By Tim Cary
Published 07/05/2014; Updated 09/15/2021

by Tim_Cary » Sat Jul 05, 2014 11:09 pm

Nine people showed up to brave this one. The weather was gorgeous- clear blue skies with temperatures starting in the low 60’s, rising to the upper 70’s. However, persistent NW winds between 15-25MPH made most of the ride a real challenge.

Clayton and Joe set a brisk pace early up N. Farms and Mountain St, but Joe slowed it down again with a flat on Webber.

We headed up Shelburne Falls Rd and then on to Baptist Corner Rd to bypass the boring and grueling stretch of 116, though Baptist backwards is by no means an easy climb. It was fun to climb it though up into the center of Ashfield, as we normally descend it.

After some fuel and water in the center of Ashfield, Joe and Clayton headed back home, while the rest of us continued up (yeah, more hills) 112 and on to the Spruce Corner Rd. segment of 116. Eventually, we hooked up with where the Tour of the Hilltowns course pops out from Bow St onto 116. And here began one of the most wind blown parts of the day, combined with the gradual climb into the center of Plainfield. Ouch.

Eventually, relief came in the form of the turn on to 8A, which is a gradual 9 mile descent into Hawley, and then Charlemont. As usual, 8A after the Hawley line has lateral cracks, but no major holes.

We passed the turn to E. Hawley Rd (I think everyone let out huge sigh of relief here), and continued on S. River Rd past Berkshire East. This is the area the start and finish of the race will be.

S. River had us chatting away for a while before two rather challenging walls came along. That quieted us down and made our way to the top in Buckland with a beautiful view, but a fast descent down into the center of Buckand.

After a quick roll through downtown Buckland, we popped out to 112 for a bit, and then turned on to Clesson Brook Rd, which is the longest, major climb for the day. T and Mike Y opted out, and headed up Ashfield Mountain instead, leaving just four of us to tackle the soon to be famous Clesson Brook Rd.

With Clesson overwith, it was on into Plainfield again, back on the original race course…. the nice Grant St descent, then the rollers on Bow, and finally back out to 116 again, completing the race course loop.

We took Cummington Rd to cross over to Rte 9, which is always one of my favorites because it features a couple of climbs, but then a really nice descent, and the road is in perfect condition.

Finally, the dreaded/annoying Rte 9 climb into Goshen where we stopped to refill our bottles.

And the finale- a nice long, fast, smooth descent back into Northampton where Wendy, Derrick, Eric, and myself finished together.

I hit my lap button when I turned off into Smith College- I had 87.15 miles, 17.5 MPH average speed, and 6430′ of climbing. A fabulous day, and one of the fastest Super SMR’s I have been on.

In case anyone is wondering, the race course is in very good condition. There are no large holes. The worst part probably is on S. River Rd, but they are all minor. Despite all the rain we have had, washouts are minimal, and overall there is not an enormous amount of sand. It should be a great race.