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A long, long bike ride

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  April 26, 2013 09:49 AM

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This post is from my friend and colleague, Ed, who is a cyclist and videojournalist here at Boston Globe. He's going to contribute to the Get Moving blog from time to time with updates from the cycling world. He's riding from Boston to D.C., with updates from the road logged here.

It's hard to fully describe how tired I am after yesterday's incredibly long ride to NYC from Hartford.

Here's a few stats from my Garmin:

129.8 miles, with more than 7,000 feet if climbing, mostly through the rolling hills in Connecticut.

6,913 calories

And let's get this one out of the way; we also had a handful of flats including my front tire. That happened when I went over the handlebars while trying to shoot a photo on a dirt trail around mile 112.

I dust myself off, assess the damage (sore left side but i was otherwise unharmed), and who but Jeremy Powers, 2012 national cyclocross champion is already popping my front wheel off and fixing my flat.

This brings me to the real secret of completing a bike ride like this 525-mile epic to D.C. from Boston: companionship.

When a rider is hurting or slowing on a hill, the entire pack will take turns pushing him or her up a hill. If there's a flat, someone will be there to fix it for you quick. No one gets dropped on this ride, and the weaker riders (I'm one of them) are sheltered in one of the coveted spots toward the front of the paceline where they are sheltered from the wind and protected from the whiplike effect of riding at the back. Even the pace, 16.93 mph yesterday, is designed to keep the group together; a "long slow burn" as they call it, where the climbing is slow, the descents are fast, and the flats are moderately paced.

Yesterday the group came across a gate blocking the bike path. Isolated from the pace cars that couldn't follow, the riders had no choice but to continue. Everyone took turns handing bikes over the gate in a bucket brigade.

No one hammers or tries to rip anyone's legs off on hills. This is a ride designed to get everyone to the end together.

"We are all hurting, Eddie," Tim told me yesterday.

Somehow that made me feel less alone, and gave me courage.

Photo by Dave Chiu. Photo is from the bucket brigade handing of bikes over gate on the bike path, near Yonkers.

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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