By Jonathan O'Keeffe
Published 08/16/2014; Updated 09/15/2021

by Jonathan O’Keeffe » Sat Aug 16, 2014 6:43 pm

The recent cool weather continued this morning, with a bit of a chill at the start, but things warmed up nicely as the day progressed. We rolled from the Academy with a group of about 17, and headed over to Williamsburg for the first big climb of the day, up Hyde Hill Rd into Chesterfield. This has a few steep paved walls at the bottom, and then turns to dirt near the top and climbs a bit more. All in all, a great preview for this day, which featured a lot of dirt and a lot of climbing.

We looped around Hammond Pond and passed Damon Pond before reaching Rt 143 and descending the wall to cross the Westfield River. From there the second climb of the day awaited, southbound on Ireland St. A few riders split off for a shorter route at the top, while the rest of us headed across Rt 112 for an extended dirt section that Tim put together. This featured some gorgeous, remote back roads, a couple flat tires, a huge sugarbush, some longhorn cattle, and a terrifying white-knuckle descent on loose dirt and gravel to finally bring us to East River Rd in Chester.

The third big climb of the day was the famous “baked potato climb” from the Great River Ride (which features hot baked potatos at the top). This climb twists around a bit at the bottom, and then presents you with a straightaway wall a mile long. We regrouped at the top, and descended into Huntington to refuel at the country store. Then it was on to the fourth and final climb of the day, up Lambson Rd and on to Harlow Clark Rd. This starts out with a long wall on broken pavement at the bottom (probably the steepest grade of the day), and then turns to dirt near the top and presents a series of stairsteps with short, steep sections, and easier grades in between.

A brisk descent down Rt 66 brought us back to Northampton around 1:15 PM. My computer was showing 54 miles at 16.0 mph, with 5,500′ of climbing.


by Tim_Cary » Sat Aug 16, 2014 7:47 pm

It should be noted here that we rode through nine different towns today. I am not sure that we have ever done that on a SMR, but it highlights one of the many things I love about where we ride- there are so many places we can get to that we’d never know about unless on a bike. Where else can you get a ride in like this and pass through that many towns?