By David Goodwin
Published 01/02/2023; Updated 01/02/2023

There was a reasonable turnout for our annual temperature ride. My guess the day before of 47 degrees at noon in downtown was right on so I figured there would be a large number of riders showing up. We had about 15 folks start out at the Academy of Music and picked up a few along the way. The biggest disappointment, however, was that Leila and T didn’t show up to send us on our way like they have done, like, forever (their apartment is literally the closest living quarters to the starting point). Sad!

We headed east along the bike path all the way to Warren Wright Road. This was a bold/silly/courageous/stupid choice on my part as we spent a lot of time yelling out “on your left,” “look out, dimwit!” and “WTF are you doing?” In addition, for the last mile, we had to ride through an active logging operation which I thought was kind of fun, in a cyclocrossy sort of way.

Here, the open roads and gentle rolling hills of Pelham, Amherst, Leverett and Sunderland began. My promise of a leisurely, social ride might have been a false promise as the tempo ended up shooting a few groups here and there off the back. My bad but I really thought that 400 watts up a 5% grade was reasonable. Maybe not. Sorry!

A few issues then came to the surface. Jonathan flatted as we approached Leverett Center but expertly and quickly fixed it while we all took the opportunity to refuel and recycle some unwanted liquids onto some tombstones behind the town library. Next up was my friend Keith who joined us from Woodstock, CT when he dropped a chain turning onto Rt. 63 from Depot Road and went down hard on the pavement but luckily used his head to absorb the impact so his bike didn’t get damaged.

After a quick wave to my wife and step daughter in Sunderland and a refueling stop, we crossed the mighty Connecticut and added a short loop into Deerfield before pacelining back to Noho via a circuitous route through Whately and Hatfield. Of the 17 riders we had at one point, I think we finished with 3. A few more people were dropped along the way (and as Eric said afterwards, he was cool being dropped on a “no drop ride” but I think a touch of sarcasm was noted). In my defense, a handful of folks peeled off before we got downtown so maybe it was more like 8 or 9 that were with us for the entire ride.

I finished with 51 miles but I think the official loop ended up being more like 46. Thanks to everyone who showed up and joined for all or some of the ride.