It was back in 1991, August 19th to be exact.
I was at International Bicycle n Allston,Ma at the time. I got the word that the store would be closing early that day because of Hurricane Bob.
Shortly after the announcement, I got a call from my friend Bob Barton.
"Want to go for a ride?"
He wasn't kidding. We were going to meet Rick Corimer and head out to Dover for a Mountain Bike Ride. "Great! Count me in!"
We drove and picked up food for after the ride, and arrived at the edge of the woods as the wind was really starting to blow. The sound of trees breaking was everywhere. It was August and all the trees had all the leaves still on.
I will always remember the super strong gusts of wind through the leafed tree tops and the huge smiles it caused. Then there would be a eery calm as if nothing was happening at all. It would start to blow and get louder and louder and still louder. Cracking and the wind sounded more like a jet engine. In the shelter of the trees most of the time, it wasn't as hard to ride as one might think. Warm and wet, we did the trails we normally rode on. Topping the rock topped peaks to take a look was only done for a moment. Out in the open, it was hard to stand up. There wasn't much to see anyway.
After covering most of what we then knew as "Peabody's Woods" we crossed town on pavement to Snow Hill and the fire tower. The storm never stopped over the course of our ride.
Coming out to the street, there were branches down everywhere. Absolutely no cars.
We got to the edge of the woods and came across a dog walker. The dog didn't seem to notice the storm, but the owner, wide eyed did. He asked, "Are you guys going to the tower?" We had never been to Snow Hill without going to the tower, so the answer was "yes." I could tell by the look in his eyes that he would have traded the dog for that afternoon for a Mountain Bike just to join us.
Rain always looks worse from inside and behind glass but today, from inside, you couldn't see out.
Riding in the wind was not bad. Again being sheltered by the trees but coming out in the open, the wind was stronger then it had been all afternoon. The top of the hill is only 450' above sea level but winds of 140 mph were measured on top of Great Blue Hill in Milton that day only 8 miles away.
Hiding the bikes from the wind in the bushes, we topped the Snow Hill on foot and got to the base of the tower.
"Its Open!" Bob yelled at the top of his lungs, holding on tight to the angle iron structure.
Step by step we climbed in the gusting wind. Above the trees to what looked like a ocean of movement. Cracking everywhere, the tower swayed and the guide wires sang. Step by step holding on like never before. We stayed together that day, Rick, Bob and I and made it to the top together and into the shelter of the towers top.
Wiping his hands and face, Bob pulled from his backpack 3 ice cold bottles of Becks Beer.
The bottles were popped open and the toast was made to a ride we would never forget.
We made it out of the woods that day without problem. I remember getting back to the house and the difference of being in.
We all spent the afternoon occasionally looking out the window. I will remember the feeling of missing being outdoors and the excitement of the storm. It was the same with all of us. The storm had changed us as a group. We knew we had done it but at the same time knew we would never be able to explain to riders who had stayed inside that day of its true excitement of what would have normally be a short and simple ride with Bob.
Climb up the Snow Hill Tower on this sunny winter day.