By Tim Cary
Published 11/24/2012; Updated 10/28/2021

by Tim_Cary » Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:55 pm

Eleven brave and hardy riders showed up at the start today. We had: Roberto, Roger S, Chris D, Kevin, Justin, Giovanni, Alex, JR, (whom is from Philadelphia and was in the area with family for the holiday and brought along his bike, and found us), Jonathan B (great to see him on a SMR after a long hiatus), Frank, and myself. Considering the route I posted and the conditions and forecast for the day, everyone deserves huge kudos. It was a brisk 40 degrees at the start with northwest winds sustained at around 5 MPH, with gusts up to 20. The forecast for the day was exactly the same, no chance of warming up or the winds calming. We had a little sun, but it was not exactly promising to stay out.

We all rolled out together, with the C group planning to break off somewhere up in Conway. As expected, we broke up on the N. Farms climb, with the usual suspects up in front- myself, Frank, Roberto and JR already showing how strong of a rider he is.

After a regroup at Mountain St, Kevin got the first ouch of the headwinds for the day, pulling us along the straight stretch until Roberto pulled a sneaky sprint and took the first townline race.

We gapped again as everyone pretty much climbed at their own pace up past the Northampton Reservoir and up to the 116 intersection where we regrouped.

Five of us- Roberto, Frank, Kevin, JR, and myself turned north west on 116, and everyone else headed south east on 116 for a shorter day. I am glad they came out today and hope they had a great ride back home.

As we continued on, Roberto, Frank, and JR took some very hard pulls into rather strong headwinds. One again, I was impressed with our guest’s endurance. As we slogged up into Ashfield center, the snow flurries started- as if we needed to add to the hurt of the day so far!

Kevin had a perfectly timed pinch flat as we stopped to re-fuel in Ashfield center. We may have spent a bit too much time there, as I started to get cold, even though I was standing in the sun. The blustery wind and snow flakes were not helping this problem. Did I say it was snowing?

We headed over to Baptist Corner Road and perhaps enjoyed the rolling and very cold descent to Shelburne Falls Rd. This was the coldest part of the ride- I saw 35 degrees here, and my fingers were frozen at this point.

On the fast descent of Shelburne Falls Rd to Bardwell Ferry, Frank and JR were out of sight, and I forgot to tell them to take the left- sorry about that. Luckily, Kevin decided to head for home, caught them, and sent them back. Frank made a last minute decision to head home as well from here, leaving just Roberto, JR, and myself continuing on.

Credit goes to Roberto for his input on the route at this point, because his suggestions allowed those whom wanted a shorter day to break off at various points.

The three of us headed down into the river valley and back up the climb by the Cosby ranch. At Rte 2, we decided to do “short and steep” on Old Village instead of Little Mohawk, which would have brought us a bit more north into the Patten district.

Once we hit Rte 2 again, we intended to head toward Old Greenfield Rd, which would have featured a screaming descent on a low traffic road, but we turned left, instead of right. So we rolled down Rte 2 all the way into Grreenfield.

I navigated us around the busy rotary and led us out of Greenfield onto Rte 5. Roberto then led us over to River Rd and started to kick up the pace a bit, with JR easily keeping up, and me eventually struggling to stay on their wheels.

Once the rolling hills were out of the way on River Rd Roberto broke away strongly- too much for us to chase- into the headwinds, so JR and I took turns pulling for the remaining three or so miles up to 116.

Roberto headed over the bridge to go home via Rte 47, while JR and I opted for the southern section of River Rd. We encountered quite a challenge with changing cross and head winds, complete with a brief snow squal , but kept a fairly decent pace up into South Hatfield where we took a final brief fuel stop.

JR and I dialed down the pace to the conversational level once we hit Northampton, back to our destinations in Easthampton.

For the day I had 85.8 miles at 16.1 MPH with 4925 ft of climbing, and an average temperature of 37 degrees.

Great to see everyone come out today and sticking with me on a long hard ride in challenging conditions. It is always nice to have guests on our rides, and hopefully we’ll see JR back again on his next visit.


by AlexWirthCauchon » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:06 pm

After three SMR’s this is my first post to thank you for such great rides. It has been fun to tag a long and to get hammered by you all. It has rekindled my desire to take cycling more seriously again. Depending what happens with my foot and how soon I can get back to running that may be more likely.

While it has been very fun to work hard on the B rides, my training this time of year calls for more time in the saddle but at lower effort. I am looking for four to six hours at modest but consistent HRs…Chris and I did that for the second half of the ride Saturday. (How would you describe our pace Chris? Is that what you would call a C-Ride?) Might others be interested in joining for such a pace?

Again, thanks a lot you all of you for your welcome and for the fun SMRs!


by Chris deHahn » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:41 pm

It was great to ride with Jonathan B. again. It seemed like such a long time even though it was only a few months. Thanks for letting me bend your ear. The ride back down 116 and the back roads through Whately and Hatfield were very nice. The pace was calm and steady. I need to start tapering before I start my training program, so there was no way I was going to do 90+ miles or go hard on the hills. The “C” ride worked out just fine.

Alex, I would say that all of the NCC B rides are B rides, and that was a pretty fast C ride but not too fast. The only A ride is the WNR when the right guys show up.

by Frank Sleegers » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:55 pm

Great riding with all of you. After fighting a virus for a week I was happy to be stronger than I thought but did not want overdo it with 80 plus or something. Yes it was cold and where was the promised tailwind?
Kevin and me arrived safely in Noho…

Next week Brad Knipes and me had inofficially made the plan to go out on our vintage English Three Speeds.
The idea was born after a Tweed ride last week. No plan yet if we try to stay with the C-group or have an alternative route. It’ll be fun to carry some piece of steel through the hills. Keep you posted.

Was great to see you Jonathan B on the road again.
And thanks Tim for the detailed report.

by Roger Stawasz » Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:25 pm

Kudos again to Tim for putting this ride together, for the detailed ride report, and for the many miles he put on this Friday and Saturday.

Thanks to Roberto for helping Tim with the route by building in safety valves for those needing to exit early.

Kudos to those of you who continue to ride long hard miles and for those of you who know when to dial it back.

Greeting to those of you new to me, including Jonathan B. And a thanks to Jonathan for hosting the C ride too.

The steadily falling temperatures and signs of winter make me wonder how much more riding will happen this year; I’m open to continuing as best I can while knowing that adverse weather will cause me to tone down my own efforts accordingly.

Thanks everyone.

by Jonathan O’Keeffe » Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:40 pm

Sorry I missed what sounds like a great ride, including JB’s long-awaited return to the SMR peloton. So glad you’re back in the saddle, Jonathan.

Thanks Tim for putting together the route and leading the ride. You all are animals for putting in 70+ miles (or even the shorter routes) in frigid blowing snowy conditions. Kudos.

See you next week.

by jonathanbrody » Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:41 pm

Thank you so much everybody for your warm words and welcomes. I was so happy to be out with you-all Saturday, and everyone was so patient and supportive of me. I am certainly out of shape — not that the cross bike and 35C tires helped my cause any — but funny enough, I think I peeked right after the B/C split on the short 116 climb — boy that felt good!

It was really good to ride with Chris (you can have my ear anytime!), Roger, Alex (with a broken toe!), Justin and Giovani (also visiting from afar). Being so out of practice, I forgot to start STRAVA, but I think the C-Group had about 36 miles, with 1500K of climbing at about 14-15mph. Looking forward to doing this again soon — on my road bike:-)