We were told that It was, as promised: Formidable.
What a way to end the season.
"Thank you for all you do to make every ride the best ride ever." -- M.H.
The smell of hot biscuits welcomed all, as sleepy riders opened the doors to Ride Studio Cafe at 5:30 am. Appearing a bit groggy from tool little sleep, participants imbibed caffeine and as much food as they could shovel. The 6:30 am roll-out arrived much too soon.
Just before sunrise, on a chilly quiet morning, the first riders headed out into the fog. The next two waves of riders -- teams and the 100-mile riders -- soon followed.
These are the riders we want to ride with.
The day slowly warmed up, reaching about 60-degrees by 3pm, while the quiet roads went on and on. The rare stoplight or stop sign were some of the only signs of structured civilization. The changing foliage was a good distraction from the mounting miles and staccato ascents.
By mid-ride, riders passed the always stunning Quabbin Reservoir.
We then headed back into the canopy of color-shifting trees.
Riders had two food stops along the way. Hot items were the marker of the day: hot cider, hot soup, hot cobbler, and hot coffee were a few of the items offered.
As we headed west, the colors got brighter. The roads got longer. The climbs got steeper. The smiles got wider -- or were those grimaces?
When the sun threatened to set, the trees looked like fire, and the pace seemed to become a bit more urgent. The last riders to the finish were in well after dark. Rider comradery seemed to increase in inverse relation to the quickly dropping temperatures, and the number of light systems with failing batteries. We were so impressed by everyone's teamwork and shared experience.
We've learned that the only consistent aspect of Overland Base Camp events is that the riders make the ride. We were so fortunate with the people that registered for the Formidable. All good attitudes; even the final riders, that rolled in well after sunset, were committed to helping each other safely complete the ride. So many warm smiles throughout the entire day. These are the riders we want to ride with.
Firsts for Overland
This was our first Formidable, our first 100% pavé ride, our first point-to-point event, and our first bus project. Lots of firsts -- and it all was so well. We're ready for the next one!
We are more confident than ever that this is the toughest ride in Massachusetts.
Perspectives of Others -- Worth Checking Out
If we've learned anything, it's that the riders make the ride. Great riders, attitude, and commradery mean a great ride. is only as good as the riders.
Thank you to all those that joined us for the ride. You took a big risk to sign up for the unknown inaugural Formidable. Everyone rose to the challenge. We were impressed with what each rider accomplished.
Thank you to the Overland Crew: Chantal, Patria, and Lauren. They worked tirelessly behind the scenes to organize a very challenging event. They make it look easy.
Thank you to Ride Studio Cafe -- particularly Patria, Roger, and George -- for helping all the riders wake up, solve last minute problems, and roll out on time.
Planning the 2016 Formidable
We have big ideas for next year's Formidable. We have the date set and we'll be posting registration to bikereg.com right after the new year. In the meantime, save the date. We hope to ride with you next year.