I don’t know when I first ran across a blog post about last year’s Ronde, but when I saw Chip talking about this year’s edition, I knew that I needed to get in on it. 60 miles, mix of road and trails, on cross bikes, April. Sounds pretty awesome, no? And to top it all off, also a fundraiser for Bikes Not Bombs. So I gathered up a few of my Quad compatriots and signed us up as a team of four. Some shuffling later due to schedule changes and it ended up being myself, Jim, Gerry and Walter. A solid crew for a long ride across roads and trails.
We got to the Washington Square Tavern in Brookline and there were already a ton of people there. Seriously, there were enough bikes that it was tough to get past on the sidewalk. Checked in and waited for our latter half start time. And then we were off. For some reason, I couldn’t get my Garmin to follow the route (grr), so we ended up having just the cue sheets to set us on our way
The route ended up being great and (mostly) easy to follow without getting lost. Riding on a variety of roads (including some new ones for me) and then riding some of the trails in Rock Meadow Conservation area, the Arlington Great Meadows, Whipple Hill, Prospect Hill, a long stretch along an abandoned rail line (finding where this ended for us was our one spot of getting lost-ish), a lot of riding along the top of aquaducts and then Cutler Park. And only two parts that were super sketchy ;-) The first being the trestle bridge along the abandoned rail line (tried not to look down, but still yikes!) and also going down the back side of Prospect Hill.
Our team was making pretty good time for the first half or so of the ride. But then I noticed something funky was going on with my cleat. Thought I had just managed to move it out of position so stopped to check it. But it looked fine. Then I noticed that my pedal wasn’t screwed in all the way. Removed it and tried to put it back in, but it wouldn’t go all the way in, leaving probably two turns of the threads outside the crank arm.
But it looked like it wasn’t going anywhere, so on we went with me trying to be a little easy on it and not standing for any climbs and doing more run-ups than I would have preferred to avoid too much torque on the pedal. Then, pedaling along in Cutler, my foot goes flying a little and all of a sudden I am pedal-less. The threads completely stripped from the crank and so I was down to just being able to use one pedal. But the rest of the team was up ahead of me. So I took off trying to catch up to them. When I realized that the course at this point was an out and back, I turned around and headed back to the entrance of Cutler. 3 miles of trails with one pedal done.
I weighed my options in the parking lot as I waited for the rest of my team to make it back out. I could do the 7 miles left as a set of one leg drills. Or I could try to get a ride. So I did what any self-respecting cyclist would do… I started riding towards Brookline after letting them know. It was an interesting experience. But I made it back and actually ended up getting there in front of them as Jim was bonking and needed to stop for water.
I ended up with a ride time of 4 hours and 30-ish minutes for the 55 miles of riding I did. And I had a blast. Thanks to Rosey for organizing and everyone for coming out to make it a ton of fun. And next time, maybe I’ll remember to pull my phone out and take some photos.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to look for a new crankset for the cross bike…