Good morning dear readers. Fellow 'muricans I hope you enjoyed the birth of this here fair nation. I hope you have all your digits, and are in one piece both spiritually and figuratively. I personally am a shell of a man. I honestly didn't even know what day it was until my dog walker showed up. I of course was still in my PJs. My dog walker is luckily a very understanding person. So how did I get to this state of not knowing what actual day it was? Well sometimes mes amis we take on a bit too much over the course of a three day weekend. I had high hopes to host a HUP BBQ and ride on Saturday the 2nd. It seemed like a great idea at the time. Michele did her ride with GPS black arts and we had a route to follow. 38 miles of mixed terrain bad assery on CX bikes.
Well like lots of great ideas and good intentions sometimes they get dashed on the rocks of family obligation. Not complaining but fairly last minute my sister-in-law asked if she, her daughter and a good friend from the Ukraine and his daughter could come spend the weekend at our house and do the full July 4th celebration. My town does not play when it comes to the 4th. The fireworks are next level. 40, 000 + people descend upon Memorial Field at the High School for an epic fireworks display. The next day our Parade is off the charts. So I had to pull the plug on the BBQ and ride. HUP approaches these rides sort of like how a Faceless Man approaches an assassination. Once the die has been cast there is no going back. We ended up with two rides. The early train: Me, DJ Robert and Andrew rolled out at 7 am. The late train: Michele, Ed, Chris, Meg, Jacob and Todd rolled out at 9:30. Now as anyone who knows me I tend to "pick my own adventure" in life and while riding. I don't use a Garmin. Ever. In this case I of course knew all these trails like the back of my hand. I decided to ride the route in reverse and to of course put my own spin on it. The intention or hope was that at some point the two HUP squadras would meet along the trail.
It was so good to ride with Robert. I have known Robert probably the longest of anyone on HUP. He is one of the original of the next generation of HUP NECX who helped build what we have right now. Guy is crazy fast. But lives life to the fullest. He is renowned for bringing a boom box on the Ronde and all our other party rides. He's a great rider and a great friend. Life, kids etc has conspired the last few years to make it difficult to ride together as often as we would like. Today was a gift to be able to ride with a friend with zero stress of racing etc. Along with Robert was new HUP Andrew. Super great guy. Strong as a bull on the bike. And has great taste in beer! My type of teammate!
Our ride was super chill. That is the advantage of rolling out at 7 am. I have to say I really liked this early roll out the door. So little traffic. No one was on the trails and it was nice and cool. We got back at home by 10 am long before the mid-day sun starting cracking us. One other thing Robert and I have in common are bikes. We both have Sky blue Zank CX bikes! As you can see from the photo below he is much taller than me! Well most everyone is much taller than me but I digress. It was pretty cool taking a side by side photo of the two bikes.
I warned Robert and Andrew that I was wicked slow and they were so great about not crushing me on the road sectors. We did a good amount of exploring. I took them out to see the Needham rail trail and the "controversial" burnt out train trestle that goes into Dover. It had rained non-stop the night before but the route we chose was oddly dry. A few wet roots and rocks but no standing water. Even Strawberry Hill which is basically a stream bed was dry. We had two crashes and zero mechanicals which is amazing for the trails we were riding. I would say over half the trails we rode were of the MTB variety. Nothing too gnarly but certainly at the edge of what is reasonable on a CX bike. I oddly love going into the drops on my Zank and just dropping into some nasty little drop full of rocks and roots. The bike just tracks so well. It really pushes the boundaries of what you can and can't ride.
We had gotten about 3/4 of the way through the route. I kept asking Robert what time it was. I had thought we would have found the Late Train by now. I was starting to get bummed out that we wouldn't see them. As we rode through the last woods sector and really the last chance to see our HUPmates I heard the tell tale sounds of disc brake squeal. I hollered in joy. I saw Chris coming up a trail down below us and yelled out to him. Michele popped out of the woods next. It was an awesome mid-ride reunion. Chris had a pretty good gash on his shin and Michele was talking about a beaver damn they had to cross and mentioned seeing fish swim by as she was hike a biking through the wash out. God I love this team.
We all exchanged high fives. Gave a trail recon report. I warned them that the gun club at Adams Farm was very "active" What a fantastic day and a nice CX wake up call. Its July 5th. DONOTHITTHESNOOZEBUTTONONYOURCXALARMCLOCK!!!
Get those bikes ready. Decide whether you are going tubular or tubeless. Order those tires. Glue them up or get that tubeless set up dialed. Do not be that person who rolls a tubie or burps a tubeless tire at the first race.
Oh all the good photos above were taken by Michele ; )