Rhonde Rosey, by Christina Tamilio

With road and mountain bike racing seasons just around the corner and another week of waiting for the first glimpse of our Ladies First kits, a few of the previously known as “Minuteman Road Club” women ponied up for the first “race” of Spring 2010. It would be our last race in MRC kits.

The Rhonde Rosey was still somewhat of a mystery at the start. The route would be an unknown combination of road and cross-bike worthy trails that would take us on a 62 mile adventure. At the start, we found ourselves lined up against some familiar faces including Sarah Bresnik-Zocci, Linnea Coons, Mo Bruno and Anna Milkowski. So, at 10:20 AM after fueling up at Café Fixe in Brookline Ann D’Ambruoso, Andrea Smith, Allison Snooks and myself (Christina Tamilio) lined up at the Washington Square Tavern, ready to crush whatever was ahead.

Our group held a steady pace line through Brookline and Newton before heading into the trails at Nonantum and Cutler Parks. Cutler Park was our first sighting of the inevitable after a week of torrential downpours…mud. Nonetheless, we didn’t let it slow us down. We passed two groups of Cat 2 men within the first 10 miles of the race!

Just before heading out of the singletrack at Cutler Park, our first of a few mishaps…. happened. As we descended the last technical hill of the roller-coaster-like trail, Allison’s “don’t tread on me” logo (its on our butts), rapidly vanished from our visual fields. Over the handlebars she went and down a hill she rolled! I was relieved to see her smiling as she climbed out of the ditch she had rolled into (“whew…she’s not hurt”, I thought). When she stood up, not only had she collected groundcover on all sides of her body, but she had a 2” diameter and 2 foot long tree branch sticking out of her crotch. It went right through her shorts and out the other side of her chamois! We laughed hysterically, took pictures and then made sure to commend on how freakin’ lucky she was that the tree branch didn’t take an alternative trajectory!

From there, we returned to our pace line formation through Needham, Dover and Wellesley, where we found ourselves snaking through single track once again. Throughout a combination of road and trail sections, it became clear that the greater challenge of the day was not going to be how fast we could ride, but how well we could follow directions. As we struggled to find our next trailhead we ran into Sarah Bresnik-Zocci, Linnea Coons and Mo Bruno. The pressure was on!

The next trail dumped us in the middle of the Wellesley College campus. At this point, the cue sheet read, “exit at the main gate onto route 135”. Simple, right? Well between us and the other 15 or so riders that were with us at this point, we couldn’t seem to figure it out. Around and around the campus we went. Darting across lawns, zipping along walkways and zig zagging around college students. Ladies First was not about to get out last, so we split from the group of wandering cyclists and asked some campus dwellers to direct us. In no time, we were back on track. Unfortunately, so was everybody else.

So, back onto the streets of Wellesley the group went, until the second of mishaps…. happened. Allison flatted. Without a pit or pit bikes, we were forced to change the flat. It was Nascar-like and a GU wrapper saved the day. Or at least the hole is Allison’s tire.

From there, we continued on through a combination of roads and trails while playing chicken with a group of Cat 2 men including Dave Chiu and Peter Bradshaw. The heckling made for an entertaining few miles, until we found ourselves in Concord center where we briefly stopped to re-fuel.

Our journey from here (of note….no longer referring to the Rhonde Rosey as a “race”) consisted of periods of steady pace lining, circling back and forth along unknown roads to find unmarked trails and breaking trail in wooded areas after losing sight of the singletrack. At times we paraded through the local’s backyards and begged neighbors for directions. Beyond the help of the iPhone, Mr. Rubel came to the rescue. Andrea, clearly more prepared than the rest of us, broke out her Rubel Bike Map and got us back on course. At this point, the blood sugar was running a little low; therefore the details get a little foggy. In a nutshell, we covered Concord, Lexington, Bedford, Arlington and whatever is in between with a pattern that looked a lot like the beginning of this paragraph.

Six and a half hours after the start, we found ourselves back at the Washington Square Tavern. As it turns out, we were not the only ones who got lost (although we may have gone farther out of the way than everyone else), but we may have been the only ones who actually followed the entire course! We finished up the day with some delicious Tavern food and cupcakes (compliments of Hup and Mo Bruno) while the teams mingled to talk of the day’s adventures. We’re not sure who won, but we definitely started the Spring 2010 season out right and sent our MRC kits out with a bang (and one with a big hole in the crotch)!

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