By Jonathan O'Keeffe
Published 04/19/2014; Updated 09/15/2021

by Jonathan O’Keeffe » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:45 pm

Great Quabbin ride today, with a group of about 11 riders, split about half-and-half between those starting from Belchertown and those riding from Amherst and meeting in Pelham.

The riders from Belchertown started with the long climb up 202 into Pelham. Pavement conditions are good on the lower half, but at Gold St they suddenly transition to awful beyond belief. The section between Gold St and the center of Pelham is actually the worst on the whole ride. After Pelham, it improves to just lousy, with big wide sections stripped of the upper couple inches of pavement. They’re not deep, like potholes, but cover broad sections of the roadway, so in some places they are impossible to avoid. They are actually not quite as bad as they look — I rode through quite a few, some at high speed, and they felt mostly survivable (although we did have one flat tire on this section).

We made a quick stop at the store in New Salem, and then were quite happy to turn onto 122 towards Petersham, welcoming the improved pavement and lighter traffic. We headed south on 32A, with Joe laying down some serious power on the punchy little climbs heading into Hardwick.

For the second year in a row, we found the store in Hardwick center closed (sign says it opens at 11:30, we were there around 11:40, but no luck). This necessitated a stop in Ware a bit later. But before we got to Ware, we hit my favorite section of the course, the twisty descents and short climbs on Greenwich Road, passing through remote country near the southeast corner of the reservoir.

After a quick stop to refuel in Ware (which we learned from Joe is known as “the town that can’t be licked”), we tackled the two climbs leading out of town on Route 9, and then the big final climb to the finish.

The Belchertown group rolled back to the Stop & Shop to finish their ride, but the Amherst folks still had to tackle the big opening climb up 202, with the aforementioned lousy pavement conditions, and then the descent down Amherst Road/Pelham Road back into Amherst, with pavement that is perhaps even worse than 202 (a giant pothole grabbed Tim, flatting his tire and denting his rim, but he managed to ride home anyway and scored his first century of the year).

The course for the race itself is about 65 miles, but I forgot to lap that specific portion. I finished the whole day with 81 miles at 17.1 mph, 6,500′ of climbing.


by Tim_Cary » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:58 pm

Thank you for the ride report Jonathan and for leading (literally…)

Here’s the photo of everyone at the tower. Great ride today everyone… awesome effort. Good to ride with you all.