Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hub-On -Wheels report

Rather than race this weekend, Craig and I spent sunday morning volunteering at the Hub-on-Wheels ride. At the risk of sounding like a cheerleaders yearbook, It was the best EVER!

Seriously though, early estimates were 3,000 riders, up over a thousand from last year. the weather was beautiful for a long road ride and the crowd was very positive. Many people seemed to come in from the burbs with bikes on cars and its seemed like a great way to make urban biking less intimidating for that crowd.

Volunteers all met at City Hall plaza at 6am, everyone from total roadies in team kit to bikes not bombs volunteers to bike path cyclist was represented, and of course Team CB/Igleheart. Craig had been volunteering the day before, marking the route and also helped manage volunteer check in before headed off to be a stationary marshall at the Stonybrook reservation. I was a lead ride marshall, myself and 3 other volunteers were to stay at the front of the groups for the two routes. It was hard to tell just how "fast" that group was going to be though, while we were massing up on cambridge street.

Just before the ride left Mayor Menino, warning us at the front "If I catch you your in trouble!" and Senator Kerry, with personal squadron of roadies, appeared at the front of the line. As the ride started, Jeff, the other marshal lead marshal for the 45 mile ride, debated whether it was bad form to pass the mayor in the first half mile. But "Hiz'onah" swung his trek lime and all his grandkids, who were also riding, off the route before we got onto storrow. Riding on storrow was nice. Lots of space at the front and a police escort. The fast people started pushing the pace and I was surprised that Senator Kerry was still with us. The front group kept the pace up and by the arboretum we had established a pretty big gap on the next group. I saw Craig again when we came out of the Stonybrook reservation. I have to say it was pretty nerve wracking following a tandem at speed through the paved wooded path we took. Lots of blind turns and elevation changes made it a bit of a roller coaster. I caught up to the very front group at a red light on blue hill ave and stayed close to them into the rest area at Forrest Hills. Most of the fast crew didnt stop, but I was running low on water and we had re joined the shorter ride so there was no shortage of marshalls ahead of them. I took a couple minutes refilling bottles and when i left the rest area, who should be coming up behind me? The senator from massachusetts!

I rode with his posse for most of the second half. We made small talk and i chickened out on a bet with Dorothy to bust his balls for riding a Serotta rather than a quality MA product like an IF, Seven, ANT or Igleheart. He was treating me like a normal person sharing a bike ride so i didnt want to gush all over him like he owed me something. I will say, Senator Kerry is a VERY conscientious rider. He signaled every intersection, stop sign, pothole and oncoming whatever as well as all the turns. Hes also not just a fairweather rider, judging by the pace he held. I was keeping up with his group fine. But when i had to stop briefly to check on a rider who slid out in a turn, i didnt see him again until the finish.

Everyone at the finish was pretty excited. It turned out that the fastest riders on the 45 miler had finished in less than 2.5 hours, including Kerry! I came in right at 2:30 and was pretty happy with the whole ride. Id been chasing people most of the ride and the pace definately pushed me without killing me way out in Mattapan. And of course i feel pretty good about representing the sponsors at an event like Hub-on-wheels.

Next year im beating Senator Kerry to the finish though!