Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Boston Marathon Chasing 2015

Mrs. Candid Cyclist has actually been preparing for this event for years now.  Qualifying for Boston is hard! Training for Boston is hard!  Getting around in Boston on marathon day is hard! The asphalt under the trolly tracks is really fv(&!^$ hard!

A brief history.  My wife ran 4 marathons in preparation and hopes of qualification for Boston.  The first Maine Marathon was a trial run to see if she could even run a marathon.  Because running a marathon is what?  Hard.  Oh, and it was pouring!  The second Maine marathon was hopefully the qualifying race, except it wasn't.  Oh, and it was pouring.  The third attempt was a brand new international marathon. International  Marathon  Chasing.  It was really hard!  Next came the qualifying run, The Baystate Marathon.  Her training was good, the weather was beautiful and the ticket to Boston was punched.

Very pretty course, I liked riding it too.
Qualified Face!
 Fast forward to winter 2015.  I'm not sure if anybody remembers it but it was pretty sucky with tons of snow and months at a time with temps that never got above freezing.  This is the time to train for Boston.  Um, sounds fun.
I think this was a -11 degree F run.
Being a first time Boston runner and training through a tough Maine winter got her a spot on the news.  We'll see how long this link lasts: WGME News

We don't get cable so we used a little redneck ingenuity to get a signal. 
Then it was off to Boston.  I packed my trusty old Bridgestone bike for the trip since the forecast was for rain and it was the only bike I have working with fenders.

Packet Pickup

Badass in Free Sunglasses
Getting Around

 We parked out of town and I dropped her off at the subway that would bring her to the bus that would bring her to the start.  From there I was going to ride into Boston and chase her around the course. I was riding in from Cambridge, I checked my phone and made a mental note of the direction I was supposed to be going and was on my way.  I made it about 2.5 miles and turned in totally the wrong direction.  In another 2.5 miles I knew I should have seen Harvard Square so I checked my phone and headed back in the right direction.  I got into Boston and found that I could ride the now vacant course back towards the start for several miles.  Around 9:30 I started to worry that I'd get stuck on the wrong side of the course with no way to make it to the side I wanted to be on.  Luckily, Beacon street was nearly void of cars and ran in the right direction.  When I finally found my way to the Wellesley College area , I had about 5 failed attempts to get to the right spot on the course.  Finally I made it to the scream wall.
I stopped here long enough to get wet and cold.  After watching a few thousand runners go by I took a ride up and down pond road to warm up.  The houses seemed pretty nice.  A check on Zillow showed that they were selling for somewhere around $6,000,000.  If I had that kind of money, I'd have very nice bikes.

I got back to the course in time to support my runner.

The only live marathon picture I managed to get.
 At least from here I was on my way back and knew the roads I was looking for.  My goal was to make it back to mile 23 where some friends were watching. I made a quick stop at an interesting waterfall.  I checked back on google maps to see what it was called but apparently they have moved it because it is no longer there on earth view.
Interesting Waterfall
From there I made my way back to Boston where "The Incident" happened.  I was riding through a section of streets that were near (maybe in) a trolly yard with dozens of criss-crossing tracks.  I had just thought to my self "These are wicked slippery, be careful you dope.  Maybe you shouldn't ride here" But I ignored myself and promptly bounced my helmet off the asphalt. Stupid Stupid Stupid.  Anyway, the helmet saved my head from serious injury.  I banged up my shin, knee, hip, elbow, shoulder and wrenched my neck...but the head is fine, aside from a small headache.  One of my spectators commented that the ground came out of nowhere.  Unfortunate I was too stunned for a smart-ass retort.  Nothing seemed too broken to continue my ride so off I went.  Oh, and the bike was fine, thanks for asking.  I was concerned too.

So, back to the marathon.  After many failed attempts at popping out on the course in different locations, I finally found the address my friends were at in time to watch my wife pass by.  I took 3 pictures of her on the course from here and they all disappeared.  I'm blaming the rain on the touch screen.

From there I got directions from my friend who actually knows his way around Boston.  I would have made it to the finish line in plenty of time except for the traffic.  I was able to move faster than the cars but with traffic lights and congestion I didn't quite make it, not a big deal.

I dropped the marathoner off at the T station and rode my bike back to meet her where we started.  No bikes on Ts on marathon day.  By the way, on marathon day they make lots of special rules about the public transportation that are largely not published in any useful way.   As if navigating Boston for Non-Bostoners isn't bad enough.  I used Google Maps navigation for bicycles to get back.  This would have worked great if I could hear my phone deep in my rain jacket.  (Note for next time, headphones).  Also, when I strayed off course it made no attempt to get me back on.  Directions would just cease.  The last leg was on a lovely bike path. Boston does have some decent bike infrastructure if you know where you are going.

The Stats:
Miles Ridden: 61.6
Lost Miles Ridden: About 14
Time on the bike: 8 & 1/2 hours
Runner Time: 3:59:43
Oh heck, it is all here on Strava and nothing is private so have a look for yourself.  It's entertaining to see how many times I turn around and go back to whence I came.

And from the runner's perspective.  (She seemed to stay on course)

Despite the rain and the crash, I think the bike was an excellent way to cover the course.  I hear we may be trying this again next year, I think I can get around a lot better now!  Maybe I'll even be able to make my way to the start.

1 comment:

  1. What a riveting read! Navigating Boston is no easy task, especially after you've taken a smack to the side of your head. Glad to hear you're fine, though. "Wicked slippery"... I can't help but read that in a Boston accent.