MRC mate, Tony W, and I set out at 7:20 from CCHS and ambled our way towards Wawa, with the goal of maintaining 20-ish mph on the flats. We'd latch on to groups of various sizes along the way and move on – there was the usual mish-mash of folks who could hold a line and wobbly "freds" on fancy Cervelo's, Treks, etc.. It was hot, but dry, so we were never miserable due to the heat, but it was easy to forget to hydrate as I barely worked up a sweat the whole way.
I was loving the 12-27 cassette I picked up this week: that 27 tooth cog helped me spin up every ramp without a hitch. Mile Hill Road was still a load of work, but I never felt like I was going to plotz as I worked my way up.
At the visitor's center, we watered up, etc. and just as I was going to suggest to Tony that we go, Bruce, Jeff L and Brian (also of the MRC) roll up, providing a good excuse to extend the stop. It seemed like Bruce knew every other person there – he'd turn around and there'd be someone else he'd say "Hello" to.
Soon, we were underway again (Brian a little bit before we did, with the expectation we'd pass him later on).
The next leg is my favorite part of the ride with long, curving descents and high speeds winding back down the mountain, into Princeton and to the first official CRW rest stop. It was great doing the next 25 miles or so with a squad of friends. Before I knew it, we were at Berlin Orchards, the location of the 2nd rest stop.
Bruce and Jeff watered up quick and got going right away to finish up their metric. I was starting to get those "warning cramps" in my quads and hamstrings, so between glugs of water and chomps of pbj, I did a little stretching in the hopes that I'd get 25 more miles out of my legs before anything dramatic happened.
Tony and I got going again and made our way back into Harvard, up the last big climb of the day and into more familiar territory. Down Stow Road then left on Old Harvard. During this stretch, we reeled in a fairly large group of 12-15 guys who were keeping a pretty decent pace of 22-24 mph. In fact, it was just ONE cyclist setting the pace with everyone else benefitting from his effort. We must have logged 10 or so miles with him at the front almost the whole time.
When we finally crossed into West Concord and were less than 7 miles from the end, I got up out of the saddle to close a small gap that opened up with the guy in front of me. In that instant BOTH hamstrings cramped up solid - GAH! I got off the road and managed to dismount without aggravating the crampage as our ticket home faded away. Bleh.
A couple of minutes stretching and I was back on the bike with Tony providing a very welcome "tow" back to CCHS. For the 100 miles, I logged the bike time as 5 hours, 21 minutes with 5,810 ft of climb.
Song stuck in head: Friday I'm in Love - The Cure