Sunday, April 27, 2008

Berkshire 200km brevet

Yesterday I completed my second 200km brevet, this time in a different series located in Westfield, MA. I had listed a saddle on Craig's List earlier in the week and had a frantic offer from a guy saying his saddle had disappeared in storage along with his pedals. We chatted some, and got on the topic of long distance riding and he mentioned he was going to this brevet and invited me. Sure, why not?

The alarm went off at a tantalizing and terrific time of 2am Saturday morning. I felt surprisingly well rested after four and a half hours of sleep. The aforementioned saddle picker-upper, Zack, swooped by a little while later in the mighty Ford Explorer after sitting in a lovely FDR traffic jam at 3am. We had plans to zip all over the place to get things ready for the ride which started at 7am. We had approximately three and a half hours to drive to Milford, CT to get his bike, pick up a friend off another exit on I95 (friend bailed!) and then straight north to Westfield, MA. I must admit I was pretty shocked when we rolled in before the 7am start. Just how fast were you driving Zack?!?

This brevet had a lot more participants than the previous one in Saratoga at around 60 people. I attribute this mostly to the fine weather predicted which was 65F for the high and sunny. Ages ranged from me at the bottom (31) to upwards of 70. Mostly men but roughly ten women participated as well. Bikes ranged from uber light fancy roadie material to old, lugged, heavy steel touring frames complete with leather saddle bags, brooks leather tape on the bars along with a brooks saddle. I love those bikes and some day I hope I have one!

We ended up starting the ride about 35 minutes late since Zack had to install pedals and cleats and basically put his bike together which had been in storage. One other straggler named Joel accompanied us for the start. We rode together for 45 miles to the first check point through progressively more rural communities north towards Vermont. At the check point I had a itchy trigger foot and wanted to go fast so I took off on my own with a goal of catching the lead group about an hour up on us. I hammered for a little over a hour passing quite a few people and made it to the checkpoint at mile 83.5 feeling really strong. Those back to back centuries last week really upgraded my legs! I met a few there getting ready to head out and invited myself in to their group and rode with them for the remainder of the ride. One guy was on a fixed gear so I chatted and reminisced with him for much of the ride. He was a very strong rider and to my surprise even kept up with us on the downhills spinning at crazy 190rpm cadences and remaining totally stable. Impressive!

The terrain was beautiful and followed the Connecticut River. Blooming trees were scattered throughout the ride. Pines offered lovely fragrances on occasion. We dabbled in Vermont some but mostly cruised the hills of Massachusetts. There wasn't a whole lot of climbing, at least compared to what I'm used to, but enough to keep me happy!:)

300km, here i come!

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