Monday, February 13, 2012


The Lion and the cockroach have had an unholy alliance of late. Hup and Cambridge (now Broadway Bicycle School race team) have always had a shared bond. What we (Hup) may lack in ironic mustaches, tattoos and model like hipster good looks we make up with a love of steel bicycles, hardman/hardwoman training, cyclo-cross, good beer and cupcakes. And then there is of course the kits. Which team has more kits is debatable. I would have to give the edge to Hup but I am not 100% sure of this. Both kits are sick. Both kits use choice iconography and dramatic use of color/design. I won't lie I love the CB hi-viz green. They pretty much got that ball rolling long before it was the in color. Two of my all time favorite people to ride with are Scott Rosenthal (Hup) and Matt Aumiller (BBS). On saturday the three of us set out to do recon for the Ronde 3.0. All the details for the Ronde 3.0 are here. We had some great ideas. And I won't lie to you this years Ronde is LONG. And hard. We logged about 70 miles. 7 hours. About 5 1/2 actual riding time. We stopped for coffee at mile 30 and lunch at mile 60. We cracked a bit. Nothing major but we kept joking about how hard it is. But its supposed to be hard. I will also say it has an amazing flow to it. And the new trails we found are off the hook.
Friday night all the weather channels were saying we were going to get 3-6 inches of snow. I was beyond jacked up about this. I was a little nervous as I knew it would be a long day of riding saturday but there is nothing like riding a cx bike on fresh powder. Its a great feeling. I rolled out of my house to some small flakes. I met Rosey and Matt at Cutler at about 8:30. They both looked like they were ready for war. We popped into Cutler and did the usual loop. There were small sections that had some snow but not much at all. By the time we popped out on the West Roxbury side the snow had basically stopped. We got through sans Zombie attacks and with zero incidents. We had to do a hot lap on the pump track which as always is a blast.
We headed to south street and then into needham town forest. Again everything was going according to plan. No flats, mechanicals etc. That is actually saying something as some years Cutler eats bikes and rear mechs alive. We have our first close call rolling out of NTF. Someone. I assume a park person put a really low cable across the end of the trail. You could barely see it with all the brown leaves on the ground. Luckily Rosey stopped right in time before certain death....we avoided our first problem with little more than a "wtf? Why would anyone put that across a trail?" But its a good reminder that the Ronde has no rules. You never know what the fuck you are gonna see on these trails. I will say this Boston is blessed with so much open space. Out west 90% of this would be illegal. And if you built trails on it you would risk going to federal prison. Not that I know anyone who would build trails on any of this stuff.....
We jet over to Ridge Hill and through Wellesley. I show off the newly built fun zone that is up top on the loop. Some resourceful bmxers have built a pretty badass drop in zone up there. We railed it and kept moving. After popping out in Wellesley center we decided to stop for a doppio and an apple fritter. About 30 miles in we were feeling good. I took some bike pile pictures. Which I might add still blows my mind. We were basically on our own mini NAHBS cx tour. An Igleheart, a Zank, a Rock Lobster. 3 edge forks. 3 lazer helmets. Badass.

After the doppios we were feeling pretty perky so we upped the pace a touch. Rolling up clif road I started to feel a crack coming on. Aumiller was putting out some serious watts on the road sectors. And I was just trying to hang on for dear life. The key to the Ronde IMHO is managing both the terrain and your energy. You can make up some serious time on the road sectors. Or you can rip the legs off your teammates. Its a balance. With Rosey and Matt we are able to find that balance point pretty well. But a word of warning pick your teamates wisely. You will only be as fast as your slowest teammate. We hit the reservoir. We aren't sure if we are "allowed" access here or not. No one tazes us so it must be ok. We get to Weston and hit the craziest hike a bike I have had to deal with in quite some time. We get to the rail bed and Rosey pins it. What is cool about this ride is it plays to different peoples strengths. When ever Rosey sees a straight gravel or dirt road it is on! I like that about Scott. For the record the trails are in amazing shape. Not too wet. Pretty solid. Very little ruts. On the rail bed my bike starts complaining. I really don't see what the problem is. Just because I haven't changed the cables and housing since October it should work. Shouldn't it?
Rosey crushes the Lincoln road strava segment. We come out on 117. We cross over to Concord and go into Walden Pond. Oh man. I have been wanting to explore Walden forever. The ghost of Thoreau is all around us. Or the Blair Witch. It gets a little foggy in there not gonna lie. We come upon a very helpful trail runner. She just moved to Concord from Colorado so that explains why she is so friendly to three bikers who are looking a bit rough around the edges at this point. She points us in the right direction and off we go. We drop into trails that could be in Colorado. Beautiful. We come out and deadend at rt 2. Hmmm. We see a sidewalk on our left and take it. Its a bit sketchy. Aumiller hits sand and crashes. I feel horrible that I wasn't able to hold him up but he is a lot bigger than I am. He is unscathed. Just a bit dirty (er).

We head over to Concord. Hit the Bedford rail trail. From there we hit all the good stuff on the way to Lexington. In lexington we stop at Panera and get lunch. We see Joy and Cindy and I go say hi. So many people got out last saturday on cx bikes. I swear people are riding there cx bikes in the NECX right now more than they do during cx season. Not to get off topic but I think cx season sucks for riding. There I said it. You end up having to train so specifically. And you end up racing every weekend. So you miss going on big cx rides with your friends. To be honest riding saturday with Matt and Rosey was better than an entire cx seasons worth of racing. Anytime Matt speaks french to me over lunch it is a good day ; )

We leave Panera and head over the hill into Belmont. At Belmont we say our goodbyes. I get home around 3:30. Holy crap. If there is anything better than spending all day with good friends riding cx bikes I don't know what it is. Thanks to Rosey and Matt. Such good friends. And such good riding partners. Team Camelstache will be bringing it. Get your teams together. Get riding. As Eddy would say "ride lots" Its gonna be a long day. Lots of bail outs if you have to. Again what is amazing about Boston is that all of these great trails are soooo close to towns. I think you will need to stop for food. But that is me. Wellesley is a good stop point for water, gatorade etc. Lexington or Concord is a good idea for lunch or to grab some food. I rode a Clement LAS rear tire which I loved! And a mud 2 front. I think that is the perfect combo to be honest. You need a front knobby so you can enjoy some of the great trails. But its nice to have a file tread in the rear for the pave.

Hope to see the whole NECX on April 15th. Will the Vagiants come out of retirement and crush souls? I sure hope so...


  1. AWESOME! I'm marking my calendar. Inquiring minds wonder if I'll be sporting my Hup gear by then.


  2. The magic 8-ball says I hope so!

  3. I've been riding tons of trails in Weston and Wellesley learning all the secret stashes. If you want any intel let me know.

    Will Crissman

    PS - What is the tentative date?

  4. Hey Will, Thanks. Date is set for April 15th.