By Jonathan O'Keeffe
Published 06/30/2012; Updated 10/30/2021

by Jonathan O’Keeffe » Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:02 pm
With a hot day forecast, we chose to start the ride today at 8AM to try to avoid some of the worst heat of the day. We had a dozen or so riders at the start, including Peter, Roberto, Andrew, Jonathan B, Kevin, Clayton, Greg (on his first NCC ride), Mike, Tim C, and myself. I plotted out a route ahead of time, to make sure we had adequately-spaced opportunities to rehydrate, with the main goal being to climb Mormon Hollow Rd in Wendell, which we’ve never done on a SMR.

We rolled out shortly after 8 with temperatures still comfortably below 80°, and headed up Rt 47 into Hadley. I was trying to find good scenery, and led us through some back-roads and farm-roads, with a bit of route confusion, which I apologize for. We eventually emerged into more familiar ground, climbing Bull Hill and Depot Rd en route to Cave Hill Rd, where Andrew, Roberto, and Clayton quickly disappeared up the hill.

We stopped to fill bottles at the North Leverett Co-Op, before climbing further up to Lake Wyola, and then taking West St up to Wendell State Forest. The descent towards Millers Falls is always a blast, but we were a bit on edge this time because we were on the lookout for the sharp right-hand turn onto Mormon Hollow Rd, which comes up quickly. We enjoyed a freshly-paved rolling stretch on Mormon Hollow before the big climb up to Wendell Center, with Tim putting in an impressive effort in the upper sections as I was trying to catch up to him.

Another rest stop in Wendell, followed by a big descent back toward Lake Wyola, which actually felt a bit chilly after the rest stop, even though the temperature was approaching 90° by that point. Concentration slipped a bit as we went back past Lake Wyola — with a pedestrian crossing in front of me, I braked, without realizing how closely behind me Mike was following. Mike came hard into my rear wheel, and we both went flying. He apparently came down mostly on his head, with both head and helmet somehow apparently unscathed. I took the brunt of the impact on my right elbow and shoulder, with an impressive quantity of flowing blood, but not much actual damage. Jonathan B was a huge help in coordinating medical assistance from the lifeguard at Lake Wyola. Both bikes emerged more or less unscathed, although I discovered after the fact that my saddle rails were pretty severly warped.

After that bit of drama, we still had the big climb from Wyola up to Shutesbury, which I was surprised to find myself flying up, probably due to the lingering adrenaline in my system. We descended the S-Curves, and accidentally lost track of Greg shortly thereafter — sorry about that, Greg — nice riding with you, and hope the rest of your day went well.

Most of the remaining group crossed Hadley and headed south on Rt 47 before splitting up at the bridge. Roberto and I tacked on a few extra miles through South Amherst. I was hoping to do a bit more, but my legs said No, and they were probably right. I ended up with 84 miles total (door-to-door) at 17.8 mph, 3,700′ of climbing.