Alec Babala

e: alec.babala@gmail.com
in: linkedin.com/in/alecbabala

I believe in making less and connecting more. I'm passionate about bringing people together through effective learning and communication. I also hold experiences racing bikes across North America, Western Europe, and Southeast Asia.

Forbes - 30 Under 30, 2016

Riding with Reese

I’m driving the RISD van down from Hanover, NH after a successful day of cyclcocross racing (with Jules taking 1st in his Elite field, Jane on the podium in 3rd, and Marcus another race closer to getting his category upgrade) and I make a comment about how many likes I’m getting on Instagram with this photo I took on my ride after the race. And of course, Jane makes a comment to write about my experiences rather than just “obsess over the likes on social media” with the photos I take. This one is for you, Jane.

 

Say hello to Reese.

 

I had a (serious) bet with my dad that if I get under 70 minutes on the Mt. Washington hill climb, he would buy me a Cervelo R5. And well, I won that bet, and now she’s finally here! I still have to pay my dad month to month…but maybe I can sneak away without paying full price for the bike. I mean I won the bet, after all.

 

I didn’t know what to expect.

 

 

I haven’t had a chance to ride the bike yet and I thought it would be a good idea to ride it after today’s cyclocross race with RISD Cycling up at Hanover, NH. Last night I stalked some Dartmouth Cycling kids on Strava, made a 40 mile route based on their favorite roads there, and packed the bike into the van so we’re ready to hit the road by 6am.

 

Glad to be back in the van.

 

Here’s my brief Cat 4/5 race report: it was technical and I got pulled.

I was clearly more excited to ride around the area than the race. Taking off my cyclocross shoes and putting on my road shoes made me feel like Cinderella even after getting my ass beat. Honestly, this had to be the hardest cyclocross course I’ve ever raced. You should basically just race it on a mountain bike…like the winner did. I took out the R5 from the van, hopped on, and bounced out of there.

 

That aero life.

 

About 20 minutes after the race and into my road ride around Hanover, here I am feeling like a pro on this fancy new bike. Doing some sprints, dancing around on climbs, riding with no hands, and just being an overall goon. I’m clearly having way too much fun by myself (this is what happens when you are an only child). The sky was looking gloomy, and it was definitely going to rain at some point, so I cut my ride by 10 miles just in case.


Eventually, I rode out of the overcast weather and the sun peeked through the clouds. It looked promising! The temperature started to get warmer and I had to unzip my jacket to cool off. This also feels really pro when it’s flapping around in the wind like a cape. I took a turn off the main road onto some gravel.

 

So New Hampshire.

 

I started to geek out around this point. There were small narrow roads and dirt climbs. No cars and the only sounds I could hear were leaves falling and my bike zipping through them. I started thinking of how I could move up here just so I can ride these roads when I’m not working. I became a total tourist taking picture of every single leaf. I might have stopped every 10 minutes to just take it all in. You would think that from growing up in New England would make you numb, or at least not as surprised to the trees turning every year.

 

I must be in Heaven.

 

Oh, Reese. Yea. That’s the name for my Cervelo R5. I’ve been thinking about it a lot and the name Reese is perfect. She’s a babe like Reese Witherspoon, as amazing an experience to ride as it is eating Reese’s peanut butter cups…okay it’s a bit of stretch but I do like the name. This bike is so freaking light and stiff. It climbs effortlessly through the paved sustained climbs and the dirt kickers that are hidden in the woods. This is also my first time riding an 11 speed, and it really is such a surprise to shift to an extra gear on a climb. Thinking about how much I am having a good time with this, it makes me question if I deserve this bike…I think what will justify it is if I win the BUMPS series next season on this bike.

 

The cockpit.

 

I rode close to 35 miles for my “cool down spin”. The entire time I felt like I was in a Rapha commercial or a Strava promotional video. All I was missing was someone taking photographs or videos. I ended up getting poured on by rain at the last couple of miles of the route and I had to stop in a cafe to keep dry and feed myself. I almost forgot I raced a couple hours before this!

This little ride made the trip worth it. By the time I got back to the cyclocross race course, Jane made it on the podium. Shortly after Jules wins. And here you have the two ECCC leaders for cyclocross, brought to you by RISD Cycling. These results made the trip awesome.

Especially after we stuffed ourselves with Chipotle on the drive back home.

My Old Man is a Beast

Baguette