By Jonathan O'Keeffe
Published 05/14/2011; Updated 01/22/2022

by Jonathan O’Keeffe » Sat May 14, 2011 8:23 pm
Wow, we really screwed up our group management today. Sorry Rich and Ed! We noticed Rich was gone, and waited a while at Roaring Brook Road, but we apparently took off a little too soon. It didn’t even occur to me until much later that Ed was gone, because I’m so used to him just being a blur on the horizon in front of me. Glad you both managed to get in decent rides.

Back at the start, the change to the 9am start didn’t appear to faze anyone, as we had a large group of a dozen-plus riders. We started with Jonathan and I, Kevin, Paul, Roberto, Frances, Ben, Ron, Katie, Greg, Rich, Ed, and a special guest appearance from Mike Foley. We were planning on heading to Shelburne Falls, but we changed things up on the fly and decided to head up Bardwells Ferry Road past the Cosby estate.

Paul led the group up North Farms Road, and then outsprinted Kevin to take the Whately town line. We lost Ed in Conway as described above, and then rolled up Bardwells Ferry Road. Katie dropped her chain on the transition to a steep incline, wobbled, almost saved it, but then hit the pavement, narrowly missing a guardrail and a steep drop beyond. It looked ugly, but her bike was fine, and she shrugged it off and kept going at full speed.

The steep descent to the narrow bridge over the Deerfield River was exciting, with Jonathan bouncing around a bit, and me leaving some tire tracks on the road. We stopped for a photo-op on the bridge (hopefully Mike will post some pics) and then proceeded up the steep climb past the Cosby estate. As I downshifted at the base of the climb, my rear shifter cable snapped, leaving me stranded on an 11-tooth cog at the base of this 15% climb. It took me forever to get up the hill – thanks to everyone for waiting.

We had one more steep climb on South Shelburne Road, followed by a big descent into Greenfield, where we stopped to refuel. Upper Road to Stillwater, and then on through South Deerfield. I limped home across the Sunderland bridge at that point, while the rest of the group headed south along River Road in Hatfield.

From Northampton to Sunderland, I had about 35 miles @ 17.4 mph, 3,000 ft of climbing, but the rest of the group must have been a lot faster than that, because they were waiting for me on all the climbs on the second half of the ride.