Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rapha Roll Out Ride

Not to rip off Alanis Morissette but...Thank you Iceland, Thank you Eyjafjallajokull, Thank you Ashpocolypse, Thank you Twitter, Thank you Jeremy Dunn, Thank you Ride Studio Cafe, Thank you Embrocation J, Thank you Pete (Mad Alchemy) Thank you Hupxpress...what a weekend on the bike. It all started to shape up late Thursday night when I got an email from JD. It was pretty innocuous really...just a "you around?" Yeah man I'm around wazzup? I replied back. Well looks like JD was in town and he had some serious British Steel with him! The Rapha Condor Sharp team had raced Battenkill and then been stranded state side by the Ashpocolypse that had brought air travel to its knees. But being the consummate professional when the god's give you lemons JD makes lemonade! JD (and his team) whipped up a fantastic Roll Out Ride with the pros at Ride Studio Cafe in a blink of an eye!

The plan was simple really. Show up at the brand new Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington @ 5:00 on Friday night and schmooze a bit then roll out on a ride with the Rapha squadra. I tried to give as many of my friends the head's up as possible. I pulled into the municipal lot parked right near the MM bike path and saw Noir rolling right by my windshield. Jumped out of the car and yelled "Link!!!" Luckily (like any good Hupster) Stephen Link had spotted my cx bike on the roof rack and had slowed down from his tempo pace to check out my bike enough to hear me scream at him. It was such a good omen seeing Stephen rolling back from a raid on Mt Wachusett. I didn't even try and talk him into hanging out as he looked wicked fresh for a man who'd been to hell and back solo but I knew another ride would spell doom for him. He headed off and no more than a second went by when who pulls into two spots next to me? Pete Smith of Mad Alchemy fame of course!

Man this was going to be a good night I could just feel it. We got the bikes ready talked shop a bit. Pete pulled out a cache of Mad Alchemy and offered me up some Gentleman's Blend. So sweet! Stuff is my new fave! Just a bit of warmth but some serious sheen and just makes you feel freaky fresh and ready to ride! Pete and I rolled over to Ride Studio Cafe wondering how long it would take before the Lexington sidewalk Nazi would realize he had a captive audience of cyclists to harass on the other side of the street and left his perch in between Peet's and Starbucks and moved to where the real biker action was going to take up permanent residence.

It was just a bikeapallooza. Clint rolled up with Marty just as we were propping up our bikes next to the rest of the bike pile. I have to say I am beginning to fetishize a bike pile. Ever since the Ronde de Rosey when we had like 100 bikes in a pile it is just a thing of beauty to me....I said hi to those cool cats and went in to say hi to all our hosts and hostesses. Let me say this straight away Rob Vandemark and Jennifer Park have been amazing host and hostess the last couple of months at RSC. They have embraced so many functions at the Studio and shown just what a hub this space can be for the cycling community. Kudos and thank you to both of you. Rob and Jen were handing out espressos and had water on hand and just welcomed all us bikers with open arms. I said hi to Jeremy Dunn. Thanked him for making this happen and gave him a big hug. I love that man. Then I became somewhat star struck. Maybe that is not the right word for it.

I've been around plenty of PRO's. I've been lucky to ride with some real legends. But maybe its because I am getting old or whatever who knows but I was instantly struck by how stunningly handsome every young man on the Rapha team was. I mean gorgeous. It must be a job requirement. Maybe it was the team kit which is so simple yet elegant or just their dashing good looks. Who knows. They also proved to be so nice it was reeediculous. The team Director and Jeremy laid out the ground rules for the ride. Social pace. We obey ALL stop signs. Ride will be respectful etc...They said all the right things.

We rolled out of the RSC like critical mass hitting Lexington Center! No less than 10 dudes attacked from the first light leaving a 200 yard gap between the rest of the riders. How fast can a pro circuit rider shut that down? In a blink of an eye. Not sure who it was but one of the Rapha guys went by us like a F 117 Nighthawk Stealth attack fighter. He was on them instantly and had a few words to reiterate this would be a tight social ride with no attacking. The rest of the ride was mellow and easy with some great conversation. We had two back to back flats and Clint had a bit of elbow music on the MM path in Bedford from a random walker/mugger but all in all just a super fun night riding with the pros.

One rider worth mentioning is Dean Downing. I am embarrassed a bit to not be as well versed on PRO teams and their rosters as some. But Deano as JD calls him is so damn cool and such a good ambassador for his mates and his sport its beyond words. And you can tell when you are talking to him he can bring it man...seriously he has the look and the fire in his eyes when he is talking about racing. From the sounds of the weekends racing he did bring it in spades. I'll be rooting for these boys and trying to follow them a bit more and see how they do out there on the circuit.
Over beers a ride plan was hatched for Sunday am ride of our own. Ride to the Ride Studio Cafe Hupstyle. I had no less than 10 takers before I left the party. Of course when Sunday dawned we had a smaller group of four. But in reality four was the perfect number. We rolled from my house in Needham and picked up one of the nicest Hupsters on Earth Justin Cox. The day turned out to be perfect. Sunny but not too hot. No flats. No drama. Well a few close passes from motorists and Chauncy the Trust fund baby giving us shit from his daddy's Range Rover but whatevah...you have to just tune out that white noise.


We were drawn to the RSC like a beacon. As we got closer and closer we kept talking among ourselves. "Will they have food?" We were starting to bonk a bit. "Will they be open?" that was a dark thought none of us wanted to even entertain. No worries. We rolled up and were greeted by Rob VD! He invited us to bring our bikes in and hang them from a rack. We talked a bit asked him how business was going and just drooled over the bikes and the pastries. We had some great snacks, a fabulous cappuccino and then rolled back to Needham! What a great day on the bike. The Ride Studio Cafe deserves some serious Love. What Rob and Jen are doing really has never been done before. The space is beautiful. The people are sooo inviting. Trust me this is a place that will become a hub for our community for a long time to come. Check it out when you get a chance.

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