by Tim_Cary » Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:20 pm
A bit late on the ride report, but here it goes!
It was cold (as advertised), around 39°F at the Academy with a brisk wind. A hard core crew of: Jonathan O., Jay, Ron, Frank, Mike S., Mike Y., Chris D., myself & (surprise!)John T formed. Wait- I thought we were hard core, until Roger S. showed up to say hello and said he already completed his ride!
My plan was to enjoy some of the very scenic and quiet views that we have not seen with leaves down without painful climbing and a long day- targeting the DAR area in Ashfield as a turn around point.
We headed out of town via the Thursday Night backwards route (North Farms), climbing up by the reservoirs into Conway. Then up some more on Shelbunre Falls Rd until taking a left near the bottom of the descent onto Pine Hill Rd, where Frank had an almost perfect skid into the corner- not a scratch to him or the bike.
Pine Hill turns into Sabin’s, and finally Beldingville- featuring one of my favorite areas for scenery and riding (some may not agree about the climbs!)- a couple of short challenging climbs accompany fun descents, along with miles of farmland and mountains.
And then, just when everyone thought they were close to a rest stop- we encounter Bellus Rd. This is a wonderfully challenging, winding, steep climb on (good) dirt. I am pretty sure by now I heard someone call out my name a few times (I can’t imagine why). At the top of Bellus, it puts us out on the upper part of Baptist Corner Rd.
Not long after that painful climb (did I say that we were not having any climbs?), we stopped in the center of Ashfield for some water and snacks.
Jay and Chris decided to head back home via 116, and we continued on a short bit to Rte 112, and then off to Steady Lane and W. Road. Turns out this section of W. Road is dirt, and I have never been on it. It was good dirt, and absolutely beautiful. That section of W. Road eventually hooks up with Brier Hill Rd, which is where we normally have met W. Road in past rides (paved at this point). W. Road features the climb up to “the view”, which today, we were able to see far enough Northeast as Mt. Monadnock. Always a treat.
Next it was off to pass through the DAR State forest, but not after making the loop up(!) to the fire tower and back (the access road is in really good condition).
Someone asked if we were going home down Rte 9 at this point. Not a chance when I am leading! Ron and Mike Y headed directly down Rte 9 due to time constraints.
Our final feature of the day was a little trip down S. Chesterfield Rd, into Chesterfield, and then up (just a little) the dirt on Old Chesterfield Rd. This eventually turns into pavement (Hyde Hill Rd) and a fast fun descent to Rte 9. We crossed Rte 9 and took Village Hill, enjoying another screaming descent into the center of Williamsburg.
When asked, the group opted to “just continue down Rte 9 and get it over with” instead of South St. Heading into Northampton a few others dropped off for home. I arrived downtown with about 50 miles on the odometer, and 3560′ of climbing, though it felt like a lot more than that. Clearly, the elevation graph was deceptive. The temperature really did not move too much, it got all they way to 45.