Lost Lake, Found Courage
Yesterday I went on a stunningly beautiful ride - a woodsy countryside loop with the fabled Lost Lake as its midpoint attraction. I'd been hearing about Lost Lake for some time, but could not quite picture what was being described. They said the road around the lake consists of dramatic "rollers" (short, steep hills) that keep coming at you until you don't know which way is up and which way is down. "There is a section where you will be braking uphill, you'll see!" explained the Blayleys gleefully.
After that sort of description, I did not imagine my first ride to the lake taking place on a day with more snow than we'd experienced all winter prior. But that is exactly what transpired.
You know how sometimes you try so hard to avoid something you're scared of, only to end up doing that exact thing? That more or less describes my weekend. On Saturday morning I awoke to a downpour washing away the snow from previous days. The weather report said that the rain would end by mid-day, and that the temperature would rise to mid-50s. I believed it, and set out for a quick ride to Lexington at noon even though it was still drizzling. A few miles in, the drizzle became a downpour again. Then the temperature started to drop instead of rising. And as I proceeded North on the Minuteman Trail, I began to encounter stretches of snow and ice. It was supposed to all have been gone by now, and it was supposed to be warm! But, well, it wasn't. And since I was already en route and soaked, I kept going.
After some coffee and quality time with the space heaters, my mood improved. Later that afternoon the weather indeed cleared up, and the sun even came out. When I was finally dry enough to ride home, most of the snow on the trail had melted - which made it logical to conclude that I'd be fine doing the Sunday ride the next morning, since surely the roads would be entirely clear by then.
There were four of us (Pamela, Dena, Emily and myself). We rode at a comfortable pace, the temperature was not too bad, and the scenery was just unreal - endless winding roads through snow-covered fields and pine trees, almost like a staged scene from some winter sporting good catalogue. Except of course it was March, and we were not cross-country skiing but riding bikes.
By the time we got to Lost Lake, I was so full of the day's impressions that I'd forgotten all about its roller-coaster reputation and did not remember until I was already doing the loop around the lake. I have to say it wasn't scary at all, just really exciting. The hills are so steep and short, that after you climb the first one there is really no need to do any work - you just steer the bike and hang on. The first downhill is so fast that you end up coasting all the way up the next hill and then it's downhill again, repeated maybe half a dozen times. And yes it's true that there is one particular section where you have to go leftish on an uphill - but you're flying up that hill so fast that you have to brake in order to make the turn. Fascinating.
I think this ride will stand out in my memory for a long time, not only because of how beautiful it was, but because I was less focused than usual on the aspects I found challenging or scary. I just kind of went with it, relaxed and enjoyed it. I am grateful to have experienced a winter landscape this perfect, and glad that fear did not stand in the way.