We’ll start this month’s column with a short travelogue. As many of you will appreciate, New England winters can be long and cold. I’ve always understood that the best approach is to embrace it and find activities suitable to the climate – skiing (both downhill and cross-country), hiking, snowshoeing, fat tire biking and even road biking when the opportunity presents. Mary and I have done that in the past but we miss the road biking and we aren’t as hardy as some CRW members, e.g., Eric Ferioli and others. So, we’ve been trying out warmer climes to make our winters more bearable. We call it Spring Training and we’d like to think it gives us a headstart for when spring finally arrives to New England. Starting in 2016, we’ve headed south, usually for a month or so. The first year was New Zealand which was fabulous and exotic, though we generally rode trails rather than roads. If you ever get the chance to ride the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, I highly recommend it. It begins at the base of Mt. Cook and ends at Oamaru on the east coast of the south island on the Pacific. The ride began with a helicopter hop across the Tasman River for ourselves and our bikes. I mistakenly left my Garmin turned on, and the data shows an incredibly steep climb.
New Zealand was a one-off, and we started searching for warmer locales a bit closer to home. First, we tried Englewood on the Gulf Coast of Florida. We found a nice bike club, Coastal Cruisers, and had a great month of cycling with a total elevation gain of about 300 feet. You also have to enjoy riding north or south, because west is impossible and east is pretty undeveloped unless you like swamps and crocodiles.
Last year, we travelled to the Austin area, specifically Lake Travis. We found some great rides both to our east and west. Hill Country definitely lived up to the name and we were riding alongside huge ranches, seeing cattle and few cars. On the downside, we often had to drive 45 minutes or more to get to good ride-start locations. We found the weather a bit cooler than we had hoped for and very windy. Given a choice between a mountain and a headwind, give me a mountain any day. On the other hand, I need to mention some of the best BBQ that I’ve ever eaten.
That brings me to this year. We are spending February in Tucson. The weather has been fantastic – mid 70s during the mid-day but dropping to the low 40s at night. Nearly every day has a bluebird sky with hardly a cloud. We’ve joined the local bike club, Greater Arizon Bicycling Association (GABA) to meet fellow riders and learn how they organize rides. We ran into Dave McElwaine, a GABA ride leader, who used to lead CRW’s Saturday Fitness Ride. We generally leave right from our front door and the routes are incredibly varied. One day, we’ll ride in Saguaro National Park with a spectacular 8.5 mile loop through the Sonoran Desert. Or, we’ll pedal The Loop, a 54 mile bicycle trail that encircles the city of Tucson. There are no speed limits for bicycles and you can really haul. Most of Tucson’s streets, though filled with traffic, have great bike lanes. It’s been a wonderful month and we’re giving some thought to returning next year rather than continuing our quest for the perfect Spring Training location.
Member Party and Annual meeting. Although I will ride 1000+ miles by the end of our Tucson trip, I still get to spend some of my off-bike time on CRW matters. First, let me turn your attention to an important club event this month. The CRW Member Party and Annual Meeting will be held on March 29th at 1 PM. This is a great opportunity to socialize and interact with club members and officers. Rami Haddad has conducted a member survey to understand better what club members are looking for with CRW. We look forward to sharing the results with you as well as tell you our plans for 2020. Please sign up if you plan to attend SIGN UP HERE. We look forward to seeing you there!
Plan A Bike Vacation Presentation. Additionally, we’ve got some other great events in March. On March 6th, Rami Haddad is giving a talk at the Lexington Depot, “Plan your next bicycle vacation”. In addition to being VP of Communications for CRW, Rami is Board Vice President of Adventure Cycling, an adventure cycling non-profit with 52,000 members. Rami is extremely experienced with bicycle touring and looks forward to sharing that excitement with you. Register now at REGISTER
Reverse Heart Disease Presentation.On March 9th in Bedford, Dr. Peter Megdal describes his journey from heart-disease patient to world-class cyclist. Peter will share how he cured his heart disease to remain a competitive cyclist. He’ll tell you how to prevent and even reverse heart disease, sharing exercise, diet, medications and lifestyle changes that really work. CRW will serve some heart-healthy snacks prior to the talk. Register now at REGISTER
Climb to the Clouds. Finally, as I mentioned in my last column, CRW is running Climb to the Clouds as the Club’s official supported spring century on May 30th. Some of you are wondering what happened to our previous Spring Century,“North to New Hampshire” out of Wakefield, MA. Well, I’m glad that you asked. John O’Dowd and I are running it as a regular CRW ride on Sunday, May 17th. This ride will feature 50, 63 and 100 mile routes. Although it is unsupported, don’t be surprised if there are some refreshments at the end. This ride is free to CRW members, but sign-up is required and is limited to the first 200 riders.
Let’s hope Punxsutawney Phil got it right this year and there will be an early spring. I’m looking forward to returning home and hitting some CRW rides in March!