Cycling New England: 7

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I cycled 80 miles today through the cold New England rain, 35 of those 80 miles in the dark. It was Midnight by the time I got to my hotel, and I was soaking wet. Astonishingly I packed my small knapsack so well I saved my electronics. My Giant Contend 1 seems to be tough as hell. Perhaps in a decade I’ll be talking about what a resilient bike it is, the Toyota Corolla of bikes. My only casualty might be my Bròoks saddle, which got wet, and might crack. Oh well. It’s always fun to break in a new leather saddle.

The worst thing about riding a bike long distance in the rain is not the physical stress (I’m a not particularly impressive 50 year old and 80 miles is easy). Being soaked and cold is miserable, but you forget about it 5 minutes after a hot shower. No. What is genuinely terrifying about cycling long distance is the idea of getting lost. I don’t have a cell phone or a GPS. Google Maps isn’t quite useless but it’s close. Today I was sent sent me walking for over 5 miles through a private housing development on a gravel road. My guess is some local mountain bikers mapped out the course.

Long Bow Lane is in Becket Massachusetts. It’s an odd place. It’s a (massive) private development in he Berkshires and the property values still seem high. But the whole place feels like an artificial mega suburb cut into the wilderness that was never finished. The developers just never got around to paving some of the roads. Some of them they never even cleared. Did they run out of money?

The walk over the gravel roads threw my schedule off and I wound up looking for my hotel (which is in a remote industrial corner of Springfield Massachusetts) at midnight. A helpful liquor store clerk finally pointed in the right direction. Alas, unlike New York, you can’t buy beer late at night in Massachusetts. So I had to settle for a Diet Coke and a Snickers bar. Looks like tomorrow is just going to be steady rain so I booked an extra day at the hotel to sleep late and recharge. I’ll make the 89 miles to Boston early on Sunday.

It’s amazing how badly you eat on the road. Dunkin Donuts and convenience store burritos are becoming my staples.

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