by Roberto Ludovico » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:21 pm
A group of 17 riders left the Academy for an unusual “East of the River” route, connecting distant places with exotic denominations such as “Hadley”, “Gramby”, “Belchertown”, “Shutesbury”, “Leverett” and “Montague”. The plan was to ride far and hard, as always on a SMR, without ever being too far out, in case of stormy weather. After a fast start on rt. 47 toward South Hadley, we reached via back roads our first target-climb in Belchertown: the scenic Barton Avenue and Mountain View diptych. The second hill of our ride was Gulf Road, foggy and shady, taking us eventually to Pelham. On Amherst road the original group thinned out with a few riders heading back to Amherst and Noho. The 9 left of us pressed on to rt. 202 for our first refueling stop of the day at the Rebel café, which was sadly closed, leaving us thirsty and dry. After a few moments of panic we established to press on toward the center of Shutesbury and look for water there. At this point, Todd, who made a special appearance on the SMR, went back home which, as he put it, “was never more than 3 miles away from any given point of the route”. Talking about exotic destinations! Up Prescott rd. the group found water at Shustesbury Town Hall (make a note of it, just in case). One more split here left us with 4 riders going on toward Lake Wyola (Andrew, Greg, Chris and myself) , and 4 more heading back to Noho down the S-curvs, under the experienced lead of Jonathan B. At conversational pace we went down toward Leverett where we started a new set of climbs on West and East Chestnut Hill rd. followed by a final kick over Laurel Hill rd. totaling a disproportionate amount of climbing in the small area covered by our twisty route. When at this point when Andrew, who had ridden 30 extra miles before the start of the ride in the morning, stated that he was not tired, we decided to console ourselves with a stop at the Bookmill. All of us with a bagel in our stomach, except for Andrew who had a gourmet chicken sandwich in his back pocket (for when he was going to get a bit tired) headed home on Falls rd and 47. A stiff (head-)wind had picked up by now, and the sun was hot. We pace-lined all the way to Hadley, where the last split of the day took Greg back to Noho (after a flat, I understand, unfortunately), and the rest of the crowd to Amherst.