by Peter Crowley » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:54 am
It was a hot day, so it was really good that we started early. Tim chose a really nice (awesomely nice), albeit hilly route to the south and west. With a warm up on Montgomery mountain, we headed further west to the real climb of the day -Blandford Stage. At some point, I swear that Tim said that was the last climb of the day (he later denied it, repeatedly). Even though it was record book hot, the route kept us as cool as possible until we descended into Westfield. Lots of new roads for most of us. It was hot from Westfield home -I bonked somewhere in Southwmpton. There was a stretch of pavement where the asphalt had melted, I kind of felt like that. But, after a very cold slurpee in Northmpton, I revived a bit and made it home. 110 miles, 6:45 hours, 90+ deg
by Richard Foulkes » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:03 am
Great ride! My legs are still recovering. I’m still trying to process Adrew’s advice on hill climbing “I have to climb at my hill speed. If I go slower, it just drags out the missery”. Unfortunately my legs don’t have an 11 setting like his.
I also learned a new trick the hard way from Jonathan Brody. Feed everyone overly salted beef jerky to give them indigestion and slow them down. He came out of the store with a big bag and with the most innocent of expressions said “Anyone want some? I bought too much.” So like gready lemmings at a free lunch some of us scarfed it down. I was paying for it 15 miles later.
Thanks Tim for laying out a great route. You found a great route with a lot of shade. It was a lot of fun.
by Tim_Cary » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:52 pm
Thanks for the report, Peter.
Wow, what a difference a week can make in terms of weather. From 40’s pouring rain and shivering last week, to 90’s, scalding sun, and drenching sweat.
For our second extended SMR, I had a route mapped out taking us southwest into Blanford and Otis, with the destination being Otis Reservoir (a place I spent many summers as a teenager). I’ve actually had this in the works since last fall, but obviously short days and cold mornings would not make it ideal then.
A fairly large group formed at the Academy. I am going to miss some names, but here it goes: Joe, Jonathan B, Jonathan O, Roberto, Rich, Andrew, Peter C, Peter T, Mike Y, Clayton, Zak, Jeremy(?), Antonio (a guest from Central MA,), Kevin, Don, and myself.
We made our way over to Southampton to take on the first major climb up Montgomery Mountain, which was mostly shaded. At the top, already fully soaked in sweat, we found a garden hose and made good use of it.
We were rewarded with a fast, cool descent into Montgomery, but the tick here was that instead of continuing on to Rte 112 in Huntington like many rides have, I had us take a hard left onto Carrington. I was a bit worried that some would miss it with the speed of the descent, but everyone made it just fine despite the missing road sign.
Carrington Rd parallels a small brook, which helped keep us cool. Carrington is one of my favorite roads, because it has a mix of fun, short climbs with great scenery and low traffic.
As we crossed Rte 20, Peter T and Jeremy decided to head back home via Rte 20, while we turned on to tackle the biggest (or at least longest) climb of the day up Blanford Stage Rd. This was a low traffic road mostly in the shade as well.
After a re-group & rest at the top, we headed west on Rte 23. I knew this part was not going to be the best either. But, I thought that was because of the road (not a great shoulder). I was not thinking about the climbing. Yes, there was more climbing to get to E. Otis. I’m going to blame my mapping tools on for the lack of knowing 😀 It was a grueling 5 miles, but we arrived at our second water/fuel stop ready to drink gallons.
After a short loop around the southern tip of the reservoir, we headed south toward Tolland. Part of this segment included 4 miles of good dirt road that I had scouted out a week earlier. The dirt section perhaps was too good, as everyone was pushing the speed limit (35!) in spots. Despite two flats, a dropped bottle and dropped air pump on that segment, it was well liked (perhaps because it was shady and did not contain asphalt??)
After another unplanned (but much appreciated) water stop at the Tolland fire house, we headed east into Granville, which came with, guess what, more climbing! They were only small ones in the scope of the whole ride, but at this point, everyone hot and tired, I am sure I was being cursed at by now. However, I think there were some really awesome descents on this section a well.
A turn North off of 57, has us climbing just a tad again, but featured an extended descent into Westfield, complete with shadows, bad road and curves, making for a fun technical section.
In downtown Westfield we took our final food and water stop, where it seemed to be the hottest part of the day. At one point my GPS, in the sun, read 118 degrees F. As we weaved our way out of downtown Westfield on Rte 10 at the one stop light to turn onto Notre Dame, I think this was the point we all baked the most- hot cars, hot asphalt, but some nice tunes from a convertible while we waited.
We headed back into Southampton via Montgomery St and weaved our way through some of what I think are scenic communities and roads. When we hit Easthampton, the plan was to take the back roads to Northammpton, but by now people were really exhausted, dehydrated, baked to a crisp, under time constraints, or all of the above. So, we just took the direct route back to Noho.
From Northampton to Northampton I had about 86 miles with around 7000 feet of climbing (depending on what you look at). It was a very enjoyable but tough day, with a great group of people. So glad people liked the route. I had fun planning it and riding it and it sounds like everyone did too!