While marathon runners were sleeping in anticipation of the race on Patriots Day, I joined hundreds of cyclists to bike the 26.2 miles in the middle of the night. The Midnight Marathon Bike Ride was back for its seventh year in a row. Short of actually running, I thought it was a great way to honor the marathon tradition.
The roads were still open to vehicular traffic, but only a few cars passed me on the road. The midnight ride is not a race. Although more pacelines went past me than cars. My pace was on the leisurely side. The road were mostly recovered from the winter stress and were spruced up for the marathon’s start several hours later.
The ride actually starts in South Station, where you could load your bike into a truck, while you jumped on the commuter rail to re-join your bike at midnight. I convinced Mrs. Doug to drive me and two fellow riders out to Southborough instead.
There were dozens and dozens of riders at the train station who had also been dropped off. That’s lots of riders with an assortment of lights, bikes, skill levels and motivations.
It was cold. We were dressed to ride, not stand around in the cold. So we jumped on our saddles and rode off just before midnight and before the train arrived. As we left the the parking a lot, a half-dozen moving trucks full of the train riders’ bikes pulled into the parking lot.
It was a few miles from the train station to the Marathon’s starting line in Hopkinton. A few miles that went mostly uphill, with a nasty half-mile stretch in excess of a 5% grade. It’s a tough enough hill that there is a plan B route that goes around the hill.
At the start line we found several hundred cyclists already in place waiting for midnight or the train riders to come. We kept pedaling.
And pedaling and pedaling.
It was a continuous stream of bikes from start to finish.
Marathon security was nice enough to leave the finish line open for us to take pictures.
Boston Common Coffee Company hosted a charity pancake breakfast after the ride. Pancakes taste great after 30 miles in the saddle.