President Obama is the punchline of many a joke. In this case I am being 100% serious. Ever since Firefly put on an adventure ride all around Boston termed D1R1 Scott and I have been itching to do the route. We had planned on joining Firefly the day before D2R2 to do the ride but the weather and the #CBL interfered. Scott and I do a ton of rides together. We have done a lot of recon for mixed terrain rides. Riding "CX" bikes in the woods is pretty much our go to ride at this point. What I call "CX" may not be what you call "CX". Sure racing is great. But you know what is really great? Getting lost in the woods and riding all day with your good friend. CX bikes are the perfect adventure bike. They really always were. There is NO need for a specific adventure bike. It already exists. Its called a CX bike. The adoption of tubeless and disc brakes has made the Swiss Army knife of bikes even better equipped to deal with woods riding.
But as usual, I digress. So why is this post title thanking our President? Scott texted me and asked if I wanted to do the D1R1 on Labor Day. He had me at bikes. Then I read the Globe drinking an extra large iced coffee from Dunkies while eating a French Cruller that President Obama was in town. Boston is a shit show on a good day. Add in Labor Day and a Presidential visit and who knows. My idea of "fun" does not include being stuck on the Pike for three hours. So I texted Scott back and said why not start and finish at Blue Hills?
Blue Hills is a gem. To some its just a rocky lump sticking up a mere 500' and staring out at the harbor. But I love it. Its taken a while but I really do love that place. Its not easy on a CX bike but its totally doable. OK before everyone goes all crazy on me. Not all of Blue Hills is doable on a CX bike. There are some next level mountain bike trails that you want a mountain bike for. But a lot of the other stuff is great. Scott and I got a spot at Houghton's Pond before the holiday beach goers took over the lot. That in itself was some kind of Labor Day miracle. Especially considering it would turn out to be one of the hottest days of the summer. This actually would explain a few things later on in the day. We got our act together which basically means we pulled bikes down off the rack and loaded up the Garmins. Scott had the route on his Garmin so was the defacto Trail Ninja. He is better with navigation than I am anyway to be honest. I navigate mostly by internal GPS. Once I have ridden a place I tend to remember the turns etc.
We decided to do the Blue Hills portion first which turned out to be a great decision as by the end of the ride we were totally cracked. I honestly don't know if we would have been able to ride the techy trails at the end of the day. The first few miles or so were mainly gravel roads. Nice swoopy ones. Again, for a holiday weekend there were not that many people. We hit our first technical trails and the fun started. Riding CX bikes over rocks and roots is a blast. But you have to be smart about it. We got out of Blue Hills without a crash, flat or mechanical. That is a miracle trust me. Last time I went through here with a group on CX bikes we had 4 flats in about a mile. It was going to be a good day I could feel it.
The Firefly route was awesome. We were following it in reverse as that is just the way it worked out. But the flow felt perfect. After the technical riding of Blue Hills we rolled onto a really nice road in Milton. I had expected to deal with a lot of angry drivers and nasty City streets but have to say these roads were better than most roads I ride in the 'burbs. My favorite part was right after Milton when we hopped onto the Neponset Greenway. It is a great multi-use path that runs right along the water. It was so cool seeing so many people on the path and at the many parks along the way through Dorchester.
People freak out about riding in Boston and Dorchester. I honestly don't get it. We rode all through Boston without one maniacal driver attempting to kill us. Ok one guy in Hyde Park lost his shit and yelled at us. And some nice kids said they liked our outfits. I look at those as heckles.
After the Fenway we turned onto Olmstead. I had never ridden any of this before. I have ridden Larz and like it but Olmstead and the whole Charles River Path was mind blowing. I have never seen so many geese in my life as well. And for some reason they were just camped out in the middle of the path. City Geese clearly give zero fucks as they didn't even move a muscle as we came through.
All I could think about is what an amazing area it was to practice CX. And low and behold as we pop around a corner we see Spencer and a group of #Garbageball enthusiasts finishing up their CX shenanigans. We stopped and said hi. I wish we had been there in time for a round of Garbageball. That would have been a hilarious part of this fantastic ride.
Heading through JP I started to crack. We had been through about 3 bottles and some energy type food. I didn't realize how hot it was. Which is weird. But there was so much to see and the ride was so rad I didn't really have time to worry about heat or bonking. I started looking for a Dunkins or coffee shop. Nothing. Which is bizarre. We saw a Mexican place up ahead and beelined for it. Sadly it was closed. Stupid Labor Day. Luckily there was a 7-Eleven across the street. We loaded up on cold cokes and "food" and headed towards Blue Hills.
Ok the "trail" back into Blue Hills is one for the ages. Basically we followed a pipeline to a Highway Graveyard. We were so bonked it seemed like some kind of weird dream. A beautiful CX dream. We rolled back into Houghton's Pond as all of Boston was descending upon the parking lot. Thanks Obama (and Firefly) for a damn fine way to spend the day on a bike.