Sunday, April 6, 2014

Triple H Ride: South Harvard 100k Populaire (4/6/14)

No I didn't ride with any WWF WWE wrestlers.  It was Harvard to Harvard to Harvard.

Part I: Harvard Square - Lexington
Weeks Bridge and Harvard University

The ride met at Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington.  So I figured 11 miles would be a great warm up.  So a quick ride up the river and Minuteman carried me up to Lexington.

I signed in to the ride and got a nice cup of Rwandan coffee from the cafe.

Part II:  South Harvard 100k

Unitarian Church, Harvard, MA
Ride: South Harvard 100k
Towns: Lexington, Sudbury, Wayland, Bolton, Stow, Harvard, Boxborough, Acton, Maynard, Concord
Distance: Scheduled - 67.1 miles (Actual 69.5)
Goal Time: 5:10:00
Actual Time: 5:21:31 (12.96 mph)

This was a randonneuring ride - run by New England Randonneurs.  This means it is officially timed.  As a runner, I like to get official times.  I did the 200k in both 2010 and 2011.

I left with the first riders but soon my already warmed up legs were getting ansy.  So, I rode on ahead.  Within 2 miles, I missed a turn on the cue sheet.  2 Miles!  Then, after about 2 miles of riding in circles and backtracking (and rereading the cue sheet), I found the turn that I missed.  At this rate, I'll be making it into a 200k!

But, I got my act together.  By the first "controle" I was at least seeing other people.

Campion Center
Since it's a timed unsupported ride, the controles are the way you prove that you did the ride.  You are given a "brevet card" - a 5 x 8 card with the list of controles.  The first controle was the Campion Center in Weston.  This was an informational controle.  This means there was a question on the brevet card based on signs at the center.  You had to write the answer on brevet card.

I stretched a little. And repacked my bag and filled up my water bottles.  I actually left two people there, meaning I was no longer in last - YES! (Randonneuring is NOT a race; the goal is to finish and ride well. However, I never want to be in last.)

The route then made its way into the King Philip Woods Nature Preserve - which was absolutely gorgeous.  However, upon making the turn deeper into the preserve there was a big sign: "ROAD FLOODED." uh oh.  And following me was a car as I got to the spot where it was flooded.  Well, it was only 1/2 inch deep and I gave a what the f- - -  look at the car about the sign.  The driver had been less worried than I, apparently...

Road Flooded
After a bit of deja vu which really turned out to be that I was on the bike course for the Sudbury Super Sprint Triathlon, I came upon a large group of riders from my trip.  I hopped onto the back of the pack and followed  a bit (I am a poor in-pack rider).  Then we hit what mapmyride listed as the first Cat-5 climb of the ride.  I felt good and charged the hill.

Long Hill Farm

The whole pack and I stopped at the second informational controle - Long Hill Farm.  I got a little ansy and once again headed out on my own.  This time, however, I didn't miss a turn.  The second and last Cat-5 climb came up toward Fruitlands - the next controle.  Right before the controle there is a beautiful overlook.  I stopped to take a picture and then rode past four bikers near their Harleys who were trying to hide the fact that they had stopped to smoke a joint and the controle at Fruitlands.
Fruitlands overlook
Fruitlands was a trancendentalist agrarian commuity.  Founded by Amos Bronson Alcott (father of Little Women author Louisa May) it was designed to be a utopian trancentalist farm.  While the farm turned out to be a failure it was another step in the trancendentalist movement and philosphy that defined 19th Century New England.  It is now a museum.

As an aside Amos Bronson Alcott is a dead ringer for actor George Coe
There was a mere three mile ride into the town of Harvard Center past a beautiful lake for the next controle.  This controle was not "informational" - as in I didn't have to answer a question.  Instead it was the more traditional one.  At the Harvard General Store, I had my card signed and dated by the girl behind the counter.  Also, I stopped to take a picture of the Unitarian Church on the Common.

Bikes lined up at the Harvard General Store
I left on a 18 mile stretch into Acton and next controle - Dunkin Donuts.  I got a cup of coffee and a Turkey, Bacon sandwich.  By, now the temperature was a balmy 50F.  So, I sat on the outdoor seats.  It wasn't overly nice since it was a mini-mall but still the sun felt great.  I let several people come in and leave on the rest of the ride while I enjoyed the first real bit of spring.

I had only 17 miles to come back to Lexington.  I decided to hammer it back.  Pretty soon I lot interest in that and was just finishing.  Through Concord I passed Orchard House - yet another home of the Alcotts.  After an S-shaped tour of Lexington's residential neighborhoods, I pulled into Lexington Center at Ride Studio Cafe.  As I locked up my bike, I ran into Rory locking up his from a different ride.  We discussed the coming races - 21 days until James Joyce Ramble!

I got my card signed and sat down for a cup of coffee.

Brevet Cards...

Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRide

Part III: Lexington to Harvard Square

HBS - I forgot to take a picture on the way back
so this is the Business School from a Kayak trip a few years ago
Riding 11 miles home was a little excruciating.  It was the first nice day after a long winter and EVERY FAMILY in Lexington and Arlington was out on the bike path walking, biking, rollerblading or whatever. Ran into Ruthanne and Dan on the bike path. While it was tough and slow to ride back to Cambridge, it was so wonderful to see New England coming alive again!

Total miles on the day - 91 miles... Next week: Boston 100k


  1. Thanks for riding! Can I steal some of your photos for the NER website and/or Facebook page?

    1. Yes, please, they are all fair game. (Except I'm unsure of the ownership of the photo of George Cole)