Worcester, Mass

When I booked my stay in Worcester and the hotel was located on Major Taylor Blvd, I assumed that I was traveling to a cycling Mecca of sorts. Not really. Major Taylor, the first African American cycling champion, nicknamed the Worcester Whirlwind, was actually born and raised in Indianapolis. He trained in Worcester and for a time, he lived there.

Worcester is an old city. Built on a series of steep, sloping hills. It’s centuries old churches, sit high above the city like forts. Worcester is also home to nine colleges and universities. It has a deep patriotic history. A lot of key events took place there during the Revolutionary War.

With only a 3 day stay, I knew it would be tough to squeeze a ride in when day one and day three are travel days. I managed to get out on a short ride around downtown. To say that Worcester is hilly is an understatement. I decided to forget about distance and concentrate on hitting as many hills as I could in an hour.

Riding from the hotel, I pedaled down Major Taylor, up Martin Luther King Blvd., past the courthouse and down Main St. From there, I was able navigate through the busiest part of town to find a grid of streets built on a ridiculously steep hill. One by one, I climbed, descended, climbed and descended. By the time I reached the tenth hill, I felt like I had been riding all day.

During the cool down spin back to the hotel, my legs were toast. The slower pace gave me a chance to check out the 19th century architecture. I only got a small sample size of what Worcester feels like on a cool spring afternoon. I’ll be back in September as the Tour de Force runs along Rt. 12. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to sample some of the quieter more bicycle friendly roads in the area.

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) – Today – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Even the Losers Get Lucky Sometimes