After 53 trips around the Sun I have learned a few things. One the greatest gift ANYONE can give you is their time. Second is their friendship. Third is love. Fourth is time trialing back to their house to retrieve a tire and riding back to your broke ass on the side of the trail and saving the ride! Hahaha. More about Number Four in a second. So I live an "alternative" lifestyle. Always have. Who knows. Karma. Hippie parents. Well they weren't actual Hippies but self-identified as Hippies so we basically were raised as wolves. This can be good. Or bad depending on your perspective. I am a glass half full guy so I like to see the positives that came from that upbringing. It has made me tolerant, open, accepting and most of all tribal. I value my friends and those in my life more than anything. It's not like I need an excuse to get a group of rad people together for a ride. But you only turn 53 once right? As my fave yoga teacher says "everyday our bodies can do what we do is a blessing" And she is right.
When I first texted my good friend Greg and said I was cooking up a bday ride he was all in. My initial "let's ride 53 miles" tampered down to a reasonable "Ice Cream Ride" The Ice Cream Ride really only happened by happenstance. What I love about Greg is he is literally a Trail Wizard. I use this term a bit. But I don't use it lightly. He and I really are drift compatible when it comes to a route. On this day all I said was something cryptic like: NTF-Hale-Satan's-Adam's. I think he said oh with Ice Cream? Then I was like holy shit! Yes let's ride to Bubbling Brook. Bubbling Brook in Walpole is literally the best ice cream this side of anywhere....it is old school New England. PHENOMENAL fried clams FYI....but we were talking ice cream sorry.
Greg and I are fairly new friends. But it is seems like we have known each other forever. It is weird. Back when we were scouting Ronde routes he sent me on an "ambitious" route. It was actually amazing but probably over most Ronde riders pay grade. At least on a CX bike. I believe at one point I texted him and asked "Umm so you want us to send a bunch of roadies on CX bikes into Satan's Kingdom?' Hahah. So today we went into Satan's on CX bikes. But as you are aware my dear reader we are not roadies. Nope. Not one of us. On this day we had Agent Utah coming off Lumberjack on a SS MTB and riding a SS MTB, Guthrie looking punch drunk post IRR and a super fresh Greg and Novick, and me. All 53 years of me....on a SSCX. The plan was just a chill soul ride and that was what it would be. We rolled out and shared stories. So much to catch up on. With two single speeders and one gear restricted Di2 rider due to lack of battery power we were guaranteed a chill pace.
Greg took my suggestion and nailed it. We rolled up Strawberry Hill, dropped into Hale, Went across the levee to Cat Rock. And at Cat Rock my brain started working the route. "Is Greg taking us down the PRO line?" As we wove are way through some pretty techy bits I saw it up ahead. Greg kind of jogged right. I knew the drop pretty well and right seemed like certain death. But I was inspired and maybe hypoxic at this point so was like ok I will go left. I somehow cleaned it. And saw Scott blast straight down the middle and then start laughing maniacally about his next CX bike would definitely have a dropper post. Then we came up to a set of stairs. It was a straight set. Wood. Sort of deep. But the right looked super loose and sketchy. What happens on these types of rides where you are riding a CX bike on trails you typically ride a mtn bike you forget you are not on a mtn bike. And make bad decisions. The second I dropped into the stairs I was like. Oh this is a bad, bad idea. I am pretty sure I sustained kidney damage.
But it was laugh out loud funny. Things were going swimmingly. We all were having a lot of fun. As we rolled into Satan's I wasn't really worried. I was like oh yeah this would have been great for the Ronde. Then Guthrie crashed and bent a rotor. Then I was off cause I was on a SSCX and it was steep and bony as fuck. Then Guthrie and I heard what sounded like an M-80 going off. Oh that can't be good. We get over the top of this bony ass rock feature and see Scott, Utah and Greg standing around. Hmmm ok. A flat. NBD. Well yeah a big deal. It was the most epic flat of all time. FUBAR'd basically. So Scott's rear tire fell victim to an NTF like axe head rock. OK you ride CX bikes on gnar shit happens. But the tire would not come off the rim. The bead was so locked into the tubeless socket it was ridiculous. Scott is a beast of a dude. Sweetest guy I know but strong as hell. PRO mechanic. If he can't peel a tire off a rim no one can. But the four of us all tried. It was sort of like the Sword in the Stone. Who ever shall peel the tire off this bastard of a rim shall become King of ALL HE SURVEYS.
So yeah the Ice Cream Ride was in peril. No one panicked. Utah was not feeling so fresh so he headed home. The Four Horseman of the HUPocalypse hatched a plan. Greg offered to ride home and get a tire and meet us at a trail head. We would hike a bike out. Solid. I am thinking Greg plays Achilles in this story. We were left like Odysseus to deal with the Harpies, Cyclops and Sirens. We somehow made it out. Once we got out into some cul de sac Scott started cutting the tire off. Greg arrived in no time with a fresh tire and the ride was saved. I mean that is so BALLER it is not even funny.
From there we just smash through crazy tech trails to 109 and to Mecca aka Bubbling Brook and get the best ice cream of my life. We eat our ice cream and then rail home like conquering heroes. God I love this life and my rad friends. Thank you to these four dudes for being such great friends and for gifting me such a great bday ride.....