By Jonathan O'Keeffe
Published 10/22/2011; Updated 12/20/2021

by Jonathan O’Keeffe » Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:23 pm
After last Saturday’s climbfest, we decided to try a flatter option today, to try to take advantage of a relatively wind-free morning. We rolled from the Academy at 10AM (all of our fall rides for the rest of the season will be at 10AM, not 9AM) with Roberto, Mike F, Kevin, Andrew, Alisa, Joe, Alex, and I, and quickly picked up Mike Y as we headed out of town.

We headed north on a Wednesday Night Ride route up River Road to Rt. 116. Alex turned back along the way, and the rest of us continued on to the bridge. We were planning to head further north on River Rd, but while we were discussing the route, Joe was gazing longingly upward toward the Sugarloaf summit, saying “why don’t we go up there?”. There were probably lots of good reasons not to, but Joe’s determination prevailed, and we headed up the steep slope toward the summit. I was dropped pretty quickly; for a while, I saw a group of four (Andrew, Mike F, Roberto, and Joe) hanging together, but they apparently separated near the summit, with Andrew the first up, followed by Roberto, Joe, and Mike.

We enjoyed the great views from the summit while trying to avoid wrecking the wedding photos of the happy couple being joined in matrimony at the summit, and then headed down the precarious descent, interrupted by a flat en-route (overheated brakes?). From there, we headed further up over the rollers on River Rd to the bike path to the bridge over the river into Turners Falls. Joe split off there, while the rest of us continued on to Millers Falls and the big climb up to Wendell State Forest, where Andrew and Mike F battled it out on the lower slopes before Andrew managed to open a bit of a gap in the upper section.

From Wendell, we headed down toward Lake Wyola, and the long descent down North Leverett Rd. Andrew split off to climb toward home on Cave Hill Rd, while the rest of us continued past the Bookmill in Montague, and down Falls Rd to the Sunderland Bridge. Roberto and I split off to head back to Amherst, while the rest of the group continued back to Northampton.

From the NoHo departure to the split in Sunderland, I had 54 miles @ 17.4 mph, 3,200′ of climbing.