By Tim Cary
Published 02/02/2013; Updated 10/27/2021

by Tim_Cary » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:48 am

My fingers finally have thawed out enough to type the ride report! Ironically, my toes never froze up. Perhaps it was the promise from Punxsutawney Phil, or the fact that it was dry and bright out- Roberto and Kevin joined me in Northampton with a crispy 29°F on the Garmin.

I thought that we might be making SMR history with a ride in February, but I checked last year’s posts, and this ride is no match for the one early in February last year.

The plan for the day was to head up to Conway/S. Ashfield. The intent was to get some climbing in, but to keep the day relatively short due to the temperature, and keep us on well travelled roads, avoiding stray snow, ice, and sand build-up.

We decided to head out the TNR route, mainly for variety, since the last SMR we went up N.Farms. Once we passed through Williamsburg and started up Ashfield Rd, the ride got interesting for several reasons.

We encountered several ice patches, the first of which I almost did not make it over successfully because it came up fast and I was reaching for my bottle (thank goodness Kevin and Roberto called it out). The ice patches seemed to get progressively larger and thicker as we rolled along, with one taking up just about the whole road.

By now, Kevin and I could not keep up with Roberto on our cross bikes, and we did not see him again until road conditions worsened. At about 1000′, the road was covered in snow, with just some blacktop showing in the car tracks. I would guess there was a short snow squall just before we arrived. This made the rest of the climb very tricky because it was hard to tell if there was that little trace of ice even where it looked black. This time, Roberto with his slick tires was out of sight- but behind. We took the descent down to S. Ashfield corners very, very cautiously, and all made it safely. I did not check because I was concentrating on the road, but my Garmin graph says we had 21°F at the top.

Having enough of the questionable road conditions (down at the bottom, no snow), and knowing the state route 116 is well-maintained, we turned right to head south, get colder on the descent, toward Conway and Deerfield. I snuck up on Roberto to take the first town line of the day at Conway, to which he responded by sprinting off out of sight until Conway Center. That must have been a cold one.

We played nice together for a little bit out of Conway Center, but once the descent and curves began, Roberto was gone out of sight again. We really expected to see him waiting for a town line race at Deerfield, but instead we found him waiting for us on the flat.

We rolled into S. Deerfield for a warming break to thaw the extremities, where it actually felt warm when we went in, but when we left, the sunshine was waning, and the wind started to bite.

Heading over to Rte 47, I got my last town line glory of the day, to which Roberto and Kevin responded to the Sunderland one over the bridge. We had quite the workout on the Rte 47 stretch with stiff headwinds from the south for the majority of the way. However, Roberto managed to grab the last town line with ease because I was spent.

Roberto departed at Rocky Hill Rd, and Kevin and I headed back over the river and were able to take the bike path all the way into Southampton (rare for February!).

I had about 45 miles Northampton to Northampton, with 59 miles for the day at 2,543 of climbing with an average temperature of 27°F. But, with my estimate of 10-15MPH wind, plus 25MPH descents, I’d say the wind chill was at or below 0°. Kudos to Kevin (who never really complained about the cold) and Roberto for getting out and doing this, and to you, the reader, for getting through my probably too lengthy report for a February SMR with three guys!


by Jonathan O’Keeffe » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:10 pm

Wow, you guys are nuts. Nice work and great report.