by Tim_Cary » Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:47 pm
First I have to apologize for not making it clear that today’s ride was really an extended Super Saturday to preview Greylock. I should have put in bold text that the mileage would be 120+, much more than listed at 70-90. I realized this after I announced at the start we were going to Greylock, and at least one person thought I was joking. This is the biggest ride we do of the year and I should have made that clear.
As predicted, the day stated out requiring arm warmers (at least for me) around 50F, with fog and mist on my way into Northampton. The sun quickly burned off the fog and mist within a 1/2 hour and we had beautiful clear skies with the temperature ranging from 65 to 75 most of the day.
Ten arrived at the Academy at 7:30. Joe, Clayton, Roberto, Ron, Elisa, Mike Y, myself, Frank (just in from Germany), and two new faces- Ben and John.
The plan was to tackle the route to Greylock in the clockwise direction, meaning we’d approach via Rte 116, and return via Rte 2, up the hairpin and Whitcomb summit- a route I have not taken out of N. Adams to date.
We headed out of town via the Thursday Night Ride route- Audobon Rd into Williamsburg. I chose to have us climb up Rte 9 into Goshen instead of Ashfield Rd, thinking it was a little less harsh on the climbing. Rte 9 is boring, but it rolls along- slowly. As we approached Goshen, it was a required we check in at the general store, because Frank was only running on one (!) banana! A couple of us who did not need to stop, held back on the climbing while a few others made the quick stop (uh oh- no bananas!)
From Goshen, it was off to descend down Rte 112 for a bit (where my GPS for some reason, thought we were climbing a 36% wall- hahha- that is a bit too much for even me!)- Strava shows that, but I applied the correction to the map below).
A left turn onto Rte 116 resulted in mostly more descending into Spruce Corner, but the fun ended as we climbed into the center of Plainfield, though Clayton set a brisk pace that resulted in a PR for me.
A quick re-group in Plainfield center, and we were off to descend back down the hill for a short bit, but then on into Savoy- which featured fresh pavement all the way to Chesire. Oh- yeah- there was more climbing here. Just before the 8A intersection, Ron, Elisa, Mike Y, Frank & Clayton turned off on River Rd to make it a shorter day. I did not know about that nice cutoff that appears to go back to Rte 9. Have to try it someday.
Now we had five brave souls. Continuing on Rte 116, we eventually turned off on Henry Wood Rd just before the Adams town line. This beautiful road cuts out downtown Adams, and instead offers miles of vistas on both sides- Savoy Mountain to the east, and Greylock to the west.
Arriving in N, Adams, we opted for a quick pit stop at the base of the mountain to get rid of some weight. At this point, we also thought we were doing great on time- 2.5 hours from Northampton- love the optimism!
Up the mountain we did… Ben eventually vanished from my sight, getting a very respectable time, whereas I kept Joe in sight the whole time, but ended up with a worst record time to the summit. However, it was remarkably quiet and calm, which allowed me to enjoy the scenery!
We may have spent too much time at the summit- but it was a top 5 day. Clear, comfortable- even dry enough to dry out our jerseys while grabbing a delicious sandwich. We checked out the view, which resulted in us catching a glimpse of a para-glider taking off from the ledge!
Bottles and stomachs full, we had a nice descent back down the north side. It was one of the most confident descents down I have had- all nice and dry with low traffic.
Time for the part I was looking forward to. We headed through town, toward Rte 2. On the map, I thought it a good idea to bypass some of Rte 2 downtown, so I found E. Main St. Everyone hated me for this. I had no idea there was a 13% climb in there! I am sure there were some curse words for me!
Nice warm-up anyway. Back on Rte 2, heading up to the hairpin. Seemed like so long to get there- probably because I have only been down it! Quite a killer just getting there, but then no relief after it. Getting to Wigmam summit- not to celebrate yet- Ben, myself & Joe were up ahead and pulled off to the shade to wait for Roberto & John.
Not over yet.
More pain and suffering- got us to the top of the last of the major climbing of the day- Whitcomb summit. Beautiful views- it was worth it.
After a quick pause, the fun begins. An awesome 12 mile descent into Charlemont, complete with several sharp curves, running along the beautiful Cold and Deerfield rivers. Was a really nice change to see things in reverse from what I have in the past, climbing the other way.
In Charlemont, we took another stop to fuel and hydrate, and debated the route home. I had planned to go Shelburne Falls Rd to Whatley, but we ultimately decided Rte 2 into Greenfield was more direct and possibly shorter. Some great paceline work for a while got us into Shelburne, where I had thought it would be more down hill to Greenfield, but in instead- more climbing first.
Ben, John and I ended up working together down to Greenfield, with Joe and Roberto meeting us down at Dunkin’s for a quick rest and refuel again.
Finally- the homestretch along River Rd (with- wait for it… guess… more hills… doesn’t every little rise now seem like Greylock!! At 116 Ben and Roberto headed for home, and John, Joe & myself continued on River Rd to Hatfield, and Northampton.
I had 126 miles when I got back to Northampton around 5:20 (from Academy to Smith College), with around 9600 feet of climbing at 7.5 hours.
Thank you all for sticking with me today. It truly was epic for me. I really enjoyed all your company in checking out a new way to get home. Special thanks to Joe for hanging in- his longest ride in a very long time- and probably in big trouble at home, since I said we’d be back at 3 (!!).
I get a big chuckle out of the Strava titles: :”Welcome to West Mass: these hills got kishkes” and “SSMR Greylock Bloodbath”