion of Mdina overlooking most of Malta

Shields and whatnot
We had a birthday dinner at the Westin's fine dining restaurant - Quatro

Gozo Rose and dessert!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Beer vs. Wine: Malta, Day 8 - Back to Malta (3/10/2017)

There is now a ferry involved -
Heading back to Malta
Friday we left beautiful Gozo to return to the island of Malta.

Last views of Gozo on a rave run -

Then on Malta -
View from Hotel room - St. Julian's

Dragonara Casino where I lost 20 euros and Urvi lost 10 (and I paid 8 for a Belgian IPA)

Then we finished up the night with  Beer vs.Wine dinner.  Each course had one wine and one beer paired.

Amouse Bouche with Belgian wit and Provencal Rose

Mediterranean shrimp over scallop ceviche with dry stout and Gerwurtstaimer 

Pork Duo - belly and cheek - with IPA and Lagrein Cantine Terlano

Baked Cheesecake with Winter Ale and Port
In the end wine won but all of it was great.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Cittadella: Malta Day 7, Gozo Citadel and Lord Chambray (3/9/2017)

Life Size picture frame - Ghajnsielem, Gozo
Today, Urvi and I walked to the Cittadella in Gozo's capital - Victoria or Rabat (about 6km).  Then visited the museums etc.  On the way back we stopped at Lord Chambray - the local craft brewery.

Gozo grain fields

Bronze Age grain silos, Cittadella

Urvi in the stocks

In jail without the Bail

Lunch at Ta' Rikardu

Drum at Folk Museum

model of fishing boat - Folk Musuem

Toward Ramla Bay from the Cittadella walls

Urvi on the Cittadella Walls toward Ghajnsielem

Cannons to the right of her

Its the Popa!

Lord Chambray
Taps at Lord Chambray