Tim Johnson couldn't stop smiling at the kickoff party for the Ride on Washington.  © Cyclocross Magazine

Tim Johnson couldn't stop smiling at the kickoff party for the Ride on Washington. © Cyclocross Magazine

by Molly Hurford

HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT – When Tim Johnson, Jeremy Powers, Jeremy Durrin, Richard Fries, Jed Kornbluh, David Wilcox, Pete Webber, Alec Donahue and myself are all together for the day, one could almost expect the roads to turn into dirt almost magically. After all, six time National Champion Tim Johnson and current National Champion Jeremy Powers are two of the “poster children” for US cyclocross, so to see the friendly competitors join forces on to support bike advocacy was heartening. And the Ride on Washington is one of the biggest pushes for bike advocacy that this country sees during the year. Sponsored by Bikes Belong, Tim Johnson, and many other bike-friendly companies, a group of 20 riders is currently riding from Boston to Washington, DC, with stops in Hartford, New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore along the way.

The ride kicked off with a reception and “Red Bull Rider Presentation” on Thursday night at Fourthwall Project in Boston, Massachusetts. Riders as well as friends, family and supporters got to sample delicacies from the chefs for the ride, Allan Lim and Biju Thomas. You may know them from The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes, the book that’s become the most recent sensation among cyclists everywhere. (Check back soon for more nutrition goodies from these guys!) In addition, and in true cyclocross racer fashion, Harpoon was front and center to provide beer.

After a fun-filled night, riders retired to prepare themselves for Day One of the five day long ride: 111 miles of rolling Massachusetts and Connecticut hills. The day began early for the riders, and the group quickly realized just what they were in for when it started raining shortly into the ride. But, as Johnson has said, “We ride during typical New England spring conditions, which means our weather could be relatively warm in the morning and cold, wet and rainy in the afternoon. We have to be prepared for the worst.” Thanks to neutral support for the entire ride (and snacks from Lim and Thomas), morale stayed high and riders rolled into Hartford at 4:30.

Tomorrow, the ride continues with the longest leg, Hartford to New York City, 130 miles of rolling hills.

Can’t wait for more from the Ride? Check out the last Girl With The Cowbell Tattoo column. We’ll be posting interviews with some of the cyclocrossers on the ride to catch up with them in the off-season, and we’ve got some great content headed your way in the next few days.