Woke up Sunday morning a little hung over and got ready for the my first Ronde De Rosey. I think overdressed a bit and while at the Washington Square Pub I dropped a layer. The Dirty Half Dozen consisted of Greg, the team leader, his friend Derek, Scott, Mike and myself. We left the starting point 5 minutes late and it was probably after the first single track section that we lost sight of Greg and Derek.
The first 13 miles of the ride was a mix of hard ball roads and singletrack, which slowed us down greatly.
We stopped in the Needham Town forest for snacks and to lose a layer. I took my jacket off and stuffed it into it's stuff pocket, then used the straps to attach it to my waist so I probably looked like a Fred riding with a fanny pack. At that point I realized that I should have brought my seat trunk. I had brought my barrel bag but forgot to bring one of the straps so I left it in the car. Never again.
Trails through the forest were a little better and eventually we popped out onto a rail trail. It was nice to have a break from the trails while at the same time not having to ride with the traffic.
From the rail trail we rode along side the Charles River which was at a flood stage and it was quite impressive.
The next off road adventure was in the Noanet Woodlands. Heading into this forest preserve there was some really muddy dual track and then it started to climb. A few yards up the trail there was a stream crossing and I thought the left side had a good line. However I didn't have enough momentum and my front tire landed in the stream I stopped short and I went down into the water. My worst nightmare, getting wet on a ride and getting hypothermia. Fortunately, it was warm enough that I didn't think I would have a problem. However, my knee was a different story.
At first it didn't seem to be bleeding too much but as I rode on it really started to bleed so I had to stop and perform a little trail first aid. Bandaged up and ready to role we pressed on until we came to field that started out dry but the further we rode, the soggier it got. Then a little road, a wrong turn resulting in a little backtracking and then more trail that led us into Rocky Woods Reservation. We stopped at the camp store but questioned whether or not to fill bottles because they guy in charge didn't know if the water was potable. He kept saying it was well water like it was a bad thing.
The route passed Greg's house and he had texted earlier to say that there was water and beers for us. Greg's wife offered us food, Scott and I had bananas while Mike tried some gluten free PB&J Sushi. I took the opportunity to dry out a bit, too.
After that convenient rest stop we headed down the road to the Lollipop feature of the route only ended up taking a wrong turn and bailing on the rest of the trails. All of us, by this point were sick of trails. Back on the course we road through a cemetery and then some more trails, more roads, more trails and eventually we came to a dysfunctional mental institution. Heading back into woods I was almost attacked by a dog.
We rode into Medfield State Forest and it was really nice going on an old road and then more singletrack. Eventually we popped out into another field. The field was muddy, too, along with the trail that led out to a paved road. This ride wasn't a gravel grinder, it was more of a mud slide.
After a few more trails we eventually came out onto an aqueduct and rode that back to Waban. At one point I was a little behind a group of riders and trail went quickly from light to dark and my eyes didn't adjust in time to see a railroad tie/water bar in front of me and I wasn't able to completely stop in time and crashed into it. While I got a nice bump on my leg and another gash that wasn't bleeding profusely. must have been the mud. I first made sure my front wheel wasn't taco'ed. Scott caught up to me and we eventually made our way back to Washington Square by a little before 3 PM!
While I am not a huge fan of American IPAs, this West Coast IPA from Green Lash was awesome. Definitely a great ride and I hope I can do it again next year.