Harbor to the Bay Charity Ride

Today I woke up a bit sore, quite thirsty, and completely satisfied. Yesterday I successfully rode my bike from Boston, down through the cape, and out to Provincetown and was accompanied by a cohort of fellow riders and a near army of kind-hearted volunteers and organizers. This was the Harbor to the Bay annual charity bike ride set up by, and in the memory of, Michael Tye who passed away from AIDS before the first ride in 2003 [1]. I am proud to say that I had the honor of riding in this years ride–a ride which has raised nearly 500,000 dollars from this year–and to have completed it.

My story leading to participation in this ride started just a month ago at the end of August. Looking back, I think I had only just gotten back home from my first ride ever on my Surly when I started searching for races and rides to train for. With just a couple short months before the waning summer warmth gives into snow and ice, I was happy to find that H2B was scheduled to take place towards the end of September. With the short amount of time I had fundraising and training started immediately and that month of time turned into a blur of farm time, riding, running, housework, applications, etc. Let it suffice to say that it was a busy month.

Then it was the day before the ride and I was feeling… everything. I was excited for the ride, anxious to get up to Boston in one piece, and worried about things I could have forgotten[2]. What really saved me, and usually does, is that I just had to trust myself to figure out all the details on the fly. I couldn’t lookup a route on Gmaps on how to get to the ride’s check-in location until I knew where my parents would drop me off, I couldn’t think about where I would after that until I knew when and where I would meet my friend, and I certainly couldn’t plan out most other things either without going crazy. So I left all these decisions in the future, where that belong.

As I alluded to, I met my good friend Phil after he got out of work[3] after which we got a beer at the Asgard before heading to dinner. Everything worked out well for staying at his place from the location right on Mass Ave, easy accessibility and bike storage, and the simplicity of the accommodations made me feel quite at ease. Besides, I got to catch up with a friend.

The morning of the ride was clear and quite nippy. At a crisp 46F at 5:30am, we got to enjoy coffee and breakfast at the Trinity Church along with a few words before setting off on our 125-mile trek. On our way down through the Back Bay, Dorchester, and Quincy, a motorcycle escort blocked down the intersections in order to ensure smooth and safe travels for us through the many traffic lights. Once out into the relative countryside we were primary on our own except for volunteers at turns. The aid station locations worked out extremely well–at least for me. With one every 15 miles, I was constantly able to push myself without fear of overdoing it and coming up short to an aid station while also being encouraged by their sizable distance apart. Besides their strategic location, all the stations were well stocked with food, drink, toilets, and even a bike mechanic which certainly went a long way to reassure me (it was my first distance ride after all)! With always-eager aid station volunteers, our hands were never empty of snacks and our water-bottles were never drained. So in other words, they were awesome–especially as the day got later and the miles got tiring.

Somehow I missed a turn and proceeded to completely reroute myself around Myles Standish State Park. Take a look at my recorded route below and you’ll see a little jog out then over, the Harbor to the Bay Trip Logonly large variation from smoothness on the map. Apparently I must have take a right somewhere I should have taken a left, but nevertheless I made the most of the mistake. I ended up heading down Rt 58 in Carver (by King Richards Faire and Edaville USA) before realizing I was no longer on the route, but since I had no idea where the missed turn was I decided to simply continue. Rt 58, I reasoned, worked well and dropped me off on Rt 28 which would then take me all the way to the canal. Rt 28 turned out to be a perfect alternate route and dropped me off right by the canal whereby I made my way to the Sagamore pit stop without any issues. My little side trip into Buzzards Bay turned out costing me about 5-10 extra miles but was worth it[4]. After lunch at Sagamore, nothing but the Cape loomed ahead, and that is one area where I feel at home.

The route through the Cape turned out to be just as I expected based on my knowledge of the roads around Barnstable. While there were certainly small, curvy, and busy sections of road, luckily those were few and far between. Any sour taste from the service road hills[5] were soon forgotten once we got to the Rail Trail. From there for the last 15 miles I just had to fortify myself to forward progress; and based on my last couple splits, move I did. Once there we received all the fanfare we could have hoped. There were many congratulations along with pizza and water–so live was good.

All told I rode 132 miles in 10:59:51. Even if I don’t fundraise as proactively for next year[6], perhaps I’ll be able to lend a hand and volunteer. Thus far in my racing career I haven’t volunteered nearly enough at races, but with any luck I’ll change that.

  1. Check out the official page for more details on how and why this ride was originated.
  2. The infamous words of Donald Rumsfeld come to mind here: “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tends to be the difficult ones.
  3. He claims to work for Novartis, but the building seemed much more like a futuristic, space lab…2014-09-19 16.23.40
  4. I am now confident that I can head through Buzzards Bay and towards Connecticut from there, the road was that good (busy but good).
  5. These hills are the worst, especially when you know EXACTLY what to expect.
  6. The 1000 dollar minimum was difficult to strive for and I’m generally pretty bad at asking for money from anyone.
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