Saturday, March 13, 2010

Belgium Ain't got Nothin' on Mass.

High of 42 degrees. Winds gusting up to 28 miles per hour. And rain.


You know what they say about early season rides: If it ain't rainin', you ain't trainin'.

Hit the Internets yesterday and goaded a couple of buddies into riding with me today. They were pretty game, it didn't take too much, though Racer Rob balked, apparently still not acclimated to the damp New England chill after the temperate lands of his native northern Utah. I wrote back shamelessly reminded him of the many ridiculous over-efforts he's managed to coax me into. Wasn't sure if that alone would do it, so I also made quick, unflattering reference to his manhood -- a graceless coup de grace which apparently did the trick.

In fact, in a year and a half of friendship with both these guys, who are also good friends with each other, it's the first time we've managed to get all of us on the road at one time. I wanted champagne and a ribbon cutting, but they demurred, being both modest and abstemious.

The start was ominous. Like Lear shouting into the teeth of the dooming storm -- "Blow, ye winds, and crack ye hurricanoes!" -- we knew we were in for it. When we all started leaning into the "side-winds" (I can't think of a term that actually captures them) at a 45-degree angle, we even got to try echeloning -- a first for two of us. The dry and warm drivers behind us were not amused, but we sure were.

Rob, true to his grimpeur roots (there are definitely mountains in northern UT) "encouraged" us into a couple of noticeable hills at the far end of our route. As Jacob so accurately pointed out, hills are always worth it -- after you've finished them.

When we neared Jacob's homestead (our finish line), I realized I still needed time to make my goal for the day. Fool that I am, I turned as they headed straight. Straight, that is, for baseboard heating and warm food. I foundered pretty quickly without companionship -- in this weather, having friends along is like having hot tea in your bottle. I realized I was starting to get cold in my core, and was lacking calories. I soon took a shortcut back, making for only an additional :20.

Friends, wives, children and a mug of herbal tea were waiting upon my return. Salves, all.

Despite the weather -- nay, thanks to the weather -- we had a grand time. That is, if smiles, quivering quads, and enthusiastic comments shouted above howling winds are any judge. I hereby declare they are.

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