Some days things just don’t work out as planned. So, the Sunday ride was “Climb to the Foothills” which I really wanted to do. Only problem was it started in South Acton, which was a 15 mile ride, so by the time I did the math, it was looking close to a century. I had done a long ride the day before, and really was looking for a shorter ride. But the weather forecast was for an absolutely perfect day, and Mrs. D. was away so I had no one to play with anyway.
I was considering other options, such as doing the short ride or (god forbid) driving to the ride, and as of Saturday night I had come to no definite conclusion. Decided to get up, have coffee, read the paper, and then decide. There was a tremendous downpour that night and I thought it might get rained out. But, no, Sunday morning dawned clear and cool, perfect biking weather. So, I decided on plan B, ride to the ride and see if I could find someone to give me a ride home.
When I got there, I saw the usual suspects, but for one reason or another, it didn’t work out. So, I decided on plan C, which was to start the ride and find somewhere to turn off and just go home, thereby eliminating miles. I’d done this successfully a few weeks ago, when arrowing the Climb to the Clouds route. From Bolton I managed to pick up my Apple Pi arrows and went home that way.
Of course, there was still plan D, find a good group to suck wheel from and save my energy for the ride home.
Started out with a group of about 10 at a rather brisk pace, and by the time the first food stop arrived, I decided I wanted a kindler, gentler group to leach off if I had a prayer of getting home alive. That didn’t work out either, I found myself in ride limbo, too slow to keep up with the faster groups, but having sucked wheel for miles before being spit out, way ahead of the groups I should have started with in the first place.
So, I’m riding up Justice Hill and I see a Climb to the Clouds arrow. Great, I thought, I’ll just follow that, pick up the Apple Pi ride, and save all sorts of miles. Wrong. I figured out that this plan was a dismal failure when I saw the sign for East Princeton, right next to one for Wachusett Mountain. So the light bulb finally went off in my head, and I realized I had followed the route OUT, not back. Did a hasty about face and rode most of the way down the hill leading the East Princeton, when it dawned on me that trying to follow the original ride arrows in reverse was bound to end in tears, and that I was already about as far out on the CTTC ride as I could be, so I might as well just follow it.
The arrows were very good, and I had actually ridden the route arrowing it a couple of weeks before, but by now paranoia was setting in. It seemed like I was continually going north on 140 or south on 140, and I kept seeing signs for one or more of the Boylstons, which I was bright enough to realize was another word for Worcester, which is like, western Massachusetts.
Then I got to the place where the bridge was out, and we had arrowed around it. Unfortunately, I didn’t remember where those arrows were. So, I went down to see if I could do a little cyclocross action, get over the bridge somehow, and pick up the original route. There was a dirt section, with a rather steep drop off that I would somehow have to get me and bike around, and a few more obstacles after that (reminded me of a reward challenge on Survivor). So, I opted not to do that, and went off to see if I could find the detour arrows. Went up what I thought was the logical road, which ended in a “No Exit” type road. Not good. At this point, I was afraid I would have to fall back on the Donohue Navigation System, which is that whenever you have a choice, take the bigger road, and eventually you will come to a numbered road with a sign pointing to some town you have heard of. That usually works, but I was in a network of residential roads that were all pretty much equivalent. I was stopped at an intersection, pondering which way to go, and happened to look down, and there was a CTTC arrow. Saved!
Finally got back to familiar territory, found my arrows and home, 122 miles later. So much for cutting off mileage.