I arrived at Pulaski Park a little early, as the weather was fabulous- clear blue sky and mid 70’s, with a gentle breeze. As I was chatting with Roger, C riders shuffled in, but I noticed no B riders were to be found. 8:58 AM, tick, tick, tick…. Roger rolled away with the C group and I was contemplating if I should join them, or ride on my own. Fortunately, right at 9 AM sharp, Melissa arrived and made my day, knowing that I’d at least have one companion. She brought the news that Dusty would join up with us in Leeds. As we were discussing the route, Schuyler arrived, and by 9:05 Ron and Elisa rolled in, delayed by a flat. Whew!
It was great to be able to ride after last week’s predicted storms cancelled rides. I chose the same route that I had planned for last week. The “main event” being Clesson Brook Rd.
We rolled out of town on the Thursday Night route to Williamsburg center. But instead of the long slog up Ashfield Rd, why not get the legs ready to climb now… Village Hill fit the bill. It is always nice to change things up a bit, and Hemingway Rd is beautiful. Hemingway meets Ashfield Rd, but no, we were not going to just keep going up there. Main Poland not only kept us working, but provides yet another set of beautiful landscape as you roll up and then down through North Poland, eventually meeting up with Rte 116.
Schuyler gladly (?) pulled us up to the Creamery corner, where, of course, we got to climb some more. The Ashfield golf course was pretty busy today! Norton Hill Rd is fresh pavement, making the descent to Ashfield center less hairy.
After a relaxing refuel stop in the center of Ashfield, we got to relax even more descending Ashfield mountain. That is good, because the main event was next.
If you never have climbed Clesson Brook Rd, you should. It is a five mile climb of 1000 feet along a cool (literally) brook. There is a small 17% in there! Very little traffic and quiet. Today I wanted to make sure everyone made it to the top, so I was the caboose. (That is my way of saying I was dropped, last, and slow!).
With the best climbing over-with, perfect riding continued through Plainfield with the beautiful farms and horses, on parts of the old Tour of the Hilltowns course, popping us out on Rte 116.
The return leg I chose to take us over Cummington Rd, which changes name two times and has two town lines. I love this road because of that, but also because it has a punchy climb and an awesome descent to Rte 9.
Finally, the (what I always call it) slog back home, we have to climb back up to Goshen on Rte 9. It has some awesome farm views, but at the end of a ride when you are toasted (in both ways), it just is not fun. The reward, of course, is the zippy descent into Williamsburg and we always have a nice paceline into town.
People started peeling off in Florence for home. At 1 PM downtown, I had 55.3 miles, 16.7 MPH average, 4324 feet of climbing, 78.8 F average temperature, and 153 cars pass.