Where men will be boys and sheep fear the dark

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  • HPG Kit Debut Ride
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HPG Velo Quabin Ride Recap

Complements of Eric:

I’ll do a quick recap here and others can add to it. I can never finish reading the long ones so I’ll assume same here. Yesterday was Jon McNeill’s B2B option and it didn’t disappoint. Compatible riders, great weather, and a really nice route. Prior to the ride Jon sent out an email detailing some basic rules of the road and something about riding easy when it’s hard and easy when it’s not. At least that was my plan for the first 125 miles. The route was clockwise out to the Quabbin, north to watchusett at mile 130, climb and head home. I didn’t realize we were doing watchusett until the night before when I texted G to confirm. >

> My son Ari and Eric Poch’s daughter, Geneva, did a nice job sagging the ride. No one ever neded anything but food and water. No mechanicals and no biological bonks to necessitate any additional support. Not a single flat or anything. >
> There was a god sized group for the first leg until the first stop at 42.5 miles. Tom, Thomas, Lewis, Audrey, Mikey, Andy K, G, Rob- about 20 ish ppl total. all turned back home except 8 of us. We took it easy through he next stop at about mile 78. Easy day so far. How great is it to Kessler back on the bike and riding so well. Love him. The 8 on the full ride were Jon, mike Moran, Lebo, Rob, me, G, Eric Poch, Alan. >
> The course was great and scenic. Through the quabbin, up to the fire tower ( complete with imminent wedding)’ and plenty of quiet country roads. Giuseppe was riding like a little puppy dog and at one point said to me “I’m going to do whatever you do.” Ie ride conservatively. That lasted for about 3 mins. He felt good until the watchusett climb at mile 130. I could see his smile slowly disappearing. Just like mine did 30 miles earlier. Rob- he just kept going like it was just another Sunday ride. >
> I started to feel a little sick and got a wicked headache between 100-115 and wondered if I could make the climb. I took on some water, electrolytes and switched to cafienated gel. Rob all the while showed no signs of being tired, ever. At the mile115 rest stop, I wasn’t circling to leave and G knew something was wrong… >
> Approaching the long climb from the south to watchusett I could see G and 4 others way ahead. There was no way I was going to let them drop me on the climb. The gel had kicked in and I caught and passed the group and only steve Lebo could stay with me. He and I finished with steve about 20m ahead of me. I had my second wind that lasted the rest of the day. Everyone did well on the climb and the decent. At the last stop on 117 near 495, my favorite section to pull long and hard, Jon asked we ride at a pace to keep everyone together. Darn. 19 to go. >
> Amazingly by the end, everyone was strong and felt good. No one was toast or feeling spent. Since we all rode smartly and had well timed stops, the ride didn’t kill us. I’m sure everyone had there own little issues they were dealing with, but everyone worked hard to get through them and finish really stong. I don’t know about the others, but 12 hours later, I’m still 6lbs down from my starting weight… >
> Total for me from Weston Ctr 175.6 and 11,100 ft of climbing. I’m glad G convinced me to put on my 27. >

HPG Sox Arrive at Peet’s…I feel faster already…

Well, they made it.  Finally.  They will make us all faster I’m sure.  Kudos to Eric for putting up with all of us.  No good deed goes unpunished.   Nothing like a little Peet’s Coffee to make your sox small better.

_DSF0589 _DSF0590 _DSF0594 _DSF0599 _DSF0604 _DSF0606 _DSF0610 _DSF0612 _DSF0613

2014 “Pulled Pork” Dover Team Time Trial

The HPG fielded 2 teams this year and, in classic HPG for as of this writing both teams were disqualified for only sending 5 riders each off the line… Aside from that however a grand time was had by all.    Douglas and his bride out did themselves with a phenomenal after party.  Looking forward to next year already.

                        Overall results
Team Time Place Delta
Goldman 0:30:01 1 0:00:00
McNeil 0:30:15 2 0:00:14
Snow 0:30:52 3 0:00:51
Chrystal 0:31:46 4 0:01:45
HPG2 0:31:58 5 0:01:57
HPG1 0:32:10 6 0:02:09
MEMC 1 0:32:15 7 0:02:14
Blue Ginger 0:32:28 8 0:02:27
MEMC 2 0:33:21 9 0:03:20
MEMC 3 0:34:28 10 0:04:27

Walter Haywood Returns!

It’s always a pleasure when Walter returns.  Since moving to Florida almost a decade ago we only see him on special occasions.  Thanks to Steve and Nancy for hosting our reunion!

Assos…They Just Do Some Things Better

For some reason this exchange from a few years back, particularly John’s inspired list of potential causes of chamois wear, inspiringly funny…

On 9/22/09 2:45 PM, “Damon Bates” wrote:


All of you inbox challenged folk may delete this now.

First , Tom D., congrats on your brand spankin new bionic knee, hope you are feeling better and back in the saddle soon.

Second, I thought Id share my first experience w/ Assos customer service dept.  Sept 1st ish I sent back 2 pair of Roubaix Knickers Ive had for 3+ years.  They see heavy use (and diligent care) 9 mos of the year and are the most frequently worn items I have.  The chamois had come unstitched on the sides and needed to be resewn and their website provides instructions on how to return etc

I got them back yesterday , individually shrink wrapped and packaged the way only the Swiss can.  BUT, they didn’t just sew on the chamois, the replaced theentire pad.  And they do all this for free.  Note that this is not warrantee service, they just do it.

In a world of often miserable customer service and ridiculous fees from banks, airlines, et al,  It’s nice to know that some companies are still  committed to excellence

It was a small inspirational moment I thought worth passing along.

I wore a pair this morning and of course got dropped like stone on Farm.  But I was happy and comfy.

From: John Whisnant
Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 9:29 PM

Damon –

What a great company.  I am sending back my Assos for repair immediately as soon as you send me their mailing address.  If it were my company, I would at least ask what was the cause of the knickers chamois wear so that I could use this information to improve an already great product.  For example, Assos could have asked the following:

Damon, please check the appropriate box to let us know what caused your chamois to need repair:

1.  Fire in the hole after a particularly tasty burrito with extra hot sauce the night before.
2.  Trying to impress the Crack o’ Dawn more feminine riders  with an extra cucumber that stretched the fabric to the breaking point.
3.  Using a wire brush to try to ‘erase’ chamois skid marks.
4.  Using the knickers as a Depends substitute during a company performance review.
5.  Thinking that wearing your knickers over your head while drinking Belgium beer can only add to how incredibly funny you are and the holiday-like festivities.
6.  Forgetting to apply Assos crème (yes you need to use the correct European spelling) prior to a Saturday Carlisle ride.
7.  Not scheduling your next Brazilian Bikini waxing in time and having resulting pubic stubble abrade the chamois, especially around the anus (the Swiss are very precise in their questions).
8.  Fire in the hole after a particularly tasty low fat poppy seed muffin at Peet’s.
9.  You don’t know since you are actually sending in Oscar Lazaro’s Assos knickers for repair, which he got from Giuseppe after he emailed the HPG asking if anyone had a pair of large Assos knickers they weren’t using for the next two months.
10. All of the above.


From: Bates, Damon 
Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 6:19 PM

Asking for the cause of the damage is a great idea….for Plebian American Capitalist Entrepreneurial New World Gringo Peasant Religious Radical types like us.

But, these are the Swiss we’re dealing with here….Italian Swiss to be specific.  They ALREADY KNOW what the causes are and they even tell you about them on their website…and offer to repair it for free, if humanly possibly,  because life happens

Check it out:  http://www.assos.com/en/24/default.aspx

From: Bates, Damon 
Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 11:32 AM

So I sent a Assos an inspired thank you note for exceeding my expectations wrt the aforementioned Roubaix Knickers repair and I receive a a personal note from the GM and a box today w/ an Assos “Fan Pack”  consisting of a very attractive coffee mug and a towel creatively (and efficiently of course…) packaged in a nice box about the size of a champagne bottle  gift box.

Love this company.  Maybe we can buy it?  LBO?  Wait it’s Swiss…perhaps we could just make their espresso?



The Sun Always Shines in Wellesley…

HPG Kit Debut Ride

…but pedal ones way out of town on a saturday morning in late spring and all bets are off.   Today’s debut ride for the spanking new HPG kits planned for Hollis turned into an aborted Carlisle mission when the rubber side went up.  All got home safe and sound though and lived to fight another day….oh and the sun was still shining in Wellesley sans pluie

2008 B2B – Eric Cohen

Waiting for those ride reports. From what I could see, we had a strong showing with riders looking strong up to the point I left at mile 63 atop the hill in Ridge, NH.

The day got off to a confused start when some of us decided to ride with Sean who realized that he was the Captain of the 17mph group, and not the 18. So before we left with Sean, we made a frantic search for Steve Cutter and Rich Benner. Couldn¹t find either, but we left anyways. Nice, huh?

Steve figured it out and chased us down. I never did see Rich again. Giuseppewas itching to ride hard, and most of us resisted. So we got dropped around mile 59. I could see Giuseppe¹s red outfit off in the distance when I turned around. I had a great ride, making it home by 1:45p in plenty of time for my daughters recitals. I¹m glad I was home for them. 125miles even.

I realized how amazing beneficial it is to drink plain water at the end and pour some of it on the back of your head and neck. It cooled me right down and let me cruise in the last 20 miles feeling like new (well, not totally new). Why haven¹t I ever done this before. It was amazing. My low point was mile 90-105. Starting to overheat.

2008 B2B – John Whisnant

HPG (2 of 2)


Ten things to do in preparation the 2009 B2B:
1. Make sure to bring E-Caps for Steve

2. Remember that suffering is an important part of life itself

3. Develop a mantra for long endless climbs

4. Buy Ray a new saddle

5. Have Harpoon change the end-of-ride T shirt to say “I am the Finisher”
instead of just “Finisher”

6. Have Harpoon open the Boston brewery on Saturday so we can have a beer of two before driving home

7. Eliminate the second water stop to make the route more challenging

8. Require the bike moving company to rack the bikes in numeric order

9. Find out what Giuseppe is taking as supplements

10. Spend from now until the 2009 B2B reminding Eric that he turned back before the really hard part of the route kicked in John

2008 B2B – Damon Bates

Statistical Summary

Energy Expenditure              6,326   kcal

Number of Heart Beats        82,075 beats

Distance                                145  miles

TTL Ascent                            6,480   ft

Course profile chart below in shaded area.   Rather revealing.

HPG (1 of 2)

Captain,  Oh Captain

Sometimes the lure of a distinctive fashion accessory is just too to much (for me)  to ignore.  Like a shiny object, the prospect of having “CAPTAIN” emblazoned on the back of my jersey rather than a mere plebeian “Harpoon”  was simply too much to ignore.  So I rose to the bait.  So began the task of dragging the 17rs for the 1st 10 miles.  Thanks to Tom Day for sharing that load.

Hurry up and ….Crash

Despite the apparent narcissism and fashion OCD, I do view the Captian role as a responsibility rather than an opportunity having witnessed an excess of stupidity over the years.  So I was not surprised when, at the rather responsible sub 20 pace we set,  we were overtaken by the group behind us hell bent on on destruction.   Why some folk feel compelled to blast through the 1st 10 mi of 145 mi ride, in city traffic,  is beyond me.  so, sure enough they all wrecked in the middle of an intersection in Arlington as we casually rolled by.   Caught in the fray unfortunately, was Ed Sassler, who many of you may know from Wheelworks.  Fortunately, when I caught him at the 2nd water stop he seemed no worse for the wear.

Suffering is…

800+ ft of climbing over 4.2 miles …..at 90 mi. (See profile below)    Somehow I never got this memo….only one about an “improved” route around  Keene  A 3.75% grade doesn’t sound like much out of context but this was excruciating.  For perspective that’s almost twice as steep as the 1.9% grade of 1st climb after the 1st water stop. I haven’t seen people walk up climbs in a long time but there were at least a half dozen on this climb.   This was stupid hard.  Put it in the 34 x 27 and hang on for dear life.  My average speed was 7.4 mph on this schlog…..would be curious how others fared….but I know I wont get a straight answer from the usual and customary suspects…🙂

Sometimes Quicker Really is Better

To add insult to injury, don’t forget to throw not one,  but 2 flat tires into the mix at about 115 miles.   the Cycleloft guys deserve major kudos here for changing the second one in under 30 seconds.   Very impressive ….and convenient.   And thanks to Charlie and Ian for stopping and waiting…..it would have been an agonizing final 36 mi. solo.   BTW Ian’s not the Slug he claims to be, particularly on what must be the oldest bike being ridden yesterday….some 25+ years old

Don’t Leave Home Without ’em

Endurolites that is.  Think I went through 2 fistfuls. I think the real ticket is, as Eric suggests, mixing the powdered version into your liquid of choice or , my preference, a 4-6  scoop / bottle slurry of Perpetum then having capsules as on hand as a rip cord

The Agony and Ecstasy of Thin , Cheap Lycra

Having spent a lot of time at,  and w/ a good view of,  the back (not by choice) I’ve found that Pearlizumi shorts are particularly prone to this phenomenon.  In a ride like B2B this can be problematic about 80-90% of the time and intriguing the other 15%….or, perhaps the other way around.  So consider yourself….warned and informed, depending on your perspective.

Yet Another Marketing Oversight

I was disappointed, stunned and appalled that no where on the the finishing T shirt were the TTL mileage and vertical memorialized to demonstrate to all non riding civilians, including our spouses, that we are far tougher than our incessant whining would seem to indicate.  Jesse Cox and Adam Bailey will have at least one email waiting for them come Monday morning

The Broom Wagon

The fun part of sliding ones way to the back of the bunch over 145 miles is that it’s like a reunion.   I got to see more people on this DL than I have all year.  Oddly, as everyone rides past me I’m left w/ so many questions:

1.  Why doesn’t Tucker’s metabolism slow down like the rest of us?  and is his BMI really a negative number as rumored?

2.  As John W also suggest, what is Giuseppe on anyway, and how can I get some?

3.  What happened to Tom, Tom and Tom?   they were here a min. ago?

4.  Why didn’t Eric ride the whole thing?  I really wanted to see him suffer for once.

5.  How does Rock Lederman manage to so consistently accessorize himself every year

6.  How did I manage to catch Ed Sassler at the 2nd water stop??  (perhaps I don’t suck as badly as I thought?…no, I do…)

7.  Why didn’t I find Stan’s wheel sooner?  (its glorious back there)

8.  How did I manage to lose Stan’s wheel so quickly ….?

9.  Where did Giuseppe come from, what is he on and how do I get some?  Legally.  Molto Bene.  (sp?)

10.  How can I be like Ray when I grow up?

….and the list goes on…

Here concludes another self indulgent edition edition of The View From The Back



Ray Acheson Remembrances – His Indomitable Spirit

19990801_PMC (46 of 67)

Oscar Lazaro – Never heard Ray ever complain – about anything….that will be for me forever.

Walter Haywood – One of his favorite sayings was it builds character if the effort is hard. Riding in rain that was so hard you could not see and him refusing to stop until the rain let up.

John Whisnant, Tom Day – The infusion pump. On one cold ride when Ray first had his infusion pump pic line in, Walter called us all: “Ray’s going out, everybody shows up, no wimping out” and we all rode in 40 degree rain not saying anything about how long or when we’d get back until hours later, we ended back in Wellesley with Ray saying “Wasn’t that great.” Of course he hadn’t felt that well for years given the osteomylitis he had for years in his face which the surgery removed and the antibiotics were controlling. I’m sure he didn’t notice. And I’m sure the infusion pump was not designed for bike riding.

HPG (55 of 126)

Tom Day, Damon Bates – The Ray roll, Watchusett Climb etc… One of my favorites was when Ray collapsed in the fetal position at the top of Wachusett foaming at the mouth. I was actually quite worried…but of course he recovered for the ride home

John Whisnant – Ray’s advice to those who hesitated to ride through the coldest winter days: “Start late. Turn back early.”

John Whisnant – Ray stopped half way up Leviathan climb on a B2B. Down but not out. He proceeded to get back on his bike, ride down the hill to get up some speed, do a U turn and started up again. And makes it.

John Whisnant, Damon Bates, Walter Haywood – The Tandem with Walter at the PMC. We also can’t forget the sound of his blaring mini harmonica as he captained the tandem with Walter. When we heard that sound gaining from the rear it was time to get out of the saddle and sprint for the train… Riding the tandem with him was an adventure. He being a masher and me a spinner it was amazing how we managed to ride so well. I would get so upset with him at times that I would not pedal.

Tom Day – Refused to get SAGGED. In 2004, Ray, John Whisnant and I were cycling with the America by Bike group from Newport CA to MA. John had to abandon the ride in Dalton, Texas after a crash. Ray and I kept going. In Missouri or some cold, rainy, windswept place—Ray was caught without the right clothes (surprise) as it poured and lightning about 10 miles into our 100+ mile day…We holed up in a house under construction for about an hour, then as we rode on it was clear that Ray was in hypothermia trouble….we all formed a pack around him and rode together with him shaking til until we found Mike and the SAG wagon—who said “get in the car Ray.” Ray said “No” etc. back and forth until Mike finally said…”OK OK I promise I’m not going to SAG you, I’m just going to get you warm.” and gave him a change of clothes and warmed him up until he could ride on.

Oscar Lazaro – Ray falling off the bike on a 98F day – waking up in an ambulance with only Walters’ Peet’s card on him as ID “I promise I am Ray not Walter” – and the EMS guy looking at the cracked helmet and saying – this guy hit his head hard!!

Oscar Lazaro – Ray rolling over the bumpy railroad tracks and having his false teeth fall out – and I forget who ran over them but they got a flat!

Oscar Lazaro – Ray going in for a physical and having the nurse pull a “code red” on him because his HRT was at 35…due to his fitness level

The Captian and The Afterburner

Chip Norton – My BEST OF RAY was watching the epic training battles he used to have with our good friend, Warren Hellman. The two came from totally different backgrounds but became very close friends in the 1970’s through their mutual love for training/competing. Warren was a former national collegiate swim champion with a disfigured arm from childhood polio. When we would go on training runs or rides, the two of them would constantly battle for front position to the point of body and/or bike contact. There were times they would come close to punches. Ray always had to stay ahead; whenever you ran with him, he’d always stay a shoulder ahead no matter what the pace. Always the competitor who would always laugh about it after the fact.

Tom Snow – 50 at 50. Jean asked Ray what he wanted for his 50th birthday. Ray replied “Can you drive me to Rhode Island and then meet me every 3 miles on the way home? I’d like to run 50 miles on my 50th birthday.” Not only did Ray run, but he ran it in 7:26, and refused to stop until Jean finally said to Ray “Get in the car Ray”, well beyond the 50 mile point.

Tom Snow – Spinning. Ray would often go to the YMCA to spin. He mentioned on one of our rides in the winter that the spin bikes were missing the saddles, perhaps to make sure no one would use them unsupervised. This didn’t deter Ray. He merely rode the spin bike, without saddle to complete his hour long sufferfest. He actually liked it. The YMCA later named the room after him.


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