By Jonathan O'Keeffe
Published 03/26/2011; Updated 01/22/2022

by Jonathan O’Keeffe » Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:30 pm
Our first Saturday ride of the spring season featured unseasonable temperatures of 26° at the start, with brisk winds from the north adding to the misery. Despite the cold weather, a dozen or so hardy souls showed up at the Academy, including David, Peter, Joe, Kevin, Paul, Clayton, Rich, James, Chris, and Ivan. David remarked that he was wearing every piece of cold-weather gear he owned, which seemed to be reflected in the rest of the group as well.

We opted to head into the hills to try to warm up, with a reverse-Thursday route past the reservoirs to Conway, and then following Bardwells Ferry Rd past the Cosby estate and down into Greenfield. The wind was bad on the outbound leg, particularly face-numbing on the descent to the one-lane bridge across the Deerfield River. The pace was aggressive throughout, and Paul took the couple of town-line sprints that I was able to see.

I was hurting pretty badly by the time we passed the Cosby estate, and I appreciated Clayton’s supportive tips (but not his aggressive accelerations on the inclines!). Notable in this section were the industrial-scale maple-sugaring operations, with networks of tree taps feeding into big plastic barrels full of sap.

James almost got us killed north of the river crossing by flinging his trash onto a homeowner’s front lawn, but we quickly set him straight, and continued on our way on the nasty climb up S. Shelburne Rd. and then a sketchy, sandy descent to Upper Rd. and back to South Deerfield.

I split off at that point to head back to Amherst, logging (up to that point) about 32 miles at 16.0 mph. Hope the remainder of the ride went well.