Sunday, April 10, 2011

Trials, Trails, wrong Turns and Turkeys: Blue Hills Trail Races (4/10/11)


Its 13 miles to Milton, we have a full tank of gas and full cup of coffee - HIT IT!

I definitely cut this one to the last minute. After hanging with Glenn and watching yesterday's Spurs-Stokke game with him for far too long - I had one hour 15 to get to Milton. I took Ajax Telemon and hurried down Mass Ave. My normal ride out to Milton would be down the Orange Line trail to Forest Hills and then thru Franklin Park. But when I got to Jackson Square I realized that was dumb since I can just ride the mile through Egglston and get to Franklin Park. Sure enough cut off a mile!

Made it in just enough time to get my number and stretch a bit. (better than the National Marathon.)

Race: Blue Hills Trail Races, Fox Trot 10 Miler
Location: Blue Hills, Milton
Goal Time: 1:30:00
Actual Time: 1:32:something

Last year I ran this exact same race. This year, however, I put this on the C level race. Sandwiched the weekend between the Dighton Rock 200K and the Voluntown 300K, I just wanted to get a workout. I figured 9 minute miles would be cool. They would have been!

Despite not living up to my own half hearted expectations, the race once again did. The Colonial Road Runners and their volunteers make these two races fantastic. (There is a concurrent 3 miler too - the "Bunny Hop"). They manage to make it both well organized AND low key.

I might do this one every year - regardless of fitness.

Wrong turns

En route back from the race, I rode straight up Blue Hill Ave to Franklin Park. I took a right only to ride RIGHT INTO the Doyles 5 mile race. I saw quite a few SRRs who were looking like they were running well - including Sarah who was one of the ones I'd seen yesterday on the Minuteman! (She probably thinks I'm stalking her runs now). Aaron Beer had a PR at Doyle's.


Saw an entire rafter of turkeys (I swear a flock of turkeys is a "rafter" - look it up; I had to).

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The 2nd Annual Where the Hell Have You Been All Winter Ride (4/9/11)

Factory at the end of the Blue Heron Trail

Ride: Charles-Minuteman (West) Course
Distance: 53 Miles

It was the first beautiful Spring day of the year: perfect weather and a Saturday.

Thursday, I discovered a new trail. "Discovered" in the Columbian use of the term, that is. There were hundreds of people already using it, but I discovered it. The Great Blue Heron Trail runs from Watertown Square out to the Moody Street Dam in Waltham.

So, this morning when I worried whether I had the energy for the Cape Ann Lighthouse Arrow I planned, I decided to do my Charles Minuteman Ride that passes within 3 miles of my house three times.

From Central I headed all the way to the Moody Street Dam. The trail has boardwalk, asphalt, crushed gravel and dirt. It heads through the wooded Charles River Reservation. It is an absolutely gorgeous course.

LinkUpper Charles East

After a jaunt around Fresh Pond and up and down the Minuteman (where I saw four SRR's on runs), I rode into town on the Boston side of the River. Oh my god, Where have all these people been this winter? I might prefer the river without people. By Mass Ave, I gave up and rode home.

Bloodied Black and Brevet: Dighton Rock 200Km Brevet (4/2/11)

Steve, me and Chuck after 11 hours on the road

Event: Dighton Rock 200km Brevet (124.7 Miles)
Location: Bedford, MA (Western and Southern Exurbs, Borderlands State Park, Dighton Rock State Park)
Goal Time: 11:30:00
Actual Time 11:00:00 (PR for 200km)

Okay, so it’s not an impressive PR: it was not as hilly as New England Randonneur’s usual 200km; and, I have a better bike this year. However, considering I didn’t train for it at all – it was fantastic.

Brevet is basically a timed bike ride. It lays somewhere between an average person doing a half-marathon and a cycling century. And, in order for it to “count” you have to do it in a specified amount of time. The 200Km’s time limit is 13½ hours.

By 5:45, I was on the road from Central Square heading the 14 miles to Hanscom Field. I would guess around 35 or so riders started the ride at 7:00 am.

I was still waking up when I had the drama of the ride. Under pressure going up a hill in Lincoln – TWANG!!! – my chain fell off. Crap! It’s not there. Unnngh, my chain BROKE!

Fortunately for me, the two people I was riding near – Steve and Chuck – were prepared. They had tools pieces and know-how. It was great to get rid of the drama that early!

After we had gone through Natick and Sherborne, we rode down a small bumpy road near the Easton, Sharon Town Line. As I swerved to avoid an archipelago of potholes, I tipped a bit of mud that made Ajax Telmon feel like it was on ice and WHAM! I was down on the ground!

My leg got trapped in the frame as I went down and there was a punch to my calf muscle. I got up stumbling around and trying to walk it out as my left hand bled through its road rash. Fortunately again Steve and Chuck were there to assist.

We were only 3 miles or so until the next controle (checkpoint) at Borderlands State Park. So, I figured I might as well at least ride to there. The problem was the 30-degree angle that my handlebars were at. I had to face toward the curb in order to keep the bike going straight!
My hand the next day
My leg a few days later
Controle 1 - Borderlands State Park

Within 10 minutes we were at the first control. Almost instantly I had some small tools and I had fixed both the handlebars and the break/shifters. In fact, it was so fast – I forgot to take a picture of Ajax Telemon broken.

We had a brief respite at Borderlands before the short jaunt to controle #2 – Dighton Rock State Park.

The course was almost an out and back. So after Dighton Rock, it was a turn-around. We stopped at Pizza Market in Taunton where I had a meatball sub for lunch.

The remainder of the ride was uneventful. By mile 100, I was pretty shot and got back to Hanscome on desire alone.

We pulled in right at 18:00 – making it exactly 11 hours. This beat my last year’s best by one hour and eight minutes.

After a rest at the finish, I was able to pull myself together to ride home over the Minuteman Trail and pull into Central Square and a chicken shawarma platter - 153 Miles on the day!