Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Late for PHAT Ride

Meeting Moved

My 1:00 pm meeting got moved to 4:00 pm. Ugh! I normally get in early so I can leave at 4:00. That would normally give me pleeeenty of time to make it to the PHAT Ride. Sometimes I even go home to change. The meeting end just before 5:00. I should have time to make it down to the PHAT ride (from Maynard).

Getting There...

My Garmin nĂ¼vi 750 is telling me that I should arrive at the PHAT Tuesday Start around 5:42. Ok, that's good. But I'm hungry and I don't want to ride hungry. So I stop off at the Dunkin Donuts in Stow and grab a Gatorade and a Turkey Cheddar & Bacon Flatbread Sandwich. I get back in the car and the GPS now estimates that I'll arrive at 5:47. Ok.

Route 495 Traffic

I am moving along quite nicely though I notice there is significantly more congestion at this hour. That's to be expected. Then I hit traffic as I approach Route 9. Now I know from my past commutes back and forth to Merrimack, NH that there is a trick to dealing with this particular choke point.

No matter how much slower the right lane it, get in it. There are more cars traveling more tightly together in the fast lane. The slow lane has slower cars, but much less dense.

It's pays off. As I hit the route 9 exit, the traffic in the slow lane has much more room to "compress" and I eventually pass the cars I used to be behind in the fast lane, by a lot. Now, at the Route 9 exit, is when you start getting back over to the fast lane to avoid the cars coming in from Route 9 and the eventual backup getting on to the Mass Pike (which is the next exit).

After all the traffic, my ETA is now 5:56. That is cutting it close!

5:56; I Get There

I arrive and everybody is all line up and ready to go. They are listening to Tim promote the PHAT Tuesday Night at Cole's Tavern Event. I scramble. I get the bike off and as I am starting to change my clothes, they leave.

I get dressed, jump on the bike and GO. I am going to try and catch the group. It is a large group. I don't even bother to activate the track log on my GPS.

I pedal my ass off.

I eventually catch the group in my sights in the Jefferson neighborhood. I almost catch the group 1.5 miles in. I round the corner and see Marc Mann finishing up allowing the group to cross at Vine St & Forest St. That is the last time I see that large group.

I keep going thinking I might have a second chance catching them at the descent past the Big Apple, but it was not meant to be. I join up with one of the stragglers and I ride with him until Fales St.

Short Cut

I know I am not going to catch the group, but I do know a shortcut that will shave off 4 miles and get me to the halfway rest point much faster. I take it and at 6:30 I am waiting for somebody to show up. 9 miles and I feel like I haven't even wrmed up yet. The fast group rolls in. They were averaging 21+ mph. Then the second group rolls in, and then everybody else. I'm the only one who isn't sweating. I averaged 17.0 mph over 9+ miles getting to here, by myself.

The Second Half

The second half of the ride I rode with the usual suspects. At one point Ed attacked the group on a climb on Hancock St. I was on his wheel and I wanted to see if I could hang on. I did :-)

At the top of that climb Ed noticed I was riding his wheel and called me "a lazy bastard". I enjoyed that immensely :-) I've learned a lot about tactics since I've joined this ride 2 years ago.

Mount St.

My new 12-25 rear cassette served me well. I had less trouble climbing up this road. I didn't "grind it out" as much and I recovered a lot faster towards the top.

The rest of the ride was uneventful yet fun.