By Michael Bello
Published 10/16/2021; Updated 10/16/2021

As Tim mentioned earlier in the month, informal rides are being organized through the NCC Discussion Board. This week, Charlie organized a gravel ride using the NCC Route Library. At 9 AM, Charlie, Joe, and I met at the Sunderland Corner Store for the Leverett Adventure route.

We departed Sunderland and rode fresh smooth pavement for the first five miles. Our first off-road section started on Hubbard Hill Road. The climb was dirt and then we missed our turn on to a leaf covered “road.” As we turned around, Charlie almost ran over a box turtle. Joe was extremely excited to see the creature and even picked him up and moved him to the side of the road.



The leaves were plentiful on our turn off from Hubbard Hill Road. We also encountered two water crossings. Long Plain Brook had more water than I would imagine is typical for a brook. The first crossing was not a problem. The second crossing was a bit of a challenge. We had three riders so we tried three different methods for crossing the 12 inch deep water.

Charlie rolled down the hill and powered through the water. He got relatively wet.

Joe went back to the top of the little hill and coasted down. As he hit the water, he lifted his feet and made it through without issue.



I tried the standing start method and both my feet landed in the foot deep water. It took a long time for my soaking shoes and socks to not feel completely disgusting.



Extra points to Joe for showing us the correct method for the crossing.

On Long Plain Road, we were joined by Rob. He did not seem upset that he missed the water hazards.

After a few miles of pavement we turned onto Rattlesnake Gutter Road. Fortunately, we did not encounter any snakes. We climbed the leaf covered road, but stopped at various points to look at the incredible rock formations.



At a small bridge, Joe took us on a detour down Old Mill Yard Road so we could get a better view of the waterfall.



Back on the pavement, we continued on North Leverett Road. We passed a number of goats in a tree. Joe and I turned around for a photo. Of course only one goat was in the tree after our u-turn.



Joe and Charlie were nice enough to show me the best shopping area in Leverett. Who knew that just passed the Coop was a mall? Charlie attempted to fix the flamingos that had fallen over, but alas, they would not stand up.



Next up was a 3 mile climb up Dudleyville Road. It averaged just under a 4% gradient. Joe and I took it slow, but Charlie and Rob powered up the climb. After all the climbing it was a lot of fun descending on the gravel of Pratt Corner Road. For the descent we were joined by another rider. She was much stronger than the four of us and quickly rode away from us.

We regrouped on Cushman Road. Rob suggested back tracking so we could ride a single track section. So we turned around and made the descent through the narrow confines of the trees.



Back on Cushman Road, we stopped at the Atkins Reservoir briefly.



Rob turned off soon after since he was close to home. Charlie, Joe, and I kept descending to Route 116. The pavement seemed so fast as we sped into Sunderland.

In total, we rode approximately 30.3 miles and climbed 1,800 feet.

Now to dry my shoes!