Wow, so what a difference 24 hours makes. This is the scene this morning in Ashfield:
Thankfully Saturday was an excellent day for this time of year. It was a chilly 40 F to start, with 11 of us at the park. We headed out the Thursday Night route to Williamsburg and kept a very nice conversational pace with everyone checking in with each other on their winter hibernation (or not!) plans.
Once in Williamsburg center, we all pulled off to shed layers, as it quickly warmed up to near 60. As promised, instead of climbing up Ashfield Rd to Conway, I decided to check out Hemingway Rd, which was paved a couple of years ago. Of course, that meant straight up Village Hill Rd first. Hemingway was a beautiful segment. A bit of climbing to start, then a fast descent to Ashfield Rd. Just under two miles with pretty much a even split of climbing v.s descent. One tip though- if you ride this direction- the stop comes up FAST and it is too easy to roll out onto Ashfield Rd into traffic- there is a stop sign, but not a warning before.
Keeping with my theme of always riding new and different routes, we crossed Ashfield Rd, and headed up Conway Rd, which was also paved sometime last year. This was another grueling climb (we do see more things climbing!)- It was a 19% on my computer at one point. Indeed we ended up in Conway- the road turned to a hard packed dirt for under a mile, and meets up with the old Thursday night route at the top of North Poland Rd.
Once regrouped, we continued on the old TNR route (nice repaved descent), then up through the farms, and regrouped on Rte 116 again. At this point half the group had enough of my climbing routes! (just kidding)– for time issues, headed back toward home on 116, while the rest of us continued on to Creamery Rd to Ashfield center for some refreshments.
After the stop, we took the scenic route around the back side of Ashfield lake before descending down into Buckland, and on to Clesson Brook Rd to begin the highlight of the day. If you have never climbed Clesson Brook Rd, you should do it someday- even if you are not a climber. It is a beautiful, quiet climb up to Hawley. The whole thing is about 5 miles and 1000 feet, with an average of 4%. The nice thing about it is that there is very little traffic, and for the most part you have a brook beside you, and there are no extremely steep parts. Very scenic.
At the top, we continued onward into Plainfield, essentially following part of the older hilltowns route. Some more beautiful rollers, farms, and curves, putting us out onto Rte 116.
After a few miles on Rte 116, I took us over Spruce Corner Rd. This drops us back onto Rte 9, and I had not been on it in that direction in quite some time. It is yet another gem- it rides pretty fast, and I don’t think we saw a single car the whole time. Highlight of my day was here, winning the town line sprint- fairly called and all.
Once on Rte 9, the last, always dreaded climb out of Lithia to the center. Though not steep, it is just a real pain after a long day.
Finally, the reward is the descent out of Goshen to Williamsburg, always fun with caution.
As we entered downtown, we went our separate ways. I had just about 2:00 PM on the clock, 58 miles, 4196′, and average speed of 17 MPH, average temperature of 55 F.
Great day- hope we get another or two of these! Keep watching the calendar for next weekend. Looks iffy now, but who knows!