By Jonathan O'Keeffe
Published 11/10/2012; Updated 10/28/2021

by Jonathan O’Keeffe » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:29 pm

We had great riding weather on Saturday, with temperatures around 45° at the start, and rising into the mid 50’s later in the day. We started with the usual fall suspects — Andrew, Roberto, Chris D, Kevin, Rich, and T, and were joined by a couple new faces, Roger (who rode last week also) and Alex (a strong rider transplanted from Iowa).

I wanted to hit the Mt. Tom reservation, where we haven’t been on a SMR in a couple of years, so we headed south on Rt. 5 and enjoyed (?) the series of steep pitches that leads up to ridgeline and then heads south to join Rt. 141 at the Log Cabin. A series of back roads brought us through Southampton and then across Rt. 66, where we joined King’s Highway for some really steep sections heading up toward Chesterfield. We had missed Tim C at the start (he helped plan the route, and I was expecting him, but he didn’t show for the start), and he surprised us by catching us from behind after having flatted on the way over to the start — he chased us all the way from NoHo, and finally caught us in Chesterfield.

After refueling in Chesterfield, we split up, with the time-crunched and the dirt-averse heading east on Rt. 143, while the rest of us headed out on a slightly longer route to the north toward Hammond Pond and Hyde Hill Rd. I mistakenly included a really rough section of dirt on Washington St alongside Hammond Pond, and this took out Chris and Kevin (?) in a low-speed traction-loss collision, with no apparent ill effects. Sorry about that, guys, we definitely won’t use that section again. The main dirt segment on Hyde Hill Rd was fine, hard-packed and smooth with just a few small stones, leading to a fast and twisty paved descent on the rest of Hyde Hill Rd down to Rt 143 in Williamsburg.

I was phoning it in at that point and had just set my cruise control for Northampton, but then Andrew attacked off the front on Audubon Rd, and Tim was pushing behind me as I tried to respond, and it turned into a high-speed hell-bent chase all the way to Florence — a solid finish to a pretty tough November SMR. When I got back to NoHo, I had 49 miles @ 17.0 mph, with 4,200′ of climbing.


by Kevin Schott » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:51 am
Tim has to get the most aggressive rider selection for the day. No, he didn’t stick his fingers in his spokes — he chased for over two hours and eventually caught the group. He even tracked us, noting fresh bicycle tracks and vomit on King’s Highway. Nice work man.


by Kevin Schott » Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:26 am
Re: Dirt

Only Chris went down. He was coming up an incline with loose dirt and accelerated to go behind me, but I was going slowly and so as he had to pause a moment to wait for me to go past. Slow speed plus loose terrain plus a parade-pace by me meant a front-wheel washout for Chris. 🙁 Glad he and his gear came out okay.


by Chris deHahn » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:12 pm
It’s all good. You’re supposed to crash on a cross bike, right? No damage to me or the Redline. I ended up with about 86mi, 471 TSS, 254NP, and about 5,000 feet. 5 hours moving, 6.5 total. A long, hard day. Thanks to Rich for lending my his inhaler. I had a nasty asthma attack about 1/2 way up Mt. Tom. After that I was fine. After a day off yesterday doing yard work, I felt like a million bucks today on the commute. Work hard. Rest. Get stronger.


by Tim_Cary » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:11 pm
Thanks for the kudos Kevin. This will be one of my most memorable SMR’s so far.

Here’s my story for those who follow the forums.

I had the flat just 1.5 miles from my house. After a few cuss words I went to work on it. I admit I am quite the rookie at flat repairs- this being my first full season of riding, and really only having maybe 3 or 4 flats. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the Academy from my house, and the flat fix took about 20 minutes.

I knew I’d never make it for the start, and since I knew the planned route, I decided to backtrack past my house and head toward the Oxbow area, hoping to intercept somewhere around the Fort Hill Rd and East St intersection, based on a 10 AM start time from Northampton.

It hit the gas real hard down the East St off of Mountain Rd out to Fort, and it being 10:15 or so, I saw no traces of a pack of cyclists headed to Rte. 5, so I continued on to Fort, and waited by the Wildlife Sanctuary entrance. I got a bit anxious (and cold) after about 5 minutes waiting there. Thinking there was no way the group could have gotten past that point by then, I proceeded to head over the washboard of Old Springfield Rd. I stopped a runner and asked if he saw a bunch of cyclists- the answer was no, so I still had hope that you all were running late and I’d catch you. I got all the way to where the road turns to pavement again- quite close to South St, and figured either you were really started late, or were way ahead.

This did not ruin my day. As I turned around and headed back over the washboard, back up Fort Hill, and out East St, I started thinking that maybe the dirt section was vetoed and you took Rte 5 out of downtown. That turned out to be correct.

As I turned on to Rte 5 from East St, I still did not know if you were behind or ahead of me. I looked long and hard north as I pedaled out. I took one last look back north before I turned onto Reservation Rd, and hoped that I’d see you all at the top of climb.

I had wanted to get a good Strava in for the climb, so I focused on it, and when at the top, I rested a few minutes, but again, no bikes to be seen. It was at this point I lost a little hope of catching or being caught by the group. Especially since the next segment into Southampton was my suggestion, it was a little disappointing I did not get to enjoy it with the group.

I kept hoping to see a sign- any sign- to tell me if the group was ahead of me or behind me. It was almost impossible that I could have been faster than the group by now… with the descents and opportunities for drafting in the group.

Finally, somewhere around the Kings Highway climb, the road was in the right state where there was some damp spots with salt, and dry spots. I began to see bike tire tracks! Not just one, but 5, 6, 7 or more. That gave me a ray of hope. Now, it was only a matter of how far ahead the group was.

I tackled that fun King’s Highway climb- could have used some competition to push me a litte more, but by now my motivation certainly was much higher. It was only a matter of time.

I kept on the push up Northwest Rd, down into the dip of Indian Hollow, and kept seeing fresher and fresher tire tracks.

As I started up the Krug Sugarbush hill, who do I see coming the other way, but Rich! Turns out he was dropped and thought he made a wrong turn. It was awesome to see him, but even better to learn that the group was not all that further away.

Rich and I cranked it out up to the center of Chesterfield hoping the group was waiting. And they were- having a water stop. I was happy to have caught up, it made the rest of the day even better. Dirt roads and all.

I thank the group for waiting a significant time at the Academy for me. I know it gets cold when you are idle. I probably could have made it to the start had I known. Should not happen again. Sorry I missed riding with the group that split off after the water stop.

And after all that, I go and steal at least two town lines and then try to chase Jonathan and Andrew on the Autobon stretch. What a day!

Sorry for the long post, hope it is entertaining 8)
Good times, great riders, great & challenging route Looking forward to the next one.