September 23: Ayers to Sturbridge 58.5 miles
A biker's worse weather has arrived. We awoke to drizzle, so any thought of not wearing rain gear on this trip rapidly departed. After a quick breakfast at the local diner, we donned the jackets, pants, booties, gloves, and our delightfully looking helmet covers and rode off down the road to the accompaniment of the splashes from the traffic. Glorious day for a ride!!!
The drizzle quickly turned to rain with large drops pelting the glasses -- someday someone will invent the perfect eyeglasses for activities outdoors with wipers to clear the lens -- but for now one has to either try to see through a wet and foggy eyeglass or peer over the top blinking continuously as the rain hits the face. Not fun, nor pretty!!
The road fortunately to Harvard had a wide shoulder enabling each of us to stay to the right of the traffic. Knowing that the road surface can become very slippery when wet the coasts downhill were not free riding. Also the fear of the brakes not responding when wet caused each of us to slow way down and just try to enjoy the ride. The temperature, fortunately, was in our favor. Also was the fact that Harvard had a great little diner that served the best hot chocolate with whipped cream! The locals were all busy eating breakfast as five wet and dripping women and one man, also wet and dripping invaded their favorite place. By the end, the place was in awe of our venture and several asked for our web site address. All agreed that they won't do it, but sure thought we were terrific. They could do it, they just didn't realize it. Getting wet is easy!
Winding through the countryside with its rises and falls forced one to pedal, which in a rain storm, actually is a great gift. With one's body in constant motion with the legs acting like pistons driving the motor and the hands braking and shifting in an almost dance like pattern, the chance of a drop in body temperature is not happening. Hypothermia is not a threat. The biggest problem is to not to overheat with all the rain proof material on. Arm zippers up, then arm zippers down -- keep venting the body -- oh life is tough in the rain!!
Lunch was bowl of warm clam chowder in a small cafe in Westborough. Peg left for the afternoon to pick up a rent-a-car in order to drive up on Sunday to Dartmouth to see her daughter play soccer (her daughter is a starter for the Brown University team!) Now it is just five of us to brave the rain. The skies kept attempting to clear, but never quite got the hang of pushing the clouds away. Just when one would think the wet weather was over, it would begin to drizzle once more. Upton, West Sutton, and Oxford are all pretty quaint New England towns, but when is wet the thoughts go immediately to "where is our hotel?" so sightseeing is not an option.
The last ten miles seemed to wind mostly uphill. The descents were long, with little to no shoulder now, so the going was not easy. Also we were primarily on back roads, so cars were not expecting to see a bicyclist around the corner in the rain. Defensive riding was a requirement. As Southbridge signs started to appear, the road took a decisive turn uphill. It was the end of the day now, so this was not a welcome sight. Push, pull, push, pull -- that is biker talk for "oh to just be at the top of this darn hill!!"
Sturbridge is the home of Sturbridge Village, a restored old New England village. The town of Sturbridge, itself, is plain and simple with the tourist hotels and restaurants, convenience stores and gas stations, Laundromats and antiques shops -- all the needs of someone on the road.
Tonight we are staying in the Publick House Inn in Sturbridge. The main building is the original inn from over two hundred years ago. Unfortunately, we are not being housed there, but rather high on the hill overlooking the property in the motel section. But it is dry, clean and comfortable.
Tomorrow is a rest day!!
Jan in Her Finest Rain Hat!!!
Peg in Hers!
Mark is the One with Class!