After a fantastic weekend of racing at Turtle Pond and the Quabbin Reservoir my legs were cooked. Saturday's race was a scorcher, it may not have hit 90 degrees (maybe it did, I really don't know what the high was) but being the first hot race this year it felt like 110. Quabbin on Sunday was no joke either, the weather was a bit cooler but the course was demanding and the pack was there to race. The average speed over 63 miles and 3000ft+ of climbing was about 26mph.
I planned to take today completely off the bike but the nice weather, 65ish and blue skys, persuaded me to go for a ride. I started off with the plan to go do the shortish Dover loop, 28 miles I think. Rolling along very easy my legs slowly began to open up. There is some construction going on one of the roads on the loop and I was dreading hitting it. I knew there was a way around but I couldn't remember it and I didn't feel like getting lost today (I've been getting lost a bunch lately for some reason). I started noticing that the route had been remarked recently and as I rolled to an intersection just a turn or two before the ripped up construction road I saw, in blazing white fresh paint, 'Alt'! I was so psyched that someone marked an alternate route around the road from hell. Then my ride turned awesome. The street sweepers had been out and the road was totally clean, my legs were feeling great and my shuffling music picked three fantastic songs in a row that worked for me at that moment. Nobukazu Takemura to Philip Glass to Patsy Cline (these may or may not be the actual songs, but they could be). I rounded corners to fields of grass split by rows of trees in full bloom, white clouds of flowers tree trunked to the ground. Farmhouses seemed idyllic with horses grazing contently. I passed 3 separate houses with dogs lounging in the front yard, not one barked or gave chase, instead they smiled in the way dogs do as I coasted by. The roads were clean and smooth but the route markings once on the 62 mile loop began to be faded, the fresh tags have not made it this far yet apparently. I got a bit off route and ended up at a shopping center ending the surrealism of the ride. I backtracked and found I missed a right turn onto Causeway St. The rest of the ride was still good including the sandwich I got at the Dover sandwich and ice cream place. Go do the long Dover loop as soon as possible because its so nice out there right now!
I don't think there is a cue sheet for the Dover loops online and there are a few other unmarked turns worth mentioning. After being on some more major roads there is a left turn onto East St (or something similar at a Labor place) you go up and over a climb and on the way down there is no marking but you need to go right on South St. The only other turn that's no longer marked is as you meet up with Western Ave (St, Rd?), you are supposed to go left. If you do go right you'll notice (maybe) about half a dozen tags on the opposite side of the street saying to go the other way.
Belgium ride reports still on the way soon... but here is some stuff that may or may not be new to you.
Guy from Rouleur did awesome write-ups on our rides of Ghent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix.
An article on Zolder by someone I was not traveling with. I was really hoping to jump into this but it didn't work out. I don't know if I would call it zany but it sounds amazing.
Finally, one more bit of Belgium. Cyclingnews did an interview with Joe Parkin, the author of 'Dog in a Hat'. Absolutely love his book.