Fucking Epic!

Today, I biked this…

If it’s not instantly apparent, the trip featured in the map above is a route from Kanes Donuts in Saugus to Bearskin Neck in Rockport. The trip, according to Google Maps was about 28 miles and was set to take around 2 hours and 50 minutes.

My day started at 5:15 am. I woke up, threw on some clothes, and was out the door by 5:28. I arrived at Kanes at ~6 (5:57 am) to begin the route marked on my printed map. The reason this was my starting point was that initially, I was supposed to do the ride with a couple friends of mine, and this was to be our meeting point.

The trip started out smoothly. As planned, the early morning yielded very few cars on the road and, in addition to it being overcast, also helped it to be cooler than if I started later in the day. With the directions in my pocket, step by step, I made my way towards Rockport.

The first hiccup came as I approached Salem. I was supposed to take a left onto Bridge St. but I saw no such street marked, and after a while, realized that I must have missed it and thus had to backtrack. The mistake cost me about 10 minutes (not that I was on a time schedule, but still). On top of that, when I saw where the correct street poured out to, I realized that I could have gotten to where I wanted to go even with the mistake I made.

With this behind me, I made my way to the Essex bridge. Crossing over it was really cool, allowing me scenic views of Beverly Harbor. I then continued to make my way through back-roads, mostly on Route 127 North. Eventually, to my surprise, I came across Endicott College. I had no idea that it was out there. I had heard of it and might even know some people who went there, but I never knew where it was.

While riding down 127 and past the campus, a couple rode past me on bikes. Upon passing, the woman extended a friendly “Good morning” greeting. I replied with the same. It was a simple gesture, but it added a nice touch to an already pleasant and peaceful ride.

Continuing on, I made my way through woods, over railroad tracks, passed historical houses, and nice scenic vistas. I even passed a secluded concrete skatepark.

Eventually, I got into what is, I guess the downtown area of Gloucester where the famous ship captain statue is located. (BTW, I have no pics of these things because I was in such a good rhythm of riding that I didn’t want to stop for a photograph). Then however, the directions got sort of vague and confusing. There were only a few steps left, so I relied on intuition (the fact that I had mainly been on 127) and road signs (ones that pointed to Rockport) to get me the rest of the way there.

This part of the trip was a bit more stressful because I was not 100% certain of where I was going and was so tired that I didn’t want to have to backtrack. My mental fatigue was more overpowering than my physical (90% of long rides or endurance things are mental) and my want to give up or turn back, regardless of how far I’d come, was starting to set in.

On top of all this, the traffic was getting heavy and rather than being passed by a single car every 20 minutes or so, I was being passed by several cars at a fairly regular rate. The cars were giving me less and less room on what seemed to be an increasingly narrow shoulder and all of it felt like it was up hill. I was sure I was going to get hit. I kept thinking, “If I can only make it around the next corner, maybe I’ll see a helpful sign or a gas station to pull into.”

A few hills and turns later and I got the signs I was looking for. “Welcome to Rockport,” along with others, made me sure I was headed in the right direction. Finally, there was an arrow that pointed to Bearskin Neck and I followed it out to the point.

I was there. The end of the line. The famous rocks of Rockport. Checking my phone I saw that it was 9:18 am. The ride had taken me 3 hours and 48 minutes from my house (3 hours and 18 minutes from Kanes, my Google Maps starting point).

Once there I locked up my bike and rested on a rock while calling my Mom to tell her where I was. She sort of freaked out and was shocked that I had biked there. I asked if she wanted to meet up with me to hang out, maybe get some food, and also give me and the bike a ride home, but to my surprise, she said no.

Upon hearing this, I was left with two options: 1) bike all the way back home after resting a bit (another 4 hours and another 30 miles for a total of 60!) or 2) take the commuter rail back to Boston and then the T back to Melrose. After walking out on the rocks, getting some breakfast, and going for a walk around the small town, I decided I would take the noon train back to Boston.

Rockport

Could I have biked home? Probably. Did I want to? Not really. Well, I guess I didn’t care but it was weird, I was torn, and ended up taking the easy way out. On the one hand I was able to just relax. But on the other it felt like a cop-out and I hated paying the $10 for the ride home. One cool thing was that the train I was on had bike racks inside the car! I had never seen that before.

Commuter Rail Bike Rack

All in all it was a fun trip and made me feel better about all the things I was complaining about in the previous post. Even though it didn’t take up the whole day (I was home by 2 pm) it felt like I had accomplished a lot and I was okay with just relaxing the rest of the evening.

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