24 September 2015

Day 5 – Amesbury to Boston

It was quite a chilly over night evening, so when it was time to get up in the morning, it was really hard to convince myself to climb out of my sleeping bag! Not to mention the reality of bike shorts that I had washed that did NOT end up drying over night… but it was the last day and I was determined to get in some serious riding today.

So I pulled myself out of bed and got (mostly) dressed and went down to breakfast. It was time for Blake’s last talk through the route. I also needed to get Evan to give my bike one last look to make sure it was good to go for the final 65 miles to Boston. I loaded up my water bottles and my snacks, and was on the bike.

As I mentioned, it was pretty brisk this morning, so I had all the layers on – my Boston compression socks, plus my Thorlos on top; my damp bike shorts that warmed up pretty well after I got them on; my jersey, my long sleeve jersey, and my windbreaker; my armsleeves; and even an extra pair of gloves. Oh yeah, and a warm headband to cover my ears. And toe covers on my shoes! Man, it was COLD!! The good thing about a fully supported ride is that along the way you can shed layers and then pick them up once you make it to the end of the ride. So as the day went on and I warmed up – and the day got warmer – I was able to pull off most of my extra layers, so that riding into Boston I was all matchy-matchy with the other riders.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Our first stop of the morning was a fun little farm with cinnamon sugar donuts! It was the perfect fuel, along with another cup of coffee, to keep me warm and ready to keep pedaling. On this last day, the timetable is pretty strict, because the plan is to all ride the final few miles together. I didn’t spend too much time at this stop before jumping back on the bike and heading out. The first section of the ride was a lot of rolling hills before the final downhill into Boston, but it wasn’t too bad. I was actually feeling pretty good. I was riding with a fun pack of riders – back again with my pal Ellen – and we were about to chug up another hill when I felt the gears acting up. I jumped right off the bike because I wasn’t about to fall again. Another rider – this amazing older gentleman Al who rocked all 390 miles of the ride, stopped to try to help. The chain was acting up again and luckily Evan was by shortly in the van to make some adjustments and take it for a spin. I was back on the bike shortly – all my pals had already moved on without me – but I made it to the next water stop for a quick refill and a little extra lube on my chain before jumping back on the road again to get to lunch.
My goal was to be there by 11:30.

I’m pretty sure I rolled in around 11:40… pretty close to goal. I managed to get a whole pile of yumminess on my plate and grab a seat at a table in the shade. The food crew really does an amazing job feeding us – and keeping track of food concerns that people have. There are quite a few people on the ride that are vegan, and there were always real options for them. Most of the group was still at lunch, and at one point Patrick gathered us all together and reminded us that we were about to ride along the path that Paul Revere took and that we were standing in the footsteps of previous revolutionists. And that it is our time to be revolutionary – our time to ignite a change and a movement for climate change action. Although I was sort of on the sidelines finishing up my lunch, it was really exciting to see everyone get pumped up over the though of being revolutionaries.

But soon it was time to get back on the bike and make that final push for Boston. Shortly after we were back on the road, it was time to go off-roading on the Minute Man Trail.  This 4+ mile section was all on dirt/gravel trail, and some boardwalk. It was not the most fun for those of us with road bikes, but it was neat to consider the history we were riding past. Just like the other day, when we were finally back on the pavement, I was thankful for the road. Just a little bit further, and we were on another trail – this the commuter trail that leads into the city. It was fun to kick up the speed and cruise past other riders. As one of the locals called it, this is the “thunderdome” of bike riding in Boston, and I definitely participated. Soon enough we were pulling up to the American Legion, where we were all gathering before riding en mass to the Common. We spent a little bit of time hanging out – and Josh and Molly got suited up for one super awesome “Just Married” ride (oh, maybe I didn’t mention them – this couple was legitimately on their honeymoon on this ride! They were married just the Saturday before we started the ride). It was super fun to ride along the Esplanade with them and see people’s expressions.

When we finally came up to Arlington and made the turn onto Boylston, I was getting excited about riding to the Common. I knew exactly where we would be turning in, so as we were turning onto Charles, another rider told me to take the lead of our group of riders and bring us home. It was so fun to see all the supporters gathering just inside the park to welcome us – including some riders that had already finished as well as our amazing support team!

It was such an epic adventure. It didn’t turn out the way I had planned, but I enjoyed every moment of the ride. I do wish I’d been able to meet more of the 120 riders and talk with more of our amazing support staff. There just isn’t enough time to bike 50-80 miles a day, eat and sleep and still have time to be social! I hear the Northwest ride next year might have some “off” days, which sounds amazing. Every time I do one of these rides, I finish wanting to do it all over again. The team at Climate Ride really puts on such an amazing event, and you can’t beat the opportunity to support over 160 beneficiary organizations working on these critical issues.

Fundraising continues until the end of the fiscal year – so far we’ve raised over $424,000 just for the Northeast ride. The goal is to grant more than $1 MILLION to beneficiary organizations this year, and with the Midwest ride gearing up this weekend, we just might hit that goal. But every bit helps get us closer to that goal – and helps us send even more money to our beneficiaries. For me, I’m so glad to have another opportunity to support Interfaith Power & Light and the amazing work they do engaging people of faith in the moral call to action on climate change. Please consider making a donation today to help us surpass our goal.

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