by Tim_Cary » Sat May 02, 2015 2:40 pm
When I woke up this morning, I was a little hesitant, as it was 39F on my thermometer.. One of those days tough to dress for, knowing the temperature was expected to rise into the 70’s. Warmers and a vest seemed to be adequate. Under sunny skies and a quickly warming temperature, nine of us gathered at the Academy: Rich F, Roberto, Clayton, Chris B, Joe L, Peter T, Mike Y, Nick (Mike’s 14 yr old nephew- hope i got that right), and myself. My plan for the day was to northwest on some familiar roads, but with the ultimate destination being a loop off of Rte 9, on the top of Windsor mountain- a road I always wondered where it went- Peru Rd.
We set out on the Thursday Night route- through Leeds and into Williamsburg, with Joe leaving us in the center of Williamsburg (racing tomorrow). We headed up Ashfield Rd, but instead of going all the way up, we turned right onto Main Poland Rd (that ouchy steep climb). It was quickly apparent why we don’t go that way anymore for Thursday ride- the road is quite chewed up, especially on the descent back down into the small Chapel Brook valley. Heading back out of that valley, I had planned to take us left on Bullett Rd (which cuts over to 116), but everyone looked at it (dirt, steep incline), and I was voted out of that- so we continued on, which dumped us back on to 116, where we wanted to be- it was just almost three more miles east than we needed to do. Then it was time for Creamery Rd- always a beautiful & quiet climb. After that we stopped in the center of Ashfield to re-fuel quickly.
From Ashfield center, I had planned to take the southern loop of Bug Hill Rd, but it seemed silly to get on 112 and dip south, so we went straight out to Hawley Rd, which after (guess what) more climbing, we are rewarded with some of my favorite scenic vistas- Bear Swamp area. At Watson Rd, Roberto had to head back due to time constraints, though it looks like he had a beautiful ride down Clesson Brook. We continued on through Plainfield, on North St- which I had never been on, and is a really nice loop that brings us to the top of 116 (center of Plainfield), rather than the Grant/Bow St, which would be at the bottom further south. Unfortunately, Rich was spent at this point, and we left him to his own pace. Looks like he had a very scenic ride back home though. Also, Chris turned left to head back home on 116 here.
With just five left, it was time to enjoy the descent out of Plainfield center before the long slog up 116 toward Savoy, and the unrelenting climb up 8A to Windsor. Clayton and Peter pulled me up much of 8A at a good clip. We all stopped at the small country store at the top of Windsor mountain to refuel again. It is surprising well stocked.
Clayton and Mike decided to had back home down Rte 9, while I convinced Peter to do the Peru Rd loop with me. Nick was just as enthusiastic as me to do it though. This is where things got interesting. Beautiful, extremely quiet road, with no traffic. The pavement lasted about one mile. The dirt started as good, hard packed stuff- no problem. But then we ran into the very coarse drainage rocks- which of course are there to hold the road together, but not to great for road bikes, and fast speed. Nick was riding so fast, he double-flatted. No problem though, because it was so quiet and beautiful out there. The road winds by a conservation/wildlife area. We did not see one car at all the whole time- in fact- we changed the flats in the middle of the road. Anyway- we were off again, and the road (still dirt) did get better. I have to say it again- absolute beauty and worth the rocks. Eventually, we had pavement again, but encountered another wrinkle. I had planned on continuing on Pierce Rd- more dirt again, but we had a big sign in our way “bridge out”. We could not see far enough to find if it was major or not, and it being dirt, and descent, we opted to go left instead. Looking at the map now, probably was over the Trout Brook and we might have been able to hop over. Anyway, we eventually hooked up with (the nasty pavement) on Rte 143, which was the goal anyway. Oh yeah, more climbing on that one too.
To get us home, I had planned to do Rte 143 through Worthington and Chesterfield, and then back to town via Westhampton. But Clayton informed me that 143 is all scarred up for re-construction, and, Peter did not feel like the wall of death. So, Peter suggested we head south on 112 and pickup Rte 66 in Huntington. All I could think of was ouch- more climbing. We enjoyed a nice descent down 112 for a while, but then the rollers into Huntington started showing their teeth. And, well- no way out now… that Rte 66 climb up into Westhampton. I remarked during that, it is much less painful when done with friends. Not sure if we cared at that point.
Alas- homestretch. Peter turned off for home, and eventually so did I (see, if was not racing tomorrow, I may have done a typical Tim and made this a century by going back to Northampton center, then home to Easthampton). Nick continued on solo back to Northampton.
Great day and great riding everyone- quite an effort for so early in the year. I want to point out that having a teenager along for the whole ride is significant- at least in my opinion. Mucho kudos to Nick.
Oh, and Eric- well…. we saw you…. I thought you might turn around…. at least you had a good ride- but we should check on the climbing… not sure you did more. But at least you got to do Bullitt Rd….