I had a rather unexpected treat today after my usual Wednesday ride with my friends from the Caloosa Riders. After the 40 mile dash (it’s never a recovery ride…my fault this time as I lead the group out at a fast pace), we were all invited to the all new JetBlue Park, the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox, for a very special photo-op to promote this years Everyone Rides cycling event.
The event, which is near and dear to me as it was my first century ride, has been held at Buckingham Park, home of the Caloosa Riders Royal Palm Classic, the last couple years, but this year, Matt McCain, the coordinator of the event has big plans to take it up a notch and turn it into a premier cycling event staged out of the futuristic ballpark…and hey how often do you get to walk around, let alone cycle on a major league parks infield and outfield!
I had visited the park when it opened back in March. It’s a very slick, modern facility which takes it’s cues from Fenway Park. It’s dimensions are identical to the original, and includes a 37-foot tall version of the “Green Monster” wall in left field with seating on top. The wall also includes a restored version of the manual scoreboard that was housed at Fenway for almost 30 years.
We arrived to find a bunch of cyclist from the Caloosa Riders and Naples Cyclery already out in center field Vogueing it up with the photographer. After a quick dash around the warning track we integrated ourselves into the group and “struck a pose”.
It really was a bit surreal being on the playing field, particularly dressed in lycra and on a bike. They had a token Red Sox player there in uniform (by token I mean someone who was probably just the right size to fit into one of the players uniforms) who was going through his poses as we all tried our best to look like we belonged in the peloton riding down the Champs-Élysées.
After a series of shots, we relocated from center field to second base and resumed our shoot. By the way, infield gravel and cycling cleats do not get along, as that fine textured mix gets into every tiny crevice and sticks to it like wet clay, but you know what, it was worth it. It will be fun seeing our mugs on all the promotional material for this years event. I guess, in a sense, we just experienced our 15 minutes of fame.
Ride Time: 2:34:51
Stopped Time: 2:58:17
Distance: 45.14 miles
Average: 17.49 mph
Fastest Speed: 39.12 mph
Ascent: 977 feet
Descent: 1046 feet