What a great day for our first SMR of the season! I had been checking the weather excessively since the 10 day forecast came out, as we’ve had such a wide variety of weather the last several weeks. Hoping for a stable, tolerable weather day without all that mix of winter in one town, then sunny, hot the next. We lucked out- for the end of April, it certainly started out cold (I had 37F at my house), but with the warm sunshine and little wind, it headed up to the low 60’s.
I chose a familiar route from our library. A classic SMR up to Conway and Ashfield, then descending down through Baptist Corner- one of my favorites. Around 10 riders arrived for this ride, and we picked up one or two on the way, and some dropped off for a shorter day.
As I had expected with varying fitness early in the season, the very strong riders- those who have been on trainers or riding all winter- were hot out of the start so we were very gapped once we hit Autobon Rd, and they were waiting for us in the center of Williamsburg. Once I arrived with the trailing group, a feather dropped in front of me. I kept it with me all day for good luck, but it certainly did not help me feel lighter on the climbs… maybe because it was only supposed to last 15 seconds (Zwift reference!).
Out of Williamsburg, we had a pretty good paceline for a little while, until some of us decided to save them for the 12%er up Main Poland (if you ride Thursday nights, you know this one). After a quick regroup at the top it was an enjoyable descent down past Poland Brook and the open conservation land with the fun twisty up’s and curves taking us down to Rte 116.
Per my request, we kept a nice paceline on 116, but, the town line attacks began! If that was not enough to bust our early season legs, I had us go up (up, again) Creamery Rd and Norton Hill. Always worth the detour off of 116- beautiful farms.
Back down the hill in Ashfield center we stopped for some hydration.
And then it was off to descend Baptist Corner. This is a favorite route to head back home. The road flows beautifully with fast descents and swift curves, but has a few punchy climbs- all with sweeping views of open farm land. Things got heated up nicely again with the town line sprint on a descent and the resulting rapid chasing to the intersection of Shelburne Falls Rd.
We lost the fast group again on Shelburne Falls Rd headed into Conway center, but regrouped before setting out on our last climbs of the day up through Whatley and down past the reservoirs and into Haydenville with the strong & fast pulling us home- thanks and you know who you are!
We rolled back toward downtown via River Rd (Leeds) and the bike path. I had 51.79 miles, 3419′ and average of 16.4 MPH when we rolled back into town just before 1 PM. (Note how a B ride is not always fast overall!).
It felt great to be back out on a long ride in a group since our fall season got shortened a bit. Great riding with you all, looking forward to next time. Speaking of that, always keep your eyes on the ride calendar for updates and cancellations. Also, our first major event is coming up in a few weeks- the Massochistah! We could still use your help. Sign up on the BikeReg page.
Fun times and smiles heading down Baptist Corner Rd-