Team Seven Cycles
On September 23rd we passed the autumnal equinox, that magic moment when the Earth’s equator passes the center of the sun and night and day are of roughly equal length, depending on where you’re standing. A hot, humid end to the summer helped the fall sneak in under our noses.
But then cyclocross season started.
The races leading up to Holy Week (the twin weekends of GP Gloucester and the KMC Cyclocross Festival in Providence) were mainly dusty affairs as riders rode fast over dry fields, trying to remember how to dis- and remount their bikes. Perfect conditions at Gloucester more or less guaranteed that this weekend, in Providence, will be racked by torrential rain, the cheerful gift of Tropical Storm Joaquin.
What does it all mean for a New England bike builder?
First of all, it means we are busy, that we have been busy, to let summer slip into fall without really noticing. Sure, there has been in uptick in ‘cross bikes, in mountain bikes and in the ubiquitous Evergreen, as folks begin to put road season to rest, but it’s funny the way, when you build bikes for specific riders, the various categories blur together and the larger trends in what you’re doing escape you.
The late season warmth has left most of the leaves on the trees and the trails clear. As always, the time to ride is now. This is the lesson of every season, everywhere.
It’s cyclocross season. You can tell because all your CX racing friends are suddenly frantic about getting their bike(s) prepped and spending weekday mornings riding around public parks in slow circles, climbing off and jumping back on. Our friend Carl is readier than most, or at least his bikes (our Mudhoney SLX) are, based on this picture he sent us last week, just in time for New England’s “Holy Week” of CX races, including the GPs of Gloucester and Providence.
Ride fast everybody!
We left Seven in the late afternoon after a long week of building and riding bikes. We drove west on Route 2 to where 91 shoots north into Vermont and arrived at our campsite after dark. The manager had gone home for the night, and it took us a little while to figure out where to set up, but we did eventually, eating some pre-made burritos and laying down for a quick night’s sleep.
In the morning, we drove up to Consider Bardwell Farm in West Pawlett and signed in for the ride, all of us a little nervous about what the day had in store. Our friend David, from Rapha, plied us with espressso and we got our act together as quickly as we could. The Prestige is not a race, but each team has a departure time, so we needed to depart.
Vermont is beautiful. We all knew it was beautiful, but it was nice the way the frenzy of the morning gave way to quiet roads and dazzling views. We all woke up a few miles from the farm and settled into our rhythm, working together, enjoying the scenery.
It turned out to be one of those great days on the bike for each of us. No flats, good food, cool weather, good packed dirt and fast paved descents, it was a great route, and we were all as strong as we could have hoped to be. It was classic Evergreening terrain, hilly, some of it paved, some of it not. 116 miles and 10,500 feet of climbing.
Vermont never disappoints and the folks at Rapha put on quite an event. Back at the finish just over 8 hours later, we sat down to a gourmet meal before repacking the van for the long drive back to Watertown, getting in after midnight, exhausted but happy.