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“Ride #17: Thrice Around the Scituate Reservoir”

From: Seth Dillingham In Response To: 4702  Cycling in April, 2005
Date Posted: Thursday, April 14, 2005 12:51:55 PM Replies: 1
Enclosures: None.

As foretold, last Saturday I went up to Cranston for my first group ride of the season with Jim Boyko, Jason Cicero, Steve Davis, and Steve Harper. I was a little wary of this ride because it's so early in the season. Last time I rode with these guys (in the SCC) I was in pretty good shape, but can't honestly say that I'm there yet this year.


Last year at this time, I had exactly zero miles in the saddle. In fact, I didn't even have a bike: the old Canondale had bitten the dust with a large crack in the frame around the seatpost, and the new Seven wouldn't be ready until April 22. I weighed 300 pounds, and it had been only one month since Shane died.

Anyway, the point is that although I'm not yet in the condition I was at the end of last year, I'm way, way, way better off than I was a year ago. 470 miles in the saddle for the year (though 130 were spaced out in January and February), and about 266 pounds.

I met Steve (Davis) at the Cranston hall at about 10:15. Fifteen minutes late, as usual. (Sorry Steve.) Another fifteen minutes to change into my jersey and shoes at the truck, and I was back at the hall again. Mike Pride was there, but didn't recognize me... that was very strange, I guess it was the helmet and shades. ::shrug::

We left, but it was colder than I thought so we went back again for my jacket. This happens every time I ride with Steve... there's always some reason to go back again. (Left my watch on one time, forgot my water bottles another time, the list goes on.)

We quickly managed to miss our first turn, but he had a map with him so a few minutes later we were zipping along towards the reservoir. (Oh, and "thank goodness for apostate churches and their free porta-potties!" ;-)

The loop around the reservoir is very pretty, and a little challenging at times. There's a long, shallow hill that curves off to the right, and my eyes were convinced that it was flat... but I couldn't keep my speed up over 12 mph, and eventually settled at just 9 for the climb. Steve said it must be a "high gravity day," but I didn't see anything about that in the weather reports.

I should mention that Davis is in excellent condition, especially for this early in the season. Kind of sickening, really: he rode his 1,000th mile for the year on this ride! He has good reason, as he's riding the Brasstown Bald Buster this weekend with his brother-in-law David Schalgeter. From what I've read and heard, he'll need everything he's got, as this ride is brutal.

After our first loop, we heaed back to the hall to pick up the other three. Jason and Steve were ready and waiting, and Jim showed up a few minutes later. After Jim changed his clothes we were off again. It was still a little cool, but I left the jacket behind this time (without regret).

Five riders at the Prides' house.
Clockwise from the top left: Steve Harper, Steve Davis, Jason Cicero, Seth Dillingham, and that's Jim Boyko kneeling in the front.

Halfway into this loop, I suggested we go left to find Uncle Dave and Aunt Karen Pride's house for a quick visit. We've all known them our whole lives; he even performed the wedding ceremony for me and Corinne, and she was our wedding photographer. We found the house just a couple of miles up the road, and definitely surprised them. (To the right is the only picture from the ride, taken by Aunt Karen with Jim's camera phone.)

They topped-off our water bottles, shared their bathroom, and reviewed our map and gave us some possible "more interesting" routes.

"More interesting" is perhaps an understatement. Jason Cicero particularly appreciated the two miles of dirt roads, and getting temporary lost in the woods. While we were stopped at an intersection of two dirt roads (though the intersection was paved!), Steve Harper made a comment about hearing banjos just as I was about to say, "we need deliverance." Two points to Steve for slightly better timing.

We did eventually find our way out of the woods. Based on his reaction (which included much yelling and fit-pitching), Jason wasn't very happy about this, but what were we to do? Just keep riding on dirt roads all day? Sorry, dude. ;-)

The plan had been to do two loops with the whole group, but when we neard the end of the first loop I decided I'd had enough. We stopped at a little road-side restaurant so Steve could eat a hamburger, and I let everybody know I was done. Boyko was dragging too, and Harper was afraid he'd start getting leg cramps, so we all decided to head back... except Davis, who said he was going to do one more loop on his own.

For the next few minutes, I considered and reconsidered my plan. The main problem was not how I was feeling, though I was tired. Frankly, I missed my wife. It's been hard to be away from her for significant amounts of time over the last year. So, I could either go back with the guys and then head up to Jim's for the BBQ, or I could do another loop with Steve and then head home. The BBQ would add at least three or four hours to my day, and a lot of food that I really didn't need. A third loop would take about an hour, and I needed the exercise. At the last minute, just as the rest of the group made a left, I told Steve I'd go with him and we made a right. He hooted in response, something like, "All riiiiiight!" ;-)

This third loop hurt. That darn hill still looked flat to my obviously cockeyed brain, and there's nothing like a false flat to break the spirit. Still, Steve was very patient, pacing me up almost every hill. Gotta love having patient, generous friends.

By the end of the ride my arms and face were sunburned and I was totally covered in salt from my own dried sweat. Nice. My saddle felt like a misshaped iron bar, and the pedals just didn't want to go around like they're supposed to.

(That last part is true, actually. In the smallest sprockets, the chain was slipping every few seconds. Steve took a look and said my chain was probably worn out, and I should replace it ASAP so that it doesn't also wear out the cassette. He was right: I've since brought it to Mystic Cycle, and they're going to replace both items this Monday as part of my final, free-for-the-first-year tune up.)

We finished our loop and returned to the hall. The other three were long gone, of course, and after a quick handshake (and phone calls to our wives) we both headed home.

Definitely the slowest 80 miler I've done in a long time, but also the earliest I've ever done it. I think we all had a great time (especially Jason). Thanks, guys! I hope we can all meet up again at the Quabbin on June 4th.

Stats: 82.03 miles (132.0 km) in 4h 54' 29" for a pitiful average speed of 16.71 mph (26.90 kph).

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