I had been out of town earlier this week, so I posted a ride really late (10 PM Friday or so). I wanted to ride, but not alone. Since we are in the informal gathering mode due to COVID-19 still, and given the time of year and cooler temperatures, I sort of expected a low to zero participation… and on top of that I neglected to add it to the ride calendar.
Maybe it was the start time an hour later, maybe because of my late post, or just because… Frank was the only one that met me at Pulaski. The sun was shining, but it was a cool-ish 48F as we headed out, and this was the first ride of the fall season that I had to dress in layers full upper and lower, but I think I nailed it- was pretty comfortable.
My route choice was to catch the tail end of the fall colors in the hill towns. One of my favorite routes to get in a long scenic view is the Apple Valley climb out of Ashfield.
It was quickly apparent that my fitness is heading south as Frank was already dropping me before we got to Leeds. But that is okay- it gave me ambition to keep pushing.
It was the usual route and climbs up to Conway and into Shelburne Falls as we both noted that the temperature was notably colder on our faces. We stopped in SF for a break in the warm sun while taking in the awesome colors to the east on High Ledges.
We then headed south on 112, and I thought that after seemingly battling a cold north headwind, we’d get a break, but no. The wind had mind of his own. Frank put in some serious watts here and pulled me along for at five miles or so.
And so the main event up Apple Valley. This is a nice side route off of 112 as you start to ascent into Ashfield center. There are a couple of farms, as well as spectacular views as you climb. The jackpot is the stunning view to the east as it opens up once at the junction of Hawley and Bear Swamp. Always a favorite of mine this time of year. A picture just does not show the beauty.
From here, you might think it is all down hill to get home. Well, this is a “Tim” ride, so no! I wanted to get over to W. Rd/Briar Hill on the way home to get another spectacular view of Mt. Monandack. This may not have been a good idea! Most of our rides go DOWN Briar Hill Rd, but to be different, we went up! Ouch, ouch! I have not done this since 2013. One of the many Strava segments, if you’d like to check.
Finally, it was “all downhill” to home….Ludwig, Ashfield Rd, etc to ‘Burgy and Rte 9 all the way. Once again, Frank set the pace down the hills here keeping me in check. We could feel it getting warmer as we crossed over the Williamsburg town line.
Many thanks to Frank for the patience and waiting for me- glad I was not riding alone today. I did not lap the route from Northampton, but from home in Easthampton I had 70.46 miles and 4101’ of climbing. Pretty good for this time of year, I think.
As usual, if you are interested in riding outdoors as much as possible, keep an eye on the discussion e-mail list and the calendar. I am hoping for some decent riding Saturdays before the snow/ice comes along and would love company. We do have the weekly Zwift rides scheduled, but if the weather is ideal and I can get out to ride, I will be posting an “informal ride”.