By Jonathan O'Keeffe
Published 10/13/2012; Updated 10/29/2021

by Jonathan O’Keeffe » Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:02 pm
It felt like we skipped fall and went straight to winter on Saturday, with temperatures below freezing at the start. Apart from the cold, though, it was a beautiful day, and the low temperatures didn’t deter the hardy group of six that showed up at the start — Roberto, Tim, Bryant, Frank, Joe, and myself.

We rode out to Williamsburg, and then took a series of back roads (Village Hill, Old Goshen, and East Street) up into Goshen. This is a nice series of climbs which avoids the traffic on Route 9, with some good scenery and a bit of dirt along the way. From Goshen we had a fast and cold descent westward into the wind on Route 9, stopping to warm up at the Olde Creamery in Cummington. A big climb south on Route 112 leads up into Worthington, and then on to Trouble Street, a road I’ve been wanting to check out since I found it on a map last year.

Trouble Street is indeed troubling, with a pretty good climb initially before it turns to dirt, followed by a fairly steep descent, and then another climb which leads up to Route 143. 143 descends for a bit, and then rolls upward for a big long climb up to the windswept highlands of central Peru (the highest town center in Massachusetts, at about 2,100′). We cut south on South Road to pick up the northwestern end of the Skyline Trail and headed south through Middlefield. The Trail mostly descends in this direction, but packs a few good rolling climbs along the way. Approaching Huntington, the Trail drops rapidly as it approaches the Westfield River, and it was on the steepest section, rolling along at 40+ mph, that we came around a bend to find a large porcupine slowly crossing the road directly in front of us. We scattered, somehow managing to avoid both the porcupine and the oncoming traffic, and then rolled down the rest of the descent with elevated heartrates and residual adreneline.

We stopped at the general store in Huntington to refuel, and then headed up the last big climb of the day, slogging up County Road to the high point of Route 66. From there it was all downhill back to Northampton, where we arrived around 2PM with tired legs. My computer said it was around 70 miles @ 16.3 mph, with around 6,500′ of climbing.

Note that starting next week, we’ll be switching back to a 10 AM start time for the Saturday rides for the rest of the fall. And as always as the weather starts to get dicier, be sure to check the post for each ride on Friday and Saturday if the weather is looking questionable — I, or others, will post updates as needed. If you’re planning on riding, it can also be helpful to click the “Watch this topic for replies” link at the bottom of the page, which will send you an email notification whenever someone posts a reply, so you will be notified if the ride is cancelled or changed.


by Frank Sleegers » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:08 pm

thank you for your excellent report and leading the ride.
It was a most remarkable ride through areas that I did not know. Just unique and now that is over I am even happier.
Yes it was cold – I wore a thicker jacket all the time and did not regret it – especially on the fast and long downhills. My odometer almost hit 50 mph.

I was done after this ride – mille grazie Roberto for pulling me somewhere after the Peru Forest. I was dying. Do not know how I managed to get over the final climb – maybe it was the dried meat at the last stop.
Jonathan – is it 6400 ft or 8400 feet?

See you all in a couple of weeks.




by Joseph Lellman » Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:13 pm
Believe me, I was toast for a day and a half after that slog. Beautiful riding, but strenuous beyond belief (trying to keep up with Roberto, that is). Not for the feint of heart. Thanks, Jonathan
P.S. Awesome stache.


by Tim_Cary » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:28 pm
Perhaps we can account my comment to me being the youngest in the group(?), but I did not think it was THAT bad! Of course, this coming from a guy who did all five century rides in the valley this fall, four of which had at least 6K of climbing. However, I still did not get ahead of Roberto for the most part!

No matter how hard it was, I really enjoyed the route, we have to go back to Trouble St, since that caused so much “trouble” for Strava! Thanks to Jonathan and Roberto for designing another awesome and memorable SMR. Great riding with you all. Looking forward to next week.


by Roberto Ludovico » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:58 pm
Good for you, Tim. I felt extreme pain in several occasions of this ride. In fact on Saturday I started questioning Marco Pantani’s strategy according to which the faster you go up a climb, the shorter the pain. I am afraid that it does not work if after one climb, there is immediately another one, usually steeper. At least, this appears to be the pattern in Jonathan’s loops. And we all love it. Thanks, Jonathan.

Frank, I think you are right: the beef jerky got you to the end of the ride. You were not tired, but just running on an empty tank. We all know you love your bananas, but they are not sufficient to keep you going on a ride like this one, especially on a cold day when you burn more calories to keep warm. You need to eat a lot before riding and keep eating and drinking through the ride: carbs and lean proteins. even if you don’e feel hungry. I bring with me flat breads rolled with cold cuts, in addition to bananas, gels and power bars, and it works. Try!


by Tim_Cary » Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:46 pm
What, no burritos this ride Roberto! Sorry guys if I was the only one with no pain on the ride, but I assure you I was cussing a little bit on the County Rd. climb.

I love that everyone on the ride posted here. It just shows how much fun we have even on hard rides and less than ideal weather. Join us!

by Frank Sleegers » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:02 pm
Just checked again weather etc.. for tomorrow – so kind of late response.
Roberto I agree – I was probably at the edge of bunking – because I did considerably well in the beginning – for the amount of riding I do at this point in the year which is less than in the spring.
Right preparation is key. I f I knew we would do 70 miles and 8000 or 6000 feet…
Before races I eat well the night before and have even pasta in the morning , which is so disgusting.
I portion one banana an hour(only two this time was not enough) an d have 1/2 orange juice 1/2 water, 1-0.75 bottles and hour.
None of this I executed with rigor last Saturday…

So I am not into Gatorade or gels (gels to me as emergency food – yes and I agree they are effective, helped me out on occasion).
I think you can do without processed food. A frien d of mine was joking when couple of years ago I unpacked a hard dried salami during a stop.

But it is great to go over limit a little bit at times to learn from it.

Tim – riding regularly helps! So a century almost each week puts you into a good position to overcome longer group rides with relative ease.
I still felt my legs on Tuesday a little bit which is for me always an alarm (mostly result of enough training in relationship to the ride…)

So looking forward for future rides to share some pain!