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“Ride #122: To Plymouth with Mike and Steve”

From: Seth Dillingham In Response To: 5723  Cycling in October, 2006
Date Posted: Tuesday, October 31, 2006 10:22:35 AM Replies: 2
Enclosures: plym_monument.jpg (18K)

I took a day (Friday, October 27th) away from the code to ride with Steve Davis and Mike Lucas. This was to be our final almost-century of the year.

Earlier in the week, I had teased them about the amount of planning they were putting into this ride. "It's only 80 miles!" All three of us are experienced riders, and have done rides of this length dozens and dozens of times. Yet, if it were up to Mike, I think he actually would have planned the weather itself.

Well, all I can say now is, "Thank you, Mike." Thank you for all the planning, and thank you for not somehow separating yourself from us. Without all that planning, we surely would have been lost forever in the wilderness of South Eastern Massachusetts.

Mike even provided cue sheets! Two pages of cue sheets. I think we averaged one turn for every mile of the trip, both ways. That's why we would have been lost: he managed to find a back-roads route from Steve's house in Mansfield to downtown Plymouth that was as direct as taking the highway! Even better, most of the route had little or no traffic.

None of us had any mechanical difficulties, and there were no accidents. We joked about almost getting lost right at the start when Steve tried to lead us down the wrong road, but that only lasted about 30 seconds. The weather was bright sunshine, nearly windless, and chilly in the upper 40's when we started to the lower 50's at the warmest.

We kept the speeds low... I'm not really sure why, but at least I expected it this time so I wasn't worried about our pace (well, not much). There was a moment when another rider appeared about 1/4 mile ahead: Steve quietly said, "Seth, a rabbit!" The greyhounds in my legs took off at full speed... I caught the rabbit in nothing flat, but that was no great accomplishment as he was barely moving.

I don't remember ever being to Plymouth before, which is weird since I grew up in Massachusetts. We stopped at "the rock" where the Mayflower supposedly landed. It's just a big rock with a date carved in it. Not as big as it used to be, as 75% of it was chipped away for souvenirs over the centuries (a couple of museums, including the Smithsonian, have mailbox-sized chunks). Now they protect the rock with a gazebo-like structure that lets you see it but not touch it: to get a piece now, you'd have to jump down about eight feet to the sand, then climb out again.

plym_monument.jpgLunch was at a small restaurant whose name I can't remember. I'd forgotten my card, so I still owe Steve (thanks!). Excellent food, though: a bread bowl of New England clam chowder (of course), and some sort of chicken wrap.

After we ate, we stopped at the tourist info center to use the facilities and so Steve could warm up. ;-) The gentleman behind the counter tried to talk us into seeing all the sights, but we didn't have time so we settled for a quick ride up the hill to the National Monument to the Forefathers. It's BIG!!! It's also the prototype for the Statue of Liberty. All the characters around the base had creepy eyes. Did I mention that it was really big? 81 feet (24.5m) tall, and most of it is carved out of solid Granite. Good grief.

After the statue, I realized I had left one of my water bottles on the sidewalk where the bike had been parked during lunch, so we rode back down. While I zipped back to the restaurant, Steve and Mike checked out the recreation of the Mayflower. Awfully small for the number of people it carried: I think they would have fit better in the monument. ;-)

The only notable from the return trip was the two Brazilian guys who caught us. One spoke little to no English, but the other did and was a pro (?) racer living in the area. They weren't pushing hard, and we could have ridden with them for awhile longer, but at the point we were all together the traffic was pretty heavy and we got separated. Nobody was interested in pushing it, so we let them go.

Before I show them, let me warn you that the stats make us look like we were barely moving at all. It wasn't quite as bad as that... the ride time includes the putt-putt-putting around downtown Plymouth, and the very slow circles we made around the monument to see all the writing. Instinct tells me our actual speed was closer to the low 18's, not the mid-17's.

Stats: 81.78 miles (131.6 km) in 4h 40' 10" for an average speed of 17.51 mph (28.19 kph).

(No pictures this time, sorry. I don't have a camera small enough to carry on the bike, and Steve didn't think he'd use it. Must remind him to bring his camera next time, no matter what. :-)

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