Boston Bikes’s Hub on Wheels has two great features: (1) a ride through parts of Boston I would not normally ride and (2) a car-free Storrow Drive so you can ride right down the middle of the highway. I was in for the 2015 edition.
I rolled out at dawn heading to Downtown Boston for the 2015 edition of the Hub on Wheels. The sky was dark and gray with clouds blocking the stars. I felt a few raindrops and doubted the decision to leave my warm layers and rain gear at home. As the sunrise came, the drops dried and the sun threatened to break through the clouds.
I sat at the Bill Russel statue waiting for some friends. A nearby resident told me how great the bike racing was on Saturday. “Those m–ther-f—ers were flying around the street. It was awesome. Those m–ther-f—ers were awesome. I saw the Tour de France when I was in the Navy, but these m–ther-f—ers were awesome.” I was sorry I missed the race. I asked him to cheer me on. “You got it brother.”
I met two of my Team Kinetic Karma teammates for the ride. We cut off the start of the ride to Cambridge Street in an attempt to stay in front of the hundreds (thousands?) of riders in the crowd.
We cruised down Cambridge Street, passed MGH and onto the Storrow Drive ramp. We rode fast, but slowed down for a moving group picture.
At some point I realized this was a unique opportunity to put the hammer down and ride as hard and as fast as possible.
I didn’t have to worry about cars. We had three lanes of car-free tarmac.
I didn’t have to worry about many bikers. We were in the first 20 bikers.
I lowered my hands down to drops and began cranking the pedals. A quick glance behind. I saw the flash of blue and yellow. At least one teammate was in my slipstream, coming along for the ride.
We blazed past another paceline, dipping under the Guest Quarters overpass.
My quads were burning. My lungs were burning. I kept turning the pedals.
The Harvard Bridge came and went. The Northeastern boathouse flashed by. We hit the turn around and I slowed.
Dan G. had managed to stay in my slipstream, but I had lost the other two. Dan G. continued on at a fast pace to meet a deadline. I slow pedaled waiting for Mike and Christine. When we re-grouped, I slammed the hammer down again, taking advantage of the open tarmac.
The rest of the ride would be on city streets, with car traffic, bike traffic, signals and the urban experience. The pace would be much more moderate.
I had ridden the Hub on Wheel’s 30 mile route in the past, but never the 50-mile route. The 50-mile route adds great roads through Stony Brook and up Bellevue Hill, the highest point in the City of Boston.
The sun was out and it was a beautiful day to ride through the streets of Boston.