By Jonathan O'Keeffe
Published 08/02/2015; Updated 09/15/2021

by Jonathan O’Keeffe » Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:33 pm

Route goals were as posted above — flat roads out and back to get us to some new (to me) climbs in northern Franklin County. We rolled out with a dozen or so riders under clear skies, but less than 45 minutes into the ride, the skies started getting darker to the west, and soon we were in sprinkles that became a steady rain as we rolled north through Whately and Deerfield. It was warm, so it wasn’t that bad, and we just rolled through it, and it dried out by the time we got to Greenfield, and stayed dry (but hot) for the rest of the day.

A quick rest stop in Greenfield was followed by a couple of navigational challenges (sorry about that, and thanks to Wendy for her assistance) before we hit the first big climb up Smead Hill Road. This was a challenging climb with great views to the north. A short dirt section on Van Nuys Rd led to a gorgeous descent on Shelburne Line Rd leading north toward Leyden. Another navigational mishap (sorry! sorry!) preceded the big climb up into Leyden center. We lost Zinj for a few minutes, but then got him back, before a steep descent into the final climb up Frizzel Hill Rd. Midway through the climb, as we rounded a bend to see the second half, three different riders loudly cursed me out, which was really the highlight of my day.

After we topped out on that climb, it was all downhill and flat the rest of the way. We sped down Eden Rd (which we climbed last year on a great SSMR that Tim planned out), led by Zinj, and then passed through Bernardston, and a little bit of dirt in Gill, before a rest stop in Turners Falls. I was ready to take it easy and cruise home at that point, but Chris, Roberto, Sam, and a couple of others pushed the pace pretty hard, and kept us honest on the long flat sections southbound through Montague, Sunderland, and Hadley.

At the point where I peeled off, I had 75 miles at 17.9 mph, with about 3,500′ of climbing.