By Tim Cary
Published 09/05/2021; Updated 09/04/2021

Before I get into my final SMR B ride report of the 2021 season, I remind you of some upcoming NCC events:

  • This Wednesday, 9/8 is the final WNR of the season.  It will be a combined A/B/C social ride into Sunderland, then hammer as you wish back home.  We invite you to an outdoor social gathering (even if you did not ride- all NCC members are invited) at the HighBrow on Crafts Ave around 7:30.  Pizza and beer is on the club.
  • Next Saturday, 9/11 is the Greylock TT/HC.  It is the only major event the club will be organizing this year.  Please consider volunteering or even climbing up the highest mountain in Massachusetts!  You can’t beat the hot chocolate and cookies at the finish line!

September came in with fall like weather!  I had leg warmers and a wind breaker as I arrived at Pulaski, in the upper 50’s but full sunshine.  As expected, it was a small group of five including me.  Lots going on with the holiday weekend and many of the B riders resting up for a local CX race (Hydra-Cross), as well as other local rides such as Pedal2Pints.

I planned out a route heading over to the east side of the river, around Belchertown, Ludlow, and Granby.  We have done this route in the past, but the other way around- it is always fun to do a route in the other direction.  We don’t get over to the east side of the Connecticut river very often.  Belchertown, Granby and Ludlow have some beautiful back roads.

We headed east via the bike path over the river because our wonderful DOT has the Coolidge Bridge down to two lanes (great time of year with school starting, eh?).  However it was a nice, social, mellow pace for a change on a B ride all the way into Amherst.  There is never a great way to get through Amherst- but once past downtown, it is worth it.  On this route, around 50% if the climbing was in the first 20 miles- and we felt that!  Up Amherst Rd and over to Enfield Rd, eventually taking us to where we end up if we had climbed Gulf Rd.

At this point it is Gold St, which goes by the beautiful Knights Pond (which is a backup water supply for Springfield and Westfield).  We eventually poke out on Rte 202.  I had a fun little jog in the route up Allen Rd, but that would have taken us too far away from the four corners in Belchertown.  Instead, we enjoyed a relaxing descent to our rest stop at the corners.

Charlie decided that last week’s pull up E. Hawley warranted a nice easy push in a shopping cart this week while still providing a draft: (were we loitering or looking for air?)


Next it was on to more adventure!  A bit of a pedal east on Rte 9, we then turned off to East St, where we were met with a “Road Closed” sign.  Hmmmmm….. well in adventure spirit we kept on pedaling not knowing why the road might be closed.  Maybe a tree across the road? Or a little washout?  Um, no:


According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette article, a beaver dam let loose during one of the (many) heavy rains we had this summer- in mid July- caused the road to collapse and some nearby homes flood.  What to do?  Turn back?  Nah!  We decided to traverse the mess with teamwork!  (P.S. this is not officially endorsed by corporate!  Always ride safe!).


Well, that will be memorable, eh?  But just wait, there will be more- we are not done with SMR adventures today!

Belchertown has some great back roads, so we continued to enjoy pavement again, instead of feeling like we should have brought our mountain bikes!  But, lest we have too much enjoyment, just pedaling away enjoying ourselves, Tim, on the front nearly got taken out by a turkey vulture!

Now that was close!

The rest of the ride seems boring in comparison.  John peeled off for home just before we crossed Rte 202 in Granby.  We continued up Amherst Rd and Burnett St, which crosses over Rte 116, to Pearl St- where we did our last climbing of the day up to Rte 47. Charlie led us out on a rather rapid pace on 47 all the way to Rte 9, at which time we crossed over to the bike path and each of us scattered for home.  It was an absolutely beautiful day that warmed into the 70’s and despite our obstacles, there was plenty of beautiful scenery to take in.

I had 56 miles, 3228′ average 16.2 MPH at around 1:15 PM rolling into town.  One of the shorter and slower SMR’s I have designed, but also one of the most memorable!

With this being the last official club SMR of the season I want to take a moment to express my appreciation for everyone that comes out and rides with me and the club.  I enjoy creating the routes every week- keeping things fresh and interesting, but of course, challenging.  2021 has been a weird and difficult year (as was 2020) for everyone, and I am so glad we were able to get official rides in this season. It has been a pleasure riding with and talking with each and every one of you.  Please feel free to use the discussion list to post informal rides (I may do so myself) for the remainder of the riding season. There is still plenty of great riding weather left!  Please continue to ride safe and healthy.