by Todd Holland » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:33 am
Three intrepid souls set out from South Amherst. Wayne Cernak, Paul Dickson, and me.
The sun was low, highlighting a few of the spectacular bursts of early fall foliage. While it looked like October, it felt like June, with temps solidly in the 80’s and enough humidity for a solid glaze of sweat. The night breeze was at our backs so we effortlessly fanned the big rings on our way north.
Headlights were on full by the time we met Sandy Whittlesey at the bridge in Sunderland, but we would not see the full moon until we were just outside of Greenfield. Our route was challenging, with serious steeps in Deerfield, Greenfield, and Shelburne Falls. But how else would four certifiable crazies have it?
Sandy schooled us on brakes-free descending, one marque of a round-the-clock race record holder. Even though he had the crappiest headlight of the bunch, any switchbacked descent saw him quickly pull away into the night haze.
We went all-lights-out on the Cosby climb from Bardwells Ferry, it was like we were getting away with something. Four riders and the yellow moon against a deep purple sky.
After an unhurried intermission at the Kettle Holes, we refueled at the all-night convenience store where locals gawked like we were lunatics on the lam.
The biggest, meanest climb was the three-mile hump out of Shelburne Falls on Bray Rd, but we were soon rewarded with breathtaking vistas across farm fields with just the moon and Jupiter for light. A light haze hid the stars.
Our run back was through Baptist Corner and Beldingville to Conway, where we joined the Thursday night loop’s return leg through Whately and Haydenville. This is where we split up, Wayne to Westhampton, Paul to Leeds, and Sandy to South Deerfield. I headed home via the TT course in Hatfield, through Sunderland and Amherst by Puffer’s Pond.
The last 10 miles was a grunt, with the wind in my face and the moon at my back. Low on water and out of food . . . but sober, showered, and asleep by 1AM. What a night.
Full moon feverishly,
Toad the 12 sprocket