I made three mistakes on this cycle that I have made before and should have learned from – but I didn’t. As I write now, I know that I still have not learned and will repeat all three again before too long. It’s important to note that none of the mistakes were fatal but more of the “caused mild discomfort” variety. Before that, I did have a close encounter with an old nemesis – the puncture. I realized my back tire was flat and I left out a string of expletives that some neighbors probably needed to put into Google Translate. Cursh a fookin’ Jaysis, says I. Rather than kicking the bike and heading back inside, I calmly got my pump and inflated the tire to 100 psi. It didn’t immediately deflate so I decided to take my chances. If I got a mile down the road and it was noticeably flatter, it wasn’t the end of the world. This decision wasn’t even my first mistake nor is my basic and complete lack of bicycle care. That’s all just an aside.
Temperature: 52 f | Wind Speed: 15 mph | Miles this month: 121.41m | Miles this year: 147.81m (1,852.19m to go)
Two rides ago, I wore the wrong gloves because I thought I knew better than the weather report and my own previous experiences. I made a rule that I would always wear winter gear on any cycle where it was below 60f. It’s not a detrimental thing. It just means my fingers are going to be colder than they need to be for a while. I think the main thing holding me back in having to take off the big winter gloves any time I need to use my phone. As I said, not a big deal but it’s the second time I’ve made this mistake in a week.
Mistake number two was heading down a road that was blatantly closed for a reason. It was riddled with detour signs and flashing lights at every junction. Local traffic only and not a thru way, they all said. Surely not for a bike, says I. Naturally I got to a certain point and there was no more way forward for man, automobile, or man on bicycle and I had to turn back to avail of one of the many detours that had so readily presented themselves to me earlier. Again, this was not a big deal and cost me no more than a few hundred yards overall but it was so easily avoidable.
The third mistake I made was going to Breakheart Reservation. I love the place. It’s very pretty with some wonderful trails, one of which affords a spectacular view of the Boston skyline. If you are, however, looking for a leisurely Monday evening cycle, this is not your place. It did not get its name by accident. The paved trail is just hill after seemingly endless hill. I remember taking the route through Breakheart on one of those leisurely summer’s evening cycles last year after a few years of not being there. It was comfortably the hardest 10 mile cycle I had ever done and I decided that evening that I would much rather do 20 miles than that 10 miles again.
I haven’t said enough nice things about Breakheart yet. We’ve been trying to go hiking more often so we went here during the winter not long after a good dump of snow. We actually took the stroller out and planned to walk the paved path but realized it wasn’t plowed when we got there. A little miffed but undeterred, we strapped the baby to my chest and went for our walk anyway – and it was really cool. I realized that I really liked the fact that they didn’t plow any of the path and it made for more of a winter Wonderland feel and a real hike. It didn’t really matter whether you took the paved path or one of the ones through the woods, they were all equally now, although the main one was more well worn. I think next winter, we’ll be heading there on purpose after a big snowfall to do it again.
Another thing I will say about Breakheart is that the hills are worth it. It’s rare you will hear me say that. I’m all about the flat cycles and don’t see an awful lot of value in burning myself out getting up a hill so that I can go down the other side at 30 mph for 30 seconds and then have to cycle again. While there is a good rush from that, the pay off is generally not worth it. In Breakheart, most of the declines are relatively gentle so that you have momentum for a good length of time, or they are so steep that they lead directly into the next hill and help you half way up before you start to feel the burn. Rinse and repeat. It’s a workout but the more distance I get from Breakheart, the more I want to do it again. It’s really not that bad.