82 mile training ride.

82 mile ride “Marlboro Man”

Yesterday I went out and did an 82 mile version of my “Marlboro Man” route.  Here’s one version of it:  http://www.mapmyride.com/us/brookline-ma/marlboro-man-simplified-route-20668048

Added a few miles to that version by going out on Beacon to Comm to Weston to 126 to 117 to 85 instead of going via Watertown.

Before the ride I fueled up with the AMAZING cheesy grits with a soft boiled egg from my local Clover.  Lots of pre-ride calories and I didn’t feel hungry for a couple hours.  It was a perfect day.  The weather was sunny and in the upper 80’s.  I think it was also fairly dry, so I was quite comfortable.  It was going to be a long day in the saddle and I was not feeling terribly frisky, so I kind of spun easily out of town.  I saw a lot of cyclists coming in the opposite direction.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Sudbury Road in Weston has been repaved.  It really needed it badly.

Look at that fresh silky smooth pavement!

I hooked up with 126 and headed north until I caught 117.  This is really a lovely road.  Traffic moves fast in spots, but generally it’s wide and there’s some beautiful farms and other Olde New Englande views.

Here’s a shot of a bridge over the Sudbury River.

There are any number of places to stop along this stretch.  I was carrying two water bottles and hit the second one around here.

If you’re looking to stretch the route out to 100 miles you can continue on 117 until you get to Leominster.  I did that once back in the day.  You can then double back until you get to 85.  You can also shorten the route a bit by taking 62 where it branches from 117 and hooking up with 85 in Hudson.  This flexibility is one of the reasons I like this route.  It’s got some excellent climbs, beautiful views, and you can vary the distance from 55 miles to 100 by altering a couple turns.

I was starting to think about stopping to get some food and drink when I saw this sign for a farmstand.

I took a couple photos.

But I did not stop.  Go figure.

I think this is one of the drawbacks of me riding on my own.  I can be pretty bullheaded and will just ride.  Anyway, I kept riding, picked up 85 and headed south.  During the whole day I only had a couple interactions with other cyclists going in my direction.  Around this bit I talked to another cyclist — he was surprised that my rear red light was on.  I told him my front back & front lights were rechargeable and I ran with them on during the day for extra visibility.  He said if his were, he’d do the same.

Down the road in Hudson I finally drained the last of my water.  I stopped at a playground to see if they had a water fountain, but there wasn’t one.  Oh well.  I rode along and came across a Dunkin Donuts.  Since I was jonesing for an iced coffee too, I stopped in.  Most Dunkin Donuts don’t seem to care if you bring your bike into the store — another consideration for solo cycling.  The people working here were incredibly friendly.  They offered to fill my water bottles with ICE WATER.

It was nice to sit down in the AC and cool off a bit.  I also ate a “croissaint”.  Downtown Hudson has had a beautiful revival, partially due to the Assabet River bike path that runs through it. I ran across that path earlier in the day, though I decided not to take it.

With full water bottles I continued south on 85 for the major challenge of the day: the climb up to Hopkington.  The road just goes up and up.  I got down into my lowest gear and spun to the top.  Not setting any speed records, but I got there.  I passed up on taking 135 (the Marathon Route) back into town.  Instead I continued heading south on 85 towards Holliston.  At some point I ran across the “Upper Charles River” bike path.  I crossed the road to check it out and sure enough, one of its spurs dumped out onto 16.  So, I hopped on this path.

I rode along for a bit.  The path was QUIET and shady.  It was a nice break from the road.  I sat up for a bit and rode no handed and stretched for a bit.  I stopped and chatted with a couple cyclists about where the spur to 16 was.  They expressed some surprise regarding how far I had gone/where I came from.

The path eventually became packed dirt, but it was still OK riding.  I was running low on water and thinking about stopping for a refill.  At some point the path looked like it was turning into a more gravel mix, so I jumped off at a convenient point and got on the road.  Which turned out to be route 16!  Exactly the road I wanted.  After running out of water I stopped at two shops in South Natick — both of which were closed.  Kind of bummed out I got back on the road and saw an open gas station just shy of the Wellesley town line.  I stopped and loaded up on the fluids.

Another in a series of “snacks that saved my life”.  One of the great things about cycling.  It makes everything better.  Iced tea, Gatorade, and almonds pretty solidly fall into that category.

Looking a little worn around the edges at this point.

Refueled and with full water bottles I got back on my bike feeling a whole lot better.  In a couple miles I hit my regular commute route home and “the horses smelled the barn”.  This is a stretch of road where I know every pothole and bump.

Finally, I was home.  Hungry and tired after a very long day in the saddle.  I think the salt stains on my jersey tell the whole story.  After dinner I walked to JP Licks and had the chocolate frappe I’d been thinking of all day long.  😉

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