Sunday, May 22, 2016

Five Songs of a Brevet: Tweeto's Revenge 200K (5/21/16)

With a cannon atop Cushing Street in Ashburnham
Also the site of the first Meeting House in Ashburnham, (probably moved when everyone complained about the GIANT hill)

Event: Tweedo's Revenge 200K
Location: Bedford -> Ashburnham -> Petersham -> Beford
Goal Time: 10:30
Actual Time: 11:02

Cano crura virimque, Cantabrigia qui primus ab oris
Bedvado, birota profugus, Novabritaniaque venit...

Last month, I had done New England Randonneurs' New Hampshire 200K with Emma, Andrew and Robbie.  Based on my zero training I had a great first 100 miles of that ride - and a really bad last 27. Well, I didn't want the sitting down twice in the three miles between Concord Centre and Hanscom again.

Thus now I sing the songs of my May brevet

Part 1 - Take it Easy: Bedford to Harvard (21 Miles)

Acton/Boxboro Town Line

Only 8 of us started the 200K at 9:00 am (the 300K started 3 hours earlier).  At mile five, when we crossed route 2, was the last time I would see another randonneur for 70 miles and 6 hours.

It was a perfect weather. And, I knew it was a long ride ahead.  So, I went back to my strategy from the 2014 300K, which is the same course except for the middle portion.  Take it easy... take easy... Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy. Easy up hills; coast down hills.  Don't get too excited, don't start racing myself.  I pulled into the first Control - the Dunks in Harvard just in time to stand behind a youth soccer team. blerg

Part 2 - What Goes Up: Harvard to Ashburnham (30 Miles)
Golf Cart Crossing - Lunenberg
Out of Harvard and then thru Devens, and then the hills start.  What goes up, must come down.... Spinning wheels round and round.* each uphill I got through knowing eventually I would be able to go down hill - eventually.

There were some beautiful parts on this portion.  The whole section through Fitchburg Reservoir was awesome.  With my legs burning, I pulled into Tweeto's Market and had two of my sandwiches and some Salt and Vinegar chips I bought.

Part 3 - Me and My Llamas: Ashburnham to Petersham (24 Miles)

Alpacas in Phillipston
Okay, so they were alpacas and not llamas and I didn't take them to the dentist (but I can't find any songs about alpacas).

This is where the 300K course and the 200K divide.  This was a beautiful section through Winchendon and Phillipston.  Included were said alpacas and the Smith Country Cheese (where I stopped and picked up some gouda.)  I made my way into the control at Petersham town Common well behind my plan, but I felt great and knew I still wouldn't have to ride that much in the dark.

Part 4 - Mary's Little Lamb: Petersham to Sterling (26 Miles)

The world's most famous lamb - Mary's - is memorialized in Sterling where the rhyme was written

The next 26 miles were going to be tough.  Over three steep hills and then the climb into Princeton.  By mile 26, I was going to need a break in Sterling, home of "Mary Had a Little Lamb." While not an official control, I still stopped at the town Common and ate a sandwich and then stopped again at Sterling Ice Cream and had a scoop of butter pecan before heading out for the last 2 hours and 30 miles.

Part 5 - Kick It In, Second Wind: Sterling to Bedford (29 Miles)

FINISHED!!! Signed revet card and new water bottle!

I left the Ice Cream stand and rode on toward Bolton and eventually Bedford.  Despite the stop and the ice cream I was still flagging.  That's when one of the guys on the 300K ride caught up with me. We chatted briefly and then he went on his way as he was riding faster than me.  But, at one point there was a long down hill and I caught up with him.  I rode behind him for a minute and then the next uphill, he started to pull away.  I was caught: Do I a) let him go again; b) try to stay with him?

C'mon and kick it in now second wind, just two more hours to go!

It was actually probably my fourth wind at this point, but I just tried to hang on every up hill and then with my extra weight on my bike (and on my bones) I would ride behind him on the downhills easily. This went on for a few more miles until two more guys from the 300K caught and passed us.  Both of us went with them.

Somewhere in the Acton/Maynard/Concord continuum, there was a split.  The two we had joined got further ahead.  And, I guess I got a fifth wind.  I spent the next mile and a half closing down the gap with them and caught them back at Route 2 and 62 - my day had come full circle.  I rode on with them and even took a pull at the front...

I lost them as they pulled away on the last two hills on Virginia, but I didn't stop and sit, so that was good.

I didn't break 10:30 or even 11 hours, but I felt good and had a great day.  It doesn't need to be faster to be funner.

* - Those actually aren't the lyrics!  Damn dog puppet from the Dot-Com Era lied to me.

One From the Vault
That time I sat on a tank in Croatia, 2009

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