"You're driving to Boston to ride a 100K? I didn't think you'd drive that far to ride a 200K."
~ My wife the night before the big (little) event. ~That's right, I rolled out of a perfectly warm bed at 4:45am on a cool fall morning to drive to Boston in order to ride 100 kilometers on my bike. Why? Iron Rider provides an answer in this great piece written a few years ago outlining the difficulty locating and completing a 100K populaire, one of the rides needed to earn the RUSA Cup - an award that has eluded me for several years. While I will wrap up this challenge in June with the Cascade 1200K, I did not want this shortest of all RUSA events hanging over my head in the meantime.
With 7+ hours in the car to ride an event of 4+ hours, I was violating one of my cardinal rules of randonneuring: don't drive more miles to the start of the event than the event itself covers. In other words, I try not to drive more than 125 miles to a 200K, 187 miles to a 300K, 250 miles to a 400K, etc. In this case, I simply did not care. The RUSA Cup is that important. Mercifully, the ride did not start until 9:00 AM, which gave me time to drive to the start in the morning rather than stay overnight in the area.
It was brisk at the start where we were greeted with smiles and hot coffee by Boston RBA Jake K. and his partner and Dill Pickle Gear CEO Emily O. It remained chilly throughout the day, but I never felt too cold to ride; my new Endura gloves performing as advertised. Soon after the start, I settled into a comfortable pace alongside a nice local randonneur named Jacob and together we covered some lovely roads in the suburban and rural areas north and west of the city, riding through Concord and Lexington and plenty of other historic towns along the way. Take Thoreau Farm below, for instance. Simply beautiful.
The best part of this ride, though, was the feeling of exhilaration that comes from a burst of athletic enthusiasm following an extended period of rest and recovery. So with this ride, I formally launch my 2018 cycling season. With an exciting new training book on my nightstand, this promises to be my best year in a long time. Now only the 1200K remains between me and that elusive RUSA Cup.