We’ve settled into a stable crew of cold-weather roadies riding this fall, as the group this morning looked a lot like last week – Jonathan B, Roberto, Elissa, Rich, Mike Y, and me, with a special guest appearance by Mike F.
The roads are still pretty ugly in many towns in the valley after last weekend’s storm, so we decided to head up into the hills, where reports led us to expect more snow on the ground but far less tree damage, with a goal of ending up at Look Park to catch the afternoon races at the <a href=’http://www.cycle-smart.com/csi’>CSI International</a>. We rode up to Williamsburg and introduced Mike F to Petticoat Hill, which he proceeded to smash wide open. I saw him and Roberto duking it out far ahead of me, and then Mike pulled ahead at the top with a very strong effort, managing to score the King of the Mountain on Strava for the <a href=’http://app.strava.com/rides/2220546#36961067′>Petticoat climb</a>.
A chilly descent on Rt. 143 brought us back into Williamsburg. Looking to climb toward Goshen, but wanting to avoid Rt. 9, I instead directed us up Village Hill Rd, which leads to Old Goshen Rd and then to East St, hooking back up with Rt. 9 just short of the Rt. 112 intersection in Goshen. This turned out to be a great climb, with some tough stretches, and very nice scenery. Old Goshen Rd turned to dirt briefly, hard-packed and very smooth, but this was enough to get Roberto off his gorgeous new Pinarello. I can’t confirm the rumor that he was portaging it on his shoulder, CX-style, or perhaps carrying it overhead to maximize its distance from the dirt. We laughed, but if I had a bike that looked this good, I’m sure I would have done the same.
When we rejoined Rt. 9, Elissa and Rich turned back, while the rest of us forged ahead north on 112 toward the DAR State Forest. We got into the park OK, using the parking lot to circumvent a big snowbank at the entrance, but after a half-mile or so, increasing amounts of snow on the partially-plowed road forced us to turn back. We went back out to 112 and headed north, eventually crossing over on Steady Lane for the descent on Creamery Rd. I don’t think I’ve ever descended on Creamery before, and it was a blast, with wide sweeping turns, and just a bit of lingering damage from Hurricane Irene to watch out for. Roberto headed back to Amherst on 116 at this point.
Road conditions up in the hills bore out our initial expectations — there was a fair amount of snow, but the roads were pretty dry, and there was virtually no tree damage at all. The higher elevations got drier snow, on trees that had already lost their leaves, so damage was considerably less than in the valley.
From Ashfield, we headed south on Williamsburg Rd toward home, with Mike F again owning the big initial climb, followed by a high-speed (and pretty cold) organized descent back down into Williamsburg, for our third time of the day. We headed back to Look Park, where we found the NCC tent empty of people, but full of water, food, and beer, all of which were much appreciated. Eventually David G stopped by, mentioning casually that his race went “really well”. It wasn’t until he was pressed for details that he revealed the fact that “really well” actually meant “opened a 47-second gap to win the first Verge event of his CX career”. Rock Star!
Turns out that NCC riders had a great day — Philip Hempstead with a second-place finish (possibly faster than his dad :-), Jeremy Durrin in fourth in UCI Elite (his best UCI finish ever), and Patrick Rondeau in fifth in Cat 4 (out of 130(!) riders). There’s a <a href=’http://www.facebook.com/notes/northampt … 3′>summary of NCC results</a> on <a href=’http://www.facebook.com/NorthamptonCyclingClub’>our Facebook page</a>, and the full results for all riders are up at <a href=’http://www.crossresults.com/race/2050′> … lts.com</a>.
Mike F knows *everyone* at events like these, and quickly disappeared into the crowd. Mike Y, Jonathan B, and I hung around at the tent, shivering, long enough to watch the start of the Women’s Elite race. Jonathan and I headed back to downtown NoHo, while Mike Y stayed behind to <a href=’http://www.cyclingdirt.org/coverage/240 … Day-1′>eat Jeremy’s sausage</a>.
We finished up (from downtown to Look Park) with 43 miles @ 15.3 mph, 4,100′ of climbing.