Sunday, March 1, 2009

Training Session #3 -- 22 miles in Boxborough, MA

Saturday, February 28, 2009: We meet again in Boxborough at the Holiday Inn parking lot, by 09:30 for a 10AM ride. This time I discover that ALL FIVE of my mentees are on the parking lot, chomping at the bit to get out there and forge along for another 22 miles. This time we'll get out to Harvard, MA, and try the steep hill into the Center there. We'll return by Rte. 111, which will involve a steep downhill for everyone on the way home.

We have 15 riders this time: Coach Mike, Mike C, Mike M, Lindsey, Brittany, Anna, Dianne, Dave, Pat, Joe, Marla, Martina, Ben, Keith, and me. I've loaned Lindsey my hybrid again this week. Mike M has gone out and bought a new orange road bike, and Dianne has a new white Trek road bike. The dedication for the ride was provided by Mike C, who wanted us to keep an old friend, stricken with lymphoma, in mind.

No SAG vehicle needed again this time, and that means I'll be on the bike the whole way again. Great!

As we got started, I jumped out ahead to get some more photos of the team leaving the motel area. I'll add a few of them here as I go along. The riding is fast again, as we have the wind behind us going out to the ball park, and also not much head-wind going over to the Littlefield Rd turnoff. But there the work started to get a little harder.

This time we headed out Littlefield Rd all the way to Foster St, where there is a nice steep uphill after turning left. Looking to the right onto Taylor St, we could see the big downhill crossing I495, and at this point, I just had to stop and eat. I knew the Harvard Hill on Rte 110 was coming, and wanted to be ready for it.

The trip along Taylor/Littleton/Centre St. toward Harvard wasn't eventful, but I had to keep my eye out for my mentees, to make sure they had the right path and the best chance of climbing into Harvard on their wheels. Mike M caught up with me near the Rte 2 overpass, and I was able to coach him a little bit to approach the hill properly. "Just drop all the way down in front, and raise in the back, leaving yourself a couple of gears for the steepest part. Stay in the seat as long as you can." He made it up all the way sure enough, and so did most of the people who followed us. I later learned that Dave M and Brittany had already blown past the rest of the crew, and were waiting for us by that time back at the motel.

I tried to wait on the middle group, which included Lindsey, Mike M, Anna, Martina, Mike C, and Keith, but was encouraged to head back with anyone that wanted to follow me. I wound up taking the downhill into Boxborough alone, but no one had any trouble getting back. Mike C told us he was beginning to hate his mountain bike, his friend through many previous adventures. I'm sure he'll be flying up those hills soon enough, as he has the build for serious uphill work.

Pizza this time was more welcome even than last week. I had plenty to eat and drink on the road trip, having a Cliff Bar and a Cliff Shot while stopped at the corner of Foster and Taylor Streets. But I had room for a sike salad and half a small Portabella mush/chicken pie at DiCapri's. I also got to enjoy the jovial company of Coach Mike and the loverly Martina, who shared a slice of their bleu cheese pie with me.

No question that I enjoy these training rides, and do not consider the effort to be the least bit unselfish.

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