By Jonathan O'Keeffe
Published 04/23/2016; Updated 09/15/2021

by Jonathan O’Keeffe » Sat Apr 23, 2016 4:14 pm

We started the day at the Academy under vaguely threatening skies with seven riders — myself, Don, Andrew, Mike, Philip, and new club members and first-time SMR riders Alan and Carl. We did the route more or less as posted above, climbing Ashfield Road and then climbing further up Ludwig and Brier Hill, descending to Creamery Road, and then climbing up to Route 112. Mike, Philip, and Andrew peeled off at that point, leaving Don, Carl, Alan and me as the Final Four as we approached the big climb of the day.

The climb up Apple Valley Road is one of my favorites in the valley. It starts off at a manageable difficulty level, climbing alongside a nice stream, passes by several farms perched on the steep hillside, and then emerges onto a gorgeous steep open hillside meadow for the final brutal wall. After a bit of additional climbing on a lovely stretch of Hawley Road through Bear Swamp, it was mostly downhill from there. We rolled straight down Route 116 to Conway and made our way back to NoHo on the TNR route from there, doing a bit of paceline skills practice with Alan and Carl on the way back.

From the start in Northampton back to Northampton, I ended up with 51 miles at 15.4 mph, with 3,600′ of climbing